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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran

Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran
Image © Austin Cline
Original Poster: National Archives
Click for full-sized Image

John McCain is one of the only two people Hillary Clinton seems to think is "qualified" to be Commander in Chief, but he also seems to want to create false pretexts for a war with Iran. This same Republican once made a joke about bombing Iran, but now it doesn't sound like he thought it was really much of a joke. We should probably take him at his word and believe that John McCain really does want to bomb Iran. Many have feared that George W. Bush has been looking for a reason to attack Iran; if he can't do it, we should fear that John McCain will follow in Bush's footsteps.

Recently McCain has been getting flak for falsely claiming that al Qaeda terrorists are being trained by Iran to fight in Iraq. Apologists for Republican stupidity tried repeatedly to say that McCain simply mispoke, but a person doesn't "mispeak" the same error multiple times over the course of two days. He required Joe Lieberman, of all people, to correct him — apparently, none of McCain's Republican advisors were any more knowledgable than him. Lieberman may not be much of a Democrat anymore, but he's still enough of a Democrat to know more than McCain and any of his campaign staff. How sad is that?

A Republican telling faslsehoods to the American public about alleged threats posed by a Muslim nation is no longer surprising. If anything, I suppose it's become a job requirement. What is a bit surprising, though perhaps it shouldn't be, is the degree to which the press has been covering up for McCain. They haven't just failed to adequately cover such an important story, but have actively fed the American public false information so that people wouldn't learn about this story. AP, for example, reported on McCain's concerns about Iran but edited out his false claim about Iran training al Qaeda.

Some news outlets eventually started reporting the truth, but it was far too little, far too late. If we had a serious, reliable, and useful press corps, there would be multiple stories about how the Republican nominee for president is either completely ignorant of some of the most basic information about people in the Middle East, or is deliberately trying to mislead the public in order to create support for a new war. Or both. I can't think of a more important story in the presidential campaign right now, but it's barely being covered at all (though I'm sure there would be updates every quarter hour if a Democrat made a mistake just half as serious).

Then again, even if the major media did cover this as they should, would it make much of a difference? Would the American people react as sane, reasonable, and mature citizens should or would they instead just be distracted the next shiny new scandal — like what Hillary Clinton's schedule as First Lady might reveal? Perhaps it is just wishful thinking to imagine that people would be more likely to make the right decision if only they had the proper information at hand. In reality, it seems, many people will make the wrong decisions no matter what information they have.

We can also tell something about the Democratic candidates by looking at their reactions to this. To his credit, Barack Obama has spoken directly about it, pointing out that John McCain had confused "Sunni and Shiite, Iran and al Qaeda" and wondering if this degree of ignorance is perhaps "why he voted to go to war with a country that had no al Qaeda ties." I think we can be confident that Barack Obama doesn't want to follow in Bush's footsteps and that he isn't likely to lie to the public to justify a war.

Hillary Clinton did vote to go to war with Iraq and I don't think she has spoken about McCain's little problem with reality here. Does she agree with McCain about Iran training al Qaeda? Does she still think that he, like she, are the only ones running for president who are qualified and have the experience to be Commander in Chief? I'm not completely confident that Clinton won't be following in Bush's footsteps and I'm also a bit doubtful that she wouldn’t deceive the public in order to follow an agenda that she knows she can't sell honestly. Hillary Clinton may not be as bad as McCain, but it's hard to see how she is enough of an improvement.

It's become trite to say that we need "change" — every politician calls for change. Has any politician ever been elected (at least the first time) after campaigning on "more of the same"? That's what McCain is doing and it will be interesting to see how well that sells. Saying that we need change may sound trite, but it's the truth right now. After eight years, George W. Bush has ruined the military, ruined America's reputation around the world, ruined the extent of America's moral authority, ruined America's economy, ruined America's environment, and ruined just about everything else he's gotten his hands on. Is there anything left that doesn't need to be changed dramatically?

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We'll try dumping haloscan and see how it works.