McCain calls Middle East pro-democracy movements a ‘virus’

By Stephen C. Webster
Thursday, February 3, 2011 12:26 EDT
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Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, and possibly more … The growing pro-democracy movements in these countries are a mere “virus” to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), according to a recent interview he gave to the conservative-leaning Fox News Channel.

Speaking to Greta Van Susteren, the former presidential candidate suggested that now is the “most dangerous period in of history” regarding America’s involvement in the Middle East.

“This virus is spreading,” he said. “This, I would argue, is probably the most dangerous period of history in… of our entire involvement in the Middle East, at least in modern times. Israel is in danger of being surrounded by countries that are against the very existence of Israel, or governed by radical organizations.”

Prior to McCain’s comments, some in the media had called the movements a “contagion.”

While it’s true that the uprisings in the Middle East, along with the Obama administration’s reaction, have put Israel on edge, the collective, societal push for enhanced rights, a more democratic society and a more equal shot at individual economic success has indeed struck a cord with many Americans. Even many Republicans are divided on the issue, with President Obama’s continued insistence that Egypt’s president “transition” from power being viewed by most as an appropriate response.

In the countries where uprisings have taken place, recent revelations by secrets outlet WikiLeaks appear to have played a role in sparking, in a few cases literally, some shocking acts of protest.

It began in Tunisia, with Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old college graduate who could not find work due to the economic corruption of the dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Once WikiLeaks published US diplomatic cables showing how Ben Ali’s bribery scheme functioned, the government responded by blocking WikiLeaks and engaging in a series of cyberattacks against its Tunisian critics.

Desperate cyber-activist group “Anonymous” responded, attacking Tunisian government websites and finding ways to get relevant leaked cables into the hands of organizers in the country.

It was then that Bouazizi, a street vendor, committed suicide by setting himself on fire, to protest a government official confiscating his business. Days later, Tunisia was in a state of uproar and the revolt had begun.

Others were soon to follow in Bouazizi’s footsteps.

A call to revolution went out, and it was heard.

Echoes of the immense pain reflected in the acts of political suicide were felt across northern Africa, in Egypt, Yemen and elsewhere. Dictators whose careers have been assured for decades suddenly felt an unfamiliar sensation: fear.

Then, Tunisian President Ben Ali was toppled, and he fled to Saudi Arabia. The success of demonstrations there, which led to the rocky reformation of their government, inspired others, and so a movement was born.

It’s difficult to see, as McCain apparently does, where that became a “virus.”

In Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood is a minority party in parliament, some US conservatives have expressed concern that they could come to power. They’re largely seen as extremely anti-Israel, and were they to replace President Mubarak with an Islamic theocracy it could pose a threat to peace in the Middle East.

This, apparently, is why McCain would compare a pro-democracy movement to an infectious disease.

But that’s not likely to happen, according to one of McCain’s colleagues, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who suggested Egypt’s army would block the formation of a religious state.

While Israel has indeed objected, loudly, to President Obama withdrawing support for Mubarak, saying his move caters to public opinion and not its “genuine interests” in the region, there is at this point little else the US government can do but encourage a peaceful and democratic outcome to the chaotic situation still prevalent in the country’s largest cities.

This video is from Fox News, broadcast Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, as snipped by Think Progress.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Don-Welch/1375733436 Don Welch

    Almost all Americans believe in freedom…but many have CONDITIONS.


  • Anonymous

    Wanted to say something about this Anal Discharge and McRetard was taken.All I can say is What a
    Waste of space !!!

  • morty62

    Clearly you’re an anti-semite. I agree that the war in Iraq was a mistake. I am not a neo-con and have zero interest in spreading democracy in the middle-east, primarily because the states we get out of democratic elections will more than likely be more hostile to the U.S. and Israel than the current regimes, not including Iran, which would likely put a more moderate govt. in place. It’s clear that you despise Western culture and the U.S. and are under the delusion that if another country had the power the US does then they would immediately immantize the eschaton. You are very naive and the victim of propaganda.

  • morty62

    I understand that it’s not codified by treaty, but no one in the world believes for a second that if Israel was in danger of being overrun the U.S. would stand back and let it happen.

  • morty62

    You have no idea what you’re talking about. The US didn’t install Mubarak in Egypt. he is the fourth Egyptian leader put in power by the Egyptian military starting with Nassar. And no one I know on the right is saying that the protests have anything to do with terror. I certainly don’t believe that. I think they are the result of out of control food prices and being mistreated, poor and unemployed. That doesn’t mean that a group like the Muslim Brotherhood might not exploit circumstances down the road.The Iranian people aren’t very happy with the regime in Iran and we don’t prop them up. Why do people automatically lay the blame of everything wrong in the world at the feet of the U.S. which has kept the world at relative peace for more than 65 years.

  • http://twitter.com/Covert4Liberty Brimstone Hill

    McMoron is a washed up antiquated Buffoon.
    The banality of his Moronic rigmarole is laughable.
    Thanks Airheadizona for the re-elect.

  • iRead

    A robust, well-funded research and development program–one NOT co-opted by the US oil cartels–would, in large part, obviate the problem, cost, and entanglement altogether.
    Because we’re not sufficiently immune from oil-industry influence, hundreds of thousands of dead, and untold millions left in misery will continue to be our legacy.

  • Anonymous

    My friend, I think it is you who are the victim of propaganda. The kind that causes one to become indifferent to the suffering of other people. I am sorry I called you a neocon, but when you state that you would deny freedom to others(the same freedom that US leaders talk about incessantly)because democratic elections may interfere with US economic interests, what else am I to believe?

    Did you ever consider that it is American foreign policy such as this (how many dictators have the US put in power?) and American support of the murderous, illegal state of Israel that causes the resentment and anger against the US?

    Lastly, I am no anti-Semite. Nor do I hate Western culture or the American people. How very clever of you to make that assumption; you clearly thought I was an Arab. Project much? No, I AM an American. Lived here my whole life. For the record, though, I hate the state of Israel and I hate Zionism. I also hate the United States government. I hate capitalism and, like millions of people around the world, no longer want to live under this kind of unjust system.

    This is your government, not mine. The system is for people like you; people who believe such as you believe. How much longer do you think the young and the poor will tolerate these conditions you and your government have created? I am willing to fight and die for a better world. What are you willing to do?

  • Ma’at

    Nothing scares teh TeaBaggers more than what is going on in Egypt. It’s because they know that the citizens of America will do the SAME to them if they ever get in power.

  • Anonymous

    Proof the republicans hate democracy

  • Anonymous

    From the man that brought us Palin….

  • arianna issa

    Dank vou John McCain for da Sarah Palin. Boy friend think she next president, he really, really, really like a her. Sometime I dress up like da Sarah Palin vor hiem. I got poofy wig, da hip glasses and da red pumps. Andt I do the Sarah Palin talk ven he do da thrust thrust. Ven he da thrust thrust I say to hiem da “Vou Betcha”. As boy friend alvays say to me “Say it baby, say it! Tell me mine is bigger than Todd’s, please baby, say it!” Andt he shouldt know these things, he billionaire congressman.

  • Anonymous

    He is truly a waste of oxygen.

  • Anonymous

    You got to give it to old “Popeye McCain” Freedom is definitely a virus that any well to do Republican millionaire feels threatened by. I’m certain The Senator will come up with an effective anti-virus to stamp out this insidious threat to his and his kind’s way of life.

  • surgethis

    When will this deranged old fool go away?

  • dula

    But what about the blue thumbs, you senile, completely damaged piece of human waste.

  • Anonymous

    Cancervatism is a virus spread by Typhoid Marys like Songbird McPain. It infects the brain and turns people truly stupid.

  • Guest

    Why should we listen to McCain, he’s always been wrong.

  • Elim

    It is a virus, in a way. A mind virus. A few people made up their minds that they weren’t going to put up with this shit any more, then a few more, then dozens more….and it spread like a virus.

  • Elim

    Consider the possibility that the Teaparty movement could morph yet again, into something that scares the shit out of those who are in power now. All it takes is a little penetration.

    Did I say penetration? I meant infiltration, sorry. Arianna Issa has me all distracted.

  • Elim

    That is the reason for the slow dumbing-down of the population over the last 30-40 years. Ignorant worker drones will take a lot longer to reach that point, if ever. The rest of us are pacified with television, the internet and our gadgets.

  • Elim

    Must be a lot who suspect something’s gonna cook off soon. I went to have a look at Mountain House, a large supplier of dried food in the US. All of their #10 cans are sold out.

  • Elim

    I believe he was a collaborator. Then made to feel guilty and ashamed about it. Then blackmailed. He is also the cause of the Forrestal conflagration, and he’s probably being blackmailed for that, too. But once he loses his mind enough that he can never speak in public again, the blackmail will be over, since it would no longer be necessary.

  • Elim

    “My fellow prisoners”…..remember that?

  • Elim

    The only way I see to counter a threat by Israel to use nuclear weapons would be for Russia or China to threaten a nuclear strike against Israel if they use them.

  • Elim

    We need to defend ourselves against Israel, not the countries that surround them. No, Israel does not help us do anything, They are not our friends.

  • Elim

    Why not? Payback for 9-11.

  • Anonymous

    A virus is what produced all those Talibaptist Rushthuglicons. Keep shoutin’ at that cloud gramps.

  • Elim

    The guillotine will be used on us first. He will be long dead by the time it is used on his kind.

  • godistwaddle

    Pro-democracy IS like a virus, started at first by Paine, Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison, et. al.

  • Taleisin

    ‘…it could pose a threat to peace in the Middle East.’

    I bet the Gaza strip are shitting bricks. This could ruin their happy lives.

  • Anonymous

    Spoken like a good mafia bagman. You boss will be pleased. Do you need a 17th mansion? We have a nice one in Alexandria, the historic cradle of good, coptic christians. Don Netanyahu sends his kind regards.

  • Anonymous

    If you’ve noticed, McCain has been fervently working on getting his jowls to grow to such a size that his neck would not fit in the guillotine’s hole, and the fatty reserves would protect him against the hangman’s noose.

  • Anonymous

    Also to pick up his social security check.

  • sheepishedonme

    Condescending treasonous shit

  • Anonymous

    This man who bombed innocent civilians together with enemy soldiers from 10,000 feet should be thankful the North Vietnamese patched him up and let him live. He allegedly betrayed his fellow POW’s, participated in North Vietnamese propaganda, and Americans (other than his fellow POW’s) think he is some sort of hero deserving of high public office? US citizens vilified John Kerry, who despite his constant gaffes as a senator, did actually see combat from the ground, and adulate McCain. It’s amazing.

  • llkernj

    “democracy is a virus”
    John, you finally let out the right wing’s core belief. Probably an accident huh?

  • morty62

    I understand where you’re coming from. I also didn’t think you were Arab. I know there are many Americans and Europeans who hate the government and Israel. I am no fan of raw capitalism, nor do I applaud when Israel kills civilians. I was incensed when Rachael Corrie was killed. On the other hand, I don’t think it’s productive to go on and on about the relative legality or illegality of Israel. Israel exists. There are millions of fine people who live in Israel and Jewish culture has contributed incredibly to our civilization. I cannot take the side of totalitarian Islamists. I find them vile and just as bad as Stalinists, Maoists, Nazis and other ideologues who believe that their way is the only way and who are are willing to kill all who stand in their way, those who can’t be “re-educated.” You said you are willing to fight and die for a better world. But what world would that be? What system do you have in mind that hasn’t been tried? The problem with communism is that it needs to be installed on a different operating system. It simply does not work with homo sapiens, especially with large populations of them. Do you see a panacea in Islam? I’m an atheist and find the entire cultural/legal/political complex vile and backward and would most certainly be willing to die to prevent that nightmare from being imposed, gradually or otherwise, here in the U.S. Lastly, I wish we didn’t need Middle Eastern oil. Then they would be broke and unable to spread Wahhabism throughout the world. They could continue to live in the 8th century and we could be frivolous and shallow, which isn’t altogether a bad thing. I like being able to drink a beer, ogle pretty girls in skimpy outfits (and perhaps have sex with them), wear what I want, believe what I want and say what I want. But our civilization runs on oil. We need it and they have it and that’s the way it is. Our system is not perfect, and it is rife with corruption (what political system isn’t?). But tearing it down won’t save the world. Neither you nor anyone else can say what the world would be like if the Indians had killed every paleface that walked off the boats in 1492.You think it would be a lot better. Maybe so. But it could be immeasurably worse. We stopped Hitler and held Stalin in check. Do you think either of those ideologies would be heaven on earth if they were spread from one corner of the globe to the other? If you do we will have to agree to disagree.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TF72KWIG5DGSPE3ZXDK6FX4KTQ Robert Burned

    Too bad he’s immune.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TF72KWIG5DGSPE3ZXDK6FX4KTQ Robert Burned

    Like all his kind, he’ll pop his clogs when he can’t do any more harm.

  • Anonymous

    Our leaders feel the same about democracy here as well, they just need time to dismantle it. Democracy means that power rests with the population, Our leaders feel only a select few have the intelligence and sophistication to run the world, the rest need to be herded and led. It starts by pushing an economic policy to create the need for people to be consumed with just surviving, so we can’t engage in the political system, the spend and cut taxes to bankrupt all the social safety nets and the educational system, then we will be powerless. The elites will be the only ones educated, and will dispense the crumbs of their wealth as they deem fit.

  • BrainRagYell

    He’s like eighty–he’s going to have accidents.

  • Anonymous

    John needs to check into the Hanoi Hilton for a little R&R.

  • Anonymous

    What an absolute douchebag McCain is. He and Lieberman ought to be run out of DC, tarred and feathered.

  • Anonymous

    Democracy for me, but not for thee.

    What a neocon thug.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UCWMQ7C2PSZNVMMZOEF4JHKI5I Michael

    Old Johnny boy’s been a god damn traitor since the NVA put him up in the penthouse there at the Hanoi Hilton! Rotten prick got a lot of young pilots shot down by spilling his guts. Fuck him!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bob-Zentrails/100001475536421 Bob Zentrails

    They hate us for our “freedom and liberty” which is why they don’t want any of it, according to McCain.

    And besides it’s all evil socialist Obama’s fault and where is the birth certificate!!!! LOL

  • AnzaSummer

    They should love us now. Didn’t we give up freedom and liberty, with the Patriot Act and other subsequent measures, to keep us safe??

  • Anonymous

    Shame on you Mr. McCain. You are a poor American indeed to turn your back on the founding principles of this nation in order to please a foreign master.

    “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

    Recognize those words? “Consent of the governed?”

    Here are some more.

    “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…”

    Recognize those words?

    I guess not.

    Those two sentences come from the Declaration of Independence. One of my ancestors signed that document. A lot of American ancestors died for the principles set forth in it. It is the reason we are not British subjects to this very day.

    But I guess placating Israel, a foreign power, is more important to you than the founding principles of our own nation.

    No government can serve two masters. A government that serves Israel cannot serve the American people. America needs leaders who will put America first, second, and third. Clearly, as you just demonstrated yet again, we do not have a government that serves the American people.

    You are, by any reasonable definition of the word, a traitor to that which makes us America.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5Z4JRNXBCO4ZYSUY3WGC3S554I nathan


  • Phil E. Drifter

    Right after he made in his pants.

  • Anonymous

    yeah well.. its McCain isnt it?

    thats why hes not our president.

  • Anonymous

    You forgot Little Linda Graham

  • tehamawhiteneck

    The reason Democracy is a virus in the middle east is that there would no longer be corrupt dictators for the oil company’s to buy off. Come on mcain.. fess up you slimy bastard

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HYUEV6L2F6CDV4ZRO2KC22VTXE polk

    The fall of the Republic
    The quickest path to power is through assassination
    just give your jobs away to india and islam
    All hail china and its super computer

  • Anonymous

    He also was the rat that put the messages in the pull down light over the chess board in “Stalig 13.” Errr, maybe that was RayGun.