Kucinich says Syrian press 'mistranslated' his effusive praise of Assad
Sure, sure Dennis. We understand. Happens all the time. Those stupid Arabs never get anything right.
Um...one question: How could a story written in English "mistranslate" your English words?
As my officemate Joshua Keating points out, the Assad regime was quick to exploit Kucinich's visit for political gain. The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) quoted him as saying that Assad "is highly loved and appreciated by the Syrians," and warning darkly about "some who want to give a wrong picture about what is going on in Syria."
But Kucinich said in a statement that SANA's story didn't accurately convey his remarks, though he refused to accuse the Syrian regime of willful distortion. "Arab-speaking friends accompanying me have explained that the problem may have come from a mistranslation," the congressman wrote, noting the problem may also have stemmed from "the degree of appreciation and affection their state-sponsored media has for President Assad."
"Given the stakes for Syria and the region, I will consider the article only an error, not a willful intent to mischaracterize my statements or my efforts in the region," he said.
But that explanation doesn't make any sense. Kucinich doesn't speak Arabic, so his remarks were presumably in English, and SANA's article is written in English -- so no translation should have been necessary. Kucinich's press office in Washington did not immediately respond to a query on this point. It seems eminently obvious that SANA was exploiting Kucinich's presence as evidence of international support for the Assad regime -- something the congressman should have known they would do before he arrived in Damascus.
It's hardly surprising that Kucinich is an admirer of Assad. The question is, why deny it? It couldn't possibily hurt him politically or make him even less popular among his fellow Democrats on the Hill. My guess is he was simply pandering to his hosts and didn't think his words would ever make it back to America.
Even Kucinich realizes that praising a mass murderer while he is in the process of massacring his own people is bad form.