Last week in The Root, I argued that al-Qaeda was getting more positive press than they could have possibly hoped to get for a botched terror attack thanks to Republicans shrieking that the failed underwear bombing was a "success." Even when AQ fails, the GOP is there to give them a little PR boost.
Via Matt Duss and the people's champ Paul Waldman, Bill Kristol argues that the closure of the U.S. Embassy in Yemen due to security threats represents a success for al-Qaeda, saying "This last week has been a victory for Al Qaida in that region, I’m afraid." Brit Hume co-signs, saying of the failed underwear bombing, "This was — this was an attack that didn’t succeed on the scale it was expected to but did succeed."
You expect political flacks to come try to spin utter failures into victories for public relations reasons. But it's strange to watch Republicans spinning for al-Qaeda--or as Duss says, "acting as al Qaeda's best publicists".
If Ayman al-Zawahiri came out and said that a failed bombing that resulted in the perpetrator being subdued by unarmed civilians, he'd probably get laughed at. But Kristol and Hume are Americans, so they give an absurd claim to victory the veneer of credibility. Understanding why they might want to do this is as simple as taking a look at Pete Hoekstra's fundraising letters. They don't have their little fingers on the color-coded terror alert system any more, so they have to find some way to scare the American people into opening up their wallets or pulling the lever for the GOP. If that helps al-Qaeda achieve their stated objective of, well, terrorizing people even when their attacks fail, who cares?
-- A. Serwer