John McCain's Strong Suit Is Not National Security

11/17/2008 04:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Americans are mistaken if they think they will be safer with John McCain.

The electorate has hardened and choices have been made, but as national security will likely be significant to the next administration, I'd go against the conventional wisdom here to say that McCain is not best-equipped to deal with the national security challenges ahead:

1. John McCain's storied temperament, even acknowledged by those on the right, is incompatible for our explosive times.

My hope is that we'd have something better to meet terrorism and other grave national threats, rather than anger. Anger doesn't unfurl a knot or fix something that's broken.

2. McCain was wrong in his support of our most recent adventure into Iraq.

The Iraq war was a conflict many Americans could see would lead us down a destructive path. McCain, despite his years of experience, showed here a lack of foresight (he did not see a wasteful, pointless war) and courage (to go against his party and colleagues). As Salon reported:

"During the run-up to the war, McCain argued vociferously in favor of an invasion, quoting the logic of Vice President Dick Cheney. "As Vice President Cheney has said of those who argue that containment and deterrence are working, the argument comes down to this: Yes, Saddam is as dangerous as we say he is," McCain said in a saber-rattling speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Feb. 13, 2003. "We just need to let him get stronger before we do anything about it," he added sarcastically. "

3. He is not a transcender. John McCain is scarred in a way that makes him unable to understand "the other".

When Nelson Mandela was released from prison, he understood the other in a new way, his captivity had transformed him: His historical call for truth and reconciliation was admired worldwide as almost superhuman because of the cruelty he had endured and yet he forgave those who harmed him. By contrast, McCain has called "the other" gook , as in (and this is just one example of many):

"Arizona Sen. John McCain refused to apologize yesterday for his use of a racial slur to condemn the North Vietnamese prison guards who tortured and held him captive during the war."

This is important because it shows how McCain will not bring people together. He will not be a healer (what I'm calling a transcender) because he is still unhealed from his wounds. For all those looking for "peace" and "security," healing is one of those things that is required.

4. As he has made this country less safe for Obama, he will make this world less safe for Americans.

By encouraging hatreds and divisions, his campaign has shown that it is willing to play a disastrous game. He has shown that he does not fully comprehend how malleable, fluid and dangerous the American mind is. And by this I mean the mind that is as greatly destructive as it is as greatly productive, surely we have been educated about the loss of RFK, MLK, JFK, Lincoln... And somewhere, we all know this mind is akin to, or at least the inheritance of, part madness and part the thinking that justified enslaving people for hundreds of years. This is the other side of America that McCain is coaxing to action. He has shown he is not willing to lead people to be better than they have been in the past (even as so many Americans have shown that they want a new start, a second chance). In this way, he has shown he can be careless with lives. He makes you less safe because he shows here a disregard for how people really work, what they will do when motivated and what the collective cost will be. Or, worse still, he knows all these things, and he forges ahead anyway, willing to wager the life of his opponent (and the soul of this country) for one chess move. How will a person such as this conduct our affairs abroad? Don't expect anything different.

Experience is only useful if you've learned from it.

Someone once told me I was, figuratively speaking, in purgatory. And I saw he was right. My relationships were a mess, I hated my work, I was wasting time away. I had not learned my lessons. I was stuck in that place until I decided to do some work.

John is stuck too. Except his sticking, well, it's very sticky.