From the perspective of at least one MSNBC host, President Donald Trump is an assassin.
But to an Iranian journalist, Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed last week by a U.S. drone strike, will go down in history as the man who ordered Iranian officials to crush the flower of the nation’s youth and repress student calls for freedom as well as a leader in more recent crackdowns that left hundreds dead.
Matthews on Monday night tried to draw a line between Trump’s approval of the drone strike and the alleged U.S. involvement in the 1963 assassination of then-South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem, according to The Daily Wire.
“You know, Diem was assassinated. We took over the war in Vietnam,” Matthews said. “We lost all those men and women. And we all did it because we basically knocked off a leader. We had a hand in that. The generals did it, but we had a hand in it, and here we are in the assassination business again.”
Matthews then praised Soleimani as a “top general. He was a leader. We killed this guy.”
“A president of the United States, they used to hide from assassination responsibility. This president is bragging about it, his assassination,” he said. “Is there a new deviancy in the American culture that we now support murder killing of political leaders? Is this what we do now? It shocks me.”
Later in the show, Matthews told his guest, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who had talked about what she’d do as president, “I don’t think you’re an assassin; this president is.”
“What he really wants to do is create an explosion of media focus, and even a war, a bite-sized war he thinks, to distract from his impeachment threat,” Matthews said, according to Graham Piro of The Washington Free Beacon.
But if the American media was happy to frame Soleimani as the innocent victim of a deviant U.S. president, Masih Alinejad, an Iranian journalist, wrote from a very different perspective in an Op-Ed in The Washington Post.
In a piece headlined “Don’t believe Iranian propaganda about the mourning for Soleimani,” she wrote that the blood of many Iranians is on Soleimani’s hands.
“Soleimani was not a benign official. In 1999, he was among the Revolutionary Guard leaders who demanded that then-President Mohammad Khatami crush university student demonstrations or face the consequences,” she wrote.
His soldiers played a role in November attacks on protests that led to an estimated 1,500 deaths, she wrote.
The Iranian people still have “anger and resentment” over the crackdown, Alinejad said.
“The authorities forced many families to pay blood money in order to receive the body of their loved ones from the morgue. Some even had to sign official forms waiving the right to hold a public funeral as a condition of getting bodies returned.” she wrote, noting that at one point, “thousands of security forces using armored cars, water cannons and even helicopters were deployed to stop mourning ceremonies for some of the victims.”
In her Op-Ed, Alinejad also noted a curious phenomenon about the media.
“There are many Iranian voices who think Soleimani was a war criminal, but Western journalists rarely reach out to them,” she wrote. “Ironically, the Western media is more skeptical of such state-organized events in other countries, such as Russia or North Korea, but seems to leave its critical sense at the border when it comes to the Islamic Republic.
“While it’s true that Western correspondents face daunting conditions when it comes to reporting the truth from Iran, that shouldn’t excuse the many times they’ve shown unwarranted gullibility toward the official version of events.”
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