A large majority of Americans supported the Democratic plan for a partial withdrawal from Iraq that George W Bush recently vetoed. Bush will be heartened to learn, however, that his veto is drawing some support from overseas. In particular from Ayman al-Zawahiri who is Al Qaeda's second-in-command and a mass murderer responsible for the killing of 3,000 of our fellow countrymen.
"This bill will deprive us of the opportunity to destroy the American forces which we have caught in a historic trap," al-Zawahri said, according to a transcript released by the monitoring group SITE. The bill is evidence of American "failure and frustration," he added.
"We ask Allah that they (U.S. troops) only get out of it after losing 200,000 to 300,000 killed, in order that we give the spillers of blood in Washington and Europe an unforgettable lesson," he said.
In the past, right-wing politicians, pundits and bloggers have used statements by Al Qaeda that appeared to endorse Democratic Party positions as proof that supporting the Republicans was the right course of action. After all, they argued, if Al Qaeda is for something, then we should all be reflexively against it. One wonders if they will use the same logic regarding these statements that effectively oppose the Democratic plan and support Bush's veto.
Zawahiri's statement demonstrates a point that I've been arguing for some time: that Al Qaeda sees the current situation in Iraq working to their advantage and does not want to see a precipitate US withdrawal. They see that our presence in Iraq has radicalized tens of thousands of young men from across the Arab world in a way that our occupation of Afghanistan has not. Those of the jihadists who survive the experience in Iraq will be the vanguard of the 21st century Al Qaeda organization and will continue to ply their deadly trade across the Islamic world and Europe for decades to come. For Al Qaeda, Iraq is the gift that keeps on giving (recruits).
Zawahiri's continued enthusiasm for the presence of US troops in Iraq disputes the "flytrap" theory put forward by such right-wing bloggers as Engram. That theory suggests that the 4,000 or so jihadists who have been killed in Iraq represent progress in the war on terror because they have been removed from the battleground. If that were the case, why would Zawahiri be supporting the continuation of the occupation?
The reason is that for Zawahiri, the number of jihadists who die in Iraq is completely irrelevant. The Arab world produces an inexhaustible supply of such young men. Losing a mere 4,000 isn't going to make any difference in the overall numbers when there are tens of thousands (even hundreds of thousands) eager to take their place and achieve martyrdom fighting against the infidels in Arab lands. What's far more important, is keeping the US in Iraq so that Al-Jazeera and other Arab news outlets have a steady stream of imagery depicting dead and injured Iraqi civilians who are portrayed as the innocent victims of America's "war against Islam" (as Al Qaeda portrays our occupation of Iraq). This is the central theme of Al Qaeda propaganda. Without US forces in Iraq to fight against, Al Qaeda would lose much of its ability to recruit angry young men off the streets of the Arab world into a life of terrorism and jihad.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!