Here's a mashup I made for the new website 'StraightTalkMcCain.com' on McCain's recent statements alleging that Iran has been offering support to al Qaeda in Iraq.
The Maverick Makes It UpThis week during a trip to the Middle East, McCain severely undermined his frequent claims to be "the one best to address a national security crisis" by repeatedly stating that Iran was supporting al Qaeda in Iraq. McCain claimed that Iranian operatives were "taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back." He insisted that it was "common knowledge...that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and coming back into Iraq from Iran." McCain's confusion over Iran and al Qaeda puts him in lockstep with the rest of the Bush administration. As the Washington Post notes, "The last five years have produced ample evidence that American leaders were woefully ill-informed about the country they came to rescue." [...]
THE FACTS: Though Iran is 90 percent Shiite and al Qaeda is a Sunni group, it is not inconceivable that some aspects of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard are supporting some aspects of al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), or that AQI members have ever crossed the border into Iran. However, there is simply no evidence to support McCain's claim that Iran is "training" AQI in Iran. Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno stated last July, "We don't see any evidence, significant evidence, that shows that [Iranian-controlled] groups that are funding and providing arms to Shi’a extremists are directly related to al Qaeda." In a CNN interview on Wednesday, Gen. David Petraeus backed away from CNN's Kyra Phillips's statement that "it stands firm that Iran is funneling weapons and supporting al Qaeda." Petraeus said, "We're concerned very much about the lethal accelerants...that do come from Iran," but also emphasized that "the flow of foreign fighters and of suicide bombers that help al Qaeda typically is through Syria." "The point is that John McCain’s misstatement is typical of conservatives, who have, through intentionally deceptive language, constantly tried to elide the differences between groups with different goals and ideologies in order to create the illusion of a united Islamofascist enemy.
"WHERE'S THE STRAIGHT TALK?: After press coverage of McCain's gaffe, his campaign issued a statement claiming the senator "misspoke and immediately corrected himself." In an interview, McCain himself insisted that he "corrected it immediately," and that he "just simply misspoke." However, as video proves, it was not until Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) whispered a correction in his ear that McCain corrected his mistake. Moreover, McCain conflated Iran and al Qaeda at least three times, not including another time last month -- hardly a case of "misspeaking." By Thursday the McCain campaign had reversed course, insisting McCain did not misspeak at all. McCain advisor Max Boot asked Thursday, "[W]hat gaffe?" and insisted, "There is copious evidence of Iran supplying and otherwise assisting Al Qaeda in Iraq and other Sunni terrorist groups (including Al Qaeda central)." Randy Scheunemann, McCain’s senior foreign policy adviser, told the New York Sun, "There is ample documentation that Iran has provided many different forms of support to Sunni extremists, including Al Qaeda as well as Shi’ia extremists in Iraq. It would require a willing suspension of disbelief to deny Iran supports Al Qaeda in Iraq." ...(more)