Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean on Friday issued a statement deploring terrorist groups, including Hamas, which he called “an unrepentant terrorist organization.”
Dean also said he is committed to Israel and its security.
“In my presidency, the United States will remain firmly committed to its special, long-standing relationship with Israel, including providing the resources necessary to guarantee Israel’s long-term defense and security,” he said.
Dean’s statement came after he was asked in a Canadian television interview to clarify a comment he made in an earlier interview on The Editors, one taped in January 1998, that it could be “good or bad” if Hamas took control of the Palestinian leadership once Yasser Arafat had left the scene.
“The bad, of course, is that Hamas is a terrorist organization. However, if they have to run a quasi-state they may actually have to be more responsible and start negotiations. So who knows what will happen?” he asked.
Of course earlier he had also said that the United States should not “take sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” and later Dean told reporters that the U.S. has to “take an even-handed role” in the region. When asked about these statements at a Democratic party debate he said “Of course I don’t mean any such thing, that we’re going to take a stance that belies our historic relationship with Israel. We’ve had a special relationship with Israel since 1948 when we were the first country to recognize Israel. What I do mean is we need to be a credible negotiator, a facilitator for peace in the Middle East. And that means we have to be trusted by both sides. “
There is a joke in Florida (and probably other states) that if you don’t like the weather, wait a couple of minutes. The same goes for Dean’s statements, if you don’t like what he says wait a bit and it is sure to change. Maybe Dean needs an official translator of what he meant to say. A continuous ticker tape running over his whole campaign to translate whatever he says. So that saying that Hamas might be responsible if it ran the Palestine leadership could be instantly translated into Hamas is an unrepentant terrorist organization.
The old Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times” doesn’t apply to bloggers as a curse. With Dean we are definitely living in interesting times.