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McCain Joke Raises Concern


WashingtonD.C.  - April 26, 2007 - The Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC) today expressed concerns over presidential candidate John McCain's "bomb Iran" joke and his subsequent dismissal of allegations that his comments were insensitive and have the potential to reinforce negative stereotypes concerning Iranian Americans.    


Speaking at campaign event in South Carolina last Wednesday, McCain was asked when he thought the U.S. military might "send an air mail message to Tehran."  In response, McCain said, "That old, eh, that old Beach Boys song, 'Bomb Iran'?"  This remark elicited laughter from the crowd. McCain then chuckled before briefly singing to the tune of the chorus of the Beach Boys' classic "Barbara Ann": "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, anyway, ah ...."  McCain went on to explain that he supports President Bush's promise not to allow Iran to destroy Israel, but stopped short of saying whether he would support a military strike against Iran.


McCain defended his comments on Thursday.  "I was talking to some of my old veterans friends.  My response is, lighten up and get a life." Asked by reporters if his joke was insensitive, McCain said: "Insensitive to what? The Iranians?"


There is little doubt that the current Iranian regime poses significant challenges to U.S. and to America's allies in the Middle East.   This fact is not lost on the Iranian American community.  However, many Iranian Americans are profoundly concerned about the possible consequences of a U.S. military strike on Iran, both for U.S. foreign policy and for the Iranian people.


McCain's comments only serve to exacerbate an already volatile situation. At a time when civil liberties organizations are reporting an increase in discrimination against Americans of Middle Eastern descent, McCain's comments have the potential to encourage xenophobia and hatred.


McCain's response to whether his joke was insensitive is extremely offensive to many Iranian Americans who love their heritage.  Many of them still have relatives and friends living in Iran.  Furthermore, it is the official policy of the Bush administration to engage the people of Iran in direct exchanges with the hope of building stronger ties and greater understanding between Iranians and Americans.   McCain's antagonistic remarks severely undermine this policy.


John McCain has had a long and distinguished career of public service.  However, his remarks were unbecoming of a presidential candidate. If he wishes to obtain the support of Iranian Americans, he would be well served to engage the community and clarify his positions.

IAPAC is a registered bipartisan political action committee that contributes to candidates for public office who are attuned to the domestic needs of the Iranian American community. IAPAC focuses exclusively on domestic policy issues such as civil rights and civil liberties, and encourages Iranian Americans to actively participate in the electoral process, to vote and run for political office.

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Senator John McCain's recent rock music parody which suggested that the United States "bomb Iran" would have been less offensive had it come from a speaker with no experience of war or violent death. McCain however, is a veteran pilot who flew bombing missions against North Vietnam. -Bob Petrusak - 4/24/07


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Senator John McCain (R, Arizona) while on a campaign in N. Carolina, was videoed singing "bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" to the tune of the Beach Boys "Barbara Ann". To this “hero” of the Vietnam War, the White House means not only prolonging the Iraq war and the death of more Americans and slaughter of Iraqis, which he has strongly endorsed but also the genocide of innocent Iranians. -Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich - 4/21/07


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When reporters asked if the joke was insensitive, McCain said: "Insensitive to what? The Iranians?" -USA Today - 4/20/07


NIAC deplores McCain's comments turning US-Iran war into a joking matter
The National Iranian American Council deplores Senator John McCain’s comments earlier today when he turned war between the United States and Iran into a joking matter. At a time when so many Members of Congress and retired military leaders are calling for diplomacy to resolve problems with Iran, the Senator’s words are extraordinarily irresponsible. - 4/20/07

... Payvand News - 4/27/07 ... --

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