Bush foolishly elevated terrorists to new heights by declaring his "war on terror." He made terrorists heroes to followers. Bush lumped terrorists and Muslims together, degrading a whole population of people. But Obama is not Bush and Obama purposefully reached out to the Muslim world during his inauguration speech (the more I think about that the more I see it as a stroke of genius) and Al-Qaeda leaders are having a tougher time convincing their people that Obama is an enemy.
WaPo: Soon after the November election, al-Qaeda's No. 2 leader took stock of America's new president-elect and dismissed him with an insulting epithet. "A house Negro," Ayman al-Zawahiri said.They're using the same rhetoric but it's not working:
That was just a warm-up. In the weeks since, the terrorist group has unleashed a stream of verbal tirades against Barack Obama, each more venomous than the last. 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.
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.
Whether the pro-Obama sentiment will last remains to be seen. On Friday, the new administration signaled that it intends to continue at least one of Bush's controversial counterterrorism policies: allowing CIA missile strikes on alleged terrorist hideouts in Pakistan's autonomous tribal region.
But for now, the change in Washington appears to have rattled al-Qaeda's leaders, some of whom are scrambling to convince the faithful that Obama and Bush are essentially the same.
"They're highly uncertain about what they're getting in this new adversary," said Paul Pillar, a former CIA counterterrorism official who lectures on national security at Georgetown University. "For al-Qaeda, as a matter of image and tone, George W. Bush had been a near-perfect foil." Read the whole story