By Dick Morris
June 08, 2004
Every bomb, terror attack, suicide raid or urban guerilla offensive is aimed squarely at ending Bush's political career. Ironically, the real test of American resolve will not be our willingness to stay in Iraq, but our desire to keep Bush in office.
The history of terrorists messing around with the political systems of their victim countries is a long one. The Viet Cong/North Vietnamese Tet Offensive in January 1968 set in motion a chain of events that led to Sen. Eugene McCarthy's excellent showing in that year's New Hampshire primary, Robert F. Kennedy's entry into the presidential race and, finally, Lyndon Johnson's withdrawal from the contest.
In 1994, when Yasser Arafat wanted to defeat the moderate Labor Party in Israel so he could posture himself in opposition to the hard-liners, he resorted to terror attacks in Israel right before the election. The carnage so shocked Israeli voters that they turned against the frontrunner - Labor candidate Shimon Peres - and elected Likud hard-liner Benjamin Netenyahu instead.
In March of this year, al Qaeda turned the Spanish election on its head with its railroad bombing and defeated the favored candidate from the party of pro-Iraq war President Jose Maria Aznar and elected an anti-war socialist instead.
But to fathom the al Qaeda/Ba'ath strategy, we need to remember how the Iranian militants manipulated the hostage crisis in 1979 and 1980 to defeat their bete noire, President Jimmy Carter. By dangling and then retracting the hope of releasing their hostages, they made Carter look weak and overmatched. Once Reagan won, they quietly let the hostages go. As he was sworn in, they were flying home and Carter was frantically handling the wire transfers of funds to pay their ransom.
Al Qaeda and the Ba'ath Party want to defeat Bush to avenge his tough stance against them after the 9/11 attacks. They know that John Kerry would usher back the Clinton days of timid U.S. reaction and that the Democrat's likely repeal of vital sections of the Patriot Act would open the door for their terror strikes in America.
The thugs want Bush out and are determined to ratchet up the cost of the Iraq War to bring about his ouster. That's why they will target any American they can. By having the troops continue their current activist role in Iraq, Bush is sticking to his policies at the risk of committing political suicide.
Turning sovereignty over to Iraq won't stop the terror attacks. They will decline only after Bush is either re-elected or defeated. It is the elections in the United States, not those in Iraq, that the enemy most seeks to influence.
Bush's surrogates should bring to America the message that the terrorists would be overjoyed to see the end of his presidency.
During the Cold War, American politicians regularly used to campaign as the candidate the Russians wanted to lose. Bush's people should begin to speak of the message a Kerry election and a Bush defeat would send to the terrorists. The Spanish example is worth citing.
It is obvious that Osama and his allies all want Bush out. It might profit Bush's supporters (though not the president himself) to point out this obvious fact to the American people.
Look for his new book, Rewriting History.
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