Patterico's Pontifications

2/2/2008

Newsweek’s Evan Thomas Profiles John McCain

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 7:55 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

In the February 11, 2008, edition, Newsweek’s Evan Thomas profiles John McCain in an article entitled “What These Eyes Have Seen.” The article raises good and bad points about McCain. If you want to read the good points, click on the link because you won’t see those in this post. However, there were so many negative aspects of McCain’s character addressed in the article that I’ve decided to chronicle them here.

McCain is prickly and quick to anger and take offense (page 1):

”McCain, who clearly cannot stand Romney (and vice versa), bridles at anyone or anything that impugns his honor, most sacred of military virtues. In rare weak moments, he can seem prickly, impetuous, vindictive—the sort of military martinet whose finger is supposed to be kept far from the button. Yet he is endowed with self-knowledge and self-effacing dignity. “I’m a man of many failings,” McCain says with a genuine, if practiced, ruefulness. “I make no bones about it. That’s why I’m such a believer in redemption. I’ve done many, many things wrong in my life. The key is to try to improve.” There are a number of U.S. senators who can attest to McCain’s repentance with handwritten apologies for his intemperance.”

People who knew McCain as a young man thought he was nasty, a jerk and a bully (page 2):

”According to Robert Timberg’s “The Nightingale’s Song,” McCain’s nicknames at EHS [Episcopal High School of Alexandria, Virginia] were “Punk,” “Nasty” and “McNasty.” A classmate described him as a “tough, mean little f–––er.” Episcopal had borrowed from state military schools the sobriquet “rat” to describe first-year students at the mercy of upperclassmen hazing. McCain writes: “My resentment, along with my affected disregard for rules and school authorities, soon earned me the distinction of ‘worst rat’.” At Annapolis, he was, he writes, “a slob.” He looked for authorities to subvert, settling on a bullying, second-year midshipman he and his friends dubbed “Sh–––y Witty the Middy,” and making life miserable for a by-the-book captain who was supposed to discipline him. “I acted like a jerk,” McCain writes. McCain came close to “bilging”—getting kicked out—but seemed to know exactly how far he could go. He graduated fifth from the bottom of his class.”

McCain has a psychological need to surpass the accomplishments of his father and grandfather (page 2):

”Always, the fear of disgracing his forebears hung over him. “He has been preoccupied with escaping the shadow of his father and establishing his own image and identity in the eyes of others,” reads a psychiatric evaluation in McCain’s medical files. “He feels his experiences and performance as a POW have finally permitted this to happen.” Released after the 1973 Peace Accords, McCain returned to the United States a hero. “Felt fulfillment when his Dad was introduced at a dinner as ‘Commander McCain’s father.’ He had arrived,” noted the psychiatric report in 1974.”

McCain views himself as an inspirational leader, not an organizer of victory (page 2):

”In the military, there are two kinds of leaders, McCain mused in his interview with NEWSWEEK—the “organizer of victory” type, like Gen. George Marshall and Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the more “inspirational” type, like his father and grandfather, who may not be terribly organized but are gifted at leading men into battle. Likewise, said McCain, there are different types of senators. “One is the person who is involved in the detail and the appropriation for the road or the bypass,” he said—the type of lawmaker who gets involved in the “minutiae” that helps “people get re-elected.” McCain said, unenthusiastically: “I respect that kind of senator.” Then there is the “policymaking” senator, clearly McCain’s model.”

McCain has a checkered record at interacting with politicians. Some profess admiration and respect for McCain, including Senator Joseph Liebermann and Maine’s GOP Senator Susan Collins. Thomas also reports that McCain got along well-enough with Hillary Clinton to have a vodka-drinking contest with her on a Senate junket to Estonia and that “[f]ormer Democratic majority leader Tom Daschle has written that he engaged in serious talks with McCain in 2001 to bring him over to the Democratic Party.” Although McCain apparently never denied talking with Daschle about changing parties, he claimed he would never leave the GOP. However …

Some Republican Senators probably wish McCain had switched parties (page 3):

”But a number of senators and former lawmakers are still licking their wounds from run-ins with McCain. “It’s sad, really,” says former senator Bob Smith of New Hampshire. “John McCain can tell a good joke and we can laugh, and I’ve had my share of good times with him.” That is the side of McCain, says Smith, that the press sees. But behind the scenes lurks a less amiable McCain. “You can disagree without being disagreeable,” says Smith. “And I don’t think John is able to do that. If he disagrees with you, he does it in a way that is disagreeable.”

The lore of “Senator Hothead,” as McCain has been dubbed over the years, is considerable. McCain is widely reported to have yelled profanities at senators and even shoved one or two (including the late Strom Thurmond, a feisty nonagenarian at the time of the alleged incident). After McCain used an obscenity to describe Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa to his face in 1992, Grassley did not speak to McCain for more than a year. (“That’s all water over the dam,” Grassley says.)

McCain has reportedly learned to control his temper; still, there are moments when he cannot or does not. Last spring, at a closed-door meeting of senators and staff, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas tried to amend the immigration bill to make ineligible convicted felons, known terrorists and gang members. Agitated that any attempt to amend the bill would jeopardize its slim chance of passage (ultimately, the bill failed), McCain snapped, “This is chickens–––.” Cornyn shot back that McCain shouldn’t come parachuting in off the presidential-campaign trail at the last minute and start making demands. “F––– you,” said McCain, in front of about 30 witnesses. (A Cornyn aide says that the Texas senator was unbothered by the incident. “I think he just thought, ‘Here’s John being a jerk’,” says the aide, who declined to be identified speaking for Cornyn.)”

Senator Thad Cochran – who supports Mitt Romney – noted that McCain had lost his temper with him and other Senators so often that Cochran worries about McCain’s ability to act as commander-in-chief (page 3):

”Did he find McCain’s temper to be somehow disabling or disqualifying in a potential president? “I don’t know how to assess that,” says Cochran. “I certainly know no other president since I’ve been here who’s had a temperament like that. There’s some who were capable of getting angry, of course. Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter both. But this …” His voice trailed away. “You like to think your president would be cool, calm and collected. He’s commander in chief.”

McCain is vindictive and acts on it (page 4):

”McCain may have a bit of a vindictive streak. “John has an enemies list longer than Nixon’s,” says a former Pentagon official who did not want to get on it. “And, unlike Nixon, McCain really does try to get you.” After the Boeing scandal, three Air Force officials who quit all found that one of McCain’s top aides had quietly spread word around the defense community that anyone hiring them would risk the senator’s displeasure.”

Evan Thomas concludes with quotes from an unnamed source who claims to be a McCain supporter (page 4):

”And he still has an impetuosity that is nervous-making to old foreign-policy hands. One of them, a former high official in several Republican administrations who occasionally advises McCain (and wishes to continue to) worries to NEWSWEEK about McCain’s “quirky” judgment and his unwillingness to change his mind once it’s made up.”

After reading this and Patterico’s earlier posts, I wonder if the widespread opposition to McCain by Washington conservatives is due more to their knowledge of McCain’s personality than concern about his policies. It’s easier to say McCain isn’t conservative enough than to say you oppose him because he’s a short-tempered, nasty jerk.

— DRJ

41 Responses to “Newsweek’s Evan Thomas Profiles John McCain”

  1. I worry about McCain but Eisenhower had a ferocious temper. He was said to have had his stroke when he became enraged because he was called off the golf course for some unimportant matter. He was a lot better at hiding his temper than McCain is.

    Mike K (86bddb)

  2. After reading this and Patterico’s earlier posts, I wonder if the widespread opposition to McCain by Washington conservatives is due more to their knowledge of McCain’s personality than concern about his policies. It’s easier to say McCain isn’t conservative enough than to say you oppose him because he’s a short-tempered, nasty jerk.

    Yeah, they might end up on an enemies list.

    capitano (03e5ec)

  3. I think a short-tempered, nasty jerk might just be whom we need to deal with Putin, Ahmadinejad and Kim Jon Il.

    nk (12118a)

  4. I read somewhere earlier today that the speculation on why McCain is getting some surprise conservative endorsements is they dont want to end up on his hit list. Win or lose they will still have to deal with him in the senate.

    chas (fb7ad4)

  5. I enjoyed your analysis and agree with you. The greatest threat originally proposed by Osama Bin Laden was not related to the military – it was economic. Osama wants to drain the US of its economic power by engaging us in a protracted war where we will use billions of dollars and end up leaving much like Russia in Afghanistan.

    With Bush in the White House, our generals have done a superb job fighting – Petraeus and the other generals have great ideas (not arm chair politicians like McCain who claim Petraeus’ ideas are his own). McCain has been in the Senate for 24 years – he is not a solution but part of the problem. McCain sitting on all those defense committees did not keep us safe! He was advising them when all of the junk occurred, he missed it just like everybody else. He will do just as much for America continuing as the arm chair warrior he has always been.

    The future of warfare is not in McCain’s experience. We are talking technology and that requires a strong economy. We need unmanned planes, smart bombs, strategic missiles, robotic arms and satellites. The next generation of warfare is Asymmetric – McCain has no experience in it.

    Mitt Romney understands economic incentives – both domestic and foreign. Whether it is aiding our allies, or hindering our enemies, economics is the key to the future. Economists estimates 80% of jobs in 20 years haven’t even been thought of yet. Mitt Romney knows how to incentivize research and development in new technologies. Only Mitt Romney has the experience to position America globally to take advantage of those opportunities.

    It’s time to Rally to Romney for a truly strong America. A strong economy allows us to build the strong military – thus defending us both financially and militarily.

    This is a great article on Asymmetric Warefare:
    http://www.oft.osd.mil/library/library_files/article_385_Inside%20The%20Pentago1.doc

    FleetingThoughts (59f118)

  6. I don’t care about the temper thing. And I don’t care for Evan Thomas. As far as I’m concerned, he’s a democrat hack.

    tired (6ae407)

  7. Well, let’s just say I would prefer a President that is good with money to one that is bad with people.

    And McCain’s temper is just one of a long list of “negatives” that the MSM will unleash like hungry Rottweilers should McCain get the nomination.

    Once again, we get to choose the lesser of evils rather than the greater of goods. There’s probably a very large book waiting to be written on that subject.

    Merovign (4744a2)

  8. I never knew about McCain’s temper before I saw his successfull attempt to subvert the consititution and his less successfull attempt to invite the world to cross our borders.

    davod (5bdbd3)

  9. “Win or lose they will still have to deal with him in the senate.”

    Why is it that we must continue to pay any of these idiots while they are NOT doing the job the public has hired them for?

    This is a major flaw in the political process in our country.

    I care not the current office, if they desire to take leave of absence then they can, UNPAID! and it’s good for the same time as any family leave is. Legislated by them. If it’s longer then they resign, but the pay checks stop when they file for the office.

    McCain’s head got messed in NAM, he is not straight and for sure he is not a conservative either!

    On top of all that, he is close to formal senility! GAWD he is 77 yrs old! Ancient, and exactly how many voters under the age of 50 can he get? (General election voters).

    Gee I remember when we did not trust anybody over 30! Today these young folks have dropped the age to 25.

    I’ll say it again, McCain got his ass shout down! That is not a reason for him to be president. Kennedy got cut in two by a ship and did aid his crew, but the reasons his boat got cut in half are suspect.

    Romney at least looks as though he may survive to end of term without a double having to be brought in.

    TC (1cf350)

  10. This analysis makes McCain sound a lot like Bush. At least McC is smarter, and actually has experience.

    fishbane (fbe4d4)

  11. It is a bit sad to me that McCain is so obsessed with honor. Reading these excerpts, “honor” is not the word that comes to mind. For all that he values honor, he seems to lack the aptitude for it. The bit about him having a “psychological need to surpass the accomplishments of his father and grandfather” – surely that is key. This all makes him seem like the political equivalent of Rupert Pupkin in “The King of Comedy” – a sad, pitiable figure.

    Only in McCain’s case, he wants to be our President.

    Sonic Charmer (8c1456)

  12. I’m not McCain groupie, and maybe it’s because I’m a grumpy old coot, but as far as I’m concerned, everything listed above is a feature, not a but. Sorry, I don’t want a pussified, nurturing, goody two-shoes. I want a hard-ass guy with guts who will tell nosy Euroweenies exactly where to go when they try to tell him what we should and should not do, and I want a President who will go after our enemies with everything we’ve got.

    The Newsweek article makes me feel a lot better about McCain as the President.

    rightwingprof (fbb932)

  13. sounds like a lot of people are being careful what they say about the Senator in order to keep their jobs. (or get one in the future).

    Mark_0454 (748816)

  14. This analysis makes McCain sound a lot like Bush. At least McC is smarter, and actually has experience.

    Comment by fishbane — 2/3/2008 @ 5:14 am

    Actually, people who have known Bush his whole life say he never had a bad word for anyone, even his enemies; he graduated in the middle (or higher) of his graduating classes from 2 Ivy League Schools plus had a higher IQ than John Kerry; and had both business and government executive experience,

    Other than his Navy command, McCain has no executive experience, graduated near the bottom of his class at Annapolis, and admits he doesn’t understand how the economy works. So I guess that makes you 0-3 with a partial credit for McCain’s Navy command experience.

    rightwingprof — I agree, that’s why Dick Cheney was such an asset and you saw how he was treated. I sure hope for our sake you’re right. My fear is that McCain is so addicted to media approval, that he’ll cave to the Dems and spend most of his time reaching across the aisle and less time thumping the UN and our enemies.

    capitano (03e5ec)

  15. #10, sorry, but President Bush does not have a temper. And one thing that is rarely told about him is that he has a great sense of humor around people he knows and works with.
    To equate McCain’s temper to anyone currently inside the Beltway is absurd. He is a opportunist who is getting a pass on having his personal life looked at and is trying to convince that because he fancies himself a “maverick” he is a conservative. He is far from conservative. Name on bill he has ever pushed that had another Republican as a sponsor.
    When John Kerry ran for POTUS, he had his swiftmates standing on the podium with him. Do you not find it odd that there are no former POWs from Vietnam, like Sam Johnson, barnstorming for McCain? Why is that? Why is no one looking at McCain’s record on POWs who were left behind in Vietnam and Laos?
    When was the last time that we saw left leaning media come out for a Republican? I think there is a method to that madness. The left MSM thinks McCain is the easiest to beat so they will hype him hoping he takes the nomination. Once he does, and we go into the general election season, they will dig up ever grain of dirt that has ever touched him; things like the fact that he cheated on his first wife who was wheel chair bound, how his kids did not talk to him for years over his divorcing their mother, how he latched onto a “poor” little rich girl and proceeded to file for divorce, marrying her in just a month after it was final, how his lackluster career took off like a rocket once he had his wife’s family’s financial support. Other things, as well, his temper, his “my way or the highway” attitude that will show he is not willing to work with others, his enemy list, and the “enemy” list that Drudge reports his wife holds.
    The MSM will, upon his nomination, unlease the attack dogs. In my mind, there is no way that McCain can win against Hillary/Obama. And unlike Romney, the MSM will have plenty of fodder to use against McCain.
    I have not been a Democrat since I switched parties to vote for Reagan. Obama scares the hell out of me. He lacks experience and if you ever listen to any of his stump speeches, he gives platitudes, not specifics, about what his term “change” actually means. Because he has none. So he will surround himself with “experts” that are like minded communalists. We will go down a road that will take generations to recover from. Hillary is calculating and will govern according to polls. If the polls on the war show that people are less uncomfortable with it, she will stick it out. She will not want to set up the ensuing genocide that will certainly be Iraq if we pull out. Not on her watch.

    Did anyone notice that yesterday, Obama, America’s #1 liberal senator, said that his immigration plan was in agreement with Senator McCain?

    That alone should be the kiss of death for McCain, but as long as there are those politicians, like Rudy and Lindsey (tell the racists to shut up) Graham running interference for McCain and the MSM pandering for him, he will continue to be the Republican Teflon Don.

    retire05 (e5f32f)

  16. Fleetingthoughts… Do you even know that you are talking about? You can thank Rumsfeld but the current state of affairs in Iraq WRT the military. He cherry picked Generals that went with how he wanted the war ran (with as little footprint as possible) and drummed out those that didn’t think it was a good strategy (i.e. Collin Powell)

    When it comes to future military technology there does not need to be any more incentive provided for our Military Industrial Complex. The military and many other agencies are putting good money over bad into technologies that will never go from research to acquisition (thank the House’s ear marks for tying the militaries hands just to benefit their own state).

    Romney though might be a good guy I don’t feel has what it takes to lead our country or our military.

    Naval Officer in Afghanistan (fb9a49)

  17. Fishbane’s comment has one echo of truth — McCain sounds like the mythological Bush the left has constructed in their minds.

    Rob Crawford (8578d9)

  18. “Naval Officer”, I think you don’t know what you are talking about. Rumsfeld did not “drum out” Colin Powell – Powell was not in the Defense dept but rather was Secretary of State. You also do not seem to understand what Rumsfeld was trying to do in terms of the reorganization of the military for future operations.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  19. The temper issue has always been my primary worry with McCain; I’ve previously talked about my concern over the Conryn dust-up.

    It’s a substantial problem, no question. McCain’s absolutely right about government spending, and no one else seems willing to talk about it realistically, which is very unfortunate. We’ll see how it goes from here.

    –JRM

    JRM (355c21)

  20. rightwingprof

    I like people who are hard-asses, too … as long as they have the ability to be hardasses with the right people.

    Cuffing around people that are ostensibly your friends, family and colleagues is an indication that you just don’t respect any opinion but your own.

    Darleen (187edc)

  21. #16, if you want to argue that Rumsfeld’s actions (leaving as small a footprint as possible) was wrong, fine. But remember, there are those forces here in the U.S. that do nothing but complain about the size of our footprint. Do you think they were silent in the runup to the war? And don’t use Colin Powell for your standard bearer, unless you chose to ignore the fact that he was fully aware who the PlameGame leaker was (Richard Armitage) and still allowed the administration to take the heat while he remained silent. You should also be aware, that while it has received little press, Powell is Obama’s foriegn policy guru. Or have you not noticed that Powell has been unusally quiet since that was revealed? So much for Powell being the Republcan standard bearer.
    I always thought that Rumsfeld inherited a military that had been downsized so badly that it was no longer able to show “right through might” and he had to take a military that was a half mil smaller than the day Bubba took over and make it “lean and mean”. Please, tell me how many uparmoured humvees there were and how many suits of body armour we had when Bubba left office with the furniture.
    The initial problem with Iraq, and still someone of a problem, was that there were JAG officers leaning over everyone’s shoulder during the first years. And too many lawyers will spoil the soup. When our military has to check with JAG after every mission, that is being overly cautious. We are there to win, and we are fighting a group of Islamists that have no use for rules.
    McCain had a right to disagree with Rumsfeld. But it was not disagreeing with Rumsfeld that was McCain’s goal, it was disagreeing with the POTUS through Rumsfeld that was McCain’s goal. Bush was the whipping boy and Rumsfeld was McCain’s stick.
    Where there mistakes made? Yes, but we didn’t exactly hit the ball out of the park in 42-43, either. Or do you not agree that all plans go to hell when the first shot is fired?

    retire05 (e5f32f)

  22. McCain’s head got messed in NAM

    You sound like a hippie. Been hanging around Berzerkly much?

    rightwingprof (fbb932)

  23. Obama says he and McCain share an “substantial overlap” on immigration.

    http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2008/02/obama-defends-d.html

    Any questions?

    retire05 (e5f32f)

  24. #21 I was surprised when I heard Bill Clinton apologize for the state of the military (when he left office) last week during an interview. You are right Bill basically gutted the military.

    However: We learned back in WWII, Korea, Vietnam and basically every other invasion and occupation in world history that the only way you can succeed over the long term is to have ample boots on the ground. Our technology gives is the force multiplier when it comes to strike and projection forward but it is extrealy limited in the ability to hold and work with a community.

    We went in with the Army we had at the time knowing full well that there was a need to ensure the Iraqi army needed to stay intact but Rummy didn’t make sure it happened. I place the initial failure of the war directly at his feet.

    Naval Officer in Afghanistan (fb9a49)

  25. #24 and the list of wars we have fought where we left the enemies army intact after defeat would be?

    retire05 (e5f32f)

  26. Naval Officer in Afghanistan,

    Thank you for your service and your insight. I have a question that I hope you can help me with.

    I think your point is important. However, I wonder how many future wars the US will be able to fight with the forces we have now. For instance, I don’t see how a big footprint approach would help America stop China when it invades Taiwan. The US would never have overwhelming force compared to the assets the Chinese have, plus the invasion would be over by the time the big-footprint US forces were mobilized.

    I’m no military expert but it seems to me that light, fast, small footprint actions are what the military of the future will be fighting and I don’t see how big-footprint US actions protect America from its asymmetrical enemies. Can you explain your views on this to me?

    DRJ (517d26)

  27. The blame for “gutting” the military needs to be shared with Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney. From Paul Wolfowitz’ interview with Vanity Fair in 2003:
    Q: Since you brought that up let me ask you something related to that. I’ve looked at the remarkable Defense Policy Guidance of 1992 —
    Wolfowitz: Wait a minute. Did you look at the guidance or did you look at the draft that was leaked before I saw it?
    Q: That’s a very good point. Actually all I saw were summaries of it. Is there a big discrepancy as to what was reported and what was in it?
    Wolfowitz: Yes. In short. At some point I guess it’s acquired such a life of its own I ought to go back and refresh my memory.
    But the way I remember it approximately is as follows. I gave a quite substantial briefing to Secretary Cheney and what was then called I guess the Defense Resources Board on a post-Cold War defense strategy, the essence of which was to shift from a strategy for being prepared to fight a global war, to being focused on two possible regional conflicts. And to downsize the U.S. military by some 40 percent.

    As I recall, one of the pieces of hysteria was the idea that this is a blueprint for a massive increase in U.S. defense spending, when in fact it was a blueprint for a 40 percent reduction in U.S. defense spending. It goes on from there.
    When we did a revised draft that in fact I had reviewed carefully, the State Department initially didn’t want us to put it out, I think because it was a little too much. Well, I don’t know why. They didn’t want us to put it out. I don’t want to speculate on motives. But in January of 1993 as we were about to leave, I said to Cheney don’t you think we should publish it? And he said yes, we should. So it’s available in the full text as the Regional Defense Strategy of January, 1993.

    Pat Buchanan’s “Republic Not an Empire” book spends its first chapter attacking the so-called Wolfowitz Memorandum.
    Q: Right, I know that book.
    Wolfowitz: And he laments the fact that these same Democratic senators who were attacking–in his view, appropriately attacking–the Wolfowitz Memorandum, had climbed on board the whole policy when it became Clinton’s policy in the mid 1990s. He’s correct in saying that what was considered by the New York Times to be such an outrageous document was U.S. consensus foreign policy, but during the Clinton Administration, not in this Administration. That is that these alliances needed to be retained, that NATO could be enlarged successfully, that we could downsize our military but we needed to retain a capability to deal with two major regional conflicts, which, by the way, is something that needed revision by the time I got back here. But it was the defense policy of the Clinton years, ironically.

    http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=2594

    ROA (8d9fdd)

  28. “Naval Officer”, I think your criticisms of Rumsfeld remain rather shallow. The idea that we should have kept the Iraqi army intact is an example of a very shallow criticism. Especially blaming that on Rumsfeld. The Iraqi army was seen as the tool of oppression on behalf of the Sunni minority by the Shiites, it was not trusted by our Shiite allies. It was going to have to be rebuilt from scratch in any event. And frankly, the Iraqi army disbanded itself spontaneously.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  29. McCain has been a Senator for 22 years. Where was he when Bubba was gutting the military after Republicans took control of both houses in 1994? Please, someone point out to me what this “maverick” did to stop Billyboy from decimating the military to balance his budget? Bills, speeches, co-sponsering bills? Anything?

    The media is in love with McCain and always has been because he was not a “conservattive’s” Republican. He has been smiling and panning to reporters since the day he got off the plane from Vietnam. But that love will end the day he takes the nomination and is the enemy against Hillary/Obama. Perhaps there is an upside to a McCain nomination. Will we finally be through with both him and Hillary?

    retire05 (e5f32f)

  30. There are a couple of mistakes here that are far enough out that I wonder about the motives of the folks making them. First McCain is NOT 77, for chrissakes! He was born the year before I was and I am still young and strong and won’t be 70 for three more weeks. Second, he has always had ex-POWs campaigning with him. I met Bud Day at a McCain rally in 2000 before the California primary. He has other former POWs at most of his events.

    We went in with the Army we had at the time knowing full well that there was a need to ensure the Iraqi army needed to stay intact but Rummy didn’t make sure it happened. I place the initial failure of the war directly at his feet.

    Sorry but Bremer made those decisions. Rumsfeld may have been too sanguine about the post-invasion situation but the State Department took over and f**ked up the situation badly in 2003-2004. Rumsfeld was trying to transform the military and was fought every inch of the way by the old Big Army generals. They are the same ones who have kept the C&GS school from incorporating Iraq lessons so that new students have been complaining.

    Mike K (86bddb)

  31. Mike K, and where is Sam Johnson? Is he with McCain? McCain is 71, did anyone dispute that? And while I don’t hold his age against him (as most seniors are smarter by the simple fact they have lived so long), the ones that want to point out Reagan’s age to help McCain I say “McCain is no Reagan” no matter how many times McCain invokes Reagan’s name in his ads.

    Sorry, if McLame is the nominee, I will do a write in for Fred Thompson.

    retire05 (e5f32f)

  32. There’s an interesting chart on Defense Spending as a Percentage of GDP at:

    http://www.heritage.org/Research/features/issues/charts/Defense/Defense1_l.gif

    JayHub (0a6237)

  33. Dear Dr. K.:

    Hey, don’t get in the way of the “Perceived Reality” that allows our conservative brothers and sisters to justify sitting out an election and handing things over to the Clintons again, or worse still, to the most liberal member of the Senate. They actually say…ah, overheated things like McCain will appoint judges just as liberal as Clinton, or that McCain is really a liberal (despite the ACU ratings).

    I’m no McCain fan, but he is light years better than Clinton II or Obama.

    On a more serious note, what disturbs me most about this is how people in this camp go looking for the most damaging information about McCain (and he does give them plenty of ammo), but then ignore completely how much worse the Democratic opponents are. That doesn’t seem important.

    I wouldn’t mind, if they were pushing for Romney. But too many of these individuals seem invested in a Republican defeat. Because it will teach us all a lesson, I guess.

    Too bad that strategy was tried in 1992. Too bad that Saint Ronald Reagan was a pragmatist, not a partisan. There is a new fictional history of conservatism that is at play here, and the facts are unimportant.

    I’m getting used to the idea of a Clinton II presidency. And such a victory will not be due to Democrats. It was, again, up to Republicans to win or lose. And the conservative wing would rather have HRC or Obama than McCain.

    We get the government we deserve, I guess. I can’t wait for the hue and cry over the Supreme Court nominees in 2009.

    Oh well.

    Eric Blair (37c188)

  34. DRJ

    Luckily I am pretty knowledgeable on the China v. Taiwan scenario. This would be a very heavy Naval battle with a focus on Anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and Strike warfare. There would be minimal of zero ground combat since the Chinese would have to project onto Taiwan with landing craft. This would be handled by the Taiwan Military and none of our ground forces. In a since we would be playing keep away.

    You would need a large ground force for continuing operations in Afghanistan possibly Iran or future operations in Central or South America.

    Naval Officer in Afghanistan (fb9a49)

  35. And before people get all hypergolic about Supreme court votes, please look up the facts:

    1. McCain voted FOR both Roberts and Alito.
    2. Obama and Clinton voted AGAINST both Roberts and Alito.

    Look up the ACU vote records, while you are it. You may not like how McCain is rated the past two years, but that record is MUCH less liberal than Clinton II, and Obama remains the most liberal person in the Senate.

    What, you are afraid that McCain will nominate another Souter to the high court, like GHW Bush did? Anyone look at Breyer and Ginsberg, whom WJ Clinton nominated? Does anyone seriously think that Clinton II or Obama will nominate justices less liberal than those two? Heck, Ginsberg used to work for the ACLU.

    But people can vote however they choose. I just don’t understand how it advances conservatism to hand an election to Clinton II or Obama. Again.

    To quote RW Reagan: “Would you rather have 50% of something, or 100% of nothing?” Heck, in this climate of the Middle East and of the Supreme Court, I would even take 25% of something over the 100% of what is facing us.

    But that is me. Just one last thing: my parents voted for Perot in ’92 because of how much they detested how the RNC was betraying conservatism by nominating GHW Bush. How much GHW Bush was betraying conservative ideals. I begged them not to do so. But they had to, and I quote, vote their “conscience.”

    The result was putting Clinton I in office with less than 50% of the vote. And you know the rest. Notice that the RNC didn’t change their tune. The liberals got stronger, not weaker.

    My parents don’t like McCain, but if he is the nominee, they will vote for him—because the alternative is NOT the same. It is far, far worse.

    I remember my Santayana, but I pray I am wrong.

    Eric Blair (37c188)

  36. Naval Officer,

    Thank you for your response. It sounds like you believe large ground forces will be needed in many parts of the world, but not necessarily in Taiwan — so perhaps counter-insurgency tactics and the light footprint approach is appropriate in some venues.

    Thus, the next question is obviously: Do you think we need a larger standing army and, if so, how do you think we should do that? A recent report suggests the US may recruit in foreign countries. What is your opinion of that option?

    Finally, I’m also interested in why you think Romney is a bad choice.

    DRJ (517d26)

  37. DRJ,

    The briefs that I have heard state that we need more “end strength” for COIN (Counter insurgency) operations.

    These extra “boots on the ground” help to provide a safer and more secure environment which builds trust. The trust between the local government, citizens and our forces (in addition to host nation forces) yields better intel about possible insurgent activity.

    I feel that the missing part of the equation with the success of the military surge is a lack of a state department surge. I think this is coming though.

    Last note: I supported John McCain back in 2000 and before I was recalled back to active duty in November I and many veteran volunteers had the opportunity to talk and listen to him while his campaign was in the doldrums.

    What is important to me is a the ability to reach across the aisle, a stronger military, military service, lower taxes, taking earmarks and those that write them to task, less government, and a cleaner environment.

    Naval Officer in Afghanistan (fb9a49)

  38. Naval Officer,

    I agree with you about the State Department.

    In addition, there is another commenter here, voiceofreason2, who was in the Air Force and has expressed similar concerns about the military. VOR2, if you are reading, what do you think?

    DRJ (517d26)

  39. Ah yes, Shinseki, the very conventional artillery man proferred because the Clinton’s lead choice for Chief of Staff, wore out his welcome because of Kosovo. The ‘optional war’ that Clinton waged not long after receiving the December ’98 PDB; the first ‘Osama planning to strike the US’ one. General Schoomaker, a charter Special forces operator in Colombia, Iran, Somalia, et al; who knew more about uncoventional forces than most officers at the staff level; was the replacement. Putting 250,000 to 400,000 troops in Iraq (had we
    been able to spare them from Afghan, Bosnia,Korea,
    et al) would have likely lead two two or three times as many casualties, more overextended Nat. Guard units, more vulnerable supply lines(the Jessica Lynch example)and an even greater sense of occupation. An infantry intensive force, was one of the debates between Franks, and the late Gen. Downing; whose experience operating with irregular forces, with CORDS/Phoenix impressed his view of the supremacy of Special Forces. It would have been a Zinni, is one of those who cry betrayal, yet his tenure at Centcom; re; the issues of Saddam and AQ, don’t exactly inspire confidence. As does theperformance of Gens Hoar,
    (CentCom Chief during the Khobar and Riyadh bombings, McPeak(currently an Obama advisor)CAIR favorite and congressman fmr. Adm. Joseph Sestak,

    On the otherhand, it’s unlikely our flair-up with China will be over Taiwan; the respect for
    democracy notwithstanding. It will probably be over the ‘Stans, which border the Moslem dominant Uighur region of Zinjiang province.

    narciso (c36902)

  40. “there were so many negative aspects of McCain’s character addressed in the article that I’ve decided to chronicle them here.”

    All these negatives are about his temper. They are all one negative broken up into several paragraphs. Is that all you have on the guy?

    I want someone who can beat Hillary and Obama. I don’t want them in the White House. I don’t care if the candidate is a DINO, RINO, or what. I don’t care about keeping the Republican party pure. I care about our foreign policy over the next 4 years.

    Yehudit (76fdb9)

  41. People who knew Dubya said the same things as the first three points but were drowned out by people wanted a break from the Clintons. Putting fire-crackers in toads anyone? Making fun of executing Christians?

    People could overlook McCain’s flaws for the same reason again – Clinton avoidance syndrome.

    Gary D (a6202b)


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