McCain: "Clear who Hamas wants to be the next president"

John McCain seizes on positive comments about Barack Obama made by a Hamas advisor, but it was Bush's policies that boosted the group.

By Alex Koppelman

Published April 25, 2008 3:44PM (EDT)

Via the Weekly Standard's blog (always an entertaining read), I see that in a blogger conference call on Friday John McCain had this to say when asked about recent positive comments a top Hamas advisor made about Barack Obama:

All I can tell you is that I think it's very clear who Hamas wants to be the next president of the United States ... I think that people should understand that I will be Hamas' worst nightmare ... If Sen. Obama is favored by Hamas I think people can make judgments accordingly.

Tough talk from McCain, but -- no matter what that advisor had to say about Obama -- it's tough talk at odds with reality. American foreign policy under President Bush, which McCain has largely embraced, has been anything but a nightmare for Hamas. It's been a dream, actually. Here's some of what David Rose reported in a recent article for Vanity Fair:

According to [Muhammad Dahlan, Mahmoud Abbas' former national security advisor], it was Bush who had pushed legislative elections in the Palestinian territories in January 2006, despite warnings that Fatah was not ready. After Hamas -- whose 1988 charter committed it to the goal of driving Israel into the sea -- won control of the parliament, Bush made another, deadlier miscalculation.

Vanity Fair has obtained confidential documents, since corroborated by sources in the U.S. and Palestine, which lay bare a covert initiative, approved by Bush and implemented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, to provoke a Palestinian civil war. The plan was for forces led by Dahlan, and armed with new weapons supplied at America's behest, to give Fatah the muscle it needed to remove the democratically elected Hamas-led government from power. (The State Department declined to comment.)

But the secret plan backfired, resulting in a further setback for American foreign policy under Bush. Instead of driving its enemies out of power, the U.S.-backed Fatah fighters inadvertently provoked Hamas to seize total control of Gaza.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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2008 Elections John Mccain R-ariz.