It's not exactly breaking news that more than any other politician, John McCain is identified with the Iraq War. He has never disguised his support for "regime change"--and he was among those who early on assured the rest of us that we would be welcomed there as liberators. In fact, McCain has been in Iraq this week, no doubt on the political offensive with Dick Cheney, both of them looking for ways to keep the upbeat narrative in high gear and scoping out ways to deflect all possible arguments to disentangle. For McCain (as for Cheney), the occupation of Iraq is not just about "winning"; it is also about turning Iraq into a regional base for extending U.S. influence throughout the region. Iraq is only the first step in redrawing the whole map of the Middle East.
What this actually means (which I, for one, did not know) is that John McCain, (reported on by Robert Dreyfuss in The Nation), is a full-fledged, card-carrying member of the neoconservative group whose "rollback rogue state" agenda is what got us into this unholy mess in the first place.
Maybe you thought McCain was just a hard-headed, tough old war hero with a penchant for singing "Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran" in forced jest, someone who enjoys ranting on and on about "the transcendent challenge of our time" being "radical lslamic extremism." My friends, the real truth is much worse: John McCain believes (according to Ivo Daalder of the Brookings Institution), in a way that George Bush never did, in the use of military power above all, to change the world in America's image.
Dreyfuss writes that to combat radical Islamic extremism, McCain is drawing up plans for a new set of global institutions--from a potent covert operations unit to a "League of Democracies" that can bypass the United Nations. It's a new apparatus designed to carry the "war on terror" deep into the twenty-first century. The undisguised intention of these new institutions is to facilitate and legitimize an unencumbered interventionist foreign policy for the U.S. when the U.N. Security Council won't authorize force. Consider, in this regard, the words of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when he was visiting Iraq a few weeks ago: "Is it not funny that those with 160,000 forces in Iraq accuse us of interference?"
You do the math. McCain really isn't kidding when he says, "I'm sorry to tell you, there's going to be other wars. We will never surrender, but there will be other wars." The prolonged occupation of multiple Muslim countries with a view to making them democratic will be a big part of his agenda if he is elected President.
Meanwhile as the U.S. economy lurches toward collapse, let's remember the words of that other great master of the art of war, Clauswitz: "A war that destroys the world economy is not a war worth fighting."
I intended to end my blog here, but then Barack Obama gave his big-deal, set-the-record-straight speech today. I didn't hear it, but just from reading some of the intense responses, I'd say it must have been a MASTERPIECE. Just reading ABOUT IT made me cry. Here, for example, is one response, by Chris Durang, lifted from the HuffPost a little while ago:
"The Reverend Wright homilies were very disturbing, no question.
I thought Barack Obama's speech, which finished just minutes ago, was brilliant, nuanced, healing and shows him to be incredibly worthy as a candidate. I hope America is interested enough in progress to embrace this man. We would be lucky, very lucky, to have him as a president. If you didn't see the speech, please seek it out.
His speech was brave, and touched on the minister and race in general with real wisdom, and hope for healing. He condemned the minister's words again; but he explained what he valued in him, and you have to be rigid and unbending not to understand what he said (and which he compared to his white grandmother, whom he loves greatly, but who sometimes has made racially divisive comments). He spoke of whites with racial resentments with empathy, and kept moving on to the need to find progress for all. (And his anti-corporation thoughts are pretty relevant, I'd say, right now? Are you sick of having your money disappear in value due to banks and financial houses using the money they invest as insane, addictive gambling adventures; and when the games then blow up in all our faces, the people who did the unwise gambling for short term profits then get 100 million dollar "parachutes"? Are we sick of that yet?)
"I'm sorry -- I don't often get moved and inspired listening to a speaker. I think Barack Obama is brilliant, and he is a genuine healer. If we don't take our chances with him, we are doomed to more of this endless, idiot, non-constructive bickering deadlock that passes for governance in our stuck, stalled political landscape."
Ditto Io, as they say in the old country (what I think, too). America has run out of gas, in more ways than one. We are headed for an evolutionary crash. Only a skyblue juggler with five red balls can shake our gravity up and (maybe) help us forward now. Go, Barack! We would be lucky, very lucky, to have you as a president.