Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A strange symbiosis: Bush and bin Laden

Bin Laden, Bush both want Iraq war to continue

By Don Rose, a Chicago freelance writer and political consultant who has worked for Democrats and Republicans
Published February 5, 2006

A dozen days before the 2006 State of the Union Message, Osama bin Laden reached out from some cave halfway around the world to give the president a much-needed public-relations boost for the second time in about 15 months.

This new appearance by the leader of Al Qaeda came as the president's polling numbers are at a low ebb and he is under serious pressure to pull at least some troops out of Iraq. Bin Laden's earlier appearance helped re-elect Bush.

Bush and bin Laden each will get exactly what they want from the latest message, reinforcing the view that both halves of this odd couple really need each other--and neither wants to quit the other.

The fact is, each plays the role of organizing symbol for the other, strengthening respective political bases. Nothing helps a political leader rally his troops more than having a clearly defined enemy.

The American invasion and occupation of Iraq have done more to discredit the United States worldwide than any other action in our history. From the first shock-and-awe carpet-bombing of Baghdad to the "mission accomplished" speech through the last two years of blood and blundering across that land, most of the world condemned us while more and more of Islam rallied to bin Laden's side.

There are two wars going on in Iraq: a multi-pronged revolt against the American occupation and a guerrilla-style civil war that is partly ethnic and partly political. Even granting the potential salutary effects of democratic elections, we have not even been able to define a victory in either war.

Rather, the occupation turned Iraq into a new nexus of terror providing a far more fertile training ground and launching pad for terrorists than Afghanistan under the Taliban. The insurgencies in Iraq continue, while worldwide acts of terrorism are on the increase.

All of which enhances the stature of bin Laden, clearly expanding his base.

`Stay the course!'
Let's not forget that they both share an obsession with permanently bankrupting the U.S.
One is the other's dark doppelganger; which one is the dark one, all depends on one's point of view, I guess. In my mind it is a toss up.

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