The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Monday, February 04, 2008

An Open Plea to those who think John McCain would make the best Wartime Commander in Chief...Read This Before Voting

I hope Andrew McCarthy will forgive me for quoting liberally from his superb piece on National Review Online, but--if he is anywhere close to being as alarmed about a McCain candidacy as I am--I think he would want as many people as humanly possible to have access to this one.

McCarthy discusses a number of disturbing things about McCain in the piece, but just for tonight I am going to focus on something other than McCain's Socialist domestic agenda: if you are thinking of voting for John McCain strictly because you think he would be the best remaining candidate to prosecute the worldwide War on Radical Islam--then you need to read this before you cast a vote based on that mistaken notion:
The senator is portrayed as the GOP field’s only ready-for-prime-time commander-in-chief. Surely, we are told, this is what matters most in an era of national-security peril. For McCain’s conservative supporters, it is the tirelessly restated rationale for overlooking that, apart from a convenient flip on the Bush tax cuts, the senator’s major contribution to debates on economic policy is class-warfare rhetoric — liberally spiced with the same demagoguery (this time, against “the rich”) by which his politics consistently turns issues from Iraq to interrogation to filibusters to immigration to campaign-finance to global warming into morality plays, John the Virtuous pitted against hordes of unfeeling, self-indulgent, partisan rogues.

The sales job is a myth. In reality, a McCain presidency would promise an entirely conventional, center-left, multilateralism.

If you liked the second Bush term, if you liked Clintonian foreign policy, you will find much to admire in a Commander-in-Chief McCain. There would be the same agonizing over European and Islamic perceptions of America; the same doctrinaire commitment to the alchemy of democracy promotion; and the same fondness for heaping more unaccountable bureaucratic sprawl atop the already counter-productive agencies and multinational institutions that frustrate the United States at every turn.

Don’t take my word for it. Read McCain’s own Foreign Affairs essay, published late last year, in which the senator dilates on his philosophy. The leitmotif of “An Enduring Peace Built on Freedom” is that America’s tattered standing in the world must be restored. Typical is this:
We cannot build an enduring peace based on freedom by ourselves. We must be willing to listen to our democratic allies. Being a great power does not mean that we can do whatever we want whenever we want, nor should we assume that we have all the wisdom, knowledge, and resources necessary to succeed. When we believe international action — whether military, economic, or diplomatic — is necessary, we must work to persuade our friends and allies that we are right. And we must also be willing to be persuaded by them. To be a good leader, America must be a good ally.
Much scorn deservedly came Governor Mike Huckabee’s way when, in his own Foreign Affairs piece, he scalded the “Bush administration’s arrogant bunker mentality,” so “counterproductive at home and abroad.” Yet McCain’s very similar (if less-bracing) riffs have drawn little attention. The Bush years, he says, have left us in desperate need “to restore and replenish the world’s faith in our nation and our principles.” “America” thus “needs a president who can revitalize the country’s purpose and standing in the world.” Even as such important European governments as France and Germany have become more conservative and drawn closer to American leadership, McCain laments that President Bush has “frayed” the “bonds we share with Europe” — thanks, no doubt, to “the kind of abusive tactics properly prohibited by the Geneva Conventions” that he intimates have been standard fare.

Close your eyes, and you can hear these same lines regurgitated by any conventional Democrat, whether it’s Sen. Clinton, Sen. Barack Obama, or even Sen. John Kerry — the Democrats’ last standard-bearer who, you may recall, entreated McCain to be his running mate, the extent of their common ground being patent. Contrary to the assurances of McCain’s admirers, his own essay tells us the senator is still the same guy who in 2000, upon being asked what he would do immediately upon being elected president, said he would turn, among others, to Sen. Kerry, Sen. Joe Biden, and Zbigniew Brzezinski (President Jimmy Carter’s national-security adviser) to “to get foreign policy, national security issues back on track.”


In terms of the greater war on terror, which is the central foreign-policy challenge for the next administration, the surge is vastly overrated, and the rationale for it is confused at best. We are not just at war in Iraq; we are at war with radical Islam. We don’t need a Baghdad strategy; we need a global war strategy — or, at the very least, a regional one. Victory is not an Iraqi “democracy”; it is an America safe from Islamic terror.


Sen. McCain admirably talks about “winning” in Iraq. But the war isn’t limited to, or even principally about, Iraq. The surge has pacified Baghdad, but we’re in serious danger of losing the wider war. And, in fact, the jury is still out on whether the government Americans have been asked to sacrifice so much for in Iraq will actually be an American ally when it comes to Iran, the central problem in the region.

Sen. McCain suggests no strategy for winning the wider war. He talks about fighting radical Islam, but he doesn’t evince much understanding of radical Islam — he seems to think, like the Bush administration, that it can be democratized into submission.

Fundamentalist Islam, which commands the loyalty of tens of millions of the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims, is anti-democratic: It rejects the authority of people to govern themselves, denies freedom of conscience, demands imposition of sharia law, places men above women and Muslims above non-Muslims, and adopts jihad as the violent method of imposing its hegemonic ideology. We must suppress its capacity to project power wherever that capacity is found — not just in Iraq.

There is no proof that democracy would cure what ails the Muslim world, it is not our responsibility to take on such a dubious burden, and it is preposterous to think we can win this war simply by urging Western democracy, which many Muslim countries don’t want. If you actually buy the “democracy will save us” theory, it is equally foolish to believe democracy’s cause is promoted by current State Department practices, such as the installation of constitutions (in Iraq and Afghanistan) that establish Islam as the state religion and elevate sharia as a principal source of law. And it is as counterfactual as it is counterintuitive to claim our interests are advanced by popular elections, which have elevated Hezbollah into key government posts in Lebanon, Hamas into control of much of the Palestinian territories, and fundamentalist Shiites into control of Iraq.

This is the strategy of the Clinton years and the second Bush term: Islam is the religion of peace, and democracy conquers all. It is not a strategy for victory, but McCain appears fully bought-in. His record conveys little indication that he grasps the inevitable connection between the dominance of Islam in a region and the sustenance of radical Islamic action in that region. Indeed, in 1999, against the tide of conservative (and much other sensible) opposition, he tried to push the Clinton administration into a ground war in Kosovo, despite the absence of any vital American interests. He thought it would enhance our image in the world to show solidarity with Muslims — never mind that these Muslims included anti-Western fundamentalists.


Translation: Maintain the same failed status quo. And therein lies the folly of McCain’s experience argument: being involved in many past policy arguments does not mean being on the right side of them. What Americans want is a strategy to suppress jihadist power wherever it rears its head and to prevent radical Islam from spreading its tentacles in our homeland — which has a lot more to do with immigration enforcement than peace between Israel and the Palestinians. And we want such a strategy implemented without a lot of temporizing over the likely reaction of the “Muslim Street,” even if that upsets Europeans.
There is much more to McCarthy's piece, but my goal here tonight was to highlight the Commander in Chief aspect, because I believe that is why many otherwise Conservative Republicans are reluctantly voting for him (well, that and that despicable shill for McCain, Huckabee...but I digress). Still, you will want to read the whole thing; McCarthy also delves into the neo-Socialist McCain as well.

But here is the bottom line for me when it comes to a Commander in Chief: the President's presumed job--his only oath--is to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. Neither McCain, Obama, or Hillary fit that bill because they all see the Constitution as "living and breathing", not a social contract between the government and the governed. And we know that Romney is pro-Constitutionalist; his platform is Originalist straight down the line. What is not to like about that?

When it comes to temperament, it is clear that Hillary and McCain are both stubborn hotheads--this is well known and not even disputed in big media. Obama's demeanor is comparable to Romney's, but we also know that he is somewhere to the left of Yuri Andropov when it comes to ideology. And that he would be more or less a multi-lateralist isolationist. Equally bad (and similar to McCain and Clinton in that regard).

We also know that Mitt Romney--even when under personal attack from the lying, egomaniacal McCain--is cool, calm and collected. He makes decisions based on his very substantial intellect and the facts on the ground; he is not driven by emotion and scorched earth grudges against people who he feels have done him wrong in the past. Romney does not go around telling multiple US Senators to f**k themselves. (I know of others as well...) We have seen Romney go into incredibly difficult situations--getting elected and balancing the budget of a Marxist-light state like Massachusetts; turning around a horrific situation at the Salt Lake Olympics and making it into a profitable success; taking many business that were about to go under and making them profitable--just to name a few. John McCain talks like "turning a profit" is some sort of sin. And he governs that way too. Meanwhile Romney's policy positions DO include Iran and the wider war on Radical Islam. And yes, that differs from "Johnny Mac" too...

This War will also be waged in the Judiciary, and there I don't trust McCain at all. when Romney cites Alito, Scalia, or Thomas as a perfect model for the judges he would appoint, he really does appear to mean it. It doesn't hurt that--unlike McCain--Romney has not advocated closing Gitmo and giving the worst of the worst of the enemy's combatants/mass murderers instant access to ACLU lawyers and the Constitutional rights of any US Citizen.

Long story longer: Mitt is not simply the best candidate for the pocketbook; he is also clearly the best candidate on National Security.

When you go to the polls tomorrow in a Super Tuesday state, you might want to keep in mind that Mitt Romney he is the candidate most likely to prosecute the war that we all know needs to be prosecuted. And that he will do it in a sensible, cool-headed, and unemotional way.

My plea to you tonight is simple: don't let the pied pipers in the media tell you who is "inevitable". Show them whose country it is; it isn't theirs--it's yours. If you, the Republican voter truly follows his conscience, I am confident you will do the right thing. And just maybe you will try and help some of your like-minded friends do the same.
DiscerningTexan, 2/04/2008 08:10:00 PM |