McCain gaffe, Lieberman correction are cause for concern

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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4 thoughts on “McCain gaffe, Lieberman correction are cause for concern

  1. I really don’t think it was a gaffe. At least no more than saying “Barack Osama” was. I mean, he said the same thing three times in two days.

    Kip!! I’ve missed you!! I’m coming to check you out right now. Did my link break, or did you and your blog disappear for a couple of months?

  2. I don’t know enough to judge, but would assume it was ignorance rather than a gaffe. Even in Bush’s failure there is more ignorance than evil: he knows less than I who have trouble finding any of these countries on a world map.

    What he does not know and I know really well is how people behave if they see foreign soldiers giving orders about town.
    So he thought he had conquered a country when he marched down the main avenue of its capital.

    Worse: he was not the only one there that thought that way.

    Ignorance. That’s exactly my point. McCain and Bush should, at the very least, know the names of the players before they make uninformed, deadly decisions about invading another country, or about continuing the costly war they started. Ignorance got us into Iraq, and ignorance is keeping us there.

  3. To -30-:

    (Isn’t your nick a little too short, even difficult to use as the subject of a sentence?)

    As to ignorance starting the war: what if the idea was to go there and stay there and the rest just pretext? Stay there any which way, changing the reasoning any which way, too.

    As I told you, years ago I used to read Months before the US invasion, he predicted the present outcome: the tribal war. But also long ago he spoke about the policy thinkers surrounding the US government. According to him, they are Neo-Platonists: the masses cannot be told the truth.

    (As to the photo vs drawing post on my blog: look again. The question is not whether you can identify, but tell apart!)

    Yes, the nick “-30-” has posed unanticipated problems (not because it is short, but because it’s a number). But it does tie in with my blog and I’ve used it long enough now that I sort of hate to give up the identity others know. I suppose the avatar would help with that, though.

    Certainly Pfaff was not the only one who understood what the consequences of invading Iraq would be. Our administration was both arrogant and ignorant. I also think Bush had personal reasons for invading that had more to do with his father than with 9/11 or national security.

... and that's my two cents