A nice example of the sort of casually dickish aspersion cast at the opposition’s patriotism from on high that would cause a five-alarm media fire if the parties were reversed. Although in Earnest’s defense, it’s in keeping with the casually dickish aspersions they’ve been tossing at critics of the Iran nuclear sellout for years now. From the White House’s standpoint, if you wouldn’t have signed the deal, it can only be because you’re hellbent on war. And if the president of the United States has to stand in front of a mic and compare Republicans to Iran’s most crazed fanatics to drive that point home, he will. There’s no doubt Earnest is saying what his boss thinks here.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Friday that Republicans seemed “unhappy” that 10 U.S. Navy sailors, captured by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard this week were released, and said following their advice would have led to war…

“I think the only people unhappy about it are the Republicans for some reason,” Earnest told reporters…

“If followed advice of some of the Republican critics of the administration, we’d probably be in a bloody war with Iran right now over our sailors,” Earnest added. “The fact is our sailors right now are out of harms way.”

There’s the ol’ “our way or war” straw man. Republicans aren’t angry because Obama declined to fire a cruise missile across Iran’s bow to hurry along the sailors’ release. They’re angry because Iran made a spectacle of American sailors in captivity, which is an oddly hostile thing to do when Obama’s getting ready to release $100 billion in sanctions. If you think the nuclear deal is a disaster, it’s pure insult to injury. But since the White House is now all-in on the deal, they’d rather act like Iran’s lawyer to domestic critics on the right than acknowledge that the IRGC just kneed them in the nuts purely because they could. And that’s what we got from Earnest this afternoon:

Earnest said he did not believe the treatment of the captives related to the Geneva Conventions, which prohibits the use of prisoners for propaganda.

“When it comes to the Geneva conventions, my understanding is that it primarily applies to prisoners of war,” Earnest said. “Based on what I’ve been told, the Geneva convention does not apply in this particular circumstance.”

Whether or not it’s technically illegal under international law, can we agree that airing the apology of an American sailor is an attempt to embarrass the United States? No, of course we can’t agree, per the Free Beacon clip posted below. Agreeing on that would mean acknowledging hostility from Iran, and the White House will do anything — really, anything — to avoid that so that its years-long outreach isn’t exposed as folly. Exit question: According to CNN, the sailors were reportedly told to “act happy,” evidence that they were under duress. Why are we celebrating this as a diplomatic victory if “diplomacy” involves threatening American servicemen somehow?