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« Dear Mr Atrios... | Main | Senator Clinton and the War »


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Vir Modestus

Hear, hear. Beautifully said.

chris the cop

I think you can find lots of ways to legitimately criticize John McCain. (the guy's wrapped a little too tight to have his finger on The Button as far as I'm concerned) I say this as someone who likely won't vote for him.)

But I find the image you created of McCain on a hillside viewing soldiers as "sheep...who don't know it's their role in life to be sent to the slaughter and like it and like the people sending them to it" deeply offensive.

The man served his country and displayed unimaginable courage as a POW. I believe his particular reasons for supporting the continuation of the war could be called misguided by opponents of that war, but not dishonorable.

I like the take on Cheney, though and I always wanted to see 'Love and Death' but never did. I remember hearing Allen describing it as an "intimate love story, with battle scenes' knocking me off my chair I laughed so hard.


Maybe here would be a good place to ask -- not that you're under any requirement to or anything -- if you're planning to discuss your feelings about Clinton's Iraq War vote, as you said you would in response to a comment of mine some time back.

Of course, the posts since then have been fairly awesome -- I don't agree with everything you've said in the past few days, but I pretty much put that down to anger at the whole election process and at some of the things various candidates have said.

As for this post, just so I don't act like an ass and ignore what I'm supposed to be responding to, I think you hit the nail right on the head. As a Quaker, I try to get away from the rage inspired by that "They volunteered" crack, but it's hard going, and you've done a better job than I could of explaining just why -- not to mention McCain's outrageous positions on that G.I. bill.

(I do keep coming back to Cheney. He didn't just say that, he said it with a smirk on his face -- he just couldn't help it. Dear God, I've never hoped someone trips and falls down the stairs so much in my life.)


In response to Chris the Cop's outrage, a lot more people would honor McCain's military/POW record more if he hadn't capitulated on the issue of torture.


Far be it from me to throw cold water on the demonization spree American politics indulges every four years, but nothing I've seen says to me McCain looks on the military as sheep. Bush? Perhaps. Or as so many sheep--even with him I think it's a bit more complicated, that "hired help" hits closer to the mark.

I'm willing to believe McCain thinks war a legitimate solution to all foreign policy problems. I'm willing to believe he wants to re-fight (and win) Vietnam and thinks he can by leading us to glory in Iraq. I'm even willing to believe he's neither a neocon nor a practicioner of realpolitik, but instead running as he does on Iraq for the pure political expediency of placing himself in direct opposition to the Democratic candidate.

Really, I'm willing to believe a lot of things. Especially of conservative politicians.

But I don't believe he's soulless enough to see the military as ciphers in the great Risk game of spreading American hegemony and securing raw materials (among other so-called goals). That's Cheneyism. That's neoconservatism. If somehow McCain gets elected, he may yet ruin himself by embracing such craziness, by herding the sheep, if you will. But, fair is fair. I don't see him anywhere near that kind of appalling yet. Having watched such attitudes in action for six years, I hope I'd recognize more of the same when I see it.

Won't argue with the rest of the post, though.


I'd like to take this opportunity to, you know, properly address the points made in this entry and not make demands, and I'm going to do that by doing that thing you're not supposed to do when you're commenting on a blog.

I think Apostate's totally right.

I think I know where Chris the Cop's coming from, though. Even though I'm a raging leftie by American standards, I grew up in a family full of police officers and ex-cops (many of whom, including my dad, are veterans as well) who are anywhere between what I'd call moderate -- my dad, the last Eisenhower Democrat in America -- and full-on hard-core rightie types.

We all get along okay, as families do, but my point is, I've heard that viewpoint quite a bit. McCain is a man who did genuinely brave things, bore up under torment far better than he could've been expected to, and how dare we not focus on that?

Personally, I'd rather focus on the things he's done *since* he bore up so bravely under torture and torment, like justifying the use of torture on helpless prisoners. I don't care how dangerous he thinks they are -- I don't care what information he thinks torture will get out of them.

The man, who once did heroic things and bore up bravely, endorsed the use of torture. That is disgusting, and that's why so many of us think he's a dishonorable lout.


Bad writing on my part. I was referring to McCain's attitude regarding the GI Bill specifically. And his own statements damn him here. He basically wants to coerce troops into re-upping. He says so they can have the privilege of getting promoted to non-coms. That's of dubious benefit to anyone not planning to make a career of the military. It is very useful though to have experienced corporals and sergeants if you plan on keeping the rank and file fighting in Iraq for a hundred years.

Maybe he doesn't see the grunts as sheep, but he isn't seeing them as much more than necessary to his war effort.

But this has been one of my long-term complaints about McCain. He is an extremely self-centered person. Always has been. This is a vanity run for President. He's too old for the job. He has no real plans for what he'll do when he's in the White House. He wants to be President because he believes the country "needs John McCain."

As Falstaff said, once upon a time McCain did heroic things. But in the 35 years since he's pretty much done nothing but advance the career and interests of John McCain.

Now, on the broader issue of the war, that's his only campaign issue. He's the war hero, he's the guy who knows what it means to fight and kill. Why is that a qualification for President? Because that's what he plans to do, fight and kill a lot of people. He's going to win that damn war. Except that it won't be him. It'll be the troops he sends over there, or makes stay there. They are going to do the fighting and dying to advance John McCain's personal legend. He's going to be the guy who won the war on terror. If that's not seeing them as cannon fodder, then what is it?

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