Besides the fact that it is down right infuriating to listen to the likes of Saxby Chambliss now feigning concern about fair and free elections anywhere, the Senator also thinks that the Iranian people, if asked, would not remember what the CIA and the United States government did to their democracy back in 1953.
Reza Aslan pointed out that the opposite is true during his recent appearance on Hardball:
ASLAN: You know, he mentioned the CIA coup of 1953, which most Americans don't know anything about, but which, I got to tell you, is like the core event, the ur-event of the 20th century as far as Iranians are concerned. It's their revolutionary war, civil war all wrapped up into a single thing. And to hear a president even mention it, let alone acknowledge it in that way, had a huge effect in the cafes in Iran.
The Republicans continue to use the events in Iran as a game of political football, with little care as to how our actions here, if we're looked at as meddling again in their politics, could make things worse.
Transcript below the fold.
MATTHEWS: Republican senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia is a member of the Armed Services and the Intelligence Committees. What do you make of what Senator Kerry said, Senator Saxby?
CHAMBLISS: Well, I disagree with Senator Kerry with respect to the president`s not just silence but kind of mutation (SIC) on this. You know, I thought the president was right to give it a day or two to see what direction we thought these elections were going in, Chris. But now it`s pretty obvious from these large demonstrations all over Iran that these elections were held in a fraudulent way. And we are a beacon of hope for freedom and democracy around the world, and one thing we`ve always stood for is free and open elections.
Here we know that we`ve got a leader in Iran who was elected in a fraudulent election, and I think it`s incumbent upon this president, just as other world leaders like Sarkozy and the prime minister of Canada have come out very strongly in opposition to these elections and what`s going on, for him to take a stand that`s a pretty strong stand, and we just simply haven`t seen that. I don`t think it`s the right direction that America needs to be perceived as taking in this situation.
MATTHEWS: Well, we`ve got a long history of interfering in Iran. We interfered back when they had a democracy in the early part of the `50s, when Kermit Roosevelt and the CIA went in there and overturned those elections and put in the "peacock throne" and enforced a monarchy kind of government. Do you think we`re credible as critics of democracy of Iran? Is the United States credible in the eyes of those people and those crowds as caring about democracy in Iran?
CHAMBLISS: Oh, I don`t think there`s any question but what we are. You know, they don`t have to agree with us on everything. The people that are marching in the streets are not marching in a pro-American way. They`re simply marching in a protest of an election that was stolen from them. And as Americans, we ought to be willing to stand up and say, Hey, these people are right and they ought to have a free and open election in Iran, irrespective of whether we have disagreements with them on a major scale on other issues. But certainly, we have credibility.
MATTHEWS: Well, I guess it comes down to the question of nationalism and countries resenting outside influence. I know we would resent it. We would always resent it, any other country getting involved in our election, especially the disputed election of 2000. We don`t want anybody else talking to us about our elections. Khrushchev back in `60 wanted Kennedy to win, but he didn`t say a word because he knew it would help Nixon. Wouldn`t it help Ahmadinejad for us to say, We really don`t like the results of your election, we would have preferred it if Mousavi had won?
CHAMBLISS: Well, you know, that`s not the point.
MATTHEWS: Why isn`t it? Because from the point of view over there, won`t they be saying, Hey, you Americans are rooting for the opposition because Ahmadinejad doesn`t like you guys?
CHAMBLISS: Well, I don`t know that anybody was rooting for the opposition. I guess you could say that we would have preferred for the other guy to have won, but we don`t know if he would have been any different. But the point of the matter is that the Iranian people ought to have the right to a free and open election. They didn`t have that. They ought to have the right to choose who they want. And we`re not meddling by simply saying that these elections were not conducted in a free and open and democratic manner. They advertised them to be that, but it`s pretty obvious that they weren`t.
And for the United States president to be silent on this, Chris, while other leaders are speaking out, I think puts us in a position of saying, Well, you know, we`re just going to go along with whoever gets elected over there, and that`s not -- that`s just not right.
MATTHEWS: What do you make of the president`s concern that our history over there -- he`s voiced this in the Cairo speech -- that our history over there of getting involved with Kermit Roosevelt and the CIA, overthrowing those elections back in the `50s, getting rid of their democracy when they had one, gives us such a bad reputation in that country that if we go in there now, it`ll look like we`re just trying to grab influence in Iran again to our advantage, to get the oil back, to get the influence back that we had there under the shah?
CHAMBLISS: Well, that election was, what, almost 60 years ago now. The world has changed dramatically since then. And I dare say that you go up to any of those people in Teheran who are protesting in the streets and say, Hey, what about the United States meddling in your election in the `50s, they would shake their heads, like, What in the world are you talking about?
That`s not what they`re protesting about. These folks are protesting an election that was stolen from them last week. And that`s why it`s so critically important that America speak with a loud and clear voice in support of free, open, and democratic elections. And frankly, Chris, we`re not doing that from an administration standpoint. You`re hearing folks like John McCain and others out there strongly advocating this position, and they are the ones that are being heard by the Iranian people and not the president of the United States.