Tuesday, June 23, 2009

John McCain Has No Credibility On Iran

Crooks & Liars has a piece from Democracy Now featuring Kouross Esmaeli talking about Iran and the attacks on the President.

According to him, John McCain has no credibility on this topic. Of course I don't think he has much credibility about anything, but that's another story.

Watch here, then I will put in the transcript and break it down a little.

JUAN GONZALEZ: I’d like to ask you about the statement—President Obama is now under fire from the right for not speaking out more forcefully on behalf of the Iranian protesters. He responded to this charge in an interview on CBS News Friday.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The last thing that I want to do is to have the United States be a foil for those forces inside Iran who would love nothing better than to make this an argument about the United States. That’s what they do. That’s what we’re already seeing. We shouldn’t be playing into that. There should be no distractions from the fact that the Iranian people are seeking to let their voices be heard. What we can do is bear witness and say to the world that the incredible demonstrations that we’ve seen is a testimony to, I think, what Dr. King called the “arc of the moral universe.” It’s long, but it bends towards justice.

JUAN GONZALEZ: That was President Obama on Sunday. Kouross Esmaeli, Iranian American journalist and filmmaker, your response to the criticism of President Obama from the right, in terms of his inaction on the issue of the election in Iran?

KOUROSS ESMAELI: What is interesting about the criticisms that are coming from the right is that it’s been coming primarily from Senator John McCain. The Iranians know Senator John McCain as the man who sang “Bomb, bomb Iran” during the elections of last year. The man holds no credibility as far as supporting Iranians or seeming like he’s got the best interests of the Iranians at heart. And that, for Iranians and for this issue, that discredits him altogether and discredits this whole attack on President Obama.

President Obama’s stand, I think, has been the most sensible, and it’s amazing that the President of the United States is taking such a sensible stand. And that—everyone I’ve talked to in Iran has said the same thing, that we do not need any symbol of Western, especially American, interference in Iran’s internal politics. And the fact that America does not have diplomatic relations with Iran really ties its hand, as far as how far he can go in really supporting Iran. So the only thing they can do is to just scream as loud as they can, which will be immediately used by the Iranian authorities.

AMY GOODMAN: Kouross Esmaeli, give us a brief history lesson. Talk about why especially the sensitivity to the United States interfering with Iran.

KOUROSS ESMAELI: The Western presence in Iran has been there for about 200 years, from the British and the Russian, who took parts of Iran under control up to World War II. And after World War II, it was the US that stepped in and started supporting the Shah of Iran as their favorite dictator in the Middle East. There was a coup d’├ętat against a popularly elected prime minister that had come in to nationalize Iranian oil. And that has really remained within the Iranian consciousness ever since, ever since 1953, and Iranians harbor deep mistrust for the US, that was seen as orchestrating a coup against their popularly elected leadership. And in 1979, when the Islamic Revolution took place, the biggest sort of fear of the Iranian people was a repeat of the coup d’├ętat. And that’s why the—that’s a large reason why the hostage crisis took place. They took hostages to make sure that the US does not come in, invade, orchestrate another coup again. And that has remained the dynamic within the Iran-US relations: mistrust on both sides.

And at this point that the US does not have diplomatic relations, it really makes no sense for any administration to get political points for seeming like they’re standing up with some demonstrators somewhere in order to score points with their constituents here. Over the weekend—and what’s amazing is the way the media in the US has been really helping spin this for the Republican right wing. I mean, there were images on CNN and Fox over the weekend of President Obama, I think, buying ice cream for his daughters while the demonstrators in Iran were fighting for their democracy. And they were likening that to President Bush when he was playing golf right after he invaded Iraq and equating the two. It was like, how heartless could Obama be, when he could be—I don’t know what he could be doing in order to support Iranians. I think he did the best thing he could do in order to support the Iranians.

The emphasis is their's, but I think it is great. I have been calling him Bomber McCain ever since he has been on TeeVee asking for the president to say more and get stronger. What he expects the president to say, I am not sure. No one bothers to ask him that.

And for the last part, the media has been so complicit in this attack on the president. Asking him if he should be playing golf, going out for dinner, going out for ice cream with his daughters. What do they think he should be doing? The man has to be able to relax and have a life once in a while. He does have a family and he needs to be able to be with them.

Most of the so called smart people think he has handled the Iran situation just fine. It's just the saber rattlers who are saying he hasn't handled this in the correct manner. That and the rethuglicans who are trying to score political points.

For another take on this check out K's blog, he has a post up where he says the President has it just right.

That's my take on it anyway. These people just want to go against the president on anything they can, and so if he says green, they say blue. That's what is happening.


Patricia said...

You are so right, especially about the media's complicity. It's like no one knows how to be grown-ups - except Obama. The complaints about this are so stupid and wrongheaded that any media that takes the Republican talking points and runs with them to make a controversy loses even more credibility. And that's going some.

K. said...

CNN and especially Fox were gung ho on the invasion of Iraq.

No media outlet in this country has any in-house expertise on any Middle Eastern country not named Israel. For that matter, neither does John McCain. You me, and ZY could formulate a better policy approach than any of them.

I read a book last year called The Limits of Power, by Andrew Bacevich, a retired Army colonel who teaches at Boston University. In one aside he maintained that in terms of foreign policy, the so-called Wise Men are alwayswrong, and that anyone off the street would do better.

majii said...

I think that John McCain is still bitter about losing the election to Obama. He comes across as a very angry man, and this is reflected in his opposition to all of the president's ideas and policies. Joe Klein suggested that McCain's rants about Obama not being tough enough about what is happening in Iran is based on his own self- interest. McCain came out yesterday stating he would not shut up and continued pushing for tougher statements against the Iranian elections.
As stated by Mr. Esmaeli, America has had a rocky history with Iran, beginning in 1953 with the CIA, under Eisenhower, overthrowing the Mossadegh government, which had been democratically elected. The republicans either have little knowledge of U.S. and world history or they know the truth but bend the facts to fit their perception of reality. I think it's the latter. A political party whose major goal is to benefit themselves at the expense of the American people should never be allowed to hold majority positions of power because it leads to corruption and nullifies all that our Founding Fathers endured to gain freedom from English and establish the Constitution.
In the case of some republicans, I truly believe that everything they are doing right now has one goal: regaining control of the government. I am glad that some Americans are being made aware of the damage that they have done to our country. For a party supposedly based on Christianity to hate blacks, LBGT persons, Latinos, Muslims, etc., they have a very poor way of showing it.

K. said...

Excellent critique, majii.

I addressed this subject on my blog here. If you have time, I would really appreciate you're reading and commenting on it.

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