For weeks, Senator McCain has been drawing attention to remarks made by a Hamas spokesman in support of Senator Obama. On several occasions, McCain has called Obama the "candidate of Hamas," while tying Obama's support from the terrorist group to his expressed willingness to speak to Cuba, Iran and other traditional enemies of the United States. The scuffle came to a head this week when President Bush raised the specter of appeasement to terrorists during a speech at the Israeli Knesset. Yesterday, Obama condemned Bush's comments as a "false political attack."
I think it's worth taking a moment to consider Hama's motivation for making its comments. The 2004 Presidential election was influenced by Osama bin Laden's "October surprise" video, which he released just 4 days before the election. CIA analysis now indicates that the release of the tape was calculated to aid the reelection of President Bush. Could Hamas be playing the same game with their statement? During the Bush administration, Hamas has seen their power within the Palestinian territories increase. They took control of the government by winning elections in 2006. In 2007, they seized total control of the Gaza Strip during an armed conflict with their rivals, Fatah.
Hamas is not the only terrorist organization to see it's influence expand during the Bush administration. Just last week, Hezbollah militias in Lebanon took control of western Beirut causing a major setback for the US supported government. This follows the 2006 July war between Hezbollah and Israel where Hezbollah was able to hold Israel to a stalemate. The Iraq war has allowed Iran to promote terrorism within Iraq, and has fanned the flames of Islamic radicalism outside Iraq. Even Al Qaeda has been rebuilding it's capabilities in Afghanistan since it concluded a cease fire with Pakistan last year.
It is reasonable to infer that Islamic terrorists are pleased with our current policy towards the middle east. Electing Senator McCain would help to continue that policy. Al Qaeda has shown in the past that they are willing to use words and actions to coerce voters to choose the outcome they desire. If we are going to make the choice that is best for us, we must do so without the fear that terrorists spread.
For a little weekend fun on this very serious topic, here's a clip of Chris Matthews interviewing conservative talk-show host Kevin James on Hardball. The two get into an argument over what appeasement means as James and other conservatives are trying to compare Obama to Neville Chamberlain. The fun part begins at the 4 minute mark. I question the wisdom of McCain supporters evoking the ghosts of World War II during this campaign. Unlike Obama (and President Bush), Senator McCain was actually alive when Neville Chamberlain promised "peace in our time" in 1938. The last thing McCain needs to do is highlight his age in this debate, especially while getting the history wrong.