The Geriatrics of War-Mongering

While Barack Obama hit his first three point attempt with all net in Kuwait, smiled with world leaders who smiled back, and made America look like a nice place after all, McCain stepped off a golf cart to pose for a photo opp at a geriatrics country club for the ultimate elite in Snobville, Maine with Bush 41. McCain then proceeded to complain that it was “No Country for Old Men”. But come one! Who wants to follow a wheelchair race?

This weekend in the New York Times, Frank Rich poked fun at John McCain’s complaints about an unfavorable press. Hasn’t McCain bee getting a free pass from the press?

It was laughable to watch journalists stamp their feet last week to try to push Mr. Obama into saying he was “wrong” about the surge. More than five years and 4,100 American fatalities later, they’re still not demanding that Mr. McCain admit he was wrong when he assured us that our adventure in Iraq would be fast, produce little American “bloodletting” and “be paid for by the Iraqis.”

Come to mention it, have we seen the press playing and replaying McCain’s determined and convinced congressional platitudes about the imminent dangers of Sadam Hussein and the cake walk that would be the invasion?

On This Week with George Stephanopoulos, McCain was even scarier in his assessment of the war and on how he views war in general. You pretty much get the feeling that were it up to McCain, we would have never pulled out of Vietnam. Military victory — regardless of its purpose — appears to him to be the most pressing question to ever face a nation. It’s all about winning.

As a matter of fact, that is how McCain defines the great difference between him and Obama. Obama he claims simply doesn’t “understand what’s at stake . . .”

I took a path that I knew was unpopular, because I knew we had to win in Iraq. And we are winning in Iraq. And if we’d done what Senator Obama wanted done, it would have been chaos, genocide, increased Iranian influence, perhaps al Qaeda establishing a base again.

What a difference a day makes?

and

I said that Saddam Hussein caused a — imposed a threat to the United States of America and our security. And the Oil for Food scandal, the $12 billion he was skimming, the fact that he had said that he had in operation and he wanted to have weapons of mass destruction, the fact that this society that he ruled in such a brutal fashion was really awful. And he did pose a long-term threat to the security of the United States of America.

But that’s a job for the historians.

When the crucial time came as to whether we were going to leave Iraq and lose, or stay and do the very unpopular thing of 30,000 additional troops — asking young Americans to make the sacrifice — he was wrong, I was right. That was the crucial point…

In other words, the crucial point — where the crucial decision had to be made — was not whether to go to war but whether to send more troops. Let’s analyze this. McCain said that Sadam was an imminent threat, and that this threat included terrorism, WMDs, etc. I original assessment, we’d win without much an effort. Over four thousand dead American soldiers later, thousands more injured (22,000 of which have called a suicide helpline), aiding the cause of Iran, trillions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead, and the fact that all of the other assumptions were completely off the mark, and McCain insists that the fundamental underlying question was not whether to spend all of that money and kill of those lives but whether to add more soldiers.

I think that what McCain doesn’t understand is that the best way to win this war in the Middle East is not to send more soldiers or stay longer but to prove — through actions — that the U.S. in not what George W. Bush has made us out to be. We are not about torture, about killing, about imposing our will and our companies on the rest of the world, we are not about domination and destruction and Arab/Muslim genocide, but about peace and keeping our word.

Furthermore, McCain’s political view is so skewed that he believes that policy should be made by unelected military officials. Actually that is kind of ironic considering that he has also complained that important judicial decision are made — in accordance with what is proscribed in our Constitution — by unelected judges. The McCain doctrine would have an unelected military official, his darling General David Petraeus, deciding whether the U.S. fights or not. Doesn’t he realize that Petraeus’ role is not to make the political decisions, but merely to offer tactical solutions to the policies mandated from those we have elected? So why the insistence on deferring to Petraeus? Maybe McCain thinks Petraeus and not he or Obama should be running for president.

In last week’s Bill Moyers Journal, entitled “Torture on Trial“, Moyers said the following:

As I watched those Congressional hearings on torture last week, I thought of John McCain and the five and a half years he spent as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. He was tortured severely, tied and beaten so badly he tried to kill himself. After four days of this brutality, he gave in and agreed to make a false confession, telling lies to end the unbearable pain. Years later, he wrote, “I had learned what we all learned over there: Every man has his breaking point. I had reached mine.”

And yet McCain called the Supreme Court’s decision – the last in a series against the Bush Administration’s horrendous human rights track record as it pertains to Guantánamo – one of the worst decisions in U.S. history. It is no secret that at its best, torture – no matter what euphemism you use for it – produces unreliable and unactionable information. Of course, we can think Jack Bauer on 24 is doing his job, but that is just Hollywood. The American hero, John McCain, was tortured and made a false confession. If McCain made a false confession, why would think that the terrorists (a percentage of which of merely the product of bounty hunters) are stronger willed than our Republican nominee?

This war-mongering neo-conservation wearing a John McCain mask and riding around the golf course is getting kind of scary. So are his new pro-oil company policies. Yes, his surge has helped stabilize Iraq. Obama should admit that, and in a way he does. The good thing is that McCain’s surge is making it easier for Obama’s pull out to become a reality.

“Good job, John. Thanks for the heads-up!” Obama should say.

The press might be playing it nice with Obama, but if you really look at it, they’re just trying to sell newspapers. People would rather tune into Obama’s smile than McCain’s Kennebunkport geriatrics walker-cade. That doesn’t mean they are favoring Obama, though. They are doing their best to make this race sound closer than it is. Look at how they talk about race and the race, about Obama having trouble with white and female voters. They fail to mention that Obama is leading McCain with women voters and is getting more of the white redneck vote than either Gore or Kerry got in 2000 and 2004 respectively.

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2 Comments

Filed under Essays, Obama 08

2 responses to “The Geriatrics of War-Mongering

  1. ReWrite

    i know i have said this several times on here, I can attest to McCain claiming that Iraq would be a cake walk. I argued with him about it on the Hill in 2002.

    But Obama’s star dims more and more everyday.

  2. eric

    I think that Obama has to be careful to avoid becoming too likable and too much the charmer. People end up getting turned off by that, especially if it all comes with an air of him believing the hype.

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