NYT Reporter Applauds Iran For Showing ‘More Restraint’ Than U.S.

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Appearing on MSNBC Live With Ali Velshi Monday afternoon, New York Times foreign correspondent Rukmini Callimachi slammed the United States as a country that takes action “outside the law,” while praising Iran for supposedly showing “more restraint” amid tensions in the Middle East.  

After Velshi suggested the U.S. killing of leading Iranian terrorist Qasem Soleimani somehow violated international law, Callimachi ranted: “And the perception of America right now, I would say, in the Middle East, is that we act outside the law. I hear this all the time from Iraqis, from Syrians, who do not see a legal process behind what we are doing...”

 

 

“What’s the consequence of that? What’s the consequence to be – of being seen as a country that acts outside the law, when you’re America?,” Velshi wondered. Callimachi proclaimed: “For one, I believe that American civilians are much less safe in places like Iraq, Iran, the Middle East, areas where at one point we could walk around freely and now where we have to watch out for our security.”

Moments later, she went further, actually arguing that Iran was acting more responsibly than the United States: “...one of the takeaways of the past week is that we actually saw, in my opinion, Iran act with perhaps more restraint than our own government.”

Conveniently leaving out the fact that the Iranian military blasted a passenger plane out of sky, which killed 176 innocent men, women and children, Callimachi declared:

The rocket attacks that the missiles that landed on the bases where there were American troops did not kill anyone....That seems like a deliberate decision. And in light of what is happening in the region and in light of how dangerously close we are to – we were to a new war, that seems like a wise decision that they made. Thankfully, our own government has now backed off as well.

Earlier in the exchange, the Times reporter claimed that “one of the greatest failures of journalism in the last decade and a half was the fact that the media did not sufficiently question the narrative for going to war with Iraq.” She implored her colleagues: “We need to be skeptical at this point in time, especially when we have an administration that has been so hawkish on Iran and that has made very clear in multiple statements other than the ones we’ve seen this week, that they are looking for a confrontation with this particular state.”

The media seem to be constantly looking for ways to compliment Iran and denigrate the U.S., all in a vain attempt to accuse the Trump administration of making a foreign policy blunder.

Here is a transcript of the January 13 segment:

3:08 PM ET

ALI VELSHI: Joining me now to take a closer look at all of this is Rukmini Callimachi, a New York Times foreign correspondent and an MSNBC contributor. Rukmini, good to see you.

RUKMINI CALLIMACHI [NEW YORK TIMES]: Thanks.

VELSHI: Retribution, the concept of killing bad guys, things like that, these are – there are important reasons why there are legal – legalities surrounding these things. We are not in a war with Iran, nor are we in a war with Iraq, where Qasem Soleimani was killed. So the idea that a legal justification needs to be provided is important. The President seems to think that if you go around tell everybody Qasem Soleimani is a bad guy, then killing him should have no questions associated with it.

CALLIMACHI: Exactly. So of course, there is a legal reason why they needed this to be an imminent attack that was planned in order to be able to have the War Powers Authorization Act be legal. So there’s a reason why they’re putting out the word “imminent.” According to my sources that I’ve spoken to this past week who have had classified briefings, there is really nothing to suggest that there was an urgent threat against United States. That’s not to say that Qasem Soleimani was not a bad guy who had planned attacks in the past, who has killed numerous Americans. But there was nothing that pointed to a direct threat in coming days, coming weeks.

VELSHI: You have worked in lawless places in the world. And I think there are a lot of people who are just concerned that we don’t do that, right? We’ve been involved a war for a long time that may have been based on disinformation. So there are a lot of people who feel that we should question it. Journalists should question it, elected politicians should question it. And yet, I have spoken to people who say it’s unpatriotic, it’s bad. The President tweeted out that it’s unpatriotic to question these decisions. I would think you’ve seen war up close, right? The rest of us see it on TV. You’ve seen it up close, there’s a real reason why we should ask and triple-check and quadruple-check before we authorize things that look like they could end up in war.

CALLIMACHI: Absolutely. I mean, I think amongst colleagues, one of the greatest failures of journalism in the last decade and a half was the fact that the media did not sufficiently question the narrative for going to war with Iraq. And we now see the result of that, which is tens of thousands of deaths and a country that is still in chaos. So I think that, as the media, we have a role to play here. We need to be skeptical at this point in time, especially when we have an administration that has been so hawkish on Iran and that has made very clear in multiple statements other than the ones we’ve seen this week, that they are looking for a confrontation with this particular state.

VELSHI: Now, if you are in a state of war with somebody, if war has been declared or things have been done that authorize the use of military force, the killing of combatants at that point has a whole different legality. When you’re fighting with somebody, they’re on the other side, particularly a uniformed combatant or somebody who is a member of an armed forces, like Qasem Soleimani was.

CALLIMACHI: Right.

VELSHI: You’ve seen that – you’ve seen this play out a lot. There is and should be a distinction between the killing of people legally in war and outside of war.

CALLIMACHI: Right.

VELSHI: There are a lot of people who watch my show who say, why do we have things called the rule of war? But there are actually rules.

CALLIMACHI: Absolutely. And the perception of America right now, I would say, in the Middle East, is that we act outside the law. I hear this all the time from Iraqis, from Syrians, who do not see a legal process behind what we are doing, specifically because of the failure of the Iraq war and the tainted intelligence that led to that point.

VELSHI: What’s the consequence of that? What’s the consequence to be – of being seen as a country that acts outside the law, when you’re America?

CALLIMACHI: For one, I believe that American civilians are much less safe in places like Iraq, Iran, the Middle East, areas where at one point we could walk around freely and now where we have to watch out for our security.

VELSHI: What happens next? A week ago we were – there were a lot of people very, very worried that we’re headed toward a war.

CALLIMACHI: Yes.

VELSHI: And it does seem like everybody has stepped back from that line. What happens now? Iran is a very unsettled place at the moment.

CALLIMACHI: Iran is a very unsettled place at the moment, but one of the takeaways of the past week is that we actually saw, in my opinion, Iran act with perhaps more restraint than our own government. The rocket attacks that the missiles that landed on the bases where there were American troops did not kill anyone. And according to the officials that I’ve spoken to, Iran does have the technology and does have the know-how to have been able to carry out a lethal hit. So it seems to me that, that was on purpose. They are able to save face now and say, “Look, we exacted revenge, we hit so many bases, et cetera, et cetera, but in fact, nobody was killed.” That seems like a deliberate decision. And in light of what is happening in the region and in light of how dangerously close we are to – we were to a new war, that seems like a wise decision that they made. Thankfully, our own government has now backed off as well. So what we are looking for now is whether Iran’s proxies carry out acts of aggression. It’s one thing for Iran to do it, it becomes more muddy when Hezbollah, when the groups in Iraq, when the groups in Yemen carry out retribution, because then you have a degree removed from the state itself.

VELSHI: We shall see. Thank you for your analysis and your constant reporting on this. Rukmini Callimachi is a foreign correspondent with The New York Times and an MSNBC contributor, thank you.

CALLIMACHI: Thanks, Ali.

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