Chris Matthews Exhibits Shocking Ignorance of Middle East History

Without a doubt, Americans who have even a rudimentary understanding of the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict and Islamic terrorism must be amazed by the continued ignorance being exhibited by the mainstream media as hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel exploded in the past three weeks. One of the finest examples of this occurred on “The Chris Matthews Show” Sunday when the host concluded the program by actually blaming this flare up on – drum roll please – George W. Bush and the war in Iraq.

(Update: Video link now follows.)

Matthews began his rant:

Two years ago, King Abdullah of Jordan warned me of what was coming in the Mideast. His prediction was dead on. He spoke of his fears that what the United States was doing in Iraq – toppling one government and electing another – was creating what he called a “Shia Crescent” from Tehran, through Baghdad, to Beirut – that threatened to dominate the Arab world challenging moderate Sunni governments in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and others with an axis of Shia power based in Iran.

Sound familiar? All of the problems in the Middle East started on March 20, 2003, when America invaded Iraq? Matthews continued:

We converted Iraq from a country that has fought revolutionary Iran for eight years to a bloody standstill, into a Shia-dominated ally of Iran. We’ve created a boulevard of common religion, and common regional politics.

Matthews disgustingly concluded: “Our brave soldiers have fought and died and been dismembered in Iraq only to connect the disparate pieces of Shia radicalism into a Frankenstein’s monster that has come to life right there on our TV screens, worse yet in the reality of a precarious Mideast where young Arabs have now found a hero named Hezbollah.”

Sadly, what Matthews is either ignorant of, or is cynically ignoring to promote his liberal agenda, are decades of violence in the region. Was there no Six Day War in 1967, or Yom Kippur War in 1973? Was there no Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, or hostages taken at the U.S. embassy in Tehran that year? Did Syria just recently begin funding and supporting anti-Israeli terrorists, or has it been doing so for decades?

As for heroes in the region, Chris, are you forgetting the Ayatollah Khomeini? Or, how about Yassir Arafat? Are you forgetting that the most recent wave of violence in the region began when Arafat refused unprecedented and almost unimaginable concessions from then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak at Camp David in July 2000 only to start the Second Intifada two months later?

Are you also forgetting, Chris, that another more recent hero in this region is Osama bin Laden, and that his worshippers were celebrating the attacks on America in September 2001 that came before the Iraqi invasion?

How despicable of you as a supposed "journalist" to be ignoring all of this history, Mr. Matthews.

(Update: As reader "I'veseenitall" suggested in the comments section, this position by Matthews is even more abhorrent when put in the context of statements he made on Imus in the Morning just five days ago when he chastised President Bush for not reading history books. As chronicled by NewsBuster Brent Baker on July 25, Matthews said, "I hope the next election isn’t a problem of who goes to bed with their wife at 9:30 at night or who knows how to tell a joke on a stage, but it's who has the sense of strength that comes from having read books most of their life, tried to understand history." Physician, heal thyself.)

Yet, sadly, Matthews is not alone, for it seems that much of the mainstream media today believe that the world began on March 20, 2003, when America invaded Iraq, and that all events prior must be ignored.

How utterly disgraceful.

For those that haven’t had enough, what follows is a full transcript of Matthews’ diatribe, along with a video link.

Two years ago, King Abdullah of Jordan warned me of what was coming in the Mideast. His prediction was dead on. He spoke of his fears that what the United States was doing in Iraq – toppling one government and electing another – was creating what he called a “Shia Crescent” from Tehran, through Baghdad, to Beirut – that threatened to dominate the Arab world challenging moderate Sunni governments in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and others with an axis of Shia power based in Iran.

When I look at the map today, that Shia crescent the King foretold has come to life. It is hard for us Westerners to understand the internal politics of another region. When we can’t predict whether the Democrats will take Congress from the Republicans three months from now, how could we see the Shia grabbing the high ground from the Sunni in the Mideast three years ago? But that’s what’s happened.

We converted Iraq from a country that has fought revolutionary Iran for eight years to a bloody standstill, into a Shia-dominated ally of Iran. We’ve created a boulevard of common religion, and common regional politics. Did you hear the new Iraqi leader take sides with Hezbollah and its struggle with Israel? This is the emerging threat, not just to the moderate Sunni countries including Egypt and Jordan who have formed and honored treaties with Israel, but to us.

Our brave soldiers have fought and died and been dismembered in Iraq only to connect the disparate pieces of Shia radicalism into a Frankenstein’s monster that has come to life right there on our TV screens, worse yet in the reality of a precarious Mideast where young Arabs have now found a hero named Hezbollah.

Video courtesy of Crooks and Liars.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.