GOP Congressman: supporting ISIS could be “a good thing”

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) took his propensity for odd alliances to a new extreme at a House hearing on Thursday, suggesting that ISIS attacks in Iran could be a ‘good thing.’

 According to ThinkProgress, Rohrabacher said , “We have recently seen an attack on Iran, and the Iranian government, the mullahs, believe that Sunni forces have attacked them. This may signal a ratcheting up of certain commitments by the United States of America. As far as I’m concerned, I just want to make this point and see what you think, isn’t it a good thing for us to have the United States finally backing up Sunnis who will attack Hezbollah and the Shiite threat to us? Isn’t that a good thing? And if so, maybe this is a Trump — maybe it’s a Trump strategy of actually supporting one group against another, considering that you have two terrorist organizations.”

Rohrabacher was referencing two separate ISIS attacks in Iran last Wednesday that left 17 people dead and dozens more injured. Rohrabacher essentially envisioned a situation where the US government could support ISIS for attacking other terrorist groups.

It’s never in our interest to support terrorism

“Those attacks were claimed by the Islamic State,” said Matthew Levitt, director of The Washington Institute’s Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. “It’s never in our interest to support a terrorist group like the Islamic State. We should condemn . . . any act of terrorism, even as we hold Iran accountable for its sponsorship of terrorism.”

Rohrabacher talked over Levitt. “So that’s like Joe Stalin was a horrible guy, we must never associate with horrible guys like that, even against Hitler,” he said. “And so maybe it’s a good idea to have radical Muslim terrorists fighting each other. I’ll leave it at that.”

Iranians respond to Rohrabacher

An open letter to Rohrabacher, in The Iranian, begins, “I don’t know you but will give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume you are a decent man, a good dad, someone striving to do good in the world. If that is the case do you really want your reactions to the death of innocent Iranians at the hands of ISIS-affiliated extremists to be your legacy?”

And it ends, “You are a public figure, so tell me how I should explain your words to my teenage daughters? The America and the Americans I know do not celebrate the death of innocent civilians. That sir, is what violent extremists do. You draw your own conclusions on that point. But here is mine: A decent man, a good man, an ethical man, would retract every word and apologize for making those callous remarks. I hope you have the courage to do so too.”

“The America and the Americans I know do not celebrate the death of innocent civilians.”

The White House released a confounding statement after the attack. “We grieve and pray for the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks in Iran, and for the Iranian people, who are going through such challenging times,” it read. “We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.”

The Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad-Zarif tweeted that the statement was “repugnant.”

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