Monday, January 08, 2007

John McCain is Not Courageous. John McCain is an Asshole.

(And a lying, unprincipled, opportunistic asshole, at that.)

In an editorial published Sunday, Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post tiptoes around endorsing or rejecting an escalation of the Iraq war, but makes sure to heap a little inside the beltway praise on two of the chief advocates for more war:

Those who have been arguing for the move -- notably, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) -- say the purpose would be to pacify those sectors of Baghdad where sectarian fighting has been most intense. They argue that the main U.S. goal in Iraq, which is to forge a stable and sustainable government, can't be achieved unless there is a minimal level of security in the capital. The Iraqi army isn't yet able to impose order, they say; if the United States doesn't do it, the sectarian warfare will continue to escalate. Without a surge, Mr. McCain and Mr. Lieberman warn, the war will be lost.

This is a serious argument, and the two senators have been principled and even courageous in making it.

Note to Fred: Making war is serious; the argument is not. Without dissecting the fine points of what passes for a stable and sustainable government these days, the simple assertion that “the war will be lost” shows how un-serious this pie-in-the-sky argument is. The war is lost, and no amount of clapping by Hiatt, the two senators, or any of the other tinkerbellistas is going to change that bloody and deeply depressing truth.

But, further, and even more to the point, McCain and his mini-me, Lieberman, are neither principled nor courageous for enabling the warmongering Bush Administration and its neo-con friends. Aside from the certainty that escalation will win nothing but more war dead, McCain’s advocacy is designed to distract us from his earlier (and horribly wrong) prognostications (and his current lies about them), and to position him for his 2008 presidential campaign.

As McCain claimed with assholish audacity last Thursday on MSNBC,

When I voted to support this war, I knew it was probably going to be long and hard and tough, and those that voted for it and thought that somehow it was going to be some kind of an easy task, then I’m sorry they were mistaken. Maybe they didn’t know what they were voting for.

The problem, of course, with McCain’s “serious” admonition is that it ignores his very own predictions made during the run-up to the Iraq war.

It is here where the “stupid” part of McCain’s assholedom comes into play. As I find myself asking all too often these days, haven’t these guys heard of the Internet? While it has never been acceptable to lie, it has become intensely hard to get away with it. Out there, in the vast world wide interwebtubes, lie records of practically everything ever publicly uttered by public figures, and out there using the vast world wide interwebtubes are hundreds if not thousands of people all too happy to take the time to ferret out those records.

In this case, it is the good folks at Think Progress that have assembled some of the Arizona Asshole’s choicest prognostications:

“Because I know that as successful as I believe we will be, and I believe that the success will be fairly easy, we will still lose some American young men or women.” [CNN, 9/24/02]

We’re not going to get into house-to-house fighting in Baghdad. We may have to take out buildings, but we’re not going to have a bloodletting of trading American bodies for Iraqi bodies.” [CNN, 9/29/02]

“But the point is that, one, we will win this conflict. We will win it easily.” [MSNBC, 1/22/03]

Surely, there is little principled about pretending that you knew it would be a costly battle when, just a few years earlier, you were one of fiercest fire eaters, fanning the flames of war while claiming what a cheap and easy fight it would be.

Just as there is little courageous about using the lives of American troops and Iraqi citizens as political cover while you try to carefully court the right wing of the Republican party while still distancing yourself from President Bush’s disastrous policies. As Glenn Greenwald writes:

He obviously can't advocate withdrawal or say that he changed his mind about the wisdom of the war. Doing that would immediately doom his primary chances in the still-war-crazed GOP. But he also cannot simply attach himself to Bush's conduct of the war because the war is now almost universally recognized as a failure. So affirming the idea of the war while appearing to object only to its execution -- and, specifically, objecting to its insufficiently aggressive execution -- is the only politically viable option McCain has.

Maybe this opportunistic approach by McCain is seen as courageous by Hiatt because it so closely resembles his own unprincipled stance: pretending to be “serious” about the war, while continuing to kiss up to the power elite that have engineered the reaping of its horrific spoils. Just as McCain won’t admit his previous miscalculations, the WaPo editorial board has never fully owned up to its own warmongering and noblesse oblige.

If Hiatt did face up to his own faulty logic, maybe then he could recognize what an unprincipled, opportunistic, and uncourageous asshole McCain really is—or maybe he needs Greenwald to spell it out for him:

If McCain were to acknowledge that he was wrong about the war in Iraq, that would be principled and courageous. If he were to advocate a troop withdrawal, that would be as well. Those positions would result in great political costs for McCain, and taking action even knowing that you will suffer harm is virtually the definition of a "courageous" act.

But McCain suffers no harm from advocating increased troops. It is the only chance he has for preventing this horrendous war from dooming his presidential campaign before it even begins. That doesn't prove that McCain is wrong in his arguments. But it does prove that there is nothing "courageous" about voicing them. It's the only choice he has.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right, he is an asshole

This is coming from Australia, if you guys don't vote democrat this year, the world is going to give up on you.

P.S. He recently said GTA IV was a crime against God. I guess he can easily advocate real wars with no meaning where young people go and die but a videogame, wow, what a sin against God.

9:39 AM  
Anonymous shari said...

Please visit

If you guys in Australia would open up the immigration a little, we could get the F out of here.

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I'm in Australia too and I think McCain is an asshole too. His campaign's a joke. His running mate is a cold blooded bitch.

He may be a hero once, now he's a corrupted politician who doesn't know when to quit.

12:13 PM  

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