Wednesday, March 19, 2008

McCain: Not Just a Slip-up

So it looks like McCain didn't just misspeak. He apparently has said the Shia Iran is training Al Qaeda extremists, Sunni radicals who hate Shia Islam, multiple times. This wasn't just the wires getting temporarily crossed in his 71 year-old mind. One might forgive the ramblings of a confused, old man, though it's hard to imagine giving a confused, old man absolute power of the greatest military on Earth.

No, McCain instead seems to have repeated this nonsense multiple times. MSNBC notes:

Mr. McCain said several times in his visit to Jordan — in a news conference and in a radio interview — that he was concerned that Iran was training Al Qaeda in Iraq...

Mr. McCain said at a news conference in Amman that he continued to be concerned about Iranians “taking Al Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back.” Asked about that statement, Mr. McCain said: “Well, it’s common knowledge and has been reported in the media that Al Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran. That’s well known. And it’s unfortunate.”

It was not until he got a quiet word of correction in his ear from Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, who was traveling with Mr. McCain as part of a Congressional delegation on a nearly weeklong trip, that Mr. McCain corrected himself.

“I’m sorry,” Mr. McCain said, “the Iranians are training extremists, not Al Qaeda.”


The Democrats noted that Mr. McCain, Republican of Arizona, had made similar comments about Iran training Al Qaeda in an interview with “The Hugh Hewitt Show,” a radio program he called from Amman. “As you know, there are Al Qaeda operatives that are taken back into Iran, given training as leaders, and they’re moving back into Iraq,” Mr. McCain said, according to a transcript posted on the show’s Web site.

You can listen to McCain on Hewitt's show here, and watch a clip of McCain saying Iran is assisting Al Qaeda here.

So what's McCain's deal here? We know he's wrong on this, and he quickly flip-flopped after Lieberman corrected him. So I think that means that we can rule out that he was deliberately lying. But he repeated it multiple times, so it obviously wasn't just some slip of the tongue. So what's going on here? Speculate in comments.


Eric said...

Looks to me like the same sort of similar conflation as Al Qaeda and Iraq that helped to make the war more attractive to the general public. Now they're doing the same with Iran. This has nothing to do with McCain's lack of knowledge of the politcs over there and everything to do with politics over here.

Al Qaeda in Iran?!? Let's Roll!

Afferent Input said...


I thought about that. I mean, McCain can't be THAT stupid to think that Iran would train Al Qaeda fighters. So I could imagine that McCain was just throwing red meat to the war-mongering base and parroting the latest propaganda (We've always been at war with East Asia).

But there's a problem with that. If McCain really was just parroting propaganda, he should have known that his statements would be held up to scrutiny, especially by those who actually think facts matter. Besides, he has talk radio, religious fundamentalists, and his enablers in the media to play the "Iran is evil" card for him.

The other thing is just how quickly he flipped on this. You just have to watch the full video; it's amazing. My sense is that he's just completely clueless. He may come across as being a few notches than George W Bush, but now I have my doubts.

We can't let someone this idiotic near the levers of power. Especially given the fact that foreign policy and military matters are supposed to be his forte. If he's this bad on the stuff he's supposed to know in-and-out, just imagine how bad he'll screw up the stuff he confesses he doesn't really know that much about, like the economy.