Guy Benson


Andrea Mitchell is an MSNBC host, and her politics fall accordingly. But from time to time, NBC News trots her out as a straight journalist, often with predictable results. Mitchell's official title with the network is "Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent," which makes this little analytical morsel even more mind-numbing:



“Up until that moment, Iran was cooperating with the United States on the border of Afghanistan, post 9/11. Iran was more or less an American ally but being included in the Axis of Evil, it turned the Iranian government in a completely different direction and it was a turning point in American politics and foreign policy.”

Got that, America? The Iranian mullahs were practically blowing us kisses until Cowboy Bushie McStupid recklessly included them in the 'axis of evil' with Iraq and North Korea. The degree of historical ignorance here is stunning, especially given this woman's alleged expertise. The US hasn't operated an embassy in Tehran since the 1979 revolution. Perhaps Andrea has heard something about the unpleasantness that followed. There was even a hit movie made about it -- recently, no less! Iran is the world's top exporter of international terrorism. They've helped murder US soldiers in Iraq. Their satellite organization in Lebanon has made a habit of terrorizing Israeli civilians. Iran teamed up with Al Qaeda to help train jihadists, playing a major role in the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, as well as the twin 1998 US embassy attacks in East Africa. The Iranian regime denounces the Unites States as the "Great Satan," has been pursuing an illegal nuclear weapons program for years, is committed to the destruction of Israel, and massacres its own people. Here's the handiwork of our but-for-Bush "allies" (graphic content warning):



I'll leave you with Allahpundit offering a slightly more charitable take on Mitchell's commentary. Slightly:


The point she’s trying to make here, in her own doofy way, is that the U.S. and Iran had a few shared interests after 9/11. America was about to invade Afghanistan and smash a bunch of Sunni fundamentalists; the great Shiite power next door obviously had reason to keep an eye on the border as it happened, whether to stop fleeing refugees/jihadis or simply avoid pissing off a very angry, wounded superpower. Besides, we were already thinking of hopping across their other border and smashing their archenemy Saddam. Better to lie low and play nice for awhile to keep that plan on track, they must have thought. In reality, though, Iran was already sheltering top members of Al Qaeda by the time Bush delivered his “axis of evil” line...

The punchline here is that, more than a year after the “axis of evil” line that Mitchell thinks dissolved the burgeoning U.S./Iran alliance, Iranian operatives reached out to Washington with an offer of a “grand bargain.” End sanctions, guarantee Iran’s security, and formally recognize the regime, the offer read, and Iran would be willing to make major concessions on terrorism and nukes. Needless to say, they didn’t float that offer because they missed their old “ally;” they floated it because they were terrified that Bush might squash Saddam and then decide to roll on to Tehran. America rejected the proposal, concluding that Iran’s “moderate” president either wouldn’t or couldn’t deliver on his promises.


So even in the most favorable light, Mitchell's broader point was wrong. "Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, Washington."


Guy Benson

Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Senior Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography