John McCain on Sunday: We should Do More to Help the People of Iran

Senator John McCain forcefully criticized President Barack Obama’s governance at this year’s forum of the Foreign Policy Initiative, a Washington-based think tank.

McCain, appearing at Sunday’s forum, specifically criticized actions of the President related to Afghanistan and Iran.

I attended the forum and asked a two-part question of the Senator: whether his concerns about corruption in the Afghan government extended to concerns regarding corruption in the Iraqi government, and whether he was aware of efforts to help pro-Western, pro-human rights politicians and activists in Iraq, who feel increasingly isolated as the U.S. drawdown has begun. 

The Senator did not answer either question to my satisfaction. But on reflection – and after discussing the matter with my Iraqi source Mithal al-Alusi – I think I understand perhaps why he did not. More on that to follow.

To sum up McCain’s talk: the first part concerned Afghanistan, and his dismay that at one point, President Obama announced planned troop withdrawals by 2010. McCain spoke of how Obama “did not want to lose the left base of his party.” He added, “Presidents should not make decisions regarding sending young men and women into harm’s way based on political considerations. That is not the tradition of FDR or Truman.”

McCain emphasized his view that President Obama should do more to support the Iranian protestors. “They were shouting, ‘Obama! Obama! Are you with us or with them?'” McCain said. President Obama’s reaction was too cautious, according to McCain, who characterized it as, “‘Well, I don’t want to jeopardize my chances with the Iranian Islamist government.'”

But this kind of hedging is not acceptable, according to McCain, who pointed out that during the Cold War, the U.S. provided printing presses for Lech Walensa and his Solidarity movement.”We should be doing everything we can to provide assistance to the people of Iran,” he said. He went on, “I don’t believe this [Iranian] government can last because it is a minority government and doesn’t reflect the will of a culturally sophisticated people. We should help them, not with weapons but with something stronger – information” and the means to disseminate information.

More to come.

This entry was written by and posted on November 17, 2010 at 11:36 pm and filed under Blog.