After the Iranian military released 10 U.S. Navy sailors who allegedly drifted into what Iran claims is their territorial waters, Secretary of State John Kerry actually praised the Iranians for “their cooperation and quick response.”
Later, President Barack Obama made a statement that the recovery of the American servicemen shows how his strategy of using diplomacy works, after the brave servicemen endured humiliation and were displayed to the world as captives in photos and a video released by Iranian-controlled new agencies.
But it was the press secretary for the State Department, former Navy Rear Admiral John Kirby, who stole the show and earned the “America’s Baghdad Bob” designation.
For those unfamiliar with the man known as Baghdad Bob, he was Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s information minister, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf. In the midst of the U.S.-led 2003 invasion of Iraq, during which he was the spokesperson for the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party and Saddam’s regime, his grandiose and alternate-reality statements and propaganda broadcasts were met with widespread laughter and denigration by Americans and Europeans with access to up-to-date information from international media organizations. In the U.S. he was popularly known as Baghdad Bob, in the UK as Comical Ali, and in Italy as Alì il Comico.
Critics have compared Kirby to Baghdad Bob due to the former Pentagon spokesperson’s statements that appear to contradict reality. Whether talking about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the war in Afghanistan, Kirby appears to have fully divorced himself from his military background and oath and traded in his Navy uniform for President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry talking points.