And now our program calls for…

Well, usually the program would now call for the capture of a high ranking Al Qaeda official, usually in Pakistan, and usually with the rank of “number three.” Standing in for the capture of World Al Qaeda Number Three TM, we will instead have someone billed as “Al Qaeda in Iraq Number Two.”
That’s right, the number two man in Al Qaeda in Iraq. Some American sources conservatively rank Hamed Jumaa Faris Juri al-Saeidi (I know, I know… he may be the most important terrorist you never heard of…) until the next one is captured… as merely among the top five in Al Qaeda in Iraq, which itself is probably one of the ten or fifteen most important insurgent groups operating in Iraq (and the only one we know of using the Al Qaeda brand name.)
Honestly, none of this is supposed to be, or should be, a laughing matter. In fact, we are involved in the deadly serious business of trying to hold Iraq together, lest the chaos we unleashed when we invaded and removed Saddam Hussein’s Baathist government, replacing it with rule by sectarian thugs and/or complete anarchy, spill over into Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the other oil-rich Gulf States. [And as I’ve said, the choice will come down to just picking up and getting out, damn the consequences (those being $6, $7, maybe $8/gallon for gasoline), or sucking it up and sending billions of dollars a week and hundreds if not thousands more of our countrymen to their death and/or dismemberment for the foreseeable future, so that the rest of us can afford to drive our SUVs to our exurban McMansions. In short… we’re not leaving Iraq. Regardless of which party wins. And even rhetorically abusing Iraq by Republicans may no longer be a political winner.]
The timing of this particular capture now belies that this capture is any kind of real military gain of any significance: it becomes damned close to impossible to believe anything other than that this is just part of the ongoing publicity campaign to get Republicans reelected to majorities in both Houses of Congress (lest we have accountability in our government) by showing “progress” in “the war on terror.” Hence, the need to call al-Saeidi’s insurgent group (which, of course, is but one of many) “Al Qaeda in Iraq.”
We’re also a week away from the brazen partisan abuse of the September 11th fifth anniversary. After that, if it appears that Democrats are continuing to make inroads in taking one or both houses of Congress, we can expect more terror alerts (I’m guessing two between now and the election, but that number is just a “guideline”), and probably the capture of another AQ figure (that none of us ever heard of). This playbook has worked the last two federal elections;
there seems no reason to retire it now.
The President’s party is coming closer and closer to having support only of the bare base and nothing more, and having near total reliance on the odd gerrymandering structure of the House races and the luck of the draw of Senate races this year will enable it to hold its majorities. Further, for “issues,” the President’s party will rely on “national security”, meaning, of course, irrational lashing out at Democratic critics, and pointing out the great job it is doing by capturing guys like bin Laden or Al-Zawahiri al-Saeidi.
While this all seems asinine to me, the American electorate, so far at least, seems to have an unlimited appetite for this sort of thing. We’ll see if, once again, the Party of Lincoln can live up to his adage (you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time…) Let’s just say that, given their track record, it’s hard to bet against it.