McCain’s bin Laden vow

MCCAIN’S BIN LADEN VOW…. Presidential candidates are always going to make a lot of promises, some of which will be harder to keep than others. But John McCain’s vow last night to get Osama bin Laden continues to sound jarring.

“I’ll get Osama bin Laden, my friends. I’ll get him. I know how to get him. I’ll get him no matter what and I know how to do it.”

McCain has been using similar rhetoric for quite a while. In June, he declared at a town-hall forum, “I will look you in the eye and promise you that I will get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.” In January, McCain hinted that he has a secret plan to get the al Qaeda leader.

The same obvious question still needs an answer: If McCain knows how to get OBL, why not share his ideas with, say, the White House and the Pentagon? That way, the plan could be implemented now and the al Qaeda leader could be brought to justice before he could launch additional attacks.

Expanding on this subject in January, McCain added that he has his “own ideas” about capturing bin Laden, but it would “require implementation of certain policies and procedures that only as the president of the United States can be taken.”

But if there are “certain policies and procedures” that could lead to bin Laden’s capture, and a president could implement those policies and procedures now, why wouldn’t McCain stop by the Oval Office for a chat with the Commander in Chief about how best to proceed?

It’s probably because McCain doesn’t “know how to do it” and there is no secret plan.

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.