Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Secret Plan to End the War? Nooooo........

From CNN:
Sen. John McCain strongly criticized Sen. Barack Obama Wednesday for not visiting Iraq in more than two years and for turning down the Arizona senator's suggestion that the two should make a joint trip to the country....

McCain's comments come the same day the Republican National Committee launched a clock on its Web site noting how many days it has been since Obama traveled to Iraq, and three days after his supporter Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, suggested the presumed Republican nominee and Obama tour the country together.

Gee, thanks for not trying to score cheap political points off of the war, Senator McCain. Sure, Mr. Bush might try to make unseemly and shameful partisan political attacks while overseas to score a few votes. But not Senator McCain. Oh, no. Not him. He would never stoop to cheap partisan tricks like Mr. Bush, instead he puts America first.

When two US Senators who are the presumed nominees of their respective parties and are actively campaigning against one another for the presidency spend several days "touring" the combat zone together there would be no chance of partisan politics and unseemly campaigning overseas, correct? Can you think of a better way to ensure we don't bring our messy partisan disputes into another country than by having the two leading candidates tour the combat zone together to present a united front? After all, what could go wrong? Neither would try to use such a visit to score cheap points, instead they would put our nation and our soldiers first and display national unity and patriotism, right?

McCain later said he agreed the Democratic presidential contender should accompany him on an upcoming trip, adding that he would "seize that opportunity to educate Sen. Obama along the way."

Sen. McCain didn't even finish out the day without trying to score points off of his proposed visit. Way to show you are the anti-Bush, Senator McCain! What better way than to follow the Rove playbook and make our soldiers and their sacrifices merely another shameful 30-second sound bite again, the war merely a "gotcha" event suitable for dividing our once United States yet again. Way to support the troops, Senator! Just like with his opposition to the GI Bill, Senator McCain supports the troops all the way.... to yet another tour in Iraq.

Perhaps on your trip you can educate Mr. Obama on economics, Senator McCain? Maybe by visiting a market and talking about how safe it is? As you do so, be sure to share your expertise with him. Mr. Obama's inexperience and lack of military training foolishly and naively led Mr. Obama to warn the invasion of Iraq was not a good idea. Yep, what a fool he made of himself, right Senator McCain? Share your "expertise" and "educate" him, Senator McCain.

Before the invasion McCain was one of the most prominent voices telling the American people that Iraq would be “easy” and that Americans would be "welcomed as liberators." Now he wants to "educate" Senator Obama. Here is how Senator McCain tried to "educate" the American people before we invaded Iraq:

“And I believe that the success will be fairly easy.” [CNN, Larry King Live, 9/24/02]

“I believe that we can win an overwhelming victory in a very short period of time.” [CNN Late Edition, 9/29/02]

“Do you believe that the people of Iraq or at least a large number of them will treat us as liberators?” “Absolutely. Absolutely,” replied McCain. [MSNBC, Hardball, 3/12/03]

“There’s no doubt in my mind that once these people are gone that we will be welcomed as liberators.” [MSNBC, Hardball, 3/24/03]

Ahhh, the expertise, the experience, the just plain being as wrong as one can be.

But don't think Bush or McCain are the only ones to use a war to gain cheap votes. Nixon was elected in part because he claimed he had a "secret plan to end the war." Of course there was no plan., Although he was elected in 1968 we didn't pull out combat troops until 1973. Eisenhower famously said he would go to Korea, and that helped elect him - but did nothing to end the Korean conflict. Guess who Eisenhower's running mate was? Richard "secret plan to end the war" Nixon. McCain is merely following a shameful and despicable precedent.

What a straight-talking maverick. Now imagine if he somehow wins the election and becomes president.


Rick98C said...

I can never quite process how so many people see McCain as some sort of "maverick, straight-talking war hero." The more I learn about him the more absolutely clueless and possibly crazy he seems.

Also, I know it's not PC to say this, but wasn't Vietnam the first war where surrendering to the enemy made you a "hero". I realize it sucks to be held prisoner, particularly by an enemy that doesn't follow the Geneva Convention (oops!), but wouldn't fighting to the death and taking as many of the bastards with you as possible be a better fit for the "hero" appelation?

J.D. said...


Thanks for your comments. As to your question about McCain surrendering to the enemy, he did not surrender. I do not at all think his service was anything but honorable. He did not surrender, he was captured after his plane was shot down over North Vietnam. The standard for US Soldiers under our Code of Conduct is that soldiers (and sailors like McCain) will never surrender while they still have the means to resist. He was shot down and injured and quickly surrounded, and thus his capture was not at all considered dishonorable. His time as a POW was spent honorably and according to the Code of Conduct. His military career after he was freed remained impressive. I do not at all criticize him for not "taking as many of the bastards" with him - there would be no point, it would have been pointless bloodshed with no military advantage and thus not within the guidelines of the Just War Doctrine. You don't kill people - even the enemy - if their death will not benefit you or your cause.

I don't think he is crazy - but I don't think he is wiser or makes better decisions - I think his performance as a Senator during this war has been marginal at best, and only when compared to the terrible performance of most of those in his party. And his continued attempts to repeat the Bush tactic of using the war in Iraq to score cheap points is not honorable at all. It is Bush all over again - say one thing, do another, attack whoever criticizes you, and make winning the next election more important than anything - even more important than the American People.

We should start calling him George W. McCain.

Andy said...

Well gee, JD, silly-season is here in full swing and it seems everyone already has their self-imposed political blinders on.

Of course McCain is going to try to score political points on perceived advantages over his adversary. He's a politician running for office. And so is Obama who is and will be doing the exact same thing despite all his "change" rhetoric.

JD, a man with your intellect and writing ability can do better than this, which is the kind of partisan "analysis" that does little more than feed the read meat crowd who are already against McCain. Let me tell you as someone who is basically on the fence with regard to who will get my vote that your argumentative strategy isn't going to work on people like me.

pluto said...

While I'm not on the fence about voting, having already declared for Obama, I agree with Andy that McCain's pronouncements aren't news and aren't worthy of analysis.

You've got bigger fish to fry, JD, like the Scott McClellan thing.

Leave McCain's announcements to the mainstream media that can't afford anything better.

Almost Drafted said...

I agree with Andy that JD has bigger fish to fry, but the whole of his response reminds me of the the guy who was told "Your date is a cheap disease-ridden whore," and responds, "She is not cheap!"



mike said...

"Eisenhower famously said he would go to Korea, and that helped elect him - but did nothing to end the Korean conflict."

Did I read that right? Are you saying that Ike did nothing to end our adventure in Korea?? I expect more from you than the the type of revisionist history that we got from George W. Bush and his buddies in Stalinist Russia.

J.D. said...


The main hostilities of the Korean War (or "Korean Conflict" or "Police Action" or whatever you want to call it) were during the period from June 25, 1950 until the armistice (actually only a ceasefire agreement) was signed on July 27, 1953.

Eisenhower's presidency was from January 20, 1953 – January 20, 1961. Thus only a few months after he took office the ceasefire was signed. Many gave him credit for it, and he deserves some - but his pledge to visit Korea did not have anything to do with it.

On November 29, 1952, U.S. President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower fulfilled a campaign promise by going to Korea to find out what could be done to end the conflict. In fact, the peace negotiations were already well along - they began on July 10, 1951, at Kaesong, and went on for two years, first at Kaesong and later at Panmunjon. A major issue of the negotiations was repatriation of POWs. The Communists agreed to voluntary repatriation but only if the majority would return to China or North Korea, something that did not occur. Since many refused to be repatriated to the communist North Korea and China, the war continued until the Communists eventually dropped this issue. With the UN's acceptance of India’s proposal for a Korean armistice, a cease-fire was established on July 27, 1953.

And Eisenhower's visit had absolutely nothing to do with the ceasefire.

basilbeast said...

Whether or not Obama goes to Iraq on his own or with McCain is not the point. Just the mere visual impression of the "wiser, older, more experienced military veteran" leading the upstart kid from the hicks around the safe neighborhoods of Iraq would show the world how vitally important it is to have an ADULT in charge of very serious affairs like war and piece.

Anybody remember who said this?

What they needed to see was American boys and girls going house to house, from Basra to Baghdad, um and basically saying, "Which part of this sentence don't you understand?

Yes, ADULTS teaching the ignorant. Teaching the STUPID CHILDREN who know "less than zero" about responsible, mature adult affairs.

I do not care what you call it, "partisanship", "red meat", "shit on a shingle", I want more of it to combat this silliness. No more rolling over whatever comes our way, no more taking without vigorous shaking.

I found this this AM from Chistie Hardin Smith at fdl, couldn't be written better:

Why weren't they digging at all the facts? Why weren't they noticing -- and publicly noting -- discrepancies, self-interested story plants...lack of substantive evidence?

And, more to the point, why could some bloggers working from home, using a bit of wits manage to unearth and report on so much more useful information simply by bothering to read original documents or phoning up potential sources and just asking a few questions?

Until I realized: you have to want to know the answers. If you don't care about the questions, you don't bother asking them. If the truth isn't your aim, you don't dig beyond whatever you are fed. You go along, get along, collect your paycheck and head out to the next quail wing BBQ cocktail weenie fete and move up the ladder by being everyone's connected pal. You don't report anything that might rock your well-connected access boat.

Or, like Tim Russert, maybe you just sit around, hoping someone will call you and hand you the fricking story, and pray they tell you it's on the record or you are S.O.L. Because apparently it's just too much bother otherwise.


mike said...

JD -

Ike's trip to Korea as President-Elect in late November 52, after the election, may or may not have helped to end the war. I agree that point may be contested by some. Truman and some others called it demagoguery.

Ike admitted that he did not have a plan at the time to end the war. He wanted to see the situation for himself and talk personally to the senior commanders there. He was only there for three days. While there he flew over the front in a light Army spotter plane. He saw the straight-up-and-down terrain, saw the ice covered peaks and passes, saw the NK and ChiCom artillery in caves, and their other fortifications. Back on the ground he saw some of the thousands of frostbite cases along with the other wounded in hospitals.

The talks in Panmunjom had been deadlocked for over a year when Ike was inaugurated. Six months after his taking over as CinC the cease fire was signed. He had his negotiators give in a little and bully a lot but he got the truce. Without him it may have gone on for who knows how long.

Long before Ike was elected his foreign policy preferences were to the Atlantic and not the Pacific. His thinking was to contain the Soviet Union in Europe with NATO. In 1951, he tried to make a deal with Taft - whom everyone thought would be the Republican nominee for the 52 Pres election - to vote for NATO if Ike stayed out of primary, but Taft was enamored of Dugout Doug and more interested in teaching the ChiComs a lesson and reinstating Chiang Kai-shek.

I also remember to this day, my father and his WW2 veteran buddies switching from their Roosevelt/Truman roots to vote for Ike in hopes that he would get us out of what they called "Truman's War". My uncle, also a WW2 vet and a Democrat, was recalled and served in Korea. He was one happy man when Ike was elected and he came home. Talk about Reagan Dems, these guys and millions of vets like them who were tired of war were the original cross party voters almost 30 years before Reagan.

Ike shifted our entire strategy against Communism from combat to containment. The right wing of his party was furious and called him a sell-out. One of the toughest opponents that Ike had in stopping the war was Syngman Rhee, the South Korean president who wanted no compromise and would accept no border except for the Yalu River. American presence in Korea after the truce (including your service there) was as much to discourage Rhee from going north of the DMZ as to discourage Kim Il-sung from going south. Rhee never signed the Armistice.

By the bye, Ike's thinking was that opposing the ChiComs would drive them closer to the Soviets. But he was way ahead of his time. Nixon and Kissinger took the credit for his ideas years later.

Publius said...

Andy, get off your high horse. JD is merely pointing out that he believes McCain is a duplicitous liar. And perhaps a little "teched" to boot. By your standards—which seemingly approve of anything done for political advantage—what JD's posted here is absolutely permissable. So what's your beef? You want even-handed, don't go to a blog.

BTW, ISTM that anyone who's "on the fence" this late in the game hasn't been listening to what McCain's been saying, namely that his administration would essentially be more of the Bush Administration. Hard to see why you'd be on the fence. If you like Bush policies, by all means vote for McCain. If you don't like Bush policies, the way also seems clear.