Friday, July 09, 2004

Far be it from me to try to inject a note of calm into politics these days, but ...

The entire debate over the past three months about how Al Qaeda really wants to influence the election is collectively the stupidest thing I've ever heard, and that's after a year of mainlining campaign coverage from the Internet.

First of all, everybody predicting what Al Qaeda wants, could they concentrate real hard on their Ouija board and find out something else for me, like where the hell is Osama, and where is Al Qaeda going to attack next so we can warn some people? Could they get some useful information from whatever magic toaster oven is sending them messages these days?

Second of all, Republicans, figuring out the motivations of terrorists and then trying to thwart those motivations is one of those fuzzy things you accuse liberals of doing. You're supposed to be the ones that just want to blow them up. We're the ones who want to understand what the hell their problem is before we blow them up. Keep your gamepieces straight, guys, it's the only way to win at Chutes & Ladders.

Basing your votes on what Al Qaeda does or does not want is ridiculous, as is sitting around trying to divine what that might be. Nobody knows, and going back and forth between the two arguments (the terrorists want Kerry! No, they want Bush!) just makes both sides look like they're wasting time sniping when they should be turning over rocks trying to find these terrorists and stop them from killing people.

Let's have an argument about the best ways to do that, please, instead of a one-upmanship contest over who is deepest inside the Al Qaeda mindset. Jeff Jacoby, I'm looking at you.