March 26, 2008

The Alleged Crediblity of John McCain

Last week, John McCain claimed - repeatedly and despite corrections from others - that al-Qaeda operatives were traveling to Iran for training and then returning to wreak havoc in U.S.-occupied Iraq. This assertion is laughable, given that al-Qaeda is a decidedly militant Sunni Muslim organization, and that Iran is a Shi'ite nation of only slightly less bellicose character. Simply put, it was like claiming that the Catholic Irish Republican Army (I.R.A.) was being drilled by Protestants in Ireland so they could attack troops in British-controlled Northern Ireland. Iran is nearly as much an enemy of al-Qaeda as the United States, and what Senator McCain described is very definitely not happening.

But perhaps most interesting about what can only be considered either a monumental failure to understand the basic issues surrounding the Iraq War or an effort to propagandize against Iran, was the press's near-complete non-reaction to it. As Steve Benen notes in a required-reading post:

It’s not only maddening, it’s the kind of negligent journalism that can dictate the outcome of a presidential election. McCain has made a series of bizarre and demonstrably false claims about foreign policy, military affairs, and national security. Some have registered in the media, some haven’t. Either way, reporters have already made up their minds — McCain knows his stuff, even when he doesn’t, and all reporting on the senator’s campaign will be refracted through that agreed upon prism.

Meanwhile, in another must-read article, Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly takes the next logical step, and examines Senator McCain's alleged credibility across issues of fiscal responsibility, special interests, human rights and campaign finance reform, as well as his reputation for "straight talk," principle and integrity. Depending on one's political persuasion, the fact that he clearly demonstrates that Arizona's senior senator comes up short on all counts will either be surprising or not. In either case, however, it's information every informed voter should have.

No comments: