- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dream candidate

Osama bin Laden must be chuckling in his safe house,” wrote Shireen Burki in the Christian Science Monitor yesterday.

“The 2008 campaign could very well give Al Qaeda the ultimate propaganda tool: President Barack Hussein Obama, Muslim apostate. The fact that Sen. Obama — son of a Muslim father — insists he was never a Muslim before becoming Christian is irrelevant to bin Laden. In bin Laden’s eyes, Obama is a murtad fitri, the worst type of apostate, because he was blessed by Allah to be born into the true faith of Islam.

“Should Obama become U.S. commander-in-chief, there is a strong likelihood that Al Qaeda’s media arm, As-Sahab, will exploit his background to argue that an apostate is leading the global war on terror (read: attacks against fellow Muslims). This perception would be leveraged to galvanize sympathizers into action.

Al Qaeda, though, has struggled recently to recruit volunteers for this jihad. While bin Laden retains significant support as someone willing to stand up for Muslim concerns, most Muslims abhor Al Qaeda’s terrorist methods, whose primary targets are innocent noncombatants.

“But an apostate as head of the United States could change this equation. It would be a propaganda boost for Al Qaeda’s mission. All one has to do is read Al Qaeda’s public statements to recognize how frequently it makes baseless apostasy accusations against fellow Muslims who challenge its message or actions.

“That’s why Obama is bin Laden’s dream candidate.”

Ms. Burki, incidentally, is a political scientist at the University of Mary Washington and the daughter of a Muslim father and a Christian mother. She spent her childhood in Pakistan.

Naive and dangerous

Bring on the foreign-policy debates betweenSen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama, urges former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John R. Bolton in the Wall Street Journal yesterday.

“The Obama view of negotiations as the alpha and the omega of U.S. foreign policy highlights a fundamental conceptual divide between the major parties and their putative presidential nominees. This divide also opened in 2004, when John Kerry insisted that our foreign policy pass a ‘global test’ to be considered legitimate.

“At first glance, the idea of sitting down with adversaries seems hard to quarrel with. In our daily lives, we meet with competitors, opponents and unpleasant people all the time. Mr. Obama hopes to characterize the debate about international negotiations as one between his reasonableness and the hard-line attitude of a group of unilateralist GOP cowboys.

“The real debate is radically different. On one side are those who believe that negotiations should be used to resolve international disputes 99 percent of the time. That is where I am, and where I think Mr. McCain is. On the other side are those like Mr. Obama, who apparently want to use negotiations 100 percent of the time. It is the 100 percent-ers who suffer from an obsession that is naive and dangerous.”

Who’d win?

If Sen. John McCain is elected president, 49 percent of us say he could win the Iraq war, compared with 20 percent who place their confidence in Sen. Barack Obama — this according to a survey of 1,200 voters by Rasmussen Reports conducted May 16-18 and released yesterday. It has a margin of error of three percentage points.

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