Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Myth of McCain as a Military Genius

There's a certain Mythos that has attached to John McCain regarding his expertise in National Security-Military-Foreign Policy matters.

Its foundation rests on two blocks of concrete, in the public's mind:

1. His father retired from the US Navy as a four star Admiral who served as CINCPAC during the VietWar; his grandfather also retired from the US Navy with the ranks of four star Admiral. Those are facts, and make for a fine family history.
John McCain himself did not achieve the rank of four star Admiral in the US Navy, however. And, second;
2. John McCain was held by the Viets as a POW for something like 5 years and certainly underwent serious physical and mental abuse by his captors. He suffered those abuses in the service of his country.
That is a fact, and it cannot be taken away from him.

He has stressed his military service during his political career, and does so now. His bravery and general toughness is beyond question...the guy's no wimp.

But now he is being called upon to transcend physical bravery and demonstrate to the voting public that he has the intellectual skills required on a president, a Commander in Chief, a rank even his distinguished father and grandfather did not achieve.

Candidate McCain is not doing a very persuasive job of demonstrating the deep thinking required of a president, nor of a four star Admiral, for that matter. The campaign is exposing his confusion and superficial understanding of the politico-military issues facing the United States in Iraq and elsewhere. Only the most partisan of Republicans could argue that McCain has thus-far displayed the intellect, the nuanced thought, required of a president.

His Democrat opponent merely has to stand aside and let McCain speak. As the words flow from his mouth, his status as a national security diminish, word-by-simplistic-inaccurate-word.

I'd still like to see Obama pick Biden or Ret. four star Admiral Falon as his running mate, more for Barack's own good than anything else.

But McCain is killing himself softly, with his own words.

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