Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 4 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Exclusive to OpEd News:
OpEdNews Op Eds   

John McCain and that 'Judgment' thing.

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   No comments
Message Ed Tubbs
Become a Fan
  (11 fans)

The current White House press secretary, Dana Perino, a few months back, demonstrated her tragically limited range of knowledge when she claimed she knew "the Cuban Missile Crisis had something to do with Cuba and missiles." Sad. Sad, because those twelve days in October 1962 composed the most anxiety-filled moments for all human life on our planet since humankind took its first steps out of the Olduvai Gorge in Africa two to three million years ago.

That crisis was one where the "sound judgment" of President Kennedy spelled the difference between the very survival of human life and its sudden demise. General Curtis LeMay, the Air Force Chief of Staff during the crisis, argued heatedly with Kennedy that he should be permitted to bomb the missile sites; sites that the United States errantly believed were not at the time yet fully armed. It wasn't until the fall of the Soviet Union that we, in the mid-90s, were granted access to the documents that clearly showed the sites LeMay wanted to hit were in fact quite armed, and that, although he might knock out some, enough would remain to trigger a world-ending nuclear volley between the US and the USSR. (Google "doomsday clock" during the period to see it had reached midnight.)

Judgment matters! Both good judgment, and most particularly, poor judgment. It's time we examine the evidence for which kind John McCain manifests most frequently.

It's a difficult, near impossible, thing to separate one's level of judgment from the issue of demeanor: cool and calm under pressure, or excitable. I can testify that my three years in the Army Infantry (June, 1964 - June, 1967) lead me to assert I would never, ever want to go on a patrol with anyone who was not cool and collected under almost every conceivable circumstance. Whether it be to panic or a too quick temper, such a person can get the entire squad killed, and deep-6 the mission. The most consequent psychological fact each of us knows intuitively is that, in any crisis, we just cannot think and react and respond as we should, perhaps as we must, when we're emotionally distraught. Provocation is irrelevant, cool is all that is.

As Nebraska's US Senator Chuck Hagel observed, "Everyone's got a John McCain story." That was a gentleman's summary depicting how, in a chamber intentioned for more courtly demeanors, it is legend how McCain is known to frequently let loose with a torrent of expletives-suffuse temper tantrums - to the point that Mississippi's very conservative Republican senator, Thad Cochrane, opined how "a McCain presidency sends a cold chill down my spine." Except for South Carolina's Lindsey Graham and a handful of others, based almost exclusively on his considerably less than even temperament, Senator McCain has few backers in the senate, Republican or Democratic.

No human can be expert in all fields. Advisors are essential. Therefore, one indication of an individual's "judgment" are the choices a person makes as to who will serve as his or her advisors. Within the past three months, John McCain has gone through more "advisors" than does a president normally experience in a 4-year term. The most recent departure was ex-Senator Phil Graham, who it should be recalled, was personally responsible for having the "Enron loophole" that eliminated from federal oversight how energy futures were traded. (Graham's wife, Wendy, served on the Enron Board of Directors.)

Another of McCain's top advisors is Carly Fiorina, CEO of Hewlett-Packard until she was fired in 2005. The corporate stock of what had been literally a high-tech money making machine ever since it was founded by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard in 1939 for $538.00 collapsed during her tumultuous tenure. One of the embroiling issues was the matter of the FBI's and the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce investigation of the highly illegal corporate selling of "itemized incoming and outgoing" Internet call logs to anyone who paid a "modest fee."

As to the selection of a foreign policy advisor, and what it reveals about where McCain is and where he's coming from, and likely headed to, the choice of Henry Kissinger screams "bad choice," "bad choice," "worse judgment!" It was not Kissinger all by himself who kept us in Vietnam through the entirety of the Nixon-Ford presidencies, while 40,000 Americans perished, and strongly urged the Bush administration into Iraq. Not all by himself, but choosing the former Secretary of State as a top-level advisor is telling . . . way, way too telling; in fact it's shouting.

At the Council of Foreign Relations in 2004, it was John McCain's expressed judgment that he didn't "see how we could stay [in Iraq], when our whole emphasis has been on turning the Iraqi government over to the Iraqi people," if that sovereign government asked us to leave. And yet, today, when that even more secure and more sovereign government is expressing its desire for a US departure timeline/date that is more in accord with Senator Barack Obama's, it's now McCain's judgment that the decision does not - as he once claimed it did - rest with what the government of Iraq wants, but with the US generals, and General David Petraeus in particular.

Sure, as could others, I could add several more examples, where McCain's best demonstrated "judgment" is dubious best, and just downright rotten at worst, but enough on the "judgment thing" for now. Facts aplenty and sufficient are on the table . . . and in the history books.

In a future post I'll address the topic of "experience," how McCain supporters tout his over Senator Obama's. As example, how "experience" ain't all it's cracked up to be, I'll raise the names of Rumsfeld and Cheney: icons of "experience." Then I'll bring Abraham Lincoln into the discussion, as an example where having no "experience" isn't necessarily the negative McCain's acolytes pound their fists on the table insisting that it is. This won't be to aver that the Illinois senator can be, or ought to be, compared with our 16th president, also from Illinois, by the way . . . only that one needs to be especially cautious, trying to bring in "experience" as much of a gauge of executive timbre. However it deserves no consideration as a prerequisite for the presidency, I'll also bring to the table for consideration the proposition that John McCain, as a "hero" is actually defined, is in fact not much of a "military" one (eg Senators Chuck Hagel, or Jim Webb, or Jack Reed, or the Senate's only Medal of Honor recipient, Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii), and that he hasn't really much that distinguishes the experience he does have as exemplary "military experience" (again, along the lines of the aforementioned senators).

- Ed Tubbs

Thousand Oaks, CA

PS - Of course I welcome responses, those that disagree as well as those that agree. But I've got to insist that only those retaining the courage of their convictions to include their real name and the city where they reside, exactly as they would for any letter to the editor, will be read or responded to. Now is the time for all of us to live up to the words and sentiments in our National Anthem.

Rate It | View Ratings

Ed Tubbs Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

An "Old Army Vet" and liberal, qua liberal, with a passion for open inquiry in a neverending quest for truth unpoisoned by religious superstitions. Per Voltaire: "He who can lead you to believe an absurdity can lead you to commit an atrocity."
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Texas Board of Education: America's Taliban.

Refusing The Call; Will selfish Seniors hand over the USA's future to China?

Merry Christmas-- Ho, Ho, Ho What the Hell

Today's McCarthyism. Will we Stand up Against it, or Stand Down?

ANYone who would vote for Sarah Palin is not an American

"The horror, the horror" -- Health Insurance CEOs Testify in Congress

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend