Saturday, August 23, 2008

Eight years ago, Republicans chose George W. Bush over John McCain

Let me get this straight. Eight years ago, John McCain was not good enough. Now Republicans have proclaimed him the most worthy successor to arguably the WORST President this country has ever witnessed. At 64, he was not good enough. Now, at 72, he's miraculously more competent? Wiser? More Presidential? Less volatile? It appears none of the above. Just older.

Without missing a beat, using talking points from the Bush Administration play book, McCain resurrected Cold War language in denouncing Russia's "aggression" in Georgia. He called upon the international community to punish Russian ambitions in the "breakaway republics". (Where was Mr. McCain when so many of us were demonstrating against the then-imminent U.S. aggression in Iraq? Oh, that's right. He was promoting the aggression.) His recent bellicose foreign policy statements on the conflict in Georgia and Iran's insubordination betray an imbalanced and untempered psychology, much like those of our current Commander in Chief and his Sidekick Dick.

War is in McCain's blood. It is part of his identity, reinforced daily, as we are reminded of his sacrifices in Vietnam. (This is such strange behavior. Who among us must daily remind others of our personal struggles 40 years ago?) It concerns me that John McCain is so wrapped in his Prisoner of War persona. Most combat veterans are reluctant to discuss their war experiences. Not John McCain.

To assume that the experience of being a prisoner is in some way a special qualification for the position of Commander in Chief is ludicrous. The office of President is an executive office, not a warrior office. George Washington recognized this. Eisenhower recognized this. (Teddy Roosevelt was less successful at distinguishing the roles.)

"We must succeed in Iraq," McCain continues to insist. And, in his mind, success can only come in the form of military victory. Despite his Vietnam experience, John McCain has failed to learn that illegal acts of aggression and war do not lead to "military victory".

And while the Bush Administration and Iraqi leaders negotiate a "timetable for withdrawal" from Iraq (which they carefully avoid labeling as such), John McCain steadfastly refuses to acknowledge that a plan very similar to one proposed by Barack Obama is the likely outcome of such negotiations.

John McCain is stuck. Stuck in an old paradigm. That of his father, and his grandfather, and the glorious warrior days of World War II. It's the same time warp that envelops George W. Bush, who, like me, no doubt saw too many war movies in his youth.

Thanks in large part to the reign of "warrior wannabes" like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, Rice, Libby, Wolfowitz, etc., the World is now a far more dangerous place.

The country, indeed the World, is in need of a new paradigm, and leaders distinguished by their wisdom, sound judgment, honesty, tolerance and by their desire for peace, not war.

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