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Opening Arguments

Military intelligence

He's seen the flash of the tracers. He's lived the values of service and sacrifice. In the Navy, as a prosecutor, as a senator, he proved his physical courage under fire. And he's proved his moral courage too.

That was Gen. Wesley Clark's 2004 Democratic Concention speech in praise of John Kerry's military experience. Same guy, different take on a different senator:

Retired Gen. Wesley Clark stuck to his guns today, insisting that Sen. John McCain's experience as a POW made him a true American hero but did not qualify him to be commander-in-chief.

[. . .]

Clark, who described himself as "someone who came home from Vietnam on a stretcher," said being in combat doesn't necessarily qualify someone to be president.

"It depends on which level you served," Clark told "GMA."

Perhaps the general can compare for us the "level of service" of Kerry and McCain. I think Obama has found his running mate!


Tue, 07/01/2008 - 4:59pm

Of course, the Republicans were duly respectful of the three limbs Max Cleland left on the battlefield.

Harl Delos
Tue, 07/01/2008 - 6:21pm

I'm sorry, Leo, but I don't follow.

In what way does crashing two airplanes, running a third into wires, having a fourth plane explode in a fire, and getting a fifth plane shot down qualify one for an executive position?

I'm sure I wouldn't recommend someone with that background for someone seeking a job driving a garbage truck, but I wasn't aware that it automatically entitled one to an executive position.

John McCain's suffering at the hands of the North Vietnamese led to him suffering PTSD. That's one of the nastier mental illnesses you can have; they can't cure it, and they have very limited success at even treating it. A few years ago, Thomas Eagleton was drummed out of the race because it was revealed that he'd had depression - and that he had been successfully cured. How big a loon do you have to be, Leo, to be highly qualified for the presidency?

Both John Kerry and John McCain displayed physical courage. Both of them led small groups of men in the military, Kerry commanding a boat in S E Asia while under fire, and McCain commanding a training squadron in Florida during peacetime. Did Clark say that his military experience made Kerry qualified to be president? No, he only said it showed that Kerry had physical courage.

He also said that Kerry had moral courage. John McCain started dating a beer heiress while still married to his first wife, who had been disabled in an auto accident, and married her a month after divorcing the first wife. Clark said that Kerry's moral courage was important to a president. Do we disqualify Obama from consideration if we find out that he's not a philanderer, or if we find he doesn't refer to his wife as a trollup, or by rather offensive anatomical slang?

The only significant organization McCain has ever run has been his political campaign. That's actually a pretty good test of executive ability; it's fairly hard to ramp up an organization that big, that quickly. Unfortunately, McCain has not done well. A lack of sound planning led to him running out of money at critical times.

Not that anyone would take a look at the messes in Iraq and Afghanistan and think there was a lack of sound planning....