Not since the United States Civil War, both for the Confederacy and the Union ranks, have those who fought been so ruthlessly — undeniably un-Christian, if you will — abused as has been the case since the first morning of the Iraq debacle. As Senator McCain can, but for some reason will not, testify: every human has his or her breaking point. And as a surfeit of studies have confirmed, and as a parade of former generals before senate and house hearings have sworn under oath, those we have sent again and again and again and again into the furnace are leaving with seriously and permanently burned bodies, minds and souls.
Not only has this “Stop-Loss” practice been wholly and inexcusably inhumane, it has seriously undercut this nation’s ability to respond effectively to any exigency requiring a military response elsewhere. Sure, we can respond for a very brief period; just as you can, if you absolutely have to, after trucking down the road say for 20 hours nonstop, continue driving your car another half-hour. But you’re going to be less effective, and within a short period you’re going to collapse completely. You’re not likely to be able to get to your destination, and the American military, under the scenario, will not likely be able to reach its. Furthermore, in such a scenario the military options are severely limited. This can literally force the Commander in Chief to elect a course that will culminate in the most dire consequences. (If your Special Forces are not available for counter insurgency, if your helicopters are down on the pad, undergoing repairs, perhaps all that’s left is to bomb a village.)
We err seriously when we suggest it has been George Bush and Dick Cheney, and let it go at that. With notably few exceptions — Senator Chuck Hagel, and Representatives Walter Jones and Ron Paul — it has been the entire Republican Party contingents in both chambers of the legislative body; singing the refrain how the “War on Terror,” the “War in Iraq,” and the battle against al Qaida is (not a grammatical error) the single most important international challenge facing the United States this century.
(The reason the preceding was not a grammatical error owes to how Republicans have melded the three into one, just as it has horribly mismanaged each of them individually.)
Today, as the country and the entire world wait anxiously — like a woman in a long labor — for the Bush-Cheney cabal to finally, finally at lonnnng last, come to an end, Senator John McCain has grabbed their “victory” and “honor” in Iraq baton and Charlton Heston-like repeatedly announced how that victory and honor will not be removed “from his cold, dead hands.”
Again, the mantra — now as much from John McCain as from anyone else — of the War on Terror raises it as the most (not merely kind of important, the MOST IMPORTANT, even crucial) challenge facing the United States today!
Thus I have questions I demand someone, anyone put front and center before Senator McCain. As a preface, however, I would observe that his military service, and his five and a half years of tortured imprisonment in North Vietnam, truly — not merely words that today seem to fly off so many tongues perfunctorily — respected. That posited, it must also be honestly acknowledged that you, Senator McCain, had only three options: A.) to die, B.) to surrender to your captor’s demands to speak against your country, C.) to somehow persevere. I, no more than did your father, do not fault you in the least for finally succumbing to Option B.
1. That noted, how does any part of the preceding especially qualify you, or anyone else, to fill the role as president and Commander in Chief?
2. If the collected wars — terror, Iraq, al Qaida — do in effect, as you have repeatedly claimed, compose the MOST SERIOUS challenges facing us in this century, why have you not opined that this crucial effort, if it really is vital to our continued way of life, be one genuinely shared equally by every American?
3. Thus far, since 2003, not a single dime from extant federal revenues has been to this MOST IMPORTANT challenge. One hundred percent of our efforts in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere have been funded via loans from China, South Korea, Japan, and our children and grandchildren. Since January, 2001 the national debt has doubled, the result of which has been a halving of the value of the dollar, and according to Alan Greenspan and numerous respected others, we are in an economic recession that may only likely get considerably worse. Precisely how do you propose to pay for the continuation of a military effort that has yet to concisely and accurately define “victory”?
4. As you know Senator, half of all America’s male homeless are veterans, primarily of Vietnam, but of the 1991 Gulf War also. Your voting record, however, shows that you have voted to not only not expand military benefits for these veterans, but have voted to cut some of their benefits. Why?
5. During a surfeit of House and Senate hearings on the matter, the previous heads of the GAO and CBO, both conservative Republicans, have testified that the budget deficits are, as they have been from the start, overwhelmingly due to tax revenue shortfalls brought on by the Bush tax cuts, tax cuts that have disproportionately benefited the very top members of society; tax cuts that you sir disparaged at the time they were being enacted. And yet, today, you promise to work to not only make them permanent, you promise to expand them. Can you identify in exquisitely economically responsible terms how, with all that is facing the country today — across the board infrastructure deterioration, education and medical systems in collapse — you can maintain your position?
6. Senator McCain, you have owned up to the ownership of a serious temper problem. You’ve oft said it is something you are “working on.” The Commander in Chief has at his or her fingertips the entire military inventory of the most powerful nation ever to have resided on earth. Specifically Senator, what outside sources have you engaged in this labor, who are they, how long have you been seeking their care, what have been the results, and will you agree to each and all of them release any and all of your medical records to us, at least a month or two prior to the November election?
7. You claim sir to have “leadership” skills. As you are aware, several of your Republican colleagues in the senate have posted strong concerns over just the thought of you becoming president. What leadership positions have you held, what has been the total number of those you have led in each of those positions, when did you occupy those leadership positions, and for how long?
8. Senator, this next question is a 2-parter. Your wife, Cindy Hensley McCain is heir to the Hensley-Anheuser-Busch distributorship fortunes; at least $250 million, net cash. You have frequently called to abolish the “death tax,” otherwise, and more accurately, the Federal Estate Tax. Perhaps on a level with the 1% of the most stratospherically advantaged Americans that the Federal Estate Tax affects, were the tax to be abolished, is it not true that your wife would receive that $250 million 100% tax free? Do you not see how your calls to abolish the tax might be perceived as not just a little disingenuous, as wholly self-serving?
9. Senator McCain, you have frequently boasted how you were one of the original foot-soldiers in the Reagan Revolution. Without speaking ill of the dead, I’m sure you recall how the 40th president kicked off his 1980 campaign in Nashtoba County/Mississippi Burning, Mississippi in front of an all-white gathering with the witticism that the “most feared words in the English language were, ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you.” (Wink, wink, nod, nod) You probably remember how Reagan was against a Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, how even you voted against it. Your memory likely is clear how Ronald Reagan supported Boetha’s apartheid government in South Africa and how he named Nelson Mandela as a leader in a terrorist organization. I’ve also no doubt you recall Reagan’s other campaign promise was to “get the government off the back of the American people,” by which he meant to free workers from their union protection while freeing American industry, oh let’s use Lincoln Savings and Loan, to run roughshod over the American economy. You do recall the Milken and S&L scandals, I’m certain. Also during Reagan’s tenure were the two greatest stock market meltdowns since 1929, the two deepest and longest recessions since the 30s, a tripling of the national debt, Iran-Contra, and how more members of his administration were indicted, tried, and found guilty of all manner of crimes and misdemeanors than any administration before or since. These and other less-than-laudatory anecdotes of the Reagan administration can be summoned, but what I want to know, Senator, is what part of the Reagan Revolution are you so proud to have been a member of, and why?
— Ed Tubbs