Just a few days into office, President Obama has already become an obstacle to Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups:
Obama has been called a “hypocrite,” a “killer” of innocents, an “enemy of Muslims.” He was even blamed for the Israeli military assault on Gaza, which began and ended before he took office.
“He kills your brothers and sisters in Gaza mercilessly and without affection,” an al-Qaeda spokesman declared in a grainy Internet video this month.
The torrent of hateful words is part of what terrorism experts now believe is a deliberate, even desperate, propaganda campaign against a president who appears to have gotten under al-Qaeda’s skin. The departure of George W. Bush deprived al-Qaeda of a polarizing American leader who reliably drove recruits and donations to the terrorist group.
With Obama, al-Qaeda faces an entirely new challenge, experts say: a U.S. president who campaigned to end the Iraq war and to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and who polls show is well liked throughout the Muslim world.
Of course, Obama’s honeymoon with the Muslim world–and with Americans, for that matter–won’t last forever.
But what this underscores is what a lot of we progressives have been saying for a long time: that George Bush has been a boon for terrorist recruitment. Everything from Iraq to Guantanamo Bay to Abu Ghraib to waterboarding and “enhanced interrogation techniques” have vindicated the poisonous propaganda terrorists have spread throughout the Muslim world about the United States. Having a president who rejects those policies poses a significant threat to terrorist groups, who have used the strife and bloodshed of the past 8 years or to advance their savage agendas.
Global terrorism increased under George Bush because of the policies he employed; hopefully President Obama will heal some of the wounds that have infected the Muslim world’s view of the United States.