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Oct 30, 2004 4:30 am

Listening to Our Wars Abroad and At Home ...

I heard Terry Gross's remarkable interview with Captain Josh Rushing on NPR's"Fresh Air" yesterday. Ted Barlow at Crooked Timber recommends and took notes on what the former spokesman for American military operations in Iraq had to say. You can listen to it here.

Wretchard at Belmont Club has a transcript of the newly released tape of Ossama bin Laden. I disagree with what Wretchard makes of it, but appreciate his having made the transcript available.

So, the October surprise is -- not the revelation of the capture of Ossama bin Laden – but the revelation that he is alive and well, capable of addressing the American public on the eve of its national election. Unlike Ed Cohn, I can't see how this benefits the administration's case for re-election. If anything, it underscores the administration's massive mismanagement of"the war on terror." If the bin Laden tape sways a fearful and terrorized electorate to re-elect George Bush, the case for democracy, itself, is weakened.

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Jonathan Dresner - 10/30/2004

The comments at Belmont Club reveal the self-fulfilling nature of our analyses: Republicans see the statement as a clear confirmation of the Bush approach; Democrats see it as a strong critique of the administration's efforts and perspective. I think bin Laden just wants us talking about him, instead of our own issues.

Wretchard's comments about Sweden also suggest something of an anti-immigration bias, a rejection of pluralism if it leads to something other than Christian majority.

Nathanael D. Robinson - 10/30/2004

I keep reading these types of posts that attempt to analyze OBL's message with respect to election day politics. I'm with you in thinking that this is not good for GWB, who generally refuses to talk about OBL. But neither Bush nor Kerry offers the type of withdrawal that OBL demands. The person whose position comes closest is Ralph Nader. And the comment about Europe is out of place. Perhaps Wretchard doesn't realize that Europeans are dying the Afghanistan and Iraq as well.

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