Ken Livingstone, the Labour candidate for Mayor of London, poses for a photograph in Ravensbourne College on April 11, 2012 in London, England. (Photo: Getty Images)
Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, who held his position from 2000-2008, is defending his recent comments to Iranian Press TV essentially blaming America and former President George W. Bush for the Boston bombings.
Livingstone was asked by a caller how the accused Boston bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev were able to enjoy all the "pleasures" of America, and yet still hated it enough to blow it up?
The former mayor -- who blamed Margaret Thatcher for "every real problem we face today" after her death -- responded:
Very often, people get incredibly angry about injustices that they see. They would have been reading about the torture the went on at Guantanamo Bay, at Bagram airbase. They would have read stuff about how, I think it is 54 different countries secretly collaborated with America for this rendition — people being snatched off streets taken to be tortured, because the Bush regime believed that they were all potential terrorists.
There was such ignorance in the Bush White House about Islam and about the history of so many disputes that exist in the Middle East. And people get angry — they lash out. It’s the whole squalid intervention that has disfigured the record of the Western democracies. And I think this fuels the anger of the young men, who — as we saw in Boston — went out, and out of anger and demand for revenge, then claimed lives in the West. [Emphasis added]
Here's video of the former mayor's remarks, via the Middle East Media Research Institute:
Many have criticized Livingstone's remarks, even those on the left.
Tim Stanley at the U.K. Telegraph notes that Livingstone seems to be unaware that President Obama has been president for roughly five years, but further states that it doesn't matter who the president is -- "There is no justification for terrorism, and nothing America has done justifies the slaughter of innocent people on the streets of Boston."
"Iran itself is a well-known sponsor of terror and its quirky take on democracy would probably see a pro-gay feminist like Ken Livingstone stoned to death had he had the misfortune to be born in modern-day Tehran," Stanley continues. "Despite all these facts, Ken was still happy to grace this fascist, fundamentalist regime with his presence and to deliver a message that basically confirms everything Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ever said about the US. Bravo, comrade."
But the former mayor reportedly defended his comments to the BBC, saying they were not a "specific" commentary on the Boston bombings, but rather what can motivate terrorists in general.
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