“When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature, they will like the strong horse.” – Osama bin Laden
Remember after 9/11 when the more pacifist-minded among us wrung their hands and fretted that for every terrorist we killed, ten more would rise up to replace him?
Obviously that didn’t happen. Al Qaeda would have mushroomed in size if it had.
Most of us instinctively understood why the idea was preposterous. Osama bin Laden himself understood why it was preposterous. It’s hard for any organization to recruit new members when it’s being impaled by U.S. Marines and zotted from the sky by Predator drones.
It’s not just that presidents Bush and Obama took all the fun, so to speak, out of terrorism. The Pew Research Center conducted another poll in Muslim-majority countries and found the pool of potential Al Qaeda recruits keeps getting smaller because the group is unpopular.
Leave aside the fact that few feel like supporting gangs of sadistic killers if they think they might be killed next. It’s one thing to support a terrorist organization that murders the denizens of the Great Satan in New York and Washington, but another thing altogether to support a terrorist organization that massacres women and children from Casablanca to Baghdad. Even if Abu Musab al Zarqawi hadn’t rebranded Al Qaeda as a band of Hannibal Lecters whose favorite pasttime seemed to be murdering Arabs by the hundreds, nobody likes a loser.
Well, I shouldn’t say nobody. A little more than 20 percent of Egyptians have a positive view of Al Qaeda, which is a horrendously large figure, actually. The only good news is that it’s lower than it used to be.
In Lebanon only two percent think highly of Al Qaeda. The percentage of Americans who think highly of Osama bin Laden can’t be much lower than that.