MONDAY'S message from Osama bin Laden told us what he fears: a vote.
Condemning any Iraqi who goes to the polls as an infidel, the terror master hopes to derail the elections. He knows that every ballot cast is a defeat.
Anyone who dismisses the importance of the upcoming Iraqi elections need only listen to Monsieur bin Laden's urgent plea for a boycott. Osama praised the atrocities of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a hands-on executioner, and welcomed his collaboration in efforts to block the balloting.
Islamic terrorists distrust the common people. They dread the strength of those who might think for themselves. Convinced that men and women must be governed fiercely from above, the terrorists are the gory religious incarnation of thousands of years of tyranny. Their god is a savage dictator in the clouds.
Osama and Zarqawi share an understanding of their weakness. Given a choice, few men and women prefer to be oppressed. Elections are the best weapon humanity has developed against the age-old hierarchies that concentrate power and wealth in the hands of a few, letting grim old men exterminate simple joys.
The Islamic-extremist vision of a world governed by the harshest interpretation of their faith could not survive where people pick their own leaders. The terrorists know it. And they fear it. Like other self-appointed elites, they pretend to speak for the average man while despising him as unworthy of having a voice in his own affairs. (A reality-TV show about Islamic terrorism might be called "Intellectuals Gone Wild.")
Osama possesses no religious authority to condemn Iraqis for voting. Pretending to revere Islamic tradition, he and his fellow terrorists make up the rules as they go. The slaughter of the innocents, videotaped executions, kidnappings and the assassinations of political candidates have no basis in the Koran. Terrorist Islam is a primitive blood-cult.
Despite the cries of the experts-for-rent for whom imperfect results always mean failure, we should take heart from Osama's latest message: If any confirmation were needed of the importance of holding elections in Iraq, we just got it. If the terrorists thought they had a chance at the polls, they'd be campaigning instead of killing.
The only thing of which we may be certain is that our deadliest enemies are doing all they can to stop Iraq's elections. It's the one goal on which the various terrorist factions and insurgent groups agree. If we needed any further proof that our struggle against terror is about human freedom and the dignity of the common man and woman, our enemies are laying it in front of us.