Now back to that mailing I got from Henry Bonilla. It was rather odd, to say the least. On the front page is a grouping of three photos of beared Arabic men wearing turbans. One of the men pictured is obviously Osama bin Laden. The caption says “For Men Like These, America is Still a Target”.
My first thought on reading this was to say “Sure, because President Bush failed to capture them after 9/11.”
Do the Republicans really think reminding us that bin Laden is still loose is a good campaign strategy? Apparently so.
Another smaller picture in the ad is of another high-ranking al-Qaeda figure whose name I can’t recall.
But the third picture is of the Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr who founded the Mahdi Militia or Mahdi Army
There are several problems with this. First, al-Sadr has no connection to al-Qaeda. But that has never stopped Republicans from trying to tie Iraq to 9-11. Second, you would think that if they are going to try and force this link they would at least pick a guy who was one of the Baathists affiliated with Saddam Hussein. But the Baathists were all Sunnis and this guy is a Shiite cleric. Third, while the Mahdi Army is a problem for our troops in Iraq, saying that they consider the continental United States a target of their aggression is a bit of a stretch. This guy is only fighting with us because we are in his country and he wants us out. He never had any intention of coming over here and attacking us.
I figure that when they were putting the ad together they had a picture of the Sunni militant Al-Zarqawi filling that slot. But when he was killed, they were trying to find someone else to fill that spot. I'm sure they figured any old guy in a turban would do.