The punch line to some old, racist joke roughly goes: "they all look alike to me." The set up to the joke was rewritten by this past weekend by Congressman Steve King - (R) Iowa. On some radio show King claimed that were Barack Obama to be elected president Al-Qaeda would be "dancing in the streets" in greater numbers than on September the 11th of 2001. King bases his assertion on three things, the first being that Obama favors a withdrawal from Iraq. While that point might be at least worthy of debate, King's next two remove logic from the discourse. What will bring on the outbreak of public jubilation among OBL's minion's are Obama's middle name -- Hussein; a name nobody had a problem with when we were funneling the guy guns and money during the Iran/Iraq war -- and Obama's Kenyan heritage.
What King is basically saying is; anyone who's got a "funny" name and African lineage is a kissing cousin the ilk who took down the twin towers.
We all look alike to him.
Of course the Christian, biracial, Harvard educated Obama is as far from being a terrorist as George Clooney is from being lonely on Friday nights. And in his rush to link Obama with "those people," King ignores a fact that Al-Qaeda makes over and over again: their ideological hatred cuts across racial and religious divides. They care nothing about where someone's ancestors are from or who they worship. All they care about is chalking a steady body count.
I would remind Congressman King of the August 7th, 1998 bombings by Al- Qaeda of US embassies in both Tanzania and Kenya. There was no dancing in the streets on that day. Just Tanzanians and Kenyans pulling victims from the rubble. Estimates are that more than 200 people were killed and as many as 4,000 injured. I imagine many of them had "funny" names. Rather than Obama's election, I would say what would get the survivors of those and other Al-Qaeda massacres dancing would be Bin Laden's head on a pike or platter or stuffed in a bowling bag for lack of other display options.
The fact is that Al-Qaeda doesn't really care who's in the White House come next year. They will do as they do regardless of whether it's a woman, a man of color or an old white guy. Much as with the victims of their violence, they don't really discriminate that way. You could say that to the terrorists, we're all alike to them.
Is that something Steve King and Osama Bin Laden have in common?