john mccain

McCain breaks his word on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

Three years ago, John McCain had this to say regarding the United States’ discriminatory policy on homosexuals serving in the military:

“The day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, ‘Senator, we ought to change the policy,’ then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it because those leaders in the military are the ones we give the responsibility to.”

Today, the leadership of the military – Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen – testified to the Senate Armed Service Committee that it is time to change the policy. McCain’s response to the military’s highest leadership?

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has been an imperfect but effective policy.  And at this moment, when we are asking more of our military than at any time in recent memory, we should not repeal this law.”

Admiral Mullen testified, “It is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do.… I cannot escape being troubled in the fact that we have in place a policy that forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens.” But apparently that’s not good enough for Senator McCain any more.

John McCain has been an interesting character to me, and my coverage of him on this blog reflects that. I’ve given him high praise for his sometimes unpopular stand on torture, and endorsed him in the Republican primaries. But despite the noble values the Senator sometimes espouses, this is not the first time he has made a complete political about-face – check out his argument for troop withdrawal from Haiti in the early ’90s compared to his unflinching support of our current extended occupations in the Middle East.

It’s one thing to be a “maverick” and express your views even when they conflict with political convenience. It’s another thing to actually follow through on those views as an honest man. I honor your opinions, Senator McCain, but I question your integrity when you won’t stand by your own commitments.

Just a Reminder (on Torture)

This is old news, but unfortunately is still relevant:

“There should be little doubt from American history that we consider [waterboarding] as torture, otherwise we wouldn’t have tried and convicted Japanese for doing that same thing to Americans. I would also hope that he would not want to be associated with a technique which was invented in the Spanish Inquisition, was used by Pol Pot in one of the great eras of genocide in history and is being used on Burmese monks as we speak. America is a better nation than that.” -Senator John McCain

Even older is McCain’s Newsweek editorial from 2005, which is truly worth the few minutes it takes to read. He very accurately puts the whole issue in a nutshell:

I don’t mourn the loss of any terrorist’s life. Nor do I care if in the course of serving their ignoble cause they suffer great harm. They have pledged their lives to the intentional destruction of innocent lives, and they have earned their terrible punishment in this life and the next. What I do mourn is what we lose when by official policy or official neglect we allow, confuse or encourage our soldiers to forget that best sense of ourselves, that which is our greatest strength–that we are different and better than our enemies, that we fight for an idea, not a tribe, not a land, not a king, not a twisted interpretation of an ancient religion, but for an idea that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights.

Now, in this war, our liberal notions are put to the test. Americans of good will, all patriots, argue about what is appropriate and necessary to combat this unconventional enemy. Those of us who feel that in this war, as in past wars, Americans should not compromise our values must answer those Americans who believe that a less rigorous application of those values is regrettably necessary to prevail over a uniquely abhorrent and dangerous enemy.

It’s just too bad that these words have now gone unheeded for years. Time is running out – statutes of limitations will go into effect next year for some of the crimes committed – we must act soon to assert that which sets us apart from our enemies.

The Obama Tax Cut

This site is a great tool, check it out… Put in your basic tax information (nothing personal) and it calculates your tax cut under Barack Obama’s tax proposal – and how much more you will pay under McCain’s plan.

This is an important factor for conservatives to consider- the Republican party of the last eight years has abandoned the ideals of fiscal conservativism in pursuit of other priorities, such as their aggressive foreign policy agenda and expansions of executive privelege in an ever-more-powerful federal government. While the GOP once served the interests of responsible spending and limited government, this is no longer the case.

I make no claims that Barack Obama is himself a conservative- he is most certainly liberal in his views. However, his plans and policies (warning: PDF link) reach above partisan politics and should serve to benefit all Americans, not just liberals. Conservatives no longer have a party or candidate that truly stands for them, but I believe that Barack Obama’s tax cuts and other plans deserve a lot more attention from the displaced conservative demographic.

Why We Fight

This is a compelling documentary. You should go here and watch the whole thing for free online.

My quick summary is that this documentary looks at the history of the growth of the military-industrial complex since World War II. Central to the documentary is President Eisenhower’s farewell address, which warned of the looming internal threat of our military industry and what could happen if citizens were not vigilant in monitoring its actions. It presents our foreign policy as one that is not political or partisan – it is supported by Democrats and Republicans equally – but one that mirrors the Roman Empire in its superiority over many peoples that must be enforced and maintained by large standing armies. The film likens America’s influence in the world today to colonialism, except that instead of direct political control, we force free markets upon everyone so that our companies can reap huge profits.

It isn’t about liberating oppressed peoples, or spreading democracies; on both counts, we have supported or engaged in actions that have achieved the direct opposite. Those items are far less important in our military doctrine than enforcing our superiority in the world through creating – and controlling – the global capitalist economy.

The most surprising thing about this documentary for me? There’s no commentary or narration. The only voices heard are those of primary sources (including a lot of input from John McCain, who seems to have a refreshingly clear view of what is actually going on, despite his willingness to protract our current military engagements.)

Here’s the trailer, go here to watch the whole thing for free: