How it Looks to the Terrorists

Transcript of an intercepted conversation between two terrorists in a cave somewhere along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border:

Did you hear Dick Cheney’s speech to the American Enterprise Institute last week?

I did. It was funny how Cheney said we think it shows weakness when the Americans argue.

I know. The truth is, I’m a little jealous of the way they get to argue.

I would never say this to my wife, but I think the way they argue is a sign of strength. It takes a lot of confidence to argue like that. I once tried to argue a little with Osama, and he told me if I did it again, he would cut my head off.

I know, I know, Osama doesn’t like disagreement. But we have to remember, he’s our leader and he knows what’s best for us.

That’s true. Not everyone has a leader as wise as ours. We’re lucky to be able to follow him without question.

What was funny was, who cares about the arguing? And even if we did care, Cheney was arguing, too! It was funny to hear him say, “We must stop doing what I’m doing!”

Yes, that was good. It was like, “We must not be as weak as I’m being!”

In fact, it’s the way they’re surrendering the freedoms they claim to cherish that’s so weak. One big attack and immediately they’re torturing, kidnapping, wiretapping without warrants, imprisoning people without charging them… it was so easy! I thought it would be harder, but Osama was right — America is a paper tiger.

Allahu Akhbar.

I have to admit, I was a little worried when they elected Obama. He seemed to understand that among the country’s key strengths were its values.

Empty values, though.

Of course empty values. Equality, freedom, individuality, the rule of law… who wants all that when you can have submission to God, instead?

Allahu akhbar.

But still, a lot of people in the world find those values — call them the American brand — attractive. That’s what I mean when I say American values were making America strong. Throughout history, the values attracted a lot of people to America’s cause. Think of the American brand compared to the communist brand. The Soviet Union never had a chance.

Yes, I suppose that’s true.

And it’s a problem for us, too. Many people are so deluded that they would prefer equality, freedom, individuality, and the rule of law to submission to God. As though there could be any law but God’s law!


Yes. But now that America is torturing, spying on it citizens without warrants, imprisoning without charge, and all the rest, the people who were attracted to America’s values are recoiling. They are saying, America, the great hypocrite! And the ease with which the soft Americans have surrendered their “cherished” values shows America’s enemies how weak she really is.

Then thanks be to Allah that Obama has reversed all those campaign promises.

Yes. For a while, we were afraid America was going to restore its brand and attract new followers again. But Obama is making sure not to do that. If he has his way, Americans will soon surrender more of their “values,” including even this thing called “the right to a trial by jury.”

You mean the US government will be able to imprison people without trial?


US citizens?




Wow. That is a huge victory for us.

Yes. And it came much more easily than we were expecting. Imagine how weak and frightened they must appear to anyone who might once have been attracted to their cause of “freedom!”

Allahu akbar.

I have to say, I don’t understand their political system. The Democrats are afraid of the Republicans, and the Republicans are afraid of everything — except the Democrats.

That is strange.

Yes. But it works for us. You know, when Bush and Cheney left office, Osama was very sad. But all the talk shows and speeches Cheney has been doing since then have given Osama a good idea.


I really shouldn’t tell you, it’s a secret…

I won’t say anything.

All right. What Cheney and his allies are doing is trying to convince Americans that if there’s another terrorist attack, it happened because Americans didn’t give up enough of their values. Because they stopped torturing, for example.

You mean…

That’s right. If we can attack them again, there’s a better chance than ever, thanks to the work of Cheney, that Americans will quickly surrender even more of their values. That will make them even weaker, and us stronger.

They might torture more?

If we are lucky. Their torture of the brothers is the best recruitment tool we’ve ever had. It has won us many committed new followers.

They’re so easy to manipulate, aren’t they? We must take advantage of this opportunity Cheney is giving us.

Exactly. Who would have thought Dick Cheney would go on shaping the battlefield for us, that he would find new ways even after leaving office to encourage us to attack by increasing the benefits of an attack?

Allah works in mysterious ways.

He certainly does.