March 30, 2016
Shortly after a video emerged showing the Saudi Ambassador to the United Nations, Abdallah al-Mouallimi failing miserably in an effort to justify his nation’s call for elections in Syria while simultaneously refusing to agree to elections in Saudi Arabia, a new contender for “worst defense of your nation in an interview” emerged. This time, the miserable fail comes from the United States and State Department Spokesman Mark Toner.
In another example of what happens when a Western, GCC, or Israeli political figure is simply asked a real question and even timidly held to the fire, Toner was asked whether or not the recent victory of the Syrian Army over ISIS in Palmyra was a positive development. In fact, the question was direct; did he prefer ISIS or Assad control Palmyra? Such a question would provoke an easy answer on the side of Assad from any reasonable person. But Toner does not represent a reasonable person or a reasonable government. He represents the U.S. State Department.
The transcript of the interview is provided below as well as the video:
Reporter: Do you want to see the regime retake Palmyra?
Toner: Uh . . .
Reporter: Or do you prefer that it stay in Daesh’s hands?
Toner: [laughs awkwardly] Uh. . . It’s truly a . . . uh . . .[giggles awkwardly again] . . . uh . . .um . . . Look. Uh. . . I think what we would . . . uh. . . like to see is . . . uh. . . the political negotiations, that political track . . . uh . . . pick up steam. Uh . . . That’s part of the reason the Secretary’s in Moscow today um . . . so we can get a political process underway um . . . and deepen and strengthen the cessation of hostilities into a real ceasefire and then . . . we