Kucinich: Flotilla raid jeopardizes US troops in Iraq

Some conservative commentators and lawmakers are pointing the finger of blame at President Barack Obama over Israel's raid on a Gaza-bound humanitarian flotilla that ended with the death of nine activists.

On Tuesday, Sen. John McCain told Fox News that the Obama administration's calls for a settlement freeze in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem set the stage for the deadly May 31 incident.

"This is another step in a chain of unfortunate events beginning with President Obama’s insistence that there be a freeze, as a precondition for peace talks, a freeze on settlements in Jerusalem," McCain told Fox's Sean Hannity. "Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, not a settlement."

Talk show host Michael Savage linked President Obama to the flotilla raid much more directly. Savage told listeners that he believed the Israeli commandos sent on board the Mavi Marmara were "betrayed" so that their deaths would be "good PR" for Israel's allies. (No Israeli service members died in the raid.) And he suggested it was the Obama administration that pressured Israel into "dangling [its] soldiers like bait into a tank of sharks."

"As far as I know, it was Obama's administration that told them how to do this attack," Savage said. "It was probably one of America's peace-loving generals, who knows which one of them did it."

Savage then went on to suggest an even stranger theory: That the flotilla itself was set up by political extremists in the United States who have been linked to Obama.

"There are Web sites that are alleging that this was orchestrated not so much by Turkey but by the United States, from Chicago, by Bill Ayres and Bernadette Dhorn, who are members of the Free Gaza group."


Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, one of Congress' most outspoken progressive leaders, has circulated a letter he wrote to President Obama calling on the United States to "redefine its relationship with Israel" in the wake of the Gaza flotilla raid, and said Israel's actions posed a risk to US troops in Iraq.

Because the raid has strained Israel's relations withTurkey, the Israeli raid "undermines United States’ troops efforts in Iraq, since your administration's efforts to achieve stability in the region and to withdraw troops from Iraq has depended upon Turkey's cooperation through use of its air bases," Kucinich told Obama.

Kucinich said that while "no one questions the right of Israel to defend its border," the country "must account for our support, for the lives of our soldiers, for the investment of billions from our taxpayers. Israel owes the United States more than reckless, pre-meditated violence waged against innocent people."

Kucinich added that the raid must have "consequences for the Netanyahu Administration and for the State of Israel. Those consequences must be dealt by the United States. They must be diplomatic and they must be financial."

The following video was broadcast on Fox News' Hannity, June 1, 2010, and uploaded to the Web by ThinkProgress.

The following audio was broadcast on The Savage Nation, June 1, 2010, and uploaded to the Web by MediaMatters.