THIS is the candidate "most qualified on foreign policy"!?
You know, one reads this passage below and almost thinks McCain doesn't understand the basic difference between Sunni and Shiite. But surely our most "accomplished" candidate grasps this most basic of facts about the the "biggest external threat to America"!?
Writes Steve Benen at Carpetbagger Report:
McCain continues to show confusion about the basics in Iraq
Posted March 18th, 2008 at 2:35 pm
At some point, not too long ago, the political establishment decided that John McCain is an expert on international affairs and national security. I’ve never really understood why — by all appearances, McCain is frequently confused and bewildered by basic questions — but everyone seems to assume that the senator has developed an almost unparalleled expertise on these issues.
Thankfully, with increasing frequency, McCain reminds us that he really doesn’t know what he’s talking about most of the time.
Sen. John McCain, traveling in the Middle East to promote his foreign policy expertise, misidentified in remarks Tuesday which broad category of Iraqi extremists are allegedly receiving support from Iran.
He said several times that Iran, a predominately Shiite country, was supplying the mostly Sunni militant group, al-Qaeda. In fact, officials have said they believe Iran is helping Shiite extremists in Iraq.
Speaking to reporters in Amman, the Jordanian capital, McCain said he and two Senate colleagues traveling with him continue to be concerned about Iranian operatives “taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back.”
Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it was “common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that’s well known. And it’s unfortunate.”
All of this is, of course, wrong. Al Qaeda is Sunni; Iran is Shiite. This is “common knowledge.” McCain was speaking with authority about the basics in the Middle East, and getting the regional dynamic backwards.
This happens quite a bit with the Republican candidate.
The WaPo’s Michael Shear added, “The mistake threatened to undermine McCain’s argument that his decades of foreign policy experience make him the natural choice to lead a country at war with terrorists. In recent days, McCain has repeatedly said his intimate knowledge of foreign policy make him the best equipped to answer a phone ringing in the White House late at night.”
Quite right. How do you suppose the media would react if Obama had screwed up Middle Eastern basics this badly? Hell, Obama talked about pursuing terrorists into Pakistan and that’s still considered a gaffe for reasons I’ll never really understand. But McCain thinks — indeed, he insists it’s “common knowledge” — that al Qaeda is being trained in Iran to fight in Iraq? As Kevin put it, “This is hardly some trivial mistake. It’s like accusing Pat Robertson of supporting NARAL. It shows a complete disconnect with what’s going on in Iraq.”