What’s McCain’s Strong Suit Again?

John McCain, the 71 year old Republican presidential candidate has his weaknesses, as does any candidate, but at least his strong suit is deeply embedded in what has been the Republican party’s bread and butter up to the 2006 midterms; National Security.

Right?

RIGHT?!

His honorable service in the US Navy points to it, right?  As does his time as  POW which led him to his informed and principled stance against torture, right?  The Democratic candidates may have their selling points, but when it comes down to who’s going to keep us safe because of his impressive knowledge and judgement regarding world affairs, McCain’s our guy… right?

Of course, this would all be so much more believable if he, you know, had the slightest grasp of what’s going on over there.

On a campaign stop in the electorate heavy nation of Jordan, John McCain decided to show off his Foreign Policy bona fides by pointing out that al Qaeda operatives were getting trained by Iran and sent back to Iraq to kill Americans and cause general mayhem.  Slight problem here, as his BFF Joe Lieberman had to point out; Iran’s allegedly training Shiite extremists, not al Qaeda operatives.

You see, Shiite extremists makes sense, seeing as how Iran’s mostly Shiite itself.  It gets more complex than this, but you have to kinda understand that the Sunni (which is what makes up a bulk of al Qaeda) and the Shia don’t play all that well together. 

It’s possible that this points to a fundamental flaw in John McCain’s understanding of the Muslim world and the turmoil we have found ourselves in there.  In which case, this is the last guy on Earth we want guiding American policy there because simply put, if you don’t understand the people, or at least have a rudimentary comprehension, you’re likely to just piss more people off and cause more trouble.

It’s also very possible that, as the folks over at AMERICAblog point out, John was having himself a “senior moment”.  Now, I also don’t want to sound agist, but do we really want the guy picking up the “red phone” at 3am to have another “senior moment” then too?

Imagine:

3:00 in the morning.  White House

“Mr. President?”

“What the %*&$ do you want?  I’m trying to sleep.”

“It’s the red phone, sir.  It’s ringing.”

“Who is it?”

“The Russians, sir.”

“%&(* those commie bastards!  Empty the missile silos!”

Yeah.  Of course, as Ronald Reagan made blatantly clear, senior moments can be handy when you’re testifying about the Iran Contras…

Or maybe none of this was a mistake at all.  What instantly triggered in my mind was what put us in Iraq in the first place; the fact that so many people in the Administration took to heavily conflating a link between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.

Now, I want to be clear, there are few instances when members of the administration actually came out and said that the two were working together, but this is dwarfed by how often the administration and its cheerleaders talked about al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein in the same breath.

Conflation.

It was this active attempt to tie the two entities together that resulted in such a disturbingly high percentage of the population actually believing that there was a link, even though no such link actually existed.

Of course it didn’t exist.  Saddam was a secularist.  He belonged to the right branch of Islam with his Sunni Ba’athist party, and he was a brutal dictator, but he didn’t prescribe to the same stringent adherence to radical Islam that Osama bin Laden preferred.  OBL would have looked upon Hussein as something of an infidel, and Hussein probably would have though bin Laden was cramping his style.

There was the one meeting in Prague that Dick Cheney first referenced and then pulled a one-eighty and refused to acknowledge that he referenced, but that meeting was more to see if the two villains could work together.  The conclusion was that they couldn’t.

Still, none of this stopped Republicans from masterfully implying that the two were bestest buds in the whole wide world in order to gin up support for the invasion.

So maybe McCain’s just an idiot, or maybe he’s starting to build the same conflating links between al Qaeda (Sunni), and Iran (Shia) in order to set up a situation where, as president, he gets to, “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran.”

Any way you slice it, this is not the kind of person I would feel safe knowing he’s sitting at the helm of the country.  So much for Foreign Policy being his strong suit.

And let’s not even think about economics.

4 Responses to “What’s McCain’s Strong Suit Again?”

  1. You’d think McCain is old or something.

  2. DrGail says:

    Most of the blogs I read mentioned this incident, of course, but yours is the first (as far as I know) to make the point that there may have been a hidden agenda there — i.e., to tie Iran to al Qaeda so that an attack on Iran seems justified. Scary, scary, scary.

    I bet McCain gave Lieberman a good talking-to afterwards, for being such a smart-ass that he “stepped on his lines”.

  3. Well, it is a pattern that can’t be ignored.

    Sorry, would say more, but IE just cut me off in the middle of a pretty long post that I must get back to.

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