Department of Unintended Irony
Wall Street Journal editorial (subs. req'd; free link with reg.) for Thursday:
Ayman al Zawahiri and George W. Bush don't agree on much. But al Qaeda's No. 2 leader and the U.S. President are in accord on one thing: Iraq is the central battlefield.
Later, the editorial tries to whistle past the huge inconsistency in the standard blame-the-media analysis the al Qaeda letter exposes -- al Zawahiri's primary concern that the image of al Qaeda is being tarnished by the media coverage of civilian deaths in Iraq:
He [al Zawahiri] is clearly worried that the jihadists are losing in Iraq. He devotes a large portion of his letter to a critique of Zarqawi's tactics, counseling him to do more to win "public support" among the Iraqi Shiite majority.
Don't attack mosques, he advises. Don't target ordinary people ...
Amid these lamentations, however, one area emerges about which the terror commander exudes great confidence: the media. The lesson he learned from Vietnam is that "more than half of the battle is taking place on the battlefield of the media." He clearly wants to use the media, in the U.S. and in the Arab world, to induce the U.S. to pull out of Iraq and default a position of strength to al Qaeda.
It's like he wants al Zarqawi to run a website that could be called, oh, Good News from Iraq!