AMMAN, Jordan -- Sen. John McCain, traveling in the Middle East to promote his foreign policy expertise, misidentified in remarks Tuesday which broad category of Iraqi extremists are allegedly receiving support from Iran.I don't think I have to explain just how wrong that is, on every level, to the people who read this blog.
He said several times that Iran, a predominately Shiite country, was supplying the mostly Sunni militant group, al-Qaeda. In fact, officials have said they believe Iran is helping Shiite extremists in Iraq.
Speaking to reporters in Amman, the Jordanian capital, McCain said he and two Senate colleagues traveling with him continue to be concerned about Iranian operatives "taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back."
Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it was "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."
Standing behind him, Lieberman had to say something. He stepped forward and whispered in McCain's ear, and McCain tried to correct himself and switched from "al Qaeda" to "extremists" - but dude...You can't make mistakes like that if you want to be president. What this underscores is a staggering ignorance on the part of a jingoistic, warmongering, old fool, making an ass out of himself in a part of the world where we don't have any standing to spare.
So I expect that any minute now all the idiots in the Village will be screaming about this...
Oh wait...Mad Jack is a Republican, so move along, nothing to see here.
UPDATE I - PALE RIDER
This was not a gaffe--this was McCain's ACTUAL understanding of the situation in Iraq. Here he is on Hugh Hewitt's show, basically saying the same thing:
[Huge Hewitt]: Now Senator, yesterday in Iran, President Ahmadinejad’s parliamentary party won. His hand is strengthened.
[John McCain]: Yeah.
HH: What’s the concern you have about Iran, and about, in particular, Ahmadinejad? Some people want to meet with him. He’s not on your agenda this trip.
JM: (laughing) The day I meet with the president of Iran will be the day after he announces his country no longer is dedicated to the extinction of the state of Israel, the day after they stop exporting these most lethal explosives into Iraq. Just yesterday, up in the Mosul area, they uncovered a cache of weapons, and a lot of it was these Iranian copper, high…most lethal explosives. 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. I think Americans should be very angry when we know that Iran is exporting weapons into Iraq that kill Americans. And so all I can say is that I think they continue to be a threat. I think one of the big mistakes that’s made recently was this NIE, which sort of relieved pressure, certainly as far as the Europeans were concerned, on Iran as far as sanctions are concerned. And so I think that Iran maintains its ambitions in the region. I think that if we leave Iraq, the Iranians will then extend that influence, along with many other terrible consequences that would take place. And I worry very much, I worry very much about the Iranian influence in the region, which I don’t see has been diminished very much recently. In fact, I think in some ways, they are more adventuresome.
[h/t to Think Progress, who has audio here]
You know, if a Democrat had made such a remarkable gaffe twice, it'd be EVERYWHERE. Instead, we get Obama talking about a preacher he isn't associated with anymore.
UPDATE II - PALE RIDER
I just watched the video--it's McCain between Lieberman and Graham. McCain also makes the now-debunked claim that al Qaeda has been using mentally ill women to serve as suicide bombers:
Government’s Account of Al Qaeda Using Two Down Syndrome Women as Bombers Debunked
Published 1, February 26, 2008
Remember the horrific accounts of how Al Qaeda used two women with Down Syndrome to carry out attacks killing roughly 100 people in Baghdad in February? It turns out that there is no evidence that they had any physical or mental ailments and may not have any connection to Al Qaeda. It turns out the the account of the Down syndrome bombers was traced to Iraqi officials who reportedly based their view on the appearance of the women’ heads - which had been severed in the blasts.
The U.S. military joined in the account of the use of disabled individuals shortly after the blast to show how low Al Qaeda would go. Maj. Gen. Jeffery W. Hammond indicated that the women were mentally disabled and did not know what they were doing. The military now admits that there is no evidence that the women were unwitting participants.
The irony is that you really do not have to make Al Qaeda look worse. Even without the use of disabled individuals, the organization is subhuman and needs no improvement on the villainy scale. Indeed, many of Al Qaeda’s supporter like Zacarias Moussaoui has proven to be barking lunatics. However, the story shows how hard military information specialists work to frame the conflict. A problem that we saw in the Tillman scandal in Afghanistan and other stories.
Now, it may be a game of semantics--but this was one instance where the US tried to make hay out of something that wasn't true. Good thing McCain was there to pick up on it and run with it a month later and try to keep repeating the same basic lies.
What part of "stop repeating the lies and the bullshit, Senator" does McCain not understand?