Yesterday John posted a link to a video clip of Democratic Rep. John Dingell on YouTube and posted the audio of the clip here. John accurately quoted Dingell as follows:
“I don’t take sides for or against Hezbollah; I don’t take sides for or against Israel.” Asked, “You’re not against Hezbollah?” Dingell answers, “No…”
ThinkProgress has posted a longer video clip and points out that Dingell continues his last answer:
No, I happen to be—I happen to be against violence, I think the United States has to bring resolution to this matter. Now, I condemn Hezbollah as does everybody else, for the violence.
The exchange occurs in the context of questioning on Dingell’s vote against House Resolution 921 supporting Israel and condemning Hezbollah that I commented on here; Dingell was one of the seven Democratic “no” votes on the resolution. Here’s the exchange in full as quoted by ThinkProgress:
DINGELL: First of all, our problem is that we must be a fair and honest broker and a friend to all parties. The resolution didn’t make us that. We have to have the trust of both of the people of Israel and the people of the Arab countries around it, in order to help resolve the problem. If we don’t, the possibilities of regional war, calamitous situation with regard to Israel which has 5 million people amidst a billion and a half Arabs are a real potential for calamity. Having said at that, what we have to do is to see to it that finally we begin to address the problems that exist to abate the difficulties that are preventing a–a honest solution to the problem and a negotiated end. It takes–it takes a lot of work to get the trust that it takes to do this. The resolution did not instill that kind of trust and the end result would be quite frankly, the real solution to the problems that exist in the middle east would probably have been and probably will be put off.
ANCHOR: Overall majority of your colleagues didn’t see it that way and some would suggest that if–even though there are obviously a lot of issues with Lebanon and with Palestinian cause wrapped up in this, that this largely boils down to israel against Hezbollah and Hezbollah is a group that the United States has deemed a terrorist organization, that there’s only one side for the Americans to come down on in this fight.
DINGELL: Well, we don’t, first of all, I don’t take sides for or against Hezbollah or for or against Israel.
ANCHOR: You’re not against Hezbollah?
DINGELL: No, I happen to be—I happen to be against violence, I think the United States has to bring resolution to this matter. Now, I condemn Hezbollah as does everybody else, for the violence, but I think if we’ve got to talk to them and if we don’t — if we don’t get ourselves in a position where we can talk to both sides and bring both sides together, the killing and the blood let is going to continue.
Dingell was arguing that the United States should seek to maintain its historic role as an “honest broker” in the Middle East. There are legitimate criticisms of this position, but they should be based on Dingell’s actual views, not a dishonest caricature.
If I have this right, Dingell’s “actual view” is that the United States should be a friend of Hezbollah, though he condemns the organization for its “violence” even if he does not quite deem it a terrorist group. In other words, according to Rep. Dingell, the United States should serve as an “honest broker” between a murderer and the murderer’s intended victim. Thanks to ThinkProgress for introducing the nuance necessary to appreciate Rep. Dingell’s true view fully.
JOHN adds: The “honest broker” theory arose in the context of mediating between Israel and the Arab states that surround her. This is the first time I’ve seen anyone suggest that our “honest broker” pose applies to terrorists just as it does to legitimate governments, and that there is nothing to choose between Israel and a group of terrorist thugs. The left is even more far gone than I thought!
FURTHER UPDATE: I see now that the very silly far-left site “Think Progress” criticized me for posting an excerpt from Dingell’s appearance. The excerpt was emailed to me by a reader; I considered the possibility that it might be misleading because of something that came before or after. I concluded, however, that Dingell had plainly declared himself neutral between the state of Israel and the terrorist group Hezbollah, and that nothing that preceded or followed could change that disgusting fact. The longer excerpt posted by the loons at “Think Progress” confirms that I was right.