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McCain's Cigarette Gaffe: A Cold Blood Commander-In-Chief?

07/18/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

"Maybe that's a way of killing them," responded Republican presidential candidate John McCain when was asked about an Associated Press report on the $158 million of cigarettes shipped to Iran during George W. Bush's presidency, despite restrictions on U.S. exports to that country.
Senator McCain's prescription for killing Iranian people, beyond a gross joke, is a reflection of a sad reality: a foreign policy that suffers from severe miscalculations and lack of principles.

Just a few weeks ago, in his latest article for the New Yorker, Seymour Hersh revealed that the United States funds and supports terrorist groups responsible for killing innocent Iranians. Simply young soldiers, doing mandatory military service and fight against drug traffickers.

"The C.I.A. and Special Operations communities also have long-standing ties to two other dissident groups in Iran: the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, known in the West as the M.E.K., and a Kurdish separatist group, the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan, or PJAK.

The M.E.K. has been on the State Department's terrorist list for more than a decade, yet in recent years the group has received arms and intelligence, directly or indirectly, from the United States. Some of the newly authorized covert funds, the Pentagon consultant told me, may well end up in M.E.K. coffers."

No surprise. Tradition in the U.S.'s unofficial foreign policy is to use all means -- unjust, immoral, and inhumane -- to defeat the enemy, regardless of the harmful, long-term consequences. One such consequence is endangering the life of ordinary people. For instance, during the war between the Soviet Union and Afghanistan, it was the United States who fed raised Islamist groups to fight against Russia. One of these groups later became Al-Qaeda, causing harm and terror for millions of people around the world and killing thousands of innocent people in the United States.

Senator McCain's disdain for ordinary people when talking about killing Iranian people reminds many people of the U.S.'s support of one of the most brutal dictators of the 20th century, Saddam Hussein. Iraq's war against Iran from 1980-1988 that left one million dead, innocent people on both sides and many more injured.

McCain's cold-blooded when his jokes about killing people and bombing other countries is reminder of Reagan administration's green light to Saddam Hussein when he used chemical mass destruction weapons against his own people and the Iranians. This disastrous criminal act twenty years later is still the main cause of the death among veterans and civilians who lived in the polluted areas.

Unlike most of veterans who respect human lives due to their profound and extraordinary experiences at wars, Senator McCain matter of fact to joke about people's lives is a disastrous trait for a commander-in-chief.

There are ways of talking to U.S. adversaries rather than asking for "bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran." The United States' policy toward Iran is intended to change Iranian government's behavior, not to kill Iranian people.

Sen. McCain's obsession of cold-blooded, gross jokes about killing people is not an image the United States seeks for itself beyond its borders. During the last years, the Bush administration has done enough to damage the image of the country, encouraging anti-Americanism not only in the Middle East but also in many Asian, European and Latin American countries. McCain's tone is disrespectful, cruel and reminder of the cold-blooded people in Abu-Ghraib and Guantanamo, whose behavior brought embarrassment and shame for America, not proud, people who are not, unquestionably, representative of United States of America.