Islamists have often in the past seen America as weak, and probably more so now than ever, with all of the debate about the Iraq war. Several Jihadists have made it clear that they preferred the Democrats to take power in the November elections, because they are confident that Democrats will effect the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, which will be seen as a victory for Islam over the west.
Al Qaeda, who through a series of demoralizing victories over the Soviets, caused them to withdraw from Afghanistan, always felt the Americans would be the easier of the two superpowers to dispatch. The evidence was clear: we left Vietnam, we left Beruit, and we left Somalia.
Increasing vitriolic debate in America indicates to the Jihadists that they are approaching victory. Bernard Lewis, Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton, views it this way:
...the debate in this country since [9/11] has caused many of the perpetrators and sponsors [of Islamic terrorism] to return to their previous diagnosis [that despite our post 9/11 resolve, America can indeed beaten].
...What we see as free debate, they see as weakness, fear and division. Thus they prepare for the final victory, the final triumph, and the final Jihad.
The rancor of our debate makes us seem even weaker, especially when many debaters don't take into consideration the current state of affairs when calling for (a) a withdrawal from Iraq, and (b) George Bush and Dick Cheney's heads.
Islamic terror leaders were pleased at the outcome of the November 2006 elections in America.
WorldNetDaily reported shortly after the elections that several chief terrorists in and around Jerusalem were pleased with the outcome. Claims have recently been made by Hamas that it met with US Democrats. Jubilant over the report of the Iraq Study Group, terror leaders feel that their brand of terrorism has been vindicated. Prior to the elections, representatives of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade expressed preference for a Democrat victory in America, feeling that such a political victory would lead to withdrawal from Iraq and a victory for Islamic Jihad.
On December 22, ABC News reported a statement of Ayman al Zawahiri of al Qaeda, confirming the preference for Democrat victory, with a clear expectation of the implications of that victory:
you aren't the ones who won the midterm elections, nor are the Republicans the ones who lost. Rather, the Mujahideen -- the Muslim Ummah's vanguard in Afghanistan and Iraq -- are the ones who won, and the American forces and their Crusader allies are the ones who lost.
And if you don't refrain from the foolish American policy of backing Israel, occupying the lands of Islam and stealing the treasures of the Muslims, then await the same fate.
If we don't stand unified in the face if the Islamo-terrorist threat, the next attack will be within our own shores. Dennis Miller put it comedically yet poignantly in the following monologue: