John McCain is Right: Iran *has* been aiding al Qaeda in Iraq
But why ruin a good, black-and-white talking point?
By Jeff Emanuel Posted in Anti-war liberals | National Security | War — Comments (30) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
Update: The Weekly Standard has a good write-up on this, as well.
Pundits have been coming out of the woodwork today to claim that John McCain "misspoke" when he said that al Qaeda has been receiving funding, training, and equipment from Iran during the last year-plus of the Iraq War. The "gotcha" quote -- taken here (sans link) from ThinkProgress -- is that he "conflated" Sunni and Shi'a organizations, which clearly "represent opposing sides in the Iraqi civil war[sic]."
Here is the truth: al Qaeda has been receiving funding, training, and equipment from Iran during the last year-plus of the Iraq War, and denial of that fact belies a willful ignorance -- and a desire to remain ignorant -- of the truth, at very least. People who look at the sectarian differences -- Iran being Shi'a and AQ being Sunni -- and who write off any relationship between the two on those grounds are fooling themselves into inane ignorance.
Life is complex -- as is the relationship between Sunni and Shi'a, and between different entities who all oppose the West, and the U.S. in particular. A common enemy can be the strongest adhesive -- as has been seen throughout the country, where Sunni and Shia have banded together in Anbar and elsewhere as tribal and citizens groups against AQ and other terrorist outfits. I have seen Sunni and Shi'a drive each other from their homes, and slaughter each other, simply because of the killers' strange combination of sectarian hate and innate bloodlust. However, I have also seen Sunni and Shi'a working hand in hand to fight against the insurgency -- and I have seen them working hand in hand to fight America and to kill Iraqi civilians.
The "gotcha" game of foreign policy is a loser for all involved. How ecstatic, for example, will the leadership of Iran be to hear that one of the two nominees to be President of the United States is being shouted down and pilloried for acknowledging the true fact that the Persian state is and has been aiding a group that is one of Western Civilization's -- and Iraq's -- bitterest, most bloodthirsty and inhuman enemies?
The real transgression here is not slander, and the real victim is not Iran. Rather, the transgression is an abjectly pathetic detachment from the reality of our international and domestic security and strategic situation, and the victim is America herself: her security, her standing, and any belief on the part of the rest of the world -- especially our allies and our enemies -- that those running (or vying to run) the American government will put anything, be it alliances, security, or the lives of our own soldiers and civilians, ahead of the quest for ephemeral political gain.