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Contentions

What Can They Call McCain?

On a recent radio show John McCain said

I detest war . . .It might not be the worst thing to befall human beings, but it is wretched beyond all description … Only a fool or a fraud sentimentalizes the merciless reality of war.

Indeed, he should know.

With McCain as the presumptive Republican nominee, the call for the President’s daughters to suit up and go into combat has probably been sounded for the last time. The same goes for the charge that the President is a “chickenhawk,” or a war-hungry “armchair general” who’s avoided combat in his own life. Because those two “points” can find no purchase when applied to McCain’s support for the Iraq War, they have finally been excised from the Iraq discussion. And not a moment too soon.

A cause is rendered just or unjust based on considerations intrinsic to that cause, not because Jenna Bush isn’t a soldier—or because Joseph Stalin’s son was one, and not because those who decide to fight have not themselves necessarily seen battle.

The anti-war crowd that cries “chickenhawk” subscribes to the fallacy that people who have seen war would never again support combat. What’s most interesting about John McCain’s quote is the “might not” part. McCain–who never discusses his own son’s service in Iraq–understands that there are things worse than war. Tyranny without end perhaps being one of them. While that’s very easy for me to type, it can’t be easy for McCain to say. With the exception of Senator Jay Rockefeller, no one has questioned McCain’s firsthand war experience, and no one can call for him to “send” his own children into Iraq. John McCain’s presence in the presidential race can be credited with ridding us of some of the more frivolous aspects of the Iraq discussion and getting the public to focus on the cause itself.


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