The Republican National Committee is trying to suppress a Democratic National Committee ad against John McCain, claiming that it’s "false information." And they’re right: the DNC ad does give a misleading impression about McCain and his comments about occupying Iraq for 100 years, which McCain does make conditional on total peace there. But here’s the twist: the truth about what McCain said is far, far worse than the DNC distortion. In fact, McCain’s comments reveal a level of stupidity and naivete that should worry anyone who might think about him being Commander-in-Chief.
The RNC not only denounced the ad, but is trying to intimidate television station managers into banning it by claiming it is "false." According to the RNC, "the DNC has no right to knowingly and willfully spread false information in a deliberate attempt to mislead the American people." Actually, the DNC does have that right. It’s called the First Amendment. Do Republicans believe in freedom of speech? Or do they think that the government should step in to prohibit the content of political ads based on someone claiming it’s false? Or do they prefer to have media owners censoring one side in political arguments?
But the bigger issue here is what McCain actually said. At a New Hampshire town hall meeting in January, McCain answered a question about staying in Iraq for 50 years by declaring, "Make it a hundred. We’ve been in South Korea, we’ve been in Japan for 60 years, we’ve been in South Korea for 50 years or so. That’d be fine with me as long as Americans are not being injured, or harmed, or wounded, or killed. That’s fine with me, I hope it would be fine with you." The DNC ad edits out the part about Americans not being harmed or injured, and therefore it is somewhat deceptive. The reality is far worse.
To imagine that we could stay in Iraq for 100 years without ever being attacked is mind-boggling. After all, someone who thinks we should be fighting insurgents in Iraq for the next 100 years just has a wrong-headed foreign policy that I strongly disagree with. But someone who thinks we can occupy Iraq and never be attacked is just a complete idiot. Not even George W. Bush is that stupid.
This wasn’t just an off-hand remark. McCain has repeated the 100-years-war comment many times. So the Republican Party’s accurate interpretation of McCain’s remarks actually make him far worse than the initial distortion might leave. Maybe McCain isn’t a warmonger. Maybe he’s something much worse: a naive, incompetent politician who fails to understand how the war on terror differs from past wars.
The very fact that McCain compares the war in Iraq to Germany, Japan, and Korea shows how limited his thinking is. He imagines that a total military occupation of Iraq today can be the equivalent of what happened in World War II, when our enemies were nation-states that had surrendered to us, or the Korean War, where American troops are guarding a demilitarized zone, not occupying a foreign country.
Continue reading at OffTheBus community member John K Wilson's Daily Kos Diary.
Crossposted at ObamaPolitics.