Having been responsible for much of the economic bleeding America has done in Iraq and Afghanistan, al-Qaeda now has a chance to significantly advance its bleed-to-bankruptcy strategy. While al-Qaeda had no hand in creating the ongoing, self-inflicted unraveling of the US financial system, al-Qaeda could accelerate that unraveling with a 9/11-like or larger attack in the continental United States. The US political class has often scoffed at or ridiculed Bin Laden's goal of driving America to bankruptcy, assuming that al-Qaeda irrationally assumed it could bring down the US economy through its actions alone. This analysis is inaccurate. Just as Bin Laden saw al-Qaeda as the inspirer of jihad and not the jihad itself, he saw that his group's attacks on the US economy could not cause bankruptcy, but might do so if they worsened other US economic problems. Thus the main economic damage done by the 9/11 attacks resulted from the Iraq and Afghan wars, not from the raids on Manhattan and Washington. Today, Bin Laden and al-Qaeda have a chance to deal the United States an enormous economic blow if they can stage a near-term attack in America. Such an attack would serve as a devastating force-multiplier and perhaps push the current economic disaster into the category of a financial catastrophe. Whether al-Qaeda is positioned to stage such an attack is an open question. What is unquestionable, however, is its intention to do so; the US intelligence community's conclusion that al-Qaeda poses a "clear and present danger" to the continental United States rests on the fact that US borders remain almost entirely open and the weapons of mass destruction arsenal of the former Soviet states and other sources of nuclear-bomb-making material have yet to be fully secured. Michael Scheuer - Asia TimesDavid Seaton's News Links
At the risk of repeating myself (actually repeating myself) I'd like to refresh my prediction that Osama bin Laden is going to try to do something in the critical month leading up to the election. Here is what I said way back in February:
Everybody seems to have forgotten Osama bin Laden. I wonder what the old boy is up to?
Getting ready to decide who is to be President of the United States of America, I should imagine.
If you stop and think about it, Osama bin Laden owes the Republicans big. If Gore had won the election in 2000, (ok, I know he did win, but you know what I mean) then, when and if the Twin Towers went down, the United States, accompanied by all of NATO, would have gone through Afghanistan like a dose of fruit salts and bin Laden would have been brewed up in some hole in Tora Bora.
But Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld's ineptitude not only saved the sheik's life: by invading Iraq, by opening Guantanamo, by running Abu Ghraib and by supporting the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, they made Osama bin Laden's case for the entire Muslim world. Who's your daddy?
Does Osama bin Laden want the Republicans to win?
Does Dolly Parton sleep on her back?
Now, even his worst enemies would have to admit that Osama bin Laden is a very focused, scheming, long headed fellow, so it is not difficult to imagine that he is not simply going to trust his fate to the wisdom of the American voters.
The only card the Republicans really have left to play these days is national security. Defense still seems the natural calling of mean, old, white men.
Maybe it's because I live in Madrid and have actually seen it happen that I expect a bomb to define the next US presidential election. In 2004, many observers thought that bin Laden's "October Surprise" video was enough to give Bush a second term. But after "four more years", it will take a bit more than a video to keep the Republicans in the White House. DS