John McCain’s Questionable Associations

“Who is Senator Obama?” John McCain asks on the stump, while his running mate accuses the Democratic candidate of “Palling around” sans the “g” with terrorists.  That is the game they wanted to play by their own admission.  They know for a fact that they’ll lose based on the issues, and so they have decided to make this about character assassination.

But we’ve talked a lot about glass houses lately, and the dangers of throwing stones whilst in them.  Perhaps one can forgive McCain’s momentary lapse in wisdom here, after all he does have a had time remembering how many houses he owns; it’s not much of a stretch to guess that he might have also forgotten if they are made out of glass or not.

Last night during Keith Olbermann’s special comment, he touched upon briefly the U.S. Council for World Freedom.  He mentioned it in passing, preferring instead to focus on Todd Palin’s membership in an anti-American, pro-secessionist Alaskan political party.

But the U.S. Council for World Freedom could turn out to be far more embarassing than Todd Palin’s anti-American sentiment.

It sounds decent enough, doesn’t it?  U.S., okay it’s pro America.  Council, one gets the image of a sagacious cabal; there’s potential for evil there, but also for good.  But World Freedom really comes in to save the day; who isn’t for world freedom?  Names can be misleading.

Steve Benen shows John McCain’s connection.  McCain was associated with the USCWF in the early eighties, eventually earning himself a seat at the board until he resigned in 1984.  In 1986 he asked that he be removed from the letter head, though no one else seems to have any recollection of this.

And what was the USCWF known for?  Two words, Iran-Contra.  More from Benen:

The U.S. Council for World Freedom became controversial when it became the public cover for the White House’s covert operation to fund the Contras without congressional approval, with Singlaub working in secret with Oliver North to raise money from foreign governments.

(…)

But whether McCain is being truthful or not about how, whether, and when he dissociated himself from the group is only part of the problem. Sam Stein explained in a good piece that the real focus here is that McCain associated himself “with a group that reportedly circumvented law, financed right-wing military institutions, and engaged in sometimes brutal anti-communist tactics.”

But wait, there’s more.  As it turns out, not only was the USCWF a driving force behind the illegal Iran-Contra affair, it’s also important to understand that the time frame here is relevant.  McCain was a member of the group up until 1984, and while the Iran Contra affair didn’t break until a couple years later, the catalyst for that scandal, the taking of American Embassy employees as hostages, began in 1981.  In other words, McCain was potentially a part of the process.

McCain defenders will want to point out that this is weak tea.  Sure, but it’s a helluva lot stronger than Obama being responsible for Ayers’ actions when Obama was still in grade school.

Nor is the Iran Contra affair the only controversial aspect of the USCWF.  From Lee Ward:

Paul Begala, appearing this morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” revealed that back in the 1980s John McCain sat on the board of the extremist “U.S. Council for World Freedom” an ultra-conservative right wing organization which was affiliated with the “World Anti-communist League” which the Anti-Defamation League said “has increasingly become a gathering place, a forum, a point of contact for extremists, racists and anti-semites”

So playing the childish Sarah Palin “guilt by association” game, McCain was palling around with racists and anti-semites back in the 1980s.

And as Oliver Willis points out, the group was also affiliated with, “former Nazi collaborators and ultra-right-wing death squads in Central America.” 

Obama is too decent a human being to bring this up, but I’m not.  I think, in light of the new tone the McCain campaign wants to adopt, the real question should now be, “Who is Senator McCain?”

One Response to “John McCain’s Questionable Associations”

  1. sheri reese says:

    bravo for pointing mccain’s questionable associations. Its time people see through palin’s absurd accusations.

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