John McCain: Maverick Man Who Thinks War With Iran Inevitable


mccain bush hug twn.jpg
There’s so much tension in the air now as we trip into tomorrow that folks are forgetting to laugh a bit about the sillier part of elections.
I kind of liked this montage that Media Matters put together on McCain — but I also think it’s a little substantively off target. But for a good chuckle, watch this:

Darn it. . .I am one of those who thinks that John McCain is a maverick. Sometimes he bucks my way, sometimes towards the evangelicals, sometimes towards the realists, and sometimes towards the neoconservatives.
According to National Interest Senior Editor Ximena Ortiz in her just out piece, “Inside Track: Deconstructing McCain“:

McCain has earned a reputation as a maverick and independent thinker due to his support of legislation on the environment, banning the use of torture on detainees, granting amnesty to illegal immigrants, and reforming campaign finance laws and opposing a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
That would leave him well poised to win over the much-coveted moderate and independent voters in a general election, should he win his party’s nomination. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger cited such initiative in endorsing McCain. “There are people out there that talk about reaching across the aisle, but [McCain] has shown the action over and over again,” he said. McCain has also distinguished himself through his honorable service, involving much sacrifice, to his country during the Vietnam War.

Ortiz neglects to mention McCain’s strong support of stem cell research in her list, but it’s a good roster over all of McCain’s marquee efforts that reach across party lines. I have lauded McCain for these.
But the Iraq War is a big dividing line. McCain is for it and perhaps even widening the theater of conflict — and doesn’t see Iraq as I do as the largest single strategic catastrophe that America has embarked on in decades if not the last century.
Ximena Ortiz then changes course and relentlessly pounds McCain for not only the war but other revisionism the campaign has engaged in regarding his own policy positions.
But on the subject of America’s Middle East conflicts present and future, she writes about Senator McCain:

On Iran and its nuclear program, McCain has been so flippantly bellicose — singing “Bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran” to the Beach Boys tune — that some conservatives have warned that a President McCain would take America to war with Iran.
McCain last Sunday said: “There’s going to be other wars. . . . I’m sorry to tell you, there’s going to be other wars. We will never surrender but there will be other wars.”
Presumably, McCain was suggesting his view that a war with Iran was inevitable. When asked by Joe Scarborough about McCain’s statement, Pat Buchanan replied: “That is straight talk. . . . You get John McCain in the White House, and I do believe we will be at war with Iran.” Buchanan said, “That’s one of the things that makes me very nervous about him,” adding, “There’s no doubt John McCain is going to be a war president. . . . His whole career is wrapped up in the military, national security. He’s in Putin’s face, he’s threatening the Iranians, we’re going to be in Iraq a hundred years.”
But if McCain’s strategic vision is to strike Iran militarily, he has not explained how that might be achieved without further endangering the already failing U.S. mission next door in Iraq, which he also believes in continuing without a timetable.

McCain’s framing of the Iraq War and the inevitability of a war with Iran feels like someone who has not gotten beyond Vietnam — and whose intellectual prism on the issue is shaped by the view that America took a wrong course when it finally took steps to end its proxy wars in Southeast Asia.
America has had enough of fighting old wars. George W. Bush fought a war with Iraq that was in part motivated by some in his administration who felt the job was not finished during the tenure of Bush’s father. Fighting a new round of wars in the Middle East through a Vietnam-fashioned framework of scores to settle is incredibly wrong-headed.
I’ve admired Senator McCain for many of his maverick positions and will continue to do so — but hugging the Iraq War and essentially calling for more as an election tactic — undermines America’s interests and American global credibility.
— Steve Clemons


17 comments on “John McCain: Maverick Man Who Thinks War With Iran Inevitable

  1. Bartman says:

    “McCain’s framing of the Iraq War and the inevitability of a war with Iran feels like someone who has not gotten beyond Vietnam”
    Amen. Nor has he seemed to have moved past his war experience. In the words of Howard Dean’s foes some years back, McCain is “bitter, angry”


  2. bob h says:

    When does Mr. Straight Talk go to the troops and tell them that 3 tours in Iraq are not enough, that 6 or 7 at a minimum will be necessary, since he proposes staying there at least 50 years. When does he tell their families?


  3. Carroll says:

    Anyone but McCain please. Just listening to and watching him over the years I think he has as many ego and mental problems as Bush.
    I do think he is trying to redo Vietnam in some way. And it’s not entirely about proving something about America winning a war we lost in Vietnam, it’s personal with him, about his own self.
    I have theorized about McCain’s experience with personal powerlessness during his POW years and see in him the same sort of mentality we see in the Jewish neo’s and their obsession with having the power to strike out, strike back, at any and everything to make up for their history and feelings of being powerless victims.
    Whatever it is in McCain the last thing we need is another president using the WH and the country to exorcise his own personal demons or to prove something about himself.


  4. kotzabasis says:

    The war in Iraq will prove to be the PERSONAL “strategic” catastrophe for Clemons than ‘the largest single strategic catastrophe that America has embarked on in decades…”. Since the war against the insurgents and al Qaeda is being won by the imaginative strategy of General Petraeus, and is opening the way to the defeat of global terror as a result of the strong and unflagging resolve of America’s political leadership.
    And McCain will be another another link to this unbreakable chain of resolve and imaginative leadership.


  5. Jim says:

    **This is not the work of massive US military forces occupying hostile muslim lands. Rather it is the work of covert and special operations missions hunting, capturing, and/or killing every jihadists mass murderer and all those who aid and abet them on the planet.**
    The Dems need to start pointing this out, that McCain is fighting the wrong war. Not the candidates, but big name surrogates. Biden, Kerry, Brezinski, etc.


  6. memekiller says:

    Uh… isn’t this what Bush sent around SC to swiftboat McCain?
    I think there’s plenty of of actual reasons not to vote for McCain, thank you very much. Unlike Bush, we don’t need to make up reasons.


  7. arthurdecco says:

    Whew, Mr. Morrow!
    With all due respect, you need to adjust your meds.
    …Or start writing film treatments for Hollywood.


  8. Robert Morrow says:

    From Action Jack Wheeler, Republican insider:
    Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler
    Thursday, 31 January 2008
    The number of fellow Senators who think John McCain is psychologically unstable is large. Some will admit it publicly, like Thad Cochran who says, “The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine.”
    Others relate times when McCain screamed four-letter obscenities right in their faces in the Senate cloak room, like Dick Shelby, Rick Santorum, or Jim Inhofe. “The man is unhinged,” one Senator told me. “He is frighteningly unfit to be Commander-in-Chief.”
    That John McCain is clinically nuts is scary enough. What worries a small group of GOP Senators and Congressmen even more is a deep and dark skeletal secret in McCain’s glorified past to which they are privy, and which the Clintons will use to blackmail him.
    They have been having discussions with a Russian whom we’ll call “T” for Translator. T’s father was the Soviet military intelligence officer who ran the “Hanoi Hilton” prison holding captured Americans during the Vietnam War. One of those prisoners was John McCain.
    The GRU — Glavnoje Razvedyvatel’noje Upravlenije or Main Intelligence Directorate of the Soviet (now Russian) Armed Forces – operated the entire North Vietnamese prison system holding American prisoners of war. GRU officers, all of whom were Russians, oversaw the interrogation of every American POW.
    The interrogations themselves were conducted by Vietnamese who spoke some English. After each interrogation session, which could often include torturing the prisoners at the direction of the GRU officers, the Vietnamese interrogator would write a report of the session – in Vietnamese.
    These reports had to be translated into Russian. T, a bright teenager living in the GRU compound in Hanoi, had become fluent in Vietnamese, and ended up translating many of the reports and interrogators’ notes.
    John McCain, flying his A-4 Skyhawk, was shot down over Hanoi on October 26, 1967. Badly injured from the ejection, he was beaten and abused by his captors. In July, 1968, his father, US Navy Admiral J. S. McCain, was made CINCPAC, Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Command, commander of all US military forces in the Vietnam theatre. Upon learning this, the Vietnamese offered – according to McCain – to release him.
    McCain claims he refused, because he demanded all American POWs captured before him be released as well. He thus remained a prisoner when he could have gone home, and was subjected to constant brutal beatings and torture for years: that is the source of the “war-hero” saga making McCain a greater war-hero than any other American POW.
    Yet the offer of release would had to have been approved by the GRU overseers of the North Vietnamese – and T does not recall any such offer being made. T admits, however, that this took place before McCain was transferred to Hoa Loa prison, nicknamed the “Hanoi Hilton” by the POWs. T had only direct knowledge of what happened at Hoa Loa, and not the other prisons, where T’s father was in charge.
    McCain was kept at the Hanoi Hilton from December 1969 until his release, along with all the remaining POWs, in March of 1973. During this time, T translated all the Vietnamese interrogators’ notes and reports regarding John McCain.
    According to T, they reveal that McCain had made an “accommodation” with his captors, and in exchange, T’s father saw that he was provided with an apartment in Hanoi and the services of two prostitutes. Upon returning to his prison cell, he would say he had been held in solitary confinement. That may be why so many of his fellow prisoners said later they saw so little of him at Hoa Loa.
    The notes and reports written in Vietnamese were sent to Moscow, where T was a now a college student, for T’s translation into Russian, then placed into GRU archives. That’s where they stayed until 1991. Late that year, as the Soviet Union was collapsing, the CIA and the GRU made a deal for a document swap.
    All of what it involved, T doesn’t know. What T’s father, by now retired but still with substantial contacts within the GRU, did learn (and thus T learned) was that the swap included all of T’s translations.
    In other words, the CIA has in its possession the notes and reports of John McCain’s interrogators at the Hanoi Hilton, in both the original Vietnamese and translated Russian, showing collaboration with his Communist captors.
    Allegations of this nature have been made over the years, many by Vietnam veterans. There is an even an organization, Vietnam Veterans Against McCain. But they are based on suspicions and circumstantial claims. There has never been any hard direct evidence.
    What T says the CIA has is such evidence. Its release would destroy McCain. The threat of its release could force McCain to take a fall, blow the election and lose on purpose. And just who do you suppose would know what the CIA has and work with them to release it?
    Someone who has been a CIA asset since he was recruited by London station chief Cord Meyer while a student at Oxford in 1968?
    (Back in the 90s years after he retired, if Cord drank a little too much Scotch, he would laugh derisively at those conspiratorialists who accused Bill Clinton of being connected with the KGB.
    “They all darkly point to Bill’s participation in anti-war peace conferences in Stockholm and Oslo, and his trip to Leningrad, Moscow, and Prague while he was at Oxford. ‘Who could have paid for this?’, they ask. ‘It had to be the KGB!’ they claim.” Cord would shake his head. “What rot – we paid for it. We recruited Bill the first week he was at Oxford. Bill’s been an asset of The Three Bad Words ever since.” Cord passed on in 2001.)
    The small group of Senators and Congressmen who have been briefed by T have been unable to confirm with the CIA any details of its document swap with the GRU beyond an admission that such a swap “may have happened.” They are very nervous about pursuing the matter any further.
    The Clintons are not nervous. They are utterly ruthless, and have buddies at Langley all too happy to help them.
    It has been noted many times here in To The Point that while most folks think the CIA is a right-wing outfit, it is not. The CIA has been dominated by left-wing hyper-liberals for years.
    The CIA is a left-wing, liberal outfit, and its main job for some time now is not attacking America’s enemies but conservatives in general and George W. Bush in particular. The story is best told by friend, Ken Timmerman in his new book Shadow Warriors.
    When the time is right, the Clintons will see to the leaking of the GRU archives on McCain to the media. Bet on it, just as you can bet they’ll follow it up with media disclosures of the lady lobbyists in Washington having adulterous affairs with McCain. (There are at least three of them; I know the name of one but I’m not going to put it in writing.)
    Maybe McCain will try to fight back by confirming Hillary’s well-known bisexuality and her lesbian affair with her beautiful assistant, Huma Abedin. Google “Hillary” and “Huma Abedin” and you’ll get almost 6,000 hits. Turns out Huma is a Moslem who grew up in Saudi Arabia and is strongly suspected of working for Saudi intelligence.
    Or maybe he’ll capitulate to Clinton blackmail. You never can tell what a psychologically unstable guy will do.
    And that last point is why – be prepared for this, folks – I would not in any circumstances vote for John McCain, not if either Hillary or Obama were the alternative. Evil is safer than crazy. Leftie amateur inexperience is safer than crazy. So I agree with Ann Coulter who says:
    “I’d rather deal with President Hillary than with President McCain. With Hillary, we’ll get the same ruinous liberal policies with none of the responsibility.”
    How in the world can the Republican Party get saddled with a nutcase whack-job who knows nothing about economics, is so anti-capitalist he uses “profit” as a term of derision, has never run a business or had any job outside of government, will raise taxes, is so stupid that he believes “stopping global warming” is worth destroying the American economy, won’t drill ANWR, won’t appoint strict constructionist justices, won’t protect marriage, will give amnesty to 20 million illegal aliens, is beloved by the New York Times, and lives in a delusionary world of vanity and rage?
    Rush is right. A McCain presidency will be the destruction of the Republican Party. It needs to be rebuilt, not wiped out with the field clear for the fascists of the left to consolidate power and eliminate freedom.
    And maybe the only way to rebuild it is in dedicated impassioned opposition to a Clinton White House. That should be the subject of Ann Coulter’s next book. I’ve already got the title for her. Her last book was If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans.
    Ann needs to now write this book: If Republicans Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans.
    [A Yogi Berra note. There still is a chance for Romney, the last remaining hope. If he can win enough delegates on Super Tuesday next week, combined with Huckabee winning Georgia and other southern states, it may still be possible for McCain to end up with only a plurality of delegates, not a majority, at the end of primary season. An open convention is still possible, during which Republicans could come to their senses. It’s not over until it’s over.]


  9. memekiller says:

    Another question: even if you do like McCain, what Republicans would independents like to see in his administration?
    He HAS to make Leiberman his VP.


  10. Joe M. says:

    I am constantly amazed that no one ever mentions that McCain was one of the “Keating 5”. That was no small issue. McCain was officially bought out by one of the most destructive financial criminals of the century, but no commentator seems to care. Further, he simply blows off the accusation by saying he was cleared by the ethics committee, but this is not enough. At the very very least, it shows his extremely poor judgment, if not outright corruption. Maybe that is why he has been more serious about issues like earmarks, but I would like him to admit it. John Edwards would admit the crime of his voting for the war, and repent. McCain does not repent for being paid off by the man most responsible for the S&L crisis.


  11. memekiller says:

    Just this century? When did we screw up like this in the 1800s?


  12. TonyForesta says:

    True that Dennis. I like Hillary, and she would have my support against anyone the otherside hoists upon us, – but she is way too close to the Bush government on Iraq, and other warmaking issues, and on spying on Americans.
    America does have enemies. There are jihadists freaks and perverts lavishly funded and nutured by the Bush government “good friends” in Saudi Arabia, who will – (if they have the means) execute the WMD sequel to 9/11 on an American or European megalopolis. The point is these fiends are not going to be defeated with massive US land forces roaming the streats of muslim nations like legionaires. This fruitless and impotent policy is a monumental waste of the worlds hypersuperior military, and the peoples blood, treasure, and credibility.
    America must defang and ultimately destroy the jihadists mass murderers, and their jihadist mass murderers gangs, and funding networks. This is not the work of massive US military forces occupying hostile muslim lands. Rather it is the work of covert and special operations missions hunting, capturing, and/or killing every jihadists mass murderer and all those who aid and abet them on the planet.
    Subtract billions of our petro dollars funnelled through Saudi Arabia lavishly funding and nurturing the all jihadist mass gangs, and our enemies are reduced to packs of perveted and freakish cave men throwing stones. The jihadist will be no threat without funding.
    Allow the Saudi funding and nurturing of jihadists mass murder gangs to continue however, (which is exactly what the fascists in the Bush government have done) and America is doomed to suffer another 9/11likeevent, most likely involving either bugs, chem, radiological, or nuclear devises.
    Our valiant soldiers roaming the streets of foriegn lands like legionaires, policing a civil wars, or defending the marauding of that nations resources is the worst and most impotent and fruitless possible use of our military. When you add in the gargantuan costs of this effort, none of which is accounted for by the fascists in the Bush government, or the McCain camp – it is a recipe for the certain destruction of what little remains of America.
    Neverendingwar is NOT what America needs, wants, or can afford.


  13. Dennis says:

    This nation needs a president who is going to keep this country out of war if at all possible. John McCain is not that one.
    Neither is Hillary.
    You don’t have to be a blind conservative not to see it, just an ignorant one to deny it.


  14. arthurdecco says:

    All you will ever need to know about “Senator McCain for President” is in evidence in the photo you’ve used to introduce this piece, Mr. Clemons. (Could that have been intentional?)
    The eyes-closed, fervent, almost pornographic embrace, (Where’s his right hand exactly?) that McCain gives this monster – this monster, the sole beneficiary of an indescribably vicious whisper campaign against McCain’s family during South Carolina’s primary. Didn’t Bush use that sadistic rape of McCain’s private life to destroy his run for President? And this is how the whipped and wounded little pup responded… Oh dear.
    Doesn’t he look like a trembling, tearful, confused and abused little pup caught rubbing up against the leg of the alpha dog, seconds after uncontrollably ejaculating, just minutes after having been snarled at and beaten down?
    The combination of obsequious fawning and reverence on display in this embrace, whether he faked it or not, is an indicator of his moral and mental health.
    The last thing America needs now is their second bat-shit-crazy President in a row. How could you survive that? …As a collective, I mean?


  15. TonyForesta says:

    The inevitability of neverendingwar is the problem. Iran, Syria, Venzuela, some proxy of Russia, on top of a hundred year committment to Iraq, and that other forgotten war in Afghanistan. McCain may be a maverick, but he is also a warmonger. When pressed on what costs in blood, treasure, and lost credibility Americans will pay for decades with all this warring, McCain is silent.
    The silence is even more deafening when McCain is asked what exactly would define victory in Iraq, or Iran, and when and how would these neverendingwars end. That silence and the apathy and complicity of the socalled MSM for not bringing these pertinent questions to light, is the danger a McCain presidency hoist on America. McCain policies would mirror and perpetuate the tyranny and wanton profiteering of the fascists in the Bush government.
    And don’t feed me that gibberish regarding the waronterror. The jihadists will be defeated when we cut off the funding and nurturing of jihadist mass murderers by Saudi Arabia, and hunt, capture, or kill every jihadist and all those who aid and bet them on the planet.
    These missions will be covert and special operations, utilizing all the brilliant hypersuperior goodies in the American toolshed. Our assets must look, act, and speak like our enemies infiltrate their cells, mark targets, and destroy them. Hurling huge land forces and all the necessary logistics support, and private military industry contractors is a monumental waste of the peoples blood, treasure, and credibility, and an impotent and fruitless use of the worlds hypersuperior military.
    A vote for McCain is a vote for a perpetuation of the tyranny, warmaking, wanton profiteering, and bloody costly fruitless warmaking of the fascists in the Bush government.
    “Deliver us from evil!”


  16. Jim says:

    adding…. The one thing I disagree with your post is that this is an election tactic. I think the only thing McCain deeply believes in is war. God help me, I agree with Pat Buchanan.


  17. Jim says:

    McCain’s framing of the Iraq War and the inevitability of a war with Iran feels like someone who has not gotten beyond Vietnam
    Exactly. He’s also the man who swore to stop the Bush Torture Authorization Act (MCA) even if it cost him the presidency.
    Then he voted for it. Dragged poor old John Warner with him.
    Besides the fact that his independence and maverickosity is grossly exaggerated, he’s dangerous precisely because of whatever it is about him that makes most people go gooey (fell for it myself back in the spring of 2000) would make it easier for him to sell a war in Iran than it would be for Bush.


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