Sunday, March 2, 2008

Bring Them Home Alive

John McCain keeps talking about continuing the Iraq war indefinitely. He says if we leave Iraq we won’t be bringing our boys “home with honor.” “Bring them home with honor,” is like a tic of speech for McCain. Perhaps an old war injury, the part of his PTSD he can’t control. Senator McCain, we want to bring them home alive. I’d call their service honorable. If it means my friend’s grandson gets to live, I’d call it more than honorable.

I don’t know what makes you a war hero. If it is survival for over five years, tortured and driven crazy, you’ve got the title. But it is my understanding that you were shot down on your first mission. What in that service was heroic beyond survival? It is sad for you, Senator McCain, that the two wars that will have defined for you, who you are, were both fought in the wrong place and for the wrong reason. You are a victim of them both.

There was a time, before this war, when I, a Democrat, had respect for you. You were a maverick and that made many of us think you had good sense, not always following the party line, if the party line was clearly wrong. I did not closely follow your votes in the early part of the war, but I recall that you were critical of the way the war was being fought, you warned Rumsfeld about troop levels, little things like that. But if you were a war hero, you would have spoken out loudly against the war right from the start. Wrong war, wrong place. No plan to get out. Speak out. That takes courage. It takes courage to vote against the party line when you know the line is wrong and everyone wants you to go along. Too much money’s riding on it. Now there are too many reputations riding on it, yours included. The only thing you still had credibility on was the torture thing. You know what I mean. You were a stand-up guy on that one. This is where you know your stuff. You know what torture is. That’s what makes you a hero isn’t it? You survived torture. When you said, “Water-boarding is torture and we should not torture. It is not what we, as a Nation, stand for”, I thought you still had some integrity. And then you voted to fudge that line. You voted for the “We don’t torture, so if we do it, it isn’t torture,” resolution. It depends on what the meaning of “it” is. If we do “it” and don’t call “it” water-boarding is “it” torture? You got lost in the tortured logic, Senator McCain. That’s when you lost a lot of us.