Barack Obama’s claim that Henry Kissinger supports his position on negotiating with Iran provides insight into both the candidate’s willingness to shade the truth and his naivete when dealing with foreign threats.
During the presidential debate Friday, John McCain criticized Obama for saying during previous debates that he would sit down with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to negotiate without preconditions.
Obama responded, “Senator McCain mentioned Henry Kissinger, one of his advisers, who, along with five recent secretaries of state, just said that we should meet with Iran — guess what, without precondition. This is one of your advisers.”
Thus, to suggest that Kissinger backed his position, Obama adroitly changed the subject to negotiating with Iranian officials at any level, not necessarily with the Iranian leader. McCain replied by saying that his friend of 35 years would never back Obama’s position.
Kissinger did indeed say he backed such talks, which have been ongoing at various levels either directly or through third parties, but he never said the U.S. president should lend his prestige to a meeting with the man who has said he favors the destruction of both Israel and the U.S. without first agreeing on bedrock issues to be negotiated.
After the debate, Kissinger issued a statement saying, “Sen. McCain is right. I would not recommend the next president of the United States engage in talks with Iran at the presidential level.” Kissinger added that he agrees with McCain that any talks “must be geared to reality.”
The exchange is instructive because it is consistent with Obama’s previous efforts to bend the truth and his failure to grasp how to deal with threats.
After Newsmax revealed Jan. 14 that Obama’s church gave an award for lifetime achievement to Louis Farrakhan, Obama claimed the award was for Farrakhan’s work with former offenders. Yet the award citation and an article about it in the church magazine said nothing about ex-offenders.
Instead, the magazine quoted Obama’s then-minister, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., as praising Farrakhan for his “integrity and honesty.” Wright lauded Farrakhan as one of the giants of the African-American religious experience in the 20th and 21st centuries.
“His love for Africa and African-American people has made him an unforgettable force, a catalyst for change, and a religious leader who is sincere about his faith and his purpose,” Wright said.
As with his statements favoring direct negotiations with Ahmadinejad, Obama has demonstrated stunning naivete by citing the government’s prosecution of those responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing as the correct way to deal with terrorism.
Obama apparently missed learning that the 9/11 hijackers wanted to be martyrs and were prepared to be jailed or killed. No threat of prosecution would have deterred them.
When the Rev. Rick Warren asked Obama whether evil exists, he said it does and named three examples, none of them the biggest threat to our safety.
In contrast, McCain cited al-Qaida as evil, declaring, “And we must totally defeat it.”
More than anything, that exchange underscores the difference between Obama and McCain.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via
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