By now everyone knows that in Jordan yesterday, Sen. John McCain said Iran (predominately Shiite) was training Al Qaida (mostly Sunni) operatives to go into Iraq to fight. In fact, the Sunni and Shia are fighting each other in Iraq, and Iran is reportedly training Shiite extremists, not Al Qaida. However, not until Joe Lieberman whispered a correction in his ear did McCain change his statement.
The exchange in Jordan has been reported in various ways. The Huffington Post, for example, said that McCain “falsely claimed” Iran was training Al Qaida. “Falsely claimed” sounds perilously close to “lied.” Other sources reported that McCain “misspoke” and corrected himself (not mentioning that Lieberman had intervened), and still others (CNN and AP, according to Media Matters) didn’t refer to the gaffe at all.
If nothing else, the lesson here is don’t limit yourself to just one news source. Watch and interpret the incident for yourself. Get it straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak:
More worrisome than this one “gaffe” is that none of the reportage from Jordan, nor the subsequent explanations and clarifications from the McCain camp, addresses the fact that McCain said virtually the same thing the day before in an interview on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show: “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.”
It is disquieting to think the presidential candidate who touts himself as most capable of dealing with the situation in Iraq seems to so easily and often confuse the major players. Sounds a lot like something the Bush administration has done.
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