TALKING TO TERRORISTS….On Thursday President Bush said that talking to “terrorists and radicals” is appeasement, and later that day John McCain said he agreed. But in the Washington Post today, James Rubin says that McCain hasn’t always felt this way:
Two years ago, just after Hamas won the Palestinian parliamentary elections, I interviewed McCain for the British network Sky News’s “World News Tonight” program. Here is the crucial part of our exchange:
I asked: “Do you think that American diplomats should be operating the way they have in the past, working with the Palestinian government if Hamas is now in charge?”
McCain answered: “They’re the government; sooner or later we are going to have to deal with them, one way or another, and I understand why this administration and previous administrations had such antipathy towards Hamas because of their dedication to violence and the things that they not only espouse but practice, so . . . but it’s a new reality in the Middle East. I think the lesson is people want security and a decent life and decent future, that they want democracy. Fatah was not giving them that.”
I imagine that McCain will wriggle out of this somehow. Maybe by claiming that “sooner or later” means, um, later. Or that “deal with them” doesn’t include actually talking to them. Or something. But it sure sounds as if he was in favor of talking to Hamas before he was opposed to it.