The Zawahiri Letter

Left-I makes two excellent points (as ever)

On the day when a new poll reveals that 59 percent of Americans think U.S. troops should withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible, the U.S. government suddenly decides to release the text of an alleged letter, allegedly captured last summer, which purports to be advice given by Ayman al-Zawahiri to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. And conveniently, the advice is all about how Zarqawi should attempt to establish Islamic authority over as much of Iraq as possible after the Americans are expelled, thereby providing a fresh justification for why the U.S. shouldn't withdraw.

Is this letter genuine? There isn't any way for the average person to know. It could have been written by Zawahiri, it could have been written by the CIA, or it could have been written by any person pretending to be Zawahiri and trying to substitute their own strategy for whatever strategy Zawahiri is (or isn't) advocating. Take a look at the recent "threat to New York City subways" hoax and you'll see how easy the American authorities can be fooled, assuming that it isn't they who are doing the fooling. I say all this despite the fact that the advice itself seems perfectly sensible (and something any Marxist could completely identify with) -- maintaining and increasing "popular support from the Muslim masses." Nevertheless, the key thing about this letter isn't whether or not it's genuine, it's to understand why the U.S. government chose to release it at this time.

Here's the strangest part of the story: "The American intelligence official would not say...whether it was believed to have been received by Mr. Zarqawi." So let's try to understand this. Zawahiri tries to send a very important communication about strategy to Zarqawi. The U.S. government intercepts it. Zarqawi may not have received it, i.e., he may not have received this advice from Zawahiri. And, in the face of that, the U.S. government decides to post the letter on the Internet, thereby assuring that Zarqawi now does have the benefit of Zawahiri's advice


" Remember when the U.S. government wouldn't allow tapes from bin Laden or Zawahiri to be broadcast on TV, using the excuse that there might be "hidden messages" in the broadcast that they couldn't allow to be transmitted? Now they release a 6,000-word letter from Zawahiri which could contain dozens of hidden messages for all they know. Curious, eh?


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