Now that we've made it through the mid-term election cycle it's time to start thinking about the 2008 presidential election. Over the next two months, and particularly after the New Year, you're going to see a flurry of activity in this area. Whether it's prospective candidates declaring their intentions, or just pundits speculating, everyone's words and actions will be under the microscope if they have any inclination of seeking the top office. On the Republican side there is already a frontrunner who deserves special mention - Sen. John McCain.
He Knows War
Having spent upwards of 5 years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, John McCain has earned special attention. While his voice in matters of war and torture carry a special weight, lately I've found his perspective disturbing.
John McCain initially stood up to President Bush on the use of torture. He championed against the use of torture and breaking from the Geneva Convention, until it finally came before the US Congress. Then, in a surprising move, he succumbed to Executive pressure and settled for something well below his principled stand. The 'Military Commissions Act' was subsequently enacted, effectively negating the bulk of what McCain stood for. Did John McCain sell his soul to the devil (GOP base) to get his ass into the White House in '09?
He Knows Smear
In the run up to the 2000 election, Bush & Rove threw John McCain under the bus with their patented dirty trickery. Karl Rove perfected the 'Push Poll' technique of calling voters under the guise of a survey and asking how they felt about McCain if they knew that he fathered an illegitimate black child. Of course the object was not to collect data, but to smear a war hero. Rove continued to employ various smear techniques on other war heroes as well (Sen. Max Cleland and Sen. John Kerry).
What I find truly astonishing is that even after Bush & Rove utterly decimated McCain in 2000, he came back in the 2004 election and supported Bush for reelection, even after turning down an opportunity to run with Kerry as Vice President on what would've been an historic bi-partisan ticket. A Kerry-McCain team would've defeated Bush-Cheney handily and poised McCain for his own presidential bid in 2012. Instead, he chose to toe the party line in an effort to posture himself for 2008.
He Knows MORE War
Even more disturbing is John McCain's posture on the conflict in Iraq. It seems that just about everyone in the country got the message from the 2006 election - that we need to redeploy our troops, instead of continuing to be caught in the middle of this civil war. Just about everyone in the country knows that we shouldn't have precipitated this conflict in the first place, and our being there as an occupying force continues to deteriorate the situation. Just about everyone has the common sense to realize that we're not going to fix this problem on a military basis. Just about everyone knows there are complexities and intricacies way beyond the scope & handling by military might. Just about everyone knows about the deceit, pilfering, & squandering of the Iraq reconstruction projects which have added to Iraqis animosity of the United States.
Just about everyone except for two people... George W. Bush, who arrogantly insists on "staying the course" because he won't admit he made a mistake, and John McCain who thinks that the answer lies in sending in MORE troops. I'm assuming that he feels the U.S. can control the region under Martial Law with a massive force of strength. And once the country is stabilized, then law & order & Democracy can simply take its course. Just like that. And if I believed that, I'd probably also believe that Britney Spears will win Mother-of-the-Year, Wife-of-the-Year, AND Entertainer-of-the-Year all in the same year!
Clearly, Mr. McCain just doesn't get it. He thinks (just like Bush) that setting a deadline (i.e. timetable) sends a 'wait-it-out' message to our enemies. This is the argument that Bush has been using to keep us in Iraq... indefinately. However, the message a deadline/timetable would REALLY send to the Iraqi people is that we don't intend to forever occupy THEIR country. As long as we're there, we're targets.
If we elect John McCain in '08, it'll be more of the same staying the course and perpetuating the conflict. To some short-sighted / arrogant politicians it doesn't really matter how many innocent people die from our mistakes, as long as the military-industrial-complex continues to thrive.