If what Iran’s Supreme National Security Council is telling the press today is true, then there are some Congressional Republicans who need to be thrown out of office, as soon as possible. Ali Shamkhani is telling reporters that when the four U.S. sailors were recently released from Iranian captivity, he had gotten calls from Republicans in Congress asking him to delay the sailors’ release until after the presidential election.
You read that right, according to the story, Republican congressmen reached out to the government of Iran and asked them to delay releasing four of our own American sailors for purely political reasons. While unconfirmed with the Republicans, this absolutely wreaks of the same kind of underhanded disgusting tactics Richard Nixon put on display in 1968, openly trying to sabotage the Johnson Administration’s attempts to end the Vietnam War, only to escalate the violence further when he was elected. It also smells like one previous Iranian hostage crisis that didn’t resolve itself until the day Ronald Reagan took office. Of course, people who know their history know Reagan had nothing to do with it, and Iran was dicking over President Carter, but let’s focus on the current Republican betrayal we’re discussing, shall we?
As reported by Gawker, Shamkhani described the contact he had with Republican officials like this:
“In the course of the talks for exchanging prisoners, the Republican rivals of the current US administration who claim to be humanitarians and advocates of human rights sent a message telling us not to release these people (American prisoners) and continue this process (of talks) until the eve of US presidential elections…However, we acted upon our independent resolve and moved the process forward.” Shamkhani said at a rally yesterday, according to the Tasnim News Agency, a firmly pro-regime organization. (source)
Obviously if this is true, it’s reprehensible, and at least some kind of argument could be made that it’s treason. But the really galling part is that this is the same party that has led a near-four year long witch hunt against President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for what they claim is a politicization of the Benghazi attacks, yet here they are blatantly trying to influence international events for nothing more than a political advantage. Disgusting doesn’t even really scratch the surface of describing this hypocrisy, but it’s the least salty way I can describe the feelings I have right now.
For all their blustery talk about their patriotic devotion to the lives of every soldier, pilot, and sailor, the Republicans who did this are pure human garbage. If this doesn’t expose them for the cynical, chicken hawk cowards they are, I don’t know what does. Can you even imagine the screaming from the rafters that we’d be hearing if a Democratic representative had done this to a Republican administration? It’s almost satirical that they tried this, because why would they think they could get away with it in this day and age?
Republicans are feckless and rudderless, and this stunt proves it. The way these things work, we may never find out who the Republicans that tried to keep four American sailors locked up overseas — when the government that was holding them was more than willing to return them. That’s unfortunate, because no one who tries to sabotage a negotiation for the release of American hostages deserves to serve the American people.
I should add of course, that even Gawker’s writer isn’t sure whether this story is 100% accurate or not. The problem is that we might never know, but considering that Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), openly tried to sabotage the nuclear deal with Iran, I myself am not convinced there isn’t at least some kernel of truth in Shamkhani’s story, but obviously can’t say with any certainty.