Sujal, in comments, noted that my last post was “surprisingly snarky” for me. I meant it, and I stand by it, but I take his point. There was something else, which I wasn’t prepared to write about. Maybe I’m still not. But what the heck:
I was primed by watching the RNC’s 9/11 tribute. It revolted me: both the idea of using 9/11 in this context, and the idea that it should be used by the party of George “All right. You’ve covered your ass, now” Bush. But then came McCain, saying:
” I hate war. It is terrible beyond imagination. I’m running for president to keep the country I love safe, and prevent other families from risking their loved ones in war as my family has.”
I remembered this:
“Within hours [after 9/11], Mr. McCain, the Vietnam War hero and famed straight talker of the 2000 Republican primary, had taken on a new role: the leading advocate of taking the American retaliation against Al Qaeda far beyond Afghanistan. (…)
Within a month he made clear his priority. “Very obviously Iraq is the first country,” he declared on CNN. By Jan. 2, Mr. McCain was on the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt in the Arabian Sea, yelling to a crowd of sailors and airmen: “Next up, Baghdad!””
That’s a very peculiar way of hating war and preventing other families from risking their loved ones.
During the debate over the Iraq War Resolution, John McCain said this:
“We have a choice. The men and women who wear the uniform of our country, and who might lose their lives in service to our cause, do not. They will do their duty, as we see fit to define it for them.
We have a responsibility to these men and women to judge responsibly when our security is so threatened that we must call on them to uphold their oath to defend it. When we call them to serve, they will make us proud. We should strive to make them proud by showing deliberation, judgment, and statesmanship in the debate that will determine their mission.”
He then proceeded to show none of these virtues, and to collude in making the worst foreign policy judgment in decades.
I am very, very angry about the Iraq war, and about the lives it has cost. When I hear someone who voted for that war talk about how very much he hates war, and how he will do everything he can to avoid it, it makes me angry. And when I hear that in the midst of a convention full of people who act as though they own love of country, concern for the troops, duty, honor, and service — as though none of the rest of us has ever put the interests of others before our own, or loved our country, or lost friends in combat — and acting this way in apparently complete disregard for their own disastrous record — it makes me even angrier.
I didn’t want to write about that. It’s still pretty close to the bone. But I have never thought that I had a monopoly on honor and decency and love for my country. I wish more prominent Republicans would stop assuming that they do.