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Dan Balz's Take

A Clash of Seismic Proportions


People wait for presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to speak during the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention August 19, 2008 in Orlando, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

By Dan Balz
The annual Veterans of Foreign Wars convention has become a required stop on the presidential campaign trail, but rarely has the forum produced a debate between the rival candidates as sharp and pointed as this year. John McCain and Barack Obama not only disagree, they dislike one another.

In back-to-back appearances, McCain and Obama escalated their long-running argument over Iraq, probing and poking the weakest areas of the other's position. For McCain, that meant challenging Obama for opposing the surge. For Obama, it meant questioning McCain's judgment on a war that he argues has diverted attention and resources from the fight to destroy al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

But the speeches produced an even more barbed exchange over whether Obama's opposition to the war and the surge represented political expediency or true conviction. This may be the crux of the disagreement that will continue until November.

Obama, McCain asserted, "cannot quite bring himself to admit his own failure in judgment." Summing up what he claimed were Obama's shifting positions on the surge, McCain said, "Behind all of these claims and positions by Senator Obama lies the ambition to be president."

That was enough to prompt Obama to spend time reworking -- and toughening -- his text on the long flight from New Mexico to Florida Monday night. When he appeared Tuesday morning in Orlando, his indignation was evident as he denounced the "political attacks" leveled by McCain.

Obama asserted that, contrary to McCain's charge, he has not changed his positions on Iraq, and he bristled at the idea that he has put personal ambition ahead of the country's interests in staking out his national security positions.

"That's how political campaigns have been run in recent years," he said. "But I believe the American people are better than that. I believe that this defining moment demands something more of us.... If we think that we can use the same partisan playbook where we just challenge our opponent's patriotism to win an election, then the American people will lose. The times are too serious for this kind of politics. The calamity left behind by the last eight years is too great."

This is the increasingly nasty squabble that has come to define the contest between McCain and Obama -- McCain's resentment toward a youthful opponent whom he does not believe has paid his dues or demonstrated his mettle in the world against Obama's umbrage over attacks that he believes are designed to poison a dialogue over one of the most important issues in the campaign.

Neither candidate has a record beyond reproach when it comes to Iraq. McCain has built his strategy around his support for the surge policy to good effect, but prior to that moment he was both a critic of President Bush's policies and an enabler in Bush's ability to win a second term and continue those policies until the military and political realities required a change in course.

"In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq," Obama told the VFW, "I warned that war would fan the flames of extremism in the Middle East, create new centers of terrorism, and tie us down in a costly and open-ended occupation. Senator McCain predicted that we'd be greeted as liberators, and that the Iraqis would bear the cost of rebuilding through their bountiful oil revenues."

But Obama has not fully addressed questions about how he squares his recent statements that the surge has dramatically reduced the violence in Iraq with his initial predictions that the policy could, in fact, make the situation worse. Nor has he explained how the surge affects his view of troop levels there.

The question that he has not yet answered is this: What impact has the surge had on his own thinking about the withdrawal timetable he has laid out for Iraq? Has the surge made withdrawing troops easier or not -- or are military conditions on the ground largely irrelevant to that thinking?

It's clear from the VFW appearances that both candidates can legitimately question the other's judgments on aspects of the Iraq war -- and that each can take refuge in having public opinion on his side on aspects of the war. But will personal enmity get in the way of a fuller airing of those differences?

That makes the fall debates especially important. McCain may always have an advantage on the question of whom Americans see as most ready to be commander in chief, but the Republican candidate may need to demonstrate superior qualities when the two meet face to face -- or risk allowing Obama to cross the threshold of acceptability with enough voters to neutralize the issue. Which candidate will show the combination of judgment, knowledge, demeanor and confidence that Americans want in their next president?

Economic issues are still likely to be the most important to most voters, but the foreign policy debate is in many ways as or more critical, given the unsettled world the next president will inherit. The VFW appearances brought all this back to center stage on the eve of the Democratic and Republican conventions, and reminded voters that these two candidates are heading for a clash of seismic proportions as the general election approaches.

Posted at 1:57 PM ET on Aug 19, 2008  | Category:  Dan Balz's Take
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Despite his senility, the adulterous, portly little fraud knows how to use the Bush/Cheney play book. Peddle fear relentlessly and capitalize on the bed wetting cowards that are the same morons who re-elected the worst President in the history of the United States. If these feckless fools want a third term of Bush then fuc_k this country and let them get exactly what they deserve- endless war, a ruined economy and being despised by the rest of the world.

Posted by: shiva7 | August 21, 2008 9:08 AM

When all is said and done, the fact remains: which of the candidates is more qualified, experienced, and truly has what it takes to protect and lead this great nation as a Commander-in-Chief, especially in the face of crisis? That person should also be someone who has NOT only talked the talk but who has actually sacrificed more and served this nation; risking his own life for the freedom we are enjoying today. The last time I checked, history clearly shows that John McCain is that candidate who meets the criteria for the resume of the office of the US President. So to me, it would be wise to give the job to the more qualified candidate when that day comes and it seems like this is precisely what most of the silent American voters will do in their private voting booth on Elections Day. People know the truth even if some activists try to distort the real facts of who is more qualified. If this will help, let me assert here also that I am a black man who is just trying to be an objective American in my opinion as much as possible.

Posted by: Jimmy | August 20, 2008 7:31 PM

"political attacks" Mr. Obama is running for President of the United States, has not sewn up the nomination yet, has been consistently slipping in the polls, and labels campaigning as political attacks?

Politics is a contact sport. Can't take the hit? the heat? civility, schmility. Bringing lawyers (from the firm he worked for?) to cancel petitions during his first run for state legislature in Illinois is civil? Oh boy.

This piece is more even handed than recent ones, thank you Mr. Balz.

Posted by: skinsfanmoyo | August 20, 2008 2:45 AM

I'm a 64-year-old white guy. My dream for this country is for Obama/Powell in '08, to lead us out of a white wilderness into a brown future. Remember it was old white Republicans and Democrats that conspired together who get us to this sorry state.
Beware! all you closet crackers and simmering bigots of every stripe, your demise may be at hand.
Only to be replaced with some other permutation of the same old bs.........

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 12:29 AM

Why don't journalists like you remind the public that Barack Obama has long promoted diverse discussions that proceed with civility, with people being agreeable when disagreeing? I notice that many pundits gave Pastor Warren much credit for wanting to promote civility, but I haven't heard or read where anyone recognized that Barack brought the idea of civility into the public domain long before Warren did.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 12:02 AM

McCain is more Bush. The invasion of Iraq was a major blunder, and McCain's support of it calls his judgement into question. Frankly, I don't think McCain is smart enough to deal with the world as it is today. Obama may be a bit of a blank, but he has the openmindedness and intelligence to at least attempt the job. McCain is just another dimwit flyboy.

Posted by: scientist1 | August 19, 2008 10:58 PM

UnReal Brother:

With supporters like you Obama doesn’t need any enemies. You make the Klan look like Boy Scouts.

It is hate monger racists like you that keep us all down.

Take your racist garbage back out to your corner – don’t you got some rock to push?

If Obama loses it will be because of racist morons like yourself.

Get Real Fool

Posted by: butch | August 19, 2008 10:42 PM

“McCain may always have an advantage on the question of whom Americans see as most ready to be commander in chief.”

“Republican candidate may need to demonstrate superior qualities… or risk allowing Obama to cross the threshold of acceptability with enough voters.”

Your statements here are just preposterous. Are the people who see Obama as being “most ready” un-American!!?? The “threshold of acceptability with enough voters” is called winning the election. It applies to both candidates equally---there’s nothing seismic about it. It’s called a choice.

Posted by: RS in Washington | August 19, 2008 10:38 PM

I'm a 64-year-old white guy. My dream for this country is for Obama/Powell in '08, to lead us out of a white wilderness into a brown future. Remember it was old white Republicans and Democrats that conspired together who get us to this sorry state.
Beware! all you closet crackers and simmering bigots of every stripe, your demise may be at hand.
Only to be replaced with some other permutation of the same old bs.........

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 10:34 PM

Obama will probably lose because he is too diffident to go for the jugular. Pity!!!

The winner may well be the Senator McCain who graduated fifth from the bottom of his class of almost 900 students. He got the most sought-after Navy assignment -- to become an aircraft carrier pilot. The most accomplished midshipmen compete furiously for the few carrier pilot openings. No one with McCain's record would have got that position. (Having a daddy and granddaddy, both four star admirals, sure helps). He crashed 5 planes, flew only 21 hours before he was captured and that is it. He has no military command experience, never lead any troops, and cannot even get the factions in Iraq straight when he has been corrected over and over. The only experience this man has is D.C., and that is exactly what we do not want.
But a people get the leader they deserve.

Posted by: Oscar | August 19, 2008 10:33 PM

Real Brother here.

I think the problem is two fold.One the White Supremacists and Racists have based there entire life on the LIES and STEREOTYPES about Blacks and two,they fear that if Barack Obama gets elected he won't turn out to be a Muslim he won't turn out to be the Anti-Christ he won't tax us to death he won't get us bombed or ruin the economy and he won't create a Black planet. There fear is Obama will succeed and do what he has said he will do and the myth of White Supremacy will be gone forever and these Lazy, Entitlment Mentality havin' White fools will actually have to compete and work for once and they are scared to death of that.

TKCAL

Posted by: Realbrother | August 19, 2008 10:22 PM

Why am I voting for Obama? It's a vote against McCain. I can not survive another 8 years of Republicans running the country.

Over the last 8 years, my cost of living has doubled and tripled in some aspects, yet my earnings are the same. When I look for another job, the starting rate is less than what I make now.

McCain is not going to do anything for us in the middle class that will either lower our costs or raise our earnings. 5 Million in earnings is rich?? What were you thinking? What a DumbF***. The interviewer even gave you a clue, 50, 100, 200 thousand . . . And his answer about how some of the rich people he knows are unhappy people. He answers talking about happiness?

Dude, we are going broke!

But he is too clueless to even care to listen.

Being against GI's getting the cost of college covered completely, because it might lead to losses that can't be recovered by new recruits?

It was clear the bill was going to pass, not the one he supported. These kids deserve at least the same, if not more, than what he received. And guess what, the losses would have been covered by an increase in recruitment. What a poor decision to be against this bill.

He looks like an a** to me and I'll never believe he knows what's best for US. This is why I'm voting for Obama.

--
thomp

Posted by: thomp | August 19, 2008 10:09 PM

After all the noise, silence is golden!

Posted by: Non American Watching | August 19, 2008 10:01 PM

It is scary to see how fast America is loosing its international stature, how divided is the country, how the American economy and its institutions fall appart and some other consequences of your own mistake: electing George Bush as President, twice!

To add insult to injury, none of the two candidates would even be considered as contenders during John Kennedy's times. Is this the best you can give to the World?

Russia's defiant attitude is just a glimpse of the new scenarios we'll face in the future and with this two guys is difficult to foresee a significant role of America in the future to reverse this trend.

McCain's prisoner mind and Obama's proven inexperience are the worse ingredients to this hot salsa.

Keep on fighting on trivialities, forgetting there is a world outside watching, and you will witness the fall of your empire sooner than you think or expect!

Posted by: Non American Watching | August 19, 2008 9:52 PM

Jerome Corsi on John McCain ties to Drug Lords, Organized Criminals, Al-Qaeda and Islamic terrorist.

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=57678

http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=57354


Posted by: joey99 | August 19, 2008 9:49 PM

Cliff: I agree - McCain is trying to divert attention from the colossal mistake made by the Bush/Cheney/McCain team. One issue is strategic - the other is tactical.

Posted by: MyVoteDoesNotCountInAlabama | August 19, 2008 9:44 PM

According to the wankers at the Post, "McCain may always have an advantage on the question of whom Americans see as most ready to be commander in chief". But some say that The Old Maverick is a tired political hack willing to say anything to keep the neoscum game going. That can't be right because--for those who don't know--he was A PRISONER OF WAR, although he almost never talks about it every day. Perhaps what America needs now, more than ever, is a wealthy but unstable old man to lead us.

Posted by: branfo4 | August 19, 2008 9:35 PM

Novak reads me???


.


.


.see yah soon shunt.


.

Posted by: thnik | August 19, 2008 9:34 PM

This type of reporting, not only from Dan Balz, but so many members of the media, has become tiresome.

Every notice that these folks start sounding like wrestling announcers?:

"Now, a bout of seismic proportions! These two guys aren't just competitors for the world crown; now it's gotten personal! These guys just don't like each other, and every word, every hold, each time they stalk each other around the ring, you can feel the building tension until you can finally taste it! This ain't a contest, this is a grudge match, only guaranteed to get more bitter and hateful until the championship bout in November!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Yawn.

Posted by: fredlevy | August 19, 2008 9:32 PM

afraid of losing your spot at the feeding trough? responds:

principles ??? one doesn't need principles, one needs to understand engineering. principles will take care of themeselves.... how do you build a good building, plan for the future???

INSIDER WASHINGTON is the epitome of unprincipled...

how does a really nice guy come in and take on Washington DC insiders by themselves...

they don't.


JIMMY CARTER, was backstabbed by William Casey, George H.W. Bush and Robert M. Gates...

William Casey, "died of a braintumor," 6 weeks after being asked to testify before Congress about IRAN CONTRA and was buried with a closed casket...

George H.W. Bush went on to become vice president and then president...after commiting treason

Robert M. Gates is Secretary of Defense today...


how do you deal with people like that? you really have to be able to gut them and leave them flopping on the bank for a blue heron to eat...parenthetically speaking...they are trash fish....like squawfish...they eat the salmon fingerlings and there are no "good fish," if there are too many of them...

which is why it would be a good idea for the "democratic candidates," to eliminate them now....

by identifying them...

SEARCH on October surprise, russian, carter, casey, bush, gates


it's all there....Hamilton knows about it, but Hamilton was persuaded by Dick Cheney to be bipartisan and pick up the soap....and cheenie sang sooooooo sweetly in his ear he didn't even realize that he had commited treason.... and still thinks he's a "good guy," though history will treat him poorly.


.check it out.


Posted by: hello no one...say hi to scrotumondius libby for me...last I heard you were swallowing his stuff... | August 19, 2008 9:32 PM

Doesn't voting for and approving the war in Iraq fundamentally show the poorest lack of judgement in international affairs? The war has been a disaster. To point to Obama's failure to support the surge as an error in judgement is absurd. If Obama was president in 2003, there would never have been a need to have a surge. We'd have been focusing our resources on hunting down Al Quaeda in Afghanistan.

McCain is just a continuation of Bush policies. Iran is next. We'll be in Iraq forever with more lives lost and no gains. The war in Iraq is over. We won, though victory created more problems. Let's get out before we make things worse.

Posted by: Cliff | August 19, 2008 9:30 PM


first of all


there is no "war,"


there is an OCCUPATION,


that is paying Halliburton, KBR, BLACKWATER, Carlyle Group, CACI, CSC, Booze Allen Hamilton, Bechtel, and other

false "war," PROFITEERS


$467 $BILLION$ DOLLARS in allocated monies...


half a TRILLION DOLLARS,


you don't think that is buying some "dumb looks," from CONGRESS PEOPLE ????


dumb looks don't stop fraud.


plus, I hope you remember Petraeus had 190,000

FULLY AUTOMATIC WEAPONS GO MISSING on his watch in IRAQ

and those weapons are turning up in Mexico and Central and South AMERICA...


and IRAQI OIL is turning up in UAE bank accounts affiliated with Halliburton...


go figure....


Posted by: cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeezeus..... | August 19, 2008 9:30 PM

Hey Cheeezus, don't waste your time and effort, no one reads your innane and lugubrious rants... Laughing out loud~!

Posted by: Dirtbag | August 19, 2008 9:30 PM


want to help AMERICA come out of it's economic slump...


stop the "war" FRAUD machine...

make the US ECONOMY a matter of NATIONAL SECURITY....


put all contractors in IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN, and the US directly affiliated with the "war" FRAUD effect under GAO GSA aegis...


and examine their books.


an OCCUPATION is _ILLEGAL_


however, seperating the EMBEZZLERS aka


bushCO and CRONYs from the MONEY...


makes the United States a lot more legitimate in the eyes of the world...


especially if treasonists, like Robert M. Gates...who used the CIA as a tool to defeat Jimmy Carter in his reelection bid,

or George W. Bush who committed SEC FRAUD with Harken OIL

are arrested and prosecuted for those charges...

you could arrest Cheney for involvement in commiting perjury to Congress regarding WMD et al..it's in John W. Deans' BOOK, "Worse Than Watergate," the exact charges and the way to make them stick...

and put Pelosi as President...


then the IRAQIs might see us as a responsible and capable nation, rather than as a lawless regime "on the take."


.and we could deal for oil as an option.


.

Posted by: cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeezeus.... | August 19, 2008 9:28 PM

let's be honest here...


we live in a set of ecosystems...


there is no mystery, no surprise, unless you count the stupidity of leaders who think with their metaphorical crotches and not with their eyes and minds...

for example: we could have made a deal for the OIL in IRAQ...


but then there wouldn't have been any big money for


Carlyle Group, Bechtel, Halliburton, KBR, Blackwater, DynCorp, and others...


and certainly no NON COMPETE CONTRACTS AWARDED eh ???


so bushCO and CRONYs and COMPLICIT CONGRESS, creates a situation which will drain the nations economy at the very moment when the worlds populations are reaching points that will tip entire regions into famine....


these rich kids, who trash talk anything standing in their way...


could get away with it 100 years ago...the land could withstand their lies.

it's not possible any more.


We need leaders that do not pander to families or the corportocracy.


The US Economy is a NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUE.

The Global Economy could use a good example of how to treat leaders who are ruthless in pursuit of personal gain at the expense of their citizens.


It would be good to see some whitehouse, executive branch members


brought down low, tried for treason and executed publically....it would give others courage...and hope...


in the fear the cowardice and the destruction of our values...


remove these scum from having an effect on our lives,


take out the trash.


today.

.

Posted by: challange your dumb esses... | August 19, 2008 9:27 PM

A recent Quinnapac Poll this week showed a majority of Americans prefer Senator McCain 55% to Senator Obama, 27% when it comes to realpolitik and dealing with the dangerous world out there. I must agree that while Obama has some altruistic tendencies and is a great Black Hope, he just does not have the Gravitas, nee Presence we feel is needed on the world stage. 3 Years in the US Senate, two of them spent campaigning for President don't cut it in my book, I just wish that we had better alternatives on both sides... Disgruntled Independent.

Posted by: Vassilyievna | August 19, 2008 9:27 PM

I'M STARTING TO GET MAD NOT MUCH AT MCCAIN BUT TO OBAMA PARSIMONIOUS ATTITUDE. MCCAIN SO FAR SAID HUNDREDS OF RIDICULOUS STATEMENTS LIKE HE THINK IRAQ IS THE BATTLE GROUND ON TER RORIM BECAUSE BIN LADD EN SAID SO, I KNOW HOW TO WIN WARS, THE WAR IN IRAQ REDUCED THE IRANIAN INFLUENCE, ETC. THOSE AND OTHER STATEMENTS SHOULD HAVE RIDICULE BY OBAMA DAILY. BUT WHAT HAPPEN IS THAT A 72 YEARS OLD GUY IS THE ONE SHOWING MORE ENERGY AND MAKING FAN OF OBAMA. BY THE WAY WHY TAKE VACATION IN HAWAII? YOU DID NOT NEED MORE SUN TONE MY FRIEND, YOU SHOULD GO TO THE HEATHLAND.

Posted by: bluesky | August 19, 2008 9:20 PM

To say that the surge was a success is akin to putting the cart before the horse!
Invading and occupying Iraq was a monumental mistake in the first place.

By supporting Bush to go to war on false pretext was the biggest mistake in judgement McCain had made.

To claim credit for the so-called success of the surge is mere baloney. At what cost Mr McBush? Billions of dollars of American taxpayers' money and hundreds of lives of brave young Americans? You do the math!!

Posted by: JISantiago | August 19, 2008 9:14 PM

McCain was calling for an invasion of Iraq even before Bush. He and his neocon friends all thought it would be a cakewalk, that Iraqi oil would pay for it. We had to have a surge because McCain and his ilk were so very wrong about Iraq to begin with.

McCain has more experience than Obama - too bad it is all bad experience. I am waiting to hear exactly which war McCain won that brings him the experience to win either in Iraq or Afghanistan. I am more worried that he will start a war on another front - Georgia anyone?

Obama 08

Posted by: jswallow | August 19, 2008 9:05 PM

the cross-in-the-dirt story isn't solely soltzenitzyn's invention. christians have been identifying themselves in similar ways since the very first days of roman suppression, although i've usually heard of people drawing a fish rather than a cross.

it's a custom. bit of a diversion from the debate too.

Posted by: barely there | August 19, 2008 9:03 PM

McCain brags that he is more American than Obama and unashamedly questions Obama's patriotism by twisting the truth, a typical trademark of the Republicans when he says Obama is prepared to lose the war in Iraq to win the election.

But the truth of the matter is this old man is so phony and flip flop a hundred times to win the election. He has no scruples and no integrity.

He lied to the Americans by misleading them to think he was in a zone of cone during the Saddleback forum when he in fact was cruising in a motorcade!

He dumped his wife who waited faithfully for his return from Vietnam for money and beauty of the skin!

He used the influence of his father and grandfather to get into the Navy when he truly was not qualified as was evidenced by his finishing as fifth from the bottom of the class and having crashed several planes during training!

McCain was truly not a war hero. There was no record of any great heroic performance of him in the Vietnam war. His only heroic performance is allowing himself to be shot down by the enemy!!

This guy was opposed to offshore oil drilling until the oil companies started filling his campaign coffers! So much for his "drill now, drill here" bravado!!

Posted by: JISantiago | August 19, 2008 9:01 PM

Responsible withdrawal vs 100 years in Iraq.

Supporting our wounded Veterans vs. voting against the Webb GI bill.

The choice for vets should be easy.

Obama 08

Posted by: birdman1 | August 19, 2008 8:37 PM


Let's not forget it was the bad strategy and leadership of the Bush administration that caused the need for the 'surge' in the first place.

Posted by: Nym | August 19, 2008 8:33 PM

I will never take McCain seriously until he answer this question that I keep asking his supporters, haters and the regular right wing Hitler youths every time I post on these boards:

McCain has said "I know how to win wars." but he will not tell us what wars has he the hell won. I need to know.

He gives me the creeps.

Posted by: llewis40 | August 19, 2008 8:31 PM

Ever wonder how this "war' has been financed for so long without a major increase to your Federal Taxes??

A. Try using Sadaam's money. That's how.

Now go out and fire your state and local reps for raising all the other taxes!

Posted by: Beldar Cone | August 19, 2008 8:28 PM

Bodo - I've been hearing that canard about McCain stealing the cross story from Solzhenitsin. Where's it posted for folks to copy/paste from? I'm curious.

Personally I read that story first in the official DoD Vietnam War POW report, and it was corroborated by some of his fellow POWs as something he told them while they were imprisoned. So unless McCain was extremely well read to have filched the story off of a then (pre 1967) obscure Soviet samizdat writer, it must be true. Or do you think that the North Vietnamese provided a lending library of suppressed Soviet writings for their captives to read?

Posted by: Tim | August 19, 2008 8:28 PM

Here is my advise to both candidates.

We don't care about the surge or no surge. We DO NOT WANT to spend 10+ BILLION EACH AND EVERY MONTH on staying in Iraq. We are unto you. Both parties cater to interest groups that benefit from WARS. Basically YOU are taking OUR MONEY and giving it to your friends in the defense, oil etc. industries. They get the contracts and we get the bills. ENOUGH.

And Obama, WHOSE BILLION DOLLAR are you OFFERING to Georgia? Stop tossing our hard earned cash into the winds. We have more important issues we want to spend our cash on.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 8:22 PM

Since I never read or write long commentaries, I don't know what all these people are jabbering about. All I know is that McCain lied about his "experience" with the cross in Vietnam. He stole it from Solzhenitsin's novel "The Gulag Archipel". When someone lies, I can never trust him again, even when he is telling the truth.

Posted by: bodo | August 19, 2008 8:17 PM

McCain does not know anything about the Economy, where Iraq, Iran, Pakistan or Afghanistan are in relation to each other, the different between the Shiites and Sunnis or anything else.

What is Amazing is how anyone can be an Senator for so many years and know so little, about so much!

McCain has made an Senate career out of being an POW 40 years ago. Without accomplishing anything of note in all years as an Senator except costing American tax payers Billions in the Keating 5 scandal, and co-sponsoring Amnesty with the Socialist, Drunk and Killer Ed Kennedy for the loyal Mexicans citizens sent by Mexico to Colonize American! To add insult to injury he then thought Americans were stupid enough to believe him when he tried to deceive them by saying it was not Amnesty or he was not rewarding them for invading the US and breaking numerous Laws! To show the agree that dementia has ravished McCain he even wanted to reward gang members like MS-13 with citizenship that work with & for the Mexican drug cartel and are some of the most vicious gang members in the world! McCain has shown much more loyally to Mexico and his Invading Criminals than to American and its law abiding Citizens. He constantly appears before the racist hate organization La Raza (The Race) that is dedicated to the reconquest of American Southwest and promises them anything as he begs for their votes!

McCain would rather lose an Nation than an Hispanic vote!

McCain's Hispanic Outreach person Juan Hernandez was a Cabinet member in Mexico's Vicente Fox's government and VP of the racist hate organization La Raza (The Race) & is openly for Reconquest of the American Southwest!.

Some of his comments.

“We have recognized that the Mexican population is 100 million in Mexico and 23 million who live in the United States…We are a united nation.”

Mexican immigrants “are going to keep one foot in Mexico and are not going to assimilate.”

Mexico's total economic policy is to send their Criminals and Uneducated peons to the US for Tax payers to support as they cost tax payers Billions sucking at the trough of public Welfare & for their free Medical & Schooling, while Killing, Robbing and Raping Americans citizens by the 10,s of thousands, for Businesses to Exploit and Profits from, and Corrupt Politicians to Pander and Cuddle for votes, while ignoring our Constitution against Invasion, the Rule of Law & their Oath of Office!

Apparently McCain agrees with his adviser about the Reconquest of the Southwest and the Colonization of American, or he would support our Constitution against Invasion, the Rule of Law, and Honor his Oath of Office, instead of rewarding the Invading horde with Amnesty!

McCain is too Stupid to be an Senator, too Stupid to be President and too Treasonous to be an American! My Friends.

Sadly, McCain is an ex-hero and now American traitor like Benedict Arnold!

Posted by: Black Saint J | August 19, 2008 8:13 PM

As everyone but politicians, Liberals & the Media knows, Action talks, Bull Sh-t walks!

Barrack sit at the feet of his friend and Mentor for 20 years, supported him with his money, his family, subjected his children to his hate filled rants and listened to hate venom spewed out against whites, Jews, American, & everyone with the exception of Blacks and Muslims!

Barrack & his wife are Socialist, American hating, Black Power Racist proven by 20 years of attending & supporting the Church of Hate and backed up by Barracks words in Dreams of my Father!

All the pundits, talking heads, Liberal drivel and warm tingling feeling below their waist, cannot change the facts.

Now, he says it was repugnant to him and he does not endorse it or agree! Anyone that drinks that Barrack Cool-Aid should seriously consider an head transplant! It is 20 years too late for anyone with an brain to accept. Either Barrack is lying or he has an serious mental problem! No one in their right mind would sit in the Church of Hate for 20 years and support it every way possible, unless they agreed with the message or they were crazy!

What if an White Republican politician had sit at the feet of his Friend and Mentor in an Baptist Church for 20 years and listened to him preach, rant and spew out racist hate bile against everyone and everything except Whites and Baptists.

Oh, The Outrage, the Moral Condemnation, The Media, Blacks leaders, all the Black Rev's would be popping out of every cracker jack box to get in on the action & check out the possibilities for Liberal white guilt and Blackmail. While all Blacks, Liberals and Democrats would be squealing like pigs caught under the gate!

Republican politicians Major and Minor would be shoving and pushing to get in front of the TV cameras and join in the condemnation, often & loudly, to show the world how politically correct they are.

Every one of the known and unknown in the universe would be calling for his head, no punishment would be enough, resigning from office would not be enough, the poor follow would have to change his name, travel incognito, flee the country! The IRS and FBI would be investigating the church, the church closed and all its members disbanded and scattered to the four winds!

What does Barrack, the Magnificent (May Peace be upon Him) have to do? Why just make an nice little speech blaming it all on his little old white typical grandmother, just throw her under the bus of his racist prejudice and if that is not enough, just whites in general!

But Wait, that speech was for the Rev. Wright and his hate rants, Not why Barrack the Chosen one, the scion of the Muslim goat herder, the deserted son of the typical black father, I am the One We have been waiting on, Barrack the Great, sit in the church for 20 years and listened to his Friend and Mentor spew out venom. That He, the Supreme One, found repugnant and disgusting but with just one little speech and never answer why the Magnificent One and his Wife (may Peace be upon them) have so much hate and sit in church applauding the Rev. Weight for 20 years and all is right in the Barrack cult land.

If nothing else this campaign has Exposed the racism of Blacks and the total Blinding, Unbelievable Hypocrisy, the like of any Balance or Morals that the Liberals, Democrats, and Media have! They have been exposed as Lying, Deceitful, Bigoted Hypocrites, Unable or Unwilling to face or to tell the truth!

Posted by: Black Saint J | August 19, 2008 8:11 PM

So, during a stop at a veterans hall, the kerfuffle is about our current occupation of Iraq. Fair enough, I suppose, but I'm surprised the issue wasn't legislative support of, well, veterans.

Like the fact that McCain was against the Post-9/11 GI Bill proposal, a bill that aimed to provide a more comprehensive educational benefit package to veterans who served after September 11th. I would say he voted against it, but he was busy campaigning in California, and didn't show up for the vote. He did make it clear he opposed it, however.

Obama voted for the bill, which passed, and is scheduled to take effect in August 2009.

Being a veteran doesn't in and of itself qualify you as a supporter of veterans. But since it's the only clout McCain has, he will continue to conflate his POW experience as a qualification to lead.

I'm disappointed that Obama took McCain's bait and used this forum to continue this tired debate about the surge, when his position he has already made clear to those willing to listen. He had a great chance to show vets what he has done and will continue to do for this community, and he balked.

Posted by: John in Mpls | August 19, 2008 8:07 PM

if obama was so against the war, why did he endorse, support and campaign for Joe Turncoat Traitor Liebermen who stole the CT senate election from the PEOPLE'S CHOICE Ned Lamont?

Where was Obama's judgment then?

Posted by: Obama is going down | August 19, 2008 8:02 PM

Wow, the right wing kooks are really out in force tonight!

Listen, Mc Cain votes with Bush 95% of the time, he was with Cheney from the start saying that the Iraq war would be a snap, and he doesn't know anything about economics. He talks about the League of Nations (doesn't exist), the Iraq-Pakistan border (doesn't exist), and Czechoslovakia (doesn't exist). He wrongly said that Iran (shiite) is training Al Qaeda (sunni). He's flip-flopped on everything from a woman's right to choose, to stem cell research, to offshore oil drilling. This guy is comically unqualified to be president, and we all know it.

Let's have a president who didn't help lie us into the Iraq war, and who doesn't want to stay there "100 years."

Obama '08!

Posted by: LH | August 19, 2008 7:59 PM

Obama sure does get a lot of mileage from one rather tepid speech, before war was declared against Iraq. He said, at the time, that going to war would be a dumb thing to do.

He claims that this speech was risky at a time when he was running for office -- without qualifying that he was running for office in a very liberal district that was more likely to be opposed to the war than for it. So, at the time, his opposition was, in fact, politically expedient.

Once Obama was a member of the Senate, when he actually got to vote, rather than talk, he voted against timetables for withdrawal of our troops and he voted to continue funding the war.

And then, when he began this bid for President, during a time when there was now solid national opposition to the war, he suddenly remembered that once upon a time, he rather mildly criticized the war. So now, he's recreated himself as a voice for peace and good judgment, because, once again, it will get him the votes of people who pay more attention to what Obama says than what he actually does.

We all realize that it's not PC to call Obama's vision of himself as oracle a fairytale. So, how about if we just call it BS?

Posted by: Lynn | August 19, 2008 7:45 PM

Until Obama became the obvious Democratic nominee, I adored McCain. I loved his bluster, his straight shooting, his willingness to go against his own party. Because his principles weren't for sale. What happened to change all that? Either his ego is so voracious that he'll do and say anything to be president, or he feels so emasculated, so threatened by the younger, more even-tempered Obama that he'll do and say anything to be president. Either way, he's having a fire sale on his principles. Now I feel almost ashamed that I once liked him. I'm starting to wonder if this election will simply come down to old versus young. Everyone 55 and over will vote for McCain because they can't stand or are afraid of change (a sad but common ailment in old people), they've had their way for so many years they can't bear giving up control, or they've been so obedient to government so much of their lives (how many of them do you bet have rewritten their own personal histories of the 60s?), they resent anyone younger who refuse to accept the status quo, who knows the way it's always been doesn't mean it's the way it always HAS TO BE. Everyone younger than 55 will vote for Obama because they're tired of watching their future and their children's futures be sold to the highest bidder, they know that change is necessary and NORMAL, and they refuse to continue being abused by the faulty and corrupt government their parents and grandparents worship.

Posted by: booger1 | August 19, 2008 7:42 PM

Your analysis fails to probe the questions surrounding McCain's tomfoolery about going into Iraq in the first place. This poor decision not only cost us many lives and much treasure, but it diverted us from our true enemies (Osama) in Afghanistan. In addition, by going into Iraq without adequate cause, we weaken our moral authority on the world stage regarding current Russian expansionism. McCain must explain why the entire Iraq debacle was worth it.

Posted by: Archy | August 19, 2008 7:35 PM

There is nothing more disgusting than a hack politician making up fake hero stories. Why no investigation and sharing of the fake "cross" story? Why no posting of McCain's 3 years worth of audio and video from his anti-American, pro-Communist broadcasts for the NV?
So far, I've been unable to find any reference to McCain's story about a Vietnamese guard drawing the sign of the cross in the dirt before 1999 when the anecdote appears in Mark Salter's book, co-written with McCain, "Faith Of My Fathers." The first Nexis story dates only to 2000. There is one reference to a kind Vietnamese guard in McCain's own 1973 account of his years in captivity, an account whose style and content are often markedly at odds with the later book. Here's McCain's 1973 account:

I had the singular misfortune to get caught communicating four times in the month of May of 1969. They had a punishment room right across the courtyard from my cell, and I ended up spending a lot of time over there.

It was also in May, 1969, that they wanted me to write—as I remember—a letter to U. S. pilots who were flying over North Vietnam asking them not to do it. I was being forced to stand up continuously—sometimes they'd make you stand up or sit on a stool for a long period of time. I'd stood up for a couple of days, with a respite only because one of the guards — the only real human being that I ever met over there — let me lie down for a couple of hours while he was on watch the middle of one night.
In the current (post-Salter) telling, a kind Vietnamese guard relaxed the ropes pushing McCain into a "stress-position" and later revealed himself to McCain as a Christian by the silent symbol in the dirt on Christmas Eve. None of these details was in the original. (Small aside: McCain was being subjected to sleep deprivation and stress-positions, techniques the Bush administration denies are torture and uses against prisoners in US custody.)

It is, of course, perfectly possible that there are two separate incidents concerning the same guard. But the moments would doubtless have seared themselves into McCain's consciousness at the time. So it's striking that the second, more dramatic, and even more poignant version would not have been recalled by McCain so much closer to the event in 1973. It is an event he now says he "will never forget". And yet he omitted it in 1973, out of 12,000 words he wrote about his experience.

Maybe the deeper truth of this story became muddled and embellished, as such stories do, over the years, by people with no intent to mislead. You can see why. Our memories are fallible (as McCain's has been on his prison years before). And it's hard to convey how awful "long-time standing" can be as a torture technique and so the mercy involved in the original incident was less anecdote-worthy. And maybe the notion of another human being simply humane was not compelling enough for a narrative as grand and world-heroic as "Faith Of My Fathers," with the emphasis on faith.


But it remains a fact that the original telling had no explicitly Christian content - and no cross in the dirt. It's about someone being human. Moreover, it's not as if McCain felt constrained in 1973 to say only bad things about the "gooks" who kept watch. In 1973, he singled out the guard whose humanity he remembered. And surely, surely, a Christian gesture in a Communist torture camp would have imprinted itself indelibly on McCain's consciousness. He was capable of using Christian imagery. In 1974, he told a story at a Prayer Breakfast hosted by Reagan of a cell in Hanoi where the beginning of the Creed had been etched in the stone wall. So it's just baffling that an overwhelming moment of Christian witness would be absent from his first telling of the story - and never surface for another twenty-five years.


Then this: I've also been unable to locate the actual alleged passage in the Gulag Archipelago that is referred to in Luke Veronis' "The Sign Of The Cross." (If anyone does, please let me know.) But a reader notes that the story of Solzhenitsen and the cross in the dirt was popularized by evangelical leader and former Watergate crook, Chuck Colson. The anecdote appears in Colson's 1983 book, "Loving God." Here's the relevant passage:

Like other prisoners, Solzhenitsen worked in the fields, his days a pattern of backbreaking labor and slow starvation. One day the hopelessness became too much to bear. Solzhenitsen felt no purpose in fighting on, his life would make no ultimate difference. Laying his shovel down, he walked slowly to a crude work-site bench. He knew at any moment a guard would order him up and, when he failed tro respond, bludgeon him to death, probably with his own shovel. He'd seen it happen many times.

As he sat waiting, head down, he felt a presence. Slowly he lifted his eyes. Next to him sat an old man with a wrinkled, utterly expressionless face. Hunched over, the man drew a stick through the sand and Solzhenitsen's feet, deliberately tracing out the sign of the cross.

As Solzhenitsen started at that rough outline, his entire perspective shifted. He knew he was merely one man against the all-powerful Soviet empire. Yet in that moment, he also knew that the hope of all mankind was represented by that simple cross - and through its power, anything was possible. Solzhenitsen slowly got up, picked up his shovel, and went back to work - not know that his writings on truth and freedom would one day enflame the whole world.
This passage became popularized inn the 1970s by, among others, Jesse Helms, as the notes in "Loving God" explain:

"The story about Alexander Solzhenitsen and the old man who made the sign of the cross was first told by Solzhenitsyn to a group of Christian leaders and later recounted by Billy Graham in his New Year's telecast, 1977. It has been retold subsequently, most publicly by Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC)."
Now here's the 1999 Mark Salter version of the McCain story:

After one difficult interrogation, I was left in the interrogation room for the night, tied in ropes. A gun guard, whom I had noticed before but had never spoken to, was working the night shift, 10:00 p.m. to 4 a.m. A short time after the interrogators had left me to ponder my bad attitude for the evening, this guard entered the room and silently, without looking at or smiling at me, loosened the ropes, and then he left me alone. A few minutes before his shift ended, he returned and tightened up the ropes...

One Christmas, a few months after the gun guard had inexplicably come to my assistance during my long night in the interrogation room, I was standing in the dirt courtyard when I saw him approach me. He walked up and stood silently next to me. Again, he didn't smile or look at me. He just stared at the ground in front of us. After a few moments had passed he rather nonchalantly used his sandaled foot to draw a cross in the dirt. We both stood wordlessly looking at the cross until, after a minute or two, he rubbed it out and walked away. I saw my good Samaritan often after the Christmas when we venerated the cross together. But he never said a word to me nor gave the slightest signal that he acknowledged my humanity.
One detail has changed: McCain's first version has the guard making the sign with his feet, while the latest ad shows the sign being made with Solzhenitsen's stick. So the ad itself is closer in imagery to the Colson account than to Salter's. But the trope is exactly the same: the silent communication, the total stranger, the desolation, and the cross. And, of course, this has profound Christian symbolic reference. Every Christian will immediately associate the drawing in the dirt with a stick with Jesus and the woman caught in adultery: another moment of unexpected mercy.

One more thing: McCain's various stories only talk of one guard - "the only real human being that I ever met over there". And yet the guard who loosened his ropes in May 1969 could not have been present the following Christmas, as McCain had been transferred to another location (unless the transfer occurred between Christmas and New Year of 1969 and unless the guard was transferred to exactly the same camp at the same time).

I know I'm on a hiding to nothing on this. There is no way to know for sure what happened between two people in a prison camp in an incident to which no one else was a witness more than a quarter century ago. And it's perfectly possible that all of it is true, if muddled. But when a candidate tells a story that doesn't really add up with his previous accounts, and when he runs a campaign ad based on that story whose imagery is closer to someone else's account than his own, when a life changing moment is forgotten for a quarter of a century until a critical campaign when an appeal to conservative Christians was vital, the question is worth fleshing out - and I will gladly air any evidence that emerges in McCain's defense.

Posted by: Joshua Generation Against McSleaze | August 19, 2008 7:33 PM

what was senator john mccain's definition of "rich" again? either my hearing is failing or he didn't answer the question because it was not politically beneficial. hard to define oneself and their souse as rich i guess, while trying to appeal to the poor white folk down south (his main constituency). really, i have no doubt that big john has empathy for the less fortunate and downtrodden; just ask those offshore corporations who hire the poor and downtrodden in third-world countries at pennies on the dollar. now that is what i call a compassionate conservative. and to wrongly define the maverick as only caring for the wealthy - the nerve!!

Posted by: middle-aged white woman for obama | August 19, 2008 7:24 PM

Dick Morris has it right. One is a constitutional lawyer, the other, a commander.

Posted by: William Dorros | August 19, 2008 7:22 PM

watching john mccain on the faith forum reminded me an awful lot of shrub. short little ditties directed at his homies then that silly little smirk. argggh - 4 more years, 4 more years....

Posted by: americanandproudofit | August 19, 2008 7:10 PM

Are we mature enough to debate policies ever? I watched this through the primaries where rhetoric won over substance. Now I watch both candidates who claim to be above the frey, hurl insults and their supporters are worse. I am a leftist and therefore am voting for Barak because I can't stand the idea of more right wing rule- but lets talk about the pros and cons of each candidate

Barak is charismatic and presents a great image to the world. He rhetorically promises that we will increase community level involvement in political decisions, although he shows no plan for how to do this (we are all interested in sexy issues like healthcare and foreign policy- but how much do you think the average guy is going to participate in highway laws? Agricultural subsidies? etc_

I agree with his position on choice- even if he nuanced it a bit.

He has not publically talked much about womens rights, or equal pay.

His healthcare plan is better than McCain's but lacks universal coverage.

He has been a supporter of "free trade" (despite rhetoric) in the senate and in speeches before running for president.

He was for a tougher death penalty law federally; I oppose the death penalty universally.

He is for a fixed timetable for withdrawl and some sort of redeployment from Iraq, which is better in my mind than not having a timetable- although he has a one vote more conservative record in the senate on funding the war than HRC had.

He spoke in favor of disrupting DC's gun laws- in my mind guns should be regulated as strongly as possible (2nd ammendment reads "An armed militia being necessary...right to bear arms"- it was never about individual gun rights.)

He voted to allow the president to sidestep the FISA courts.

His energy policy is ambitious and far reaching but does not deal with the here and now (neither does McCain's)

He has little experience with foreign policy. Legislatively, he has run away from the most potentially dangerous votes (Iran, etc.). He has the least experience for actually driving an agenda through in the last 140 years.

However he is still much better than McCain who instead of being stereotyped about being old or linked to Bush, whom he has opposed more than any other Republican candidate should be held to account for being:
Antichoice
Having a regressive economic/tax policy and an regressive health care plan that will hurt the sick the most (free market system)
Supporting an unlimited stay in Iraq (likely to be shorter anyway- but without timetable it is undefinable)
Supports "free trade" that decreases worker rights and unionization
etc.

Barak is the only reasonable choice. Too bad we have so few choices.

Leon

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 7:08 PM

cryos, the point i was trying to make was how mccain hardly looks up while addressing his audience, which makes it quite apparent that the speech he is delivering is not in his own words. as for any debate between mccain and obama, i have no doubt that the guy who graduated at the top of his class can run circles around the guy who graduated next to last from his :)

Posted by: gijane | August 19, 2008 7:05 PM

Real War Veterans and War Heroes don't need to flaunt their Veteran Status or
their Hero Status. It's only those such
as John "The Green Zone Is Safe" McCain
who is so insecure and desperate for national recognition that he will beat
his own drum to prove to his fellow
War Veterans that he "deserves" to be
President. A vote for John McCain is a vote for another Pyschotic in the White
House.

Posted by: Jet-Man | August 19, 2008 7:02 PM

Picture it, Press Conference in Arizona 1992. John McCain is speaking from the pulpit. His prominent nostrils are flared, brow furrowed, and a scowl across his face. His wife says "You're getting a little thin up there." McCain responds, "At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you c*nt." This my friends is what we will see in October when they release his "c*nt-gate" tapes on YouTube.

Posted by: Dianne27 | August 19, 2008 6:58 PM

American patriotism needn't be questioned,
unless, of course, paranoia strikes deep,
and it's starts when you're always afraid.
If that doesn't speak for a fraudulently
appointed President George W. Bush, his Stormtrooper First Mate VP Dick Cheney, and
now Senator John "The Green Zone Is Safe" McCain, then there's little else to say about Murderers, Traitors and Betrayers of the American people, the United States and our US Constitution. A vote for John McCain is a vote for Arizona MAFIA REIGN.

Posted by: Jet-Man | August 19, 2008 6:53 PM

"also, it is quite obvious that mccain, just like georgie porgie, does not write any of his own speeches or even pore over them prior to his events as he clumsily reads off his scripted stump speech of the day."

I love these type of arguments about McCain and speeches. Obama is too scared to debate McCain in a REAL format with unscripted questions, no teleprompter and no friendly moderator. So who is it that depends on scripted stump speeches?

Posted by: Cryos | August 19, 2008 6:52 PM

From the Vets who know McCain better than anyone else: http://www.vietnamveteransagainstjohnmccain.com/

Posted by: patriot76 | August 19, 2008 6:49 PM

personally, i want somebody intelligent in the white house after 8 years of watching a bumbling idiot try to communicate with the masses. i see obama answering questions with thoughtful consideration, while mccain pops off little soundbytes whose sole purpose is to get a raucous round of applause from his audience. he shoots off these little canned comments then smiles like a 5 year-old caught with his hand in the cookie jar; how precious. also, it is quite obvious that mccain, just like georgie porgie, does not write any of his own speeches or even pore over them prior to his events as he clumsily reads off his scripted stump speech of the day. great, 4 more years of idiocy...

Posted by: gijane | August 19, 2008 6:47 PM

"I'm going to go get some shaved ice," Barack Obama as Russian tanks rolled into Georgia.

Posted by: WylieD | August 19, 2008 6:31 PM

"I know I am supposed to be an expert on Russian affairs, but I am just having too much fun on my vacation buying shoes with Iraqi war for profit blood money to call it off." CondiLiar Rice as Russian tanks rolled into Georgia.

Posted by: KEVIN SCHMIDT | August 19, 2008 6:45 PM

We've got a deserter (from the 'Champagne Unit' of the Texas Air National Guard) as a president, a six-time draft-dodger as vice-president. I don't hear Mr. McCain talking about their patriotism. What’s up?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 6:45 PM

From the article, "But the speeches produced an even more barbed exchange over whether Obama's opposition to the war and the surge represented political expediency or true conviction."

I am tired of politicians disobeying the will of WE THE PEOPLE in favor of their corrupt "true conviction" of selling their votes to the highest bidding K Street corporate lobbyists!

Posted by: KEVIN SCHMIDT | August 19, 2008 6:40 PM

McCain protests too much. What about his poor judgement in supporting the invasion of Iraq in the first place?

Posted by: scientist1 | August 19, 2008 6:36 PM

"ignor cryos...
he's a simpleton and a a republican't troll....he comes on many of these boards under different guises...it's his job; because he's too pathetic to hold a real one...

Posted by: easyenough | August 19, 2008 6:24 PM"

Ah yes a couple signs of what apparently modern liberals feel obligated to be "progressive"

1. If you can't win in a debate do one of the following
- Ignore the person
- Never answer the question but denounce them as listening to Fox News, Rush, being a troll, etc and somehow think that a cop out takes the place of an answer
- Change the subject
- Equate the issue to something McCain or a republican did

Just as I dislike neo-cons masquerading as republicans I feel sorry for classic liberals dealing with modern liberals in their party. Classic liberals were tolerant, open minded, genuinely interested in freedoms and able to judge complex issues so I guess renaming liberal to something else does make sense since modern liberals are no longer liberals.

Posted by: Cryos | August 19, 2008 6:33 PM


"I'm going to go get some shaved ice," Barack Obama as Russian tanks rolled into Georgia.

Posted by: WylieD | August 19, 2008 6:31 PM

Russia takes over Eastern Europe and America disarms

Obama's Disarmament Position (August 2007)
Quote: "Toward a Nuclear Free World: Obama will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons, and pursue it. Obama will always maintain a strong deterrent as long as nuclear weapons exist. But he will take several steps down the long road toward eliminating nuclear weapons.

He will stop the development of new nuclear weapons; work with Russia to take U.S. and Russian ballistic missiles off hair trigger alert; seek dramatic reductions in U.S. and Russian stockpiles of nuclear weapons and material; and set a goal to expand the U.S.-Russian ban on intermediate- range missiles so that the agreement is global."

Posted by: alance | August 19, 2008 6:27 PM

Ok, folks, it's time to remove the word "Surge" from any context pertaining to the future state of our troops embrolied
a costly and deadly debacle initiated by
an illegitimately appointed President George W. bush and his VP Dick Cheney. It's also interesting how past VFW's and other myopic Americans see this has-been
Vietnam Veteran "Hero" John McCain as another Godsend to our United States, Iraq, Afghanistan and the world. And, who could forget the great understatement by this well connected Arizona Mafia Boy when he stated that "The Green Zone is Safe". Of course, when one has an escort of a hundred or so troops and air cover, sure it's safe to picnic out in beautiful downtown Baghdad. John McCain has abused his Vietnam Veteran Status so much one has to wonder whther or not that dealyed PTSD is interferring with his thinking, and would further undermine his ability to act as our nation's president. Obama may not be a war veteran, but he has yet to create that aura of a furture Murderer, Traitor and Betrayer of the American people, the United States and much of the world.

Posted by: Jet-Man | August 19, 2008 6:25 PM

This is truly a spectacle. You have two corporation candidates trying to sell themselves as "ready to lead", which is code for "ready to keep doing the same busted foreign policy", and they're doing it using the framework of how they view Iraq.

As you may remember, Iraq is one of the biggest foreign policy blunders in the history of the world, perhaps in the history of the universe.

Obama says he's better than McCain because he opposed it. McCain says he's better than Obama because he supported it. Both men say they're going to talk to the commanders on the ground to determine when it's safe to start withdrawing American forces.

So, what can we learn from this? We learn that Obama, who didn't actually have a vote on the topic, vociferously opposed the war. McCain, who did have a vote, voted with the other 98% of GOPERs and Democrats who did. And BOTH men have the same position on how to extricate ourselves from Iraq.

They also agree on the Middle East policy of the last 5 decades, which is to arm Israel to the teeth and give them unconditional support no matter who they bomb. The US has to prop up governments who can sell us oil or are otherwise useful, such as when they're the enemy of someone we're currently demonizing.

On health care, Obama opposes single payer. Enough said.

On guns, religion, and the death penalty, McCain and Obama agree.

On public campaign financing, they disagree, with McCain apparently SUPPORTING it.

So, bottom line is, I'm going to vote for Nader. Obama already showed me he can't be trusted by posing as a progressive and then turning into Bill Clinton on steroids. John McCain is senile.

If ever there was a year to vote for 3rd party, this is it. Nader, Barr, McKinney, or Paul.

You can visit my website www.stopdubya.com for more information about Nader.

-Wexler

Posted by: William W. Wexler | August 19, 2008 6:25 PM

ignor cryos...
he's a simpleton and a a republican't troll....he comes on many of these boards under different guises...it's his job; because he's too pathetic to hold a real one...

Posted by: easyenough | August 19, 2008 6:24 PM

Just for kicks I'll even post the whole chain of events. Anonymous it looks like Obama has you hook, line and sinker even using his strategies. Sorry but intelligent people can see through this easily.

********************

"I love the Obama hyprocrisy.

1. Obama attacks McCain on an issue
2. McCain attacks Obama in return
3. Obama says we don't have time for politics as usual or attacks on candidates.
4. Obama and his supporters claim republicans are running a negative campaign.

Both candidates have been running negative campaigns and it gets boring hearing Obama use the cop out when he doesn't have an answer. Repeating something to try to make it true only works for the idealists, naive, and gullible.

Posted by: Cryos | August 19, 2008 5:31 PM

**************
Cryos

I love your hypocrisy. Like most Obama haters you hate him because he is black but in the name of being politically correct you reserve from expressing it and look for little nit picky excuses to cloak your real reasons for disliking him as a potential leader. You just make up your reasons as the campaign goes along. Ignoring the 800 pound gorilla in the room which is McCain and his alliance with bush and his already failed policies. I know a lot of americans are not ready for a minority president and want to stay in the 20th century as far as how they view this country but you can't nor should you stop change, especially if it is progressive. McCain's presidency represents the last of the old school generation, old money and old america. Some of us are not ready to let that go. If the one thing america needs right now is change. Even if it is mainly on the surface.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 5:42 PM
************
"Cryos

I love your hypocrisy. Like most Obama haters you hate him because he is black but in the name of being politically correct you reserve from expressing it and look for little nit picky excuses to cloak your real reasons for disliking him as a potential leader."

LMAO you Obama supporters are pathetic. I feel sorry for you that you are unable to look past simple things like race and make objective decisions about someone. That's ok when you become an adult and learn to think for yourself maybe you'll emotionally mature.

Posted by: Cryos | August 19, 2008 6:09 PM
*******************


Cryos

No more pathetic than you. But I guess if you said it than I must confess that its true. We obama supporters are all pathetic and lack maturity. Now, do you feel all empowered now? I can agree with all your post and negative remarks just to patronize you but you still cant make me vote for someone whom I dont believe will make the country better. Especially when he is supporting the same policy that has made this country worse. Please feel free to waste your time posting insults. It wont change a thing. See you in november. Insults don't win elections, votes do.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 6:15 PM

Posted by: Cryos | August 19, 2008 6:24 PM

McCain accuses Obama of putting personal ambition before country in his bid for the presidency. Obama, of course, denies this.

The fact is they're both so full of crap it's coming out their ears.

No one starts a run for the presidency with the country's best interests in mind. Politics in this country has become nothing more than a beauty pageant. Why would any one put themselves through the rigors of the primaries and the general election? To stoke their egos and show everyone that they can be the top dog; so they can say,"HAHAHAHAHA!! I'm King of the World!"

The next comment is, unfortunately, "Oh crap. I won. Now what do I do?"

Posted by: EKruse | August 19, 2008 6:19 PM

Anonymous thank you for the late afternoon laugh. Maybe you don't realize it but you totally pulled exactly what I specify in my 1st post.

"
I love the Obama hyprocrisy.

1. Obama attacks McCain on an issue
2. McCain attacks Obama in return
3. Obama says we don't have time for politics as usual or attacks on candidates.
4. Obama and his supporters claim republicans are running a negative campaign."

1. You attack my post calling me racist
2. I attack your attack as pathetic
3. You come back and say 'I can agree with all your post and negative remarks just to patronize you'
4. Now we just need someone who agrees with you to denounce my attacks and the process is complete.

Posted by: Cryos | August 19, 2008 6:19 PM

For all political and media counts the surge did work (Despite what you might think, this fact/myth of success has cemented). McCain has benefited greatly from this assumption. It has become difficult for obama to damper this point, along side the underside of his position that Iraq is the wrong war, and withdrawal-redeployment is more important than assuring stability. Obama runs away from the argument/question of what if violence increases while or after troop withdrawal, is it still the wrong war? Do we send troops back in? Do we stay out of their civil war?

While I am for complete troop withdrawal immediately and am at peace at letting Iraqi factions fight amongst each other if they so choose without American help. It is a more difficult/nuanced position to argue, that their fate is not our responsibility as opposed to spouting the catchphrase "we will win the war", despite the fact that the only possible thing that is in our interest in the country is some leverage over the flow of oil.

Which centers the focus.

and the argument that is not happening, but should be...

Do Americans want an imperial nation that wages both open and covert wars strictly over energy interests?

or do we wish to turn this destructive and costly path into something constructive, becoming energy independent.

Obama needs to frame the issue, "do we want to wages wars over the control of oil"

McCain himself inserts a little bit of this into his own rhetoric, to drill here so we don’t have to fight there, but at the same time, as heard in the current Georgian crisis, he clearly says America needs to fight for a American-leaning Georgian government because of there "vital" oil and oil pipelines that feed western nations. McCain has made his choice.

Posted by: Yar | August 19, 2008 6:19 PM

Cryos

No more pathetic than you. But I guess if you said it than I must confess that its true. We obama supporters are all pathetic and lack maturity. Now, do you feel all empowered now? I can agree with all your post and negative remarks just to patronize you but you still cant make me vote for someone whom I dont believe will make the country better. Especially when he is supporting the same policy that has made this country worse. Please feel free to waste your time posting insults. It wont change a thing. See you in november. Insults don't win elections, votes do.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 6:15 PM

The most hilarious aspect of McCain's chest-puffing response to the Russian military action was his solemn, sanctimonious declaration that "in the 21st century nations don't invade other nations."

I guess the man is either in denial about the very unprovoked, premeditated invasion he rubber-stamped back in 2003, or he's simply gone completely senile.

In any event, the mainstream media did as they have all along with his incomprehensible gaffes. They ignored it. But you can see the video of it here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/08/13/mccain-in-the-21st-centur_n_118759.html

Posted by: The MSM is a giant airbrushing operation for John McCain | August 19, 2008 6:15 PM

1 August 2008
RE: McCain Economic Energy Plan, Mealer Companies.

Dear Governor Napolitano,
As a constituent of yours here in Arizona, yet across the political spectrum as a Republican leaning conservative, I must compliment you on the excellent job you have done governing Arizona. We will miss you when you retire from office this year.

I am writing this letter to inform you of the strength Senator McCain will be able to bring to the USA when he is elected president. Arizona will benefit from McCain’s economic and energy plan as will America. I began calling this plan the 3R plan as the private sector has defined Senator McCain’s outline to Rethink, Reform and Reinvent the US economy while taking on a tremendous energy plan.

The goals include massive job training for thousands of new USA mfg companies while utilizing existing (thousands of) abandoned buildings for training and new mfg arenas. We expect to allow the current owners of these abandoned buildings to take full advantage of the existing tax breaks as they allow America to retrain and ultimately take-over their defunct buildings.
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We expect to also gain celebrity insight, promotion and fan-based backing with other McCain supporters; Sylvester Stallone, Jon Voight, Tom Selleck, Lou Ferrigno, Dennis Miller, Roger Staubach and so many more sensible people as an added push into a massive McCain 3R economic-energy agenda.

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Sincerely,
John Lewis Mealer
Founding President Mealer Companies

www.betterconstructed.com (original investor site)
www.mealercompanies.com (parked domain)

Posted by: jlmeal | August 19, 2008 6:10 PM

I have looked back on Obama's comments in early 2007 about the surge. Both McCain and the media misrepresent his position. He repearedly said a surge would not work unless there was also a surge in internal Iraqi diplomacy, i.e., cutting the secterian violence and pulling the Sunni's away from extremism. He wanted to hold Bush's feet to the fire until there was a change in policy In fact, that is ultimately what happened, but it wasn't the Bush administration that brought about the surge in internal dipolmacy, but the Iraqis themselves with assistance of the U.S. military, rather than the Ameican civilian authorities who remain clueless. The biggest reason the Iraquis decided to start coming together is the knowledge that the Bush Administration's blank check would disappear in January 2009 and they needed to start governing themselves.

Posted by: bgjd1979 | August 19, 2008 6:10 PM

"Cryos

I love your hypocrisy. Like most Obama haters you hate him because he is black but in the name of being politically correct you reserve from expressing it and look for little nit picky excuses to cloak your real reasons for disliking him as a potential leader."

LMAO you Obama supporters are pathetic. I feel sorry for you that you are unable to look past simple things like race and make objective decisions about someone. That's ok when you become an adult and learn to think for yourself maybe you'll emotionally mature.

Posted by: Cryos | August 19, 2008 6:09 PM

I have to go. Unlike Andy and Gary I have a life. Later log cabin losers.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 6:08 PM

Andy

Make sure you and Gary kiss each other goodnight before you turn off the lights tonight. You log cabin republicans you. Did I spell that correctly?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 6:07 PM

Gary E. Masters

No one ask you to be a whimpy ball sniffing punk but what can you do huh?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 6:05 PM

Anonymous writing to Gary Masters: Your the dumb ass on this one goober.

That's "you're" as in "you are." Try to get your insults correct.

Posted by: Andy | August 19, 2008 6:04 PM

Seems as though america is more interested in preventing a minority in becoming president than they are changing the current path of this countries failed policy. The truth is some of us would rather see america go down the tubes with white males as leaders than to change for the better with a black person as leader.

Diane 72!

How many times has Laura Bush regressed to a Texas trailor trash speak? Should we refer to barb and Jen as skeeter and teeter? Should we give Dubya a pack of chew, a plaid shirt with the sleeves cut off and a cap that says booty hunter on the front? All racist stereotypes that could be against used against our current president and his family by racist people. But no some of us like to judge our leaders on their policy, not our racial perceptions. Seems you lack the intellect or mental capacity to go beyond that. So I know why you will vote for McCain. He is white. If your a simple minded racist, its not Michelle Obama's fault.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 6:02 PM

"No one asked you to add to the conversation."

Thank you for sharing.

Posted by: Gary E. Masters | August 19, 2008 5:57 PM

The reason the surge didn't work is because it diverted resources away from Afghanistan, just like they were diverted when Iraq was invaded in the first place.

After Obama's meeting with Petraeus he explained that as CINC, he would have to consider all aspects of the conflict, not just Iraq. Back when the surge was proposed, Petraeus' boss essentially said the same thing and was promptly 'retired.

Posted by: Ric.R | August 19, 2008 5:55 PM

Wait just a darn moment!

You wrote "McCain has built his strategy around his support for the surge policy to good effect, but prior to that moment he was both a critic of President Bush's policies and an enabler in Bush's ability to win a second term and continue those policies until the military and political realities required a change in course."

This ignores the inconvenient fact that McCain started pushing for invading Iraq on 9/12! After all, McCain preceded George W. in promoting the Iraq invasion, letting his trigger-happy emotions hijack his “judgment.” Indeed, in January 2002, he told crew on the Theodore Roosevelt, “Next up, Baghdad!” Ignoring concerns over whether this invasion was in our national interest or had a clear exit strategy - (there is that judgment issue again), McCain bulled ahead, leading the Bush administrations’ efforts to market the war - and "muddle through" in Afghanistan.

If McCain "knows how to win wars," why did he not speak up before the Iraq invasion, supporting those who felt more troops were needed? Was this pure political expediency?

Posted by: BlunderBush | August 19, 2008 5:55 PM

"No one asked you to add to the conversation."

Thank you for sharing.

Posted by: Gary E. Masters | August 19, 2008 5:55 PM

The situation in Iraq is a catastrophe, and the questions regarding the surge last summer and fall were namely about how to contain, and hopefully lessen, this catastrophe. The need for the surge resulted from a terribly managed war that Sen. McCain fully supported.

The Iraq adventure was an unnecessary, reckless war, initiated on the eve of the Nov. midterm elections in 2002, during a time of great public fear, in order for the Republicans to win House and Senate seats, by painting opponents to the war as being unpatriotic. McCain, who for years has had the reputation of being a respected elder statesman, should have demonstrated more wisdom. Cautionary words from him would have had an impact.

It was clear 2002 - 2003 that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction or, if it had them, they were in no position to be deployed. Hans Blix searched the contry for illegal weapons, finding nothing but a small cache of rockets that had 30 - 40 miles more range than was allowed under the conditions ending Gulf War I.

I was in my mid-20s when the war errupted, and it was so evident to me then that this was a very, very dangerous event. Meanwhile, Sen. McCain and many other congressional leaders from both parties failed to see that. Sen. Obama had wisdom then.

The debate about the surge is important, but it misses the larger point: this war should never have been fought. The question of the surge is one about the best way to fix a terrible, intractable problem, where options range from bad to worse.

Posted by: jeff.englishteacher | August 19, 2008 5:52 PM

I never thought of John McCain as a Neo-Con...but given his views on the Iraq war and the recent bellicose comments about Georgia...isn't he proving to be a true Neo-Con? And, if so, why doesn't the media use that label in describing him. I don't think Rumsfeld, Cheney, et al, view the "Neo-Con" tag as negative, so why not call his views what they are?

Posted by: MG | August 19, 2008 5:52 PM

Gary E. Masters

No one asked you to add to the conversation. I think I know who Bush and McCain is. The question I ask is do you understand why I combined their names? Apparently you do know know what I was responding to nor did you try to. Your the dumb ass on this one goober. Please do me a favor and try not to indulge in responding.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 5:50 PM

For those of you who are new to these boards, Diane72 is nothing more than a dimwitted nebbish, who should simply be ignored.

Posted by: swalker3 | August 19, 2008 5:50 PM

"TUESDAY MUST BE KOOK NIGHT!

Posted by: TomHERE"

Go ahead Tom.

Say it loud and say it proud.

But even kooks are welcome.

Posted by: Gary E. Masters | August 19, 2008 5:48 PM

Diane 72! I think what you want to say is "She's a GD N******, ain't she?"
And I think Gary Masters now considers you worthy of taking part in this discussion.
TUESDAY MUST BE KOOK NIGHT!

Posted by: TomHERE | August 19, 2008 5:43 PM

Cryos

I love your hypocrisy. Like most Obama haters you hate him because he is black but in the name of being politically correct you reserve from expressing it and look for little nit picky excuses to cloak your real reasons for disliking him as a potential leader. You just make up your reasons as the campaign goes along. Ignoring the 800 pound gorilla in the room which is McCain and his alliance with bush and his already failed policies. I know a lot of americans are not ready for a minority president and want to stay in the 20th century as far as how they view this country but you can't nor should you stop change, especially if it is progressive. McCain's presidency represents the last of the old school generation, old money and old america. Some of us are not ready to let that go. If the one thing america needs right now is change. Even if it is mainly on the surface.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 5:42 PM

Wow. No wonder the GOP hoped Hillary would win: all the charges McCain lobbied are true of her, so we dodged a bullet by choosing Barack who shouldn't go all wobbly on us like she did at the end of the primary with her GOPeeish mongering, hard working white Americans and whatnot.

I love Hill and Bill but it's good to remember how Barack came to rise above her after she sponsored that silly amendment to protect flags, as bizarre a little interest group as ever had a big ol' expensive amendment to itself.

Posted by: jhbyer | August 19, 2008 5:41 PM

Balz, you got scooped big time. John M. Broder's piece in The Times has so much more info, without the commentary.

Posted by: The DudeDC | August 19, 2008 5:41 PM

Dick Cheney is reading your e-mail and you're worried about "whitey-gate"?
The Russians just shoved their policy so far down W's throat that he'll need a proctologist to clean his teeth, and you want to talk about "whitey-gate"?
What the f*** is wrong with you people?
Grow up America.
Grow up or perish by your own stupidity and moral squalor.

Posted by: tomHERE | August 19, 2008 5:40 PM

"I don't trust George W McCain."

I find conversation with people who don't even get the names straight to be difficult. Do you also write
"Amerika?"

Sorry, but I don't see you as a serious participant.

Posted by: Gary E. Masters | August 19, 2008 5:40 PM

Greeted as liberators?

In a few places we were greeted that way, mostly we were not - but after the first few days that was history. As the Senator Obama says "Don't live in the past."

However he seemed intent to cut funding and was sure that the surge would not work. Now he finds technical reasons to argue it is not totally a success or again says "Don't live in the past."

OK - McCain is right. He bet his bid to be President on the surge and it worked.

Next question?

But of course the true Democratic response is to say "It is the economy that counts. Don't live overseas." (Or in the past.)

Posted by: Gary E. Masters | August 19, 2008 5:36 PM

"Shoot after months and months and months of denying it we can no longer claim that the surge failed. Ah I've got it we'll say the only reason it worked was that we paid tribal leaders and that the US surge had nothing to do with it. If that doesn't work we'll sidestep that the surge hurt Afghanistan or that the war was wrong to go into in the first place. Yeah that will work."

You're not fooling anyone intelligent.

Posted by: Cryos | August 19, 2008 5:36 PM

Dianne72

Yes, black racism, the number one problem in America today. Meanwhile you refer to the potential first lady with a stereotypical name but I bet you are terribly insulted if anyone accuses you of being racist. Perhaps you can refer to Obama as Barry like some of your fellow anti-obama supporters do. I would suggest Mohammed or DeOnte for Senetor Obama to add to your stereotypical catalog. Feel free to use them if you like. See if it helps in your quest to belittle him and his family.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 5:34 PM

It's no surprise that a "surge" of 20,000 extra troops has led to a decline in violence. I'm sure if we sent half a million more troops - a soldier on every streetcorner - we could end the violence altogether. But we don't have the resources to do it, and I'd bet that few Americans would want to. The real issue should be the Bush administration's decision to engage in a pre-emptive war. This decision was supported by, and enabled by, John McCain, and it has cost us our position of moral leadership in the world. We are seeing the fruits of this reckless decision today in Georgia, where Russian commanders are saying, "Why can't we take Tblisi, just like you took Baghdad?"

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 5:34 PM

I love the Obama hyprocrisy.

1. Obama attacks McCain on an issue
2. McCain attacks Obama in return
3. Obama says we don't have time for politics as usual or attacks on candidates.
4. Obama and his supporters claim republicans are running a negative campaign.

Both candidates have been running negative campaigns and it gets boring hearing Obama use the cop out when he doesn't have an answer. Repeating something to try to make it true only works for the idealists, naive, and gullible.

Posted by: Cryos | August 19, 2008 5:31 PM

Seems like Old Man River thinks the Iraq war began with the surge. If you delete the previous three years of the war, then, yes, I suppose you could argue that the surge worked.

Shame on you Methuselah!

Sincerely,

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Posted by: The Franchise | August 19, 2008 5:30 PM

Nadeem Zakaria

I dont trust George W McCain. He has changed his position on oil drilling, global warming the war in iraq as well as the economy. All to match the policies of his mentors, Bush and Cheney. How can you trust a person who flip flops like that? Sound Familiar? Barry Huesein. Thats a good one. He is black like barry and his name sounds like the former Iraqi dictator. Nice racist and anti-muslim touch. Brilliant!!! Did you come up with that or did you get it from the official GOP political playbook?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 5:28 PM

Yes, McCain is behaving like an old cranky neighbor and truly, childish. Where is his wisdom in all this? Why is he on the negative meaningless attacks? If he has real positions on issues, then let's hear them.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 5:25 PM

Obama's campaign is unraveling daily, the Clintons are hijacking the convention, Rev. Wright has a book coming out...

Fun times

Posted by: Flabbergastricacidreflux | August 19, 2008 5:24 PM

Yeah, the surge has been really successful. We're paying the Suni that have been killing our soldiers and marines to stop their attacks. I think the baseline payment is $300 US a month. President Bush said you're either with us or against us. I guess we can pay them to be with us, despite the American blood on their hands.

Posted by: John-Bob | August 19, 2008 5:23 PM

CitizenAJ

The truth is the surge did not hurt but to say it made all the difference is false. There are still bombings and killings going on in Iraq today. If 20,000 extra troops were that effective then why not start the war with that amount? Why wait four years to increase troops by 20,000? Ever thought about asking Bush or McCain that? Not to mention that there are more private armies in Iraq than military meaning there was already a surge before the surge. Also, notice the violence has picked up in Afghanistan? Maybe the people who were causing violence in Iraq were on the move regardless. Maybe we need a surge there you think?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 5:20 PM

Repeat an assertion regularly long enough, and you can effect astounding transformations, including the feat of turning fiction into fact.

This is how it works: Initially, most of us pay little attention to a story, unless we are already interested in the subject. The vast majority passively hear it the first few times and then it begins to grow on them. Since they haven't heard the other side at all or only infrequently, after the umpteenth time, the story takes its place among other pieces of factual information in the listener's mind. In fact, the ploy works even with some who know the fact of the matter but are disposed to discount it for one reason or another.

As for the "surge", it is an amorphous, undefined concept like "victory" and "success" in the context of the war in Iraq. [This is why John McCain gets away with statements like the one that pegs General David Petraes at the level of "the greatest general in history."] "The surge has succeeded and brought us victory in Iraq" is the gist of John McCain's case to the voters. That and the complaint that his opponent is unpatriotic because he refuses to put his hand on his chest and repeat McCain's success mantra.

Whatever "success" we have seen in Iraq was bought and paid for the old fashioned capitalist way: through massive bribes of cold cash to the corrupt chieftains of Iraq's mercenary bands. A healthy chunk of the the "unaccounted" billions the Bush administration says it cannot find in Iraq went straight to the war lords. Simple as that. It was a surge of cash, a transfer of American wealth into the bank accounts Arab tribal leaders, that did the job to the extent it did.

Posted by: R M Gopal | August 19, 2008 5:20 PM

I don't trust Barry Hussein. He has changed his position on FISA, campaign financing, and the Iraq timeline. How can one believe an individual who changes his position based on political expediency.

Posted by: Nadeem Zakaria | August 19, 2008 5:19 PM

ooopppps! Time to get the insecticide, the cockroaches are coming out of the walls again! Dianne72, did the DNC decide to turn you toxic vermin loose on us today? How much do you get paid to blather on and treat us to your inbalanced talking points?

Posted by: mibrooks27 | August 19, 2008 5:19 PM

I thought your article, although interesting in points, was a little biased. IT seems that you think only Obama needs to explain his stances. What about McCain? Try harder in future to be a bit more fair. I'll take a 40-something who makes the right decisions over a 70-something who consistently makes the wrong ones any day. Stop harping on McCain's experience and supposed superiority, whatever that means, on foregn policy. You're just echoing the brownshirt Republican lies. Spare us, please.

Posted by: David | August 19, 2008 5:18 PM

I love reading the comments here! Everyone is right on the mark, especially those critics of McCain.

Just because the man comes from a military family, has experienced first-hand the physical and mental duress of a ruthless enemy, showed the personal integrity to not abandon the men under his command by violating the rules of release-- these are no reasons to think that he has a better grasp of military matters than Obama, who has spent his life getting his first-hand experiences on the hardwood, shooting hoops for most of his 40+ years of existence and blindly raging against the machine and the Man.

Why people to the right of Leonara Fulani cannot see this simple truth is beyond me... the mass deception of the public is no doubt the work of the Illuminati, Skull and Bones, the Masons, the Pope and all Churches. It is the same vast conspiracy that prevented the People from seeing the merits of Hillary Clinton's socialist healthcare reform in 1992.

Go Obama! Change we can depend on! Because going from bad to worse is still change, dammit!

Posted by: BigJ | August 19, 2008 5:17 PM

The other thing I don't get is the name calling about someone's looks of physical features, i.e. calling McCain portly, Old, a runt etc.....

The Obama people did the same thing to Hillary, and its so immature its funny. I think that Obama's supporters here think they are on the playground at kindergarten.

Here is my attack on J. McCain: 'Fatty fatty fat fat, old old OLD, Short short short' lol its pathetic.

Posted by: DCDave | August 19, 2008 5:16 PM

scrapster - "Chevy" is another of those boiler room bloggers employed by the RNC. I think he is our own KOZ, actually. The crap about Obama not visiting troops was proven to be an outright lie by a friend whose son was wouned and *IN* Landstuhl at the time referred to. He told me that Obama was flat out told he could bring no one, other than his Secret Service detail, with him to the hospital and that the commander had made public disparaging remarks about Obama. Obama, instead of going to the hospital, spent two hours on the telephone, calling wounded troops. My friends son received such a call and, moreover, was given an autogrpahed copy of one of Senator Obama's books. Other parents and soldiers have since, then, verified that took place repeatedly. That Chevy continues to repeat and outright lie simply shows what a piece of low life trash he is, that he is nothing more than a coward, and that he should be treated with disgust.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | August 19, 2008 5:16 PM


Picture it, Trinity Church 2006. Michelle Shiniqua Obama is speaking from the pulpit. Her prominent nostrils are flared, brow furrowed, and a scowl across her face. She is ranting against "whitey" and how they keep "raising the bar". All the while punching the air with a fist-bump. This my friends is what we will see in October when they release her "whitey-gate" tapes on YouTube.

Posted by: Dianne72 | August 19, 2008 5:16 PM

I am very surprised that McCain could make such a statement, and I found interesting that according to this article, Obama did not respond in an identical manner. I wouldn't call that clashing, I'd call it responding. There is nothing about that that says to me that they dislike each other. I don't buy that. They are competing for the presidency, against each other, and this statement by McCain (in this article) looks like he was simply trying to "score points" on Obama.

I think that the irony of McCain's statements, is that I've seen posters draw such a conclusion about his own self even. I didn't personally draw that conclusion myself, but I do find it interesting the case (backed by reasons of some) that has been made. I can understand it from these posters' points of view, observing.

My personal thoughts, however, is that Obama seems to me to have shown up on the scene, seemingly having done a great portion of his own homework; I trust a president to have the "know how" and most importantly, the will, to do that. In contrast to McCain (in my opinion) it appears to me, that Obama came in with more understanding of issues, than McCain coming in (no wait, he's been around longer than Obama), and it appears he could school McCain on some of the most basic of issues existing in this country, that McCain (though he's served longer in the field), had/has no clue on; issues that McCain could quickly get information on if he knew how to use a wider range of sources. McCain had PLENTY of years to gain a LOT of knowledge and information, and I have questions concerning what McCain gained out "all that experience" in the past x amount of years, and how he feels that has had an effect on his judgment. Obama expressed some level of thought on the Iraq war, while many others were busy voting for it. I don't care where he was; the man THOUGHT about the position which we are seeing today. I believe I need that in the next president, especially. McCain came in this time around, of all times (note he's also run in the past - and I wonder what knowledge or experience he had back then, that he doesn't have NOW). McCain seemingly came into the scene, (in brief) not wanting to do much at all except prolong what was already in place under the current Bush administration. Obama's newer, compared to McCain, but he came in with ideas, knowledge, acknowledgment of issues that people generally want to see a change from, and the will to help do it. Those characteristics, in brief, is not the same characteristics I got from McCain; that is why, I want to know what is behind McCain's ambition.

Some readers are not going to like this post, I am sure. I am not trying to strike nerves. This is my response to the author of this article.

Posted by: Obama2008 | August 19, 2008 5:15 PM

The problem is the surge was a last minute ploy to keep congress support, not part of the initial plan. Even if so the war was still bad policy that McCain has flip flopped on base on his political constituency. I understand Obama acknowledging the surge helping but still not supporting the war. What I dont understand is McCain not supporting the iraq war but voting for it then supporting it when it benefit him politically while trying to take credit for a surge that he did not support initially. He is the bigger flip flopper in this case.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 5:09 PM

Well at least both candidates agree that things are better in Iraq. Like the author points out, since the situation has changed it is fair to ask Obama how his own positions have changed. Might be a while before we get the answer though, because Obama is going to have to look at some polls.

I think for the most part here McCain is right, he supported the surge even though it was going to be politically unpopular. In the end he got lucky and was right.

Posted by: DCDave | August 19, 2008 5:07 PM

The White House has done alot to help win the presidency. McCain was travelling more than Bush ... Mexico, Europe ... trying to look like he was already the president. Tlaking tough to Iran with Leiberman at his side ... learning the difference between Shi and Suni ... trying his best to chill the relationship with Russia ... the only thing not covered is the pretence that China put on at the Olympics. This is the future with Bush 2.

Posted by: GoodJudgment | August 19, 2008 5:01 PM

Let me see hear, Mcckiller diller thinks we should rampage throught out the world killing and bombing with utter reckless abandon till every last bad guy is dead and their women moan in mourning! Sounds good to me when do you leave, I will stay here been their dont wanna go back. And thier in lies the problem bunkie, the warrior wannebees want blood and guts on every street corner in outer goombakistan and then watch the victory parade on cnn. Fine and dandy I guess except NFL monday starts up soon but you can catch the latest updates during halftime. sheesssh enough already.

Posted by: NoNo | August 19, 2008 4:54 PM

I'm surprised that Obama hasn't made it clear that the surge was not a brilliant strategy, but rather the correction of a mistake. Too few troops were sent in to complete the mission and stave off an insurgency. That argument would play well with the public and the military.

Posted by: Spencer | August 19, 2008 4:53 PM

Let's get this straight. The U.S. is paying insurgents not to shoot at us, even as we put more troops in harm's way. Local warlords decided to back us against foreign fighters, after years of hindering, if not outright attacking us. The Iraqi people want us to leave. Afghanistan spirals out of control, because we lack the troops necessary to do the job. And McShrub takes credit for making all these things happen. He truly is a moron, and a POW in his own mind.

Republicants, the only group the mafia admires.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 4:53 PM

The Obamaniacs are so frightened all they can do is attack Bush, who I didn't think was running, and McCain. It's says something about a candidate when a candidate's supporters can't say anything about him, but have to resort to desperate juvenile insults against his opponent. Keep spreading the hate.

Posted by: Jack Straw | August 19, 2008 4:50 PM

It is great to see Barack exposing this warmongering, portly, little runt for being a discengenous fraud. McBush views war as the only answer to the challenges we face around the world and is a senile, deranged menace. He parades around like he is some kind of national hero, when in fact he is a lying, adulterous opportunist that owes his entire political career to his pill popping, Beer Heiress Wife #2. Once the veneer has been stripped away, the country will witness an angry, broken down old man, bitterly jeaulous of Barack's vitality, charisma, intellect, vision, and beautiful family. McBush should be consigned to the dust bin of history as just another failed, craven political hack.

Posted by: shiva7 | August 19, 2008 4:50 PM

WHO IS THE CHICKEN in this story?

The war ... The surge
If no war ... then no surge
The chicken and the egg

WHO IS THE EGG HEAD in this tale?

Posted by: GoodJudgment | August 19, 2008 4:48 PM

If we didn't start a war in Iraq then we wouldn't needed a surge and wouldn't need 2 be thinking about being there 4 100-years.
And what's up with the POW thing? Seems like McCain going to milk it for every last juice it has. Next time I hear it I will t...up!

Posted by: Time4Change | August 19, 2008 4:42 PM

Two things to point out:

First, John McCain is still convinced that we could have won in Vietnam, if only we'd stayed the course. And how long would that course have lasted? Indefinitely. And that sort of 'commitment' is what he means by 'winning' in Iraq.

Second, Obama was right about the weak case presented by the Bush/Cheney group for going to war in Iraq. Yes, a lot of other Americans, in both major parties, were wrong on the same count. So I think it's reasonable to ask Barack Obama to correct his position on the surge, after John McCain stands up and admits he was wrong about going to war in the first place.

McCain won't do that, of course. Because John McCain puts his own interests above those of his country.

Posted by: samson151 | August 19, 2008 4:41 PM

If we didn't start a war in Iraq then we wouldn't needed a surge and wouldn't need 2 be thinking about being there 4 100-years.
And what's up with the POW thing? Seems like McCain going to milk it for every last juice it has. Next time I hear it I will t...up!

Posted by: Time4Change | August 19, 2008 4:40 PM

Breaking News: McCain Baffles Town Hall Crowd proclaiming he's secretly a Hasidic Jew

http://www.tmz.com/2008/03/26/no-hasidic-jews-in-arizona/

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 4:38 PM

How are things around the world since Bush and the GOP came into office?
Pakistan: not good.
Al-Qaeda on the Pakistani border: not good.
Afghanistan: not good.
Iraq: not good.
Iran: not good.
Israel/Palestine: not good.
Russia: not good.
Darfur: not good.
Georgia/South Ossetia/Abkhazia: not good.
US & World economics: not good.
Inflation: not good.
Global security/threat of terrorism: not good.

What HAS been good under Bush and the GOP?

Posted by: GCE | August 19, 2008 4:37 PM

Chevy--you're posting the same dumb rant over and over again, day after day.

Is it too taxing on your small brain to come up with something new? (Maybe that's what you have in common with McCain? He's a big fan of "nothing new.")

Posted by: scrapster | August 19, 2008 4:37 PM

Chevy -- you still owe me twenty bucks!!!

Posted by: Ed Whitson | August 19, 2008 4:37 PM

The lowest of the low, Chevy?

Do you know how many military funerals Bush has attended since the surge? Since Mission Accomplished? Since the start of the war?

That would be zero.

So Obama decides not to politicize wounded troops while overseas, but did visit troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and has visited Walter Reed, and that's the lowest of the low? The mind reels.

Posted by: JohninMpls | August 19, 2008 4:37 PM

You like PORK? Despite what McCain says PORKon the Hill is up 35%.

Whete is the beef? We need change!!

Posted by: FactChecker | August 19, 2008 4:33 PM

Nobama - Why didn't you bother to see American wounded troops in Germany who are doing what America asked of them?

You were over there Obama, You didn't have time to see our wounded and dying men in uniform fighting for the country you want to be president of?

You really are one sick SOB. The lowest of the lows

Make no mistake, in my book you're a maggot.

Chevy

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 4:28 PM

McCain's national security and foreign policy credentials will center on mainly one thing, "The Surge". In McCain's mind and stump speeches, the Iraq War started with the surge. Never mind the 4,000+ Americans dead and the nearly trillion cost of the Iraq War. Obama should be beating McCain over the head with his own dramatic statements like "I'll follow Bin Laden to the gates of Hell!".

Somewhere in Obama's stump speech, Obama should be calling McCain out with statements like these "McCain has stated he would follow Bin Laden to the gates hell. I guess in McCain's mind, the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan are hell, because he does not dare go there!"

Posted by: Obama-Junkie | August 19, 2008 4:26 PM

The most important question of judgment is that involving the decision to go to war in the first place. McCain got it desperately wrong. And he continued to blindly support the wrong position several years after the initial invasion was proven to be a disaster.

-------------------------------------

Other than the cost of the war (which is 1% GDP as apposed to WWII which was 45% GDP) and the loss of our soilders which while tragic was to be expected, how is the Iraq war a failure?

The Iraqis have moved from a dictatorship to a democratic government, can provide security for most of theor country on their own and are contributing to the global market with oil that is generating billions in revenue.

Seriously, putting aside the hate for Bush, where has the war in Iraq failed.

Posted by: PAO | August 19, 2008 4:26 PM

Regarding the cross in the sand: the fact that McCain never mentioned the striking coincidence, even when he specifically wrote a chapter about the Gulag Archipelago in his recent book Hard Call: Great Decisions and the Extraordinary People who Made Them, seems pretty counterintuitive to me. Taken with the fact that he never mentioned the event before 1999 except to a fellow prisoner who doesn't claim a clear recollection of it, makes it seem a little too convenient of an (unmentioned) coincidence.

Posted by: orrg1 | August 19, 2008 4:25 PM

There is really no way of knowing whether Obama's position would have worked or not once the surge was instituted. One thing is for sure, American deaths continued after the surge. Suicide bombings in Iraq continue to this day. According to today's news, the Iraqi government is getting concerned about the Sunni that are accepting American money to help the Americans because they may turn the arms against the Shiites. Surprise, surprise! Who would ever have guessed that this would happen? It certainly will not be the first time that American arms have been used to kill American allies, much less American fighting men and women.

What the government does not want us to know is the identity of all the arms that have been used by other forces to kill our troops. As the number one supplier of military arms in the world, America has a lot of egg on its face when it comes to being on the receiving end of its own munitions.

Exporting peace and exporting arms are not the way to go to show that America is a peace-loving country. Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers . . ."

By reminding us of his decision not to support the war in Iraq, Obama shows his real metal. Without actually knowing about his decision and rationale, I was saying the same things to my friends, many of whom were for the war in Iraq. The evidence against the propaganda being put forth by the White House and the mainstream media just did not square with the observable facts. McCain needs to face up to the fact that he was wrong. His error contributed to what has lead to over 4000 American troop deaths and an undisclosed number of American civilian deaths. His error has led to the rift between historical allies for eight years now.

Obama has shown that he has the good sense and the presence to mend the fences with our allies that need to be mended. Obama is a thinking person's candidate. He is willing to answer tough questions in thoughtful ways without always giving canned pitches. His ability to give oratorical masterpieces is a delight after 8 years of Bush and company.

Just listening to the Republican spin about Obama's oratorical abilities and so forth is enough to make me vomit. It is a real shame that the Republicans must try to tear someone down for possessing skills that they only wish that they had. It is only a matter of time that the American electorate will get tired of Repubicans smear tactics and throw the lot of them out of public office.

Posted by: Earl C | August 19, 2008 4:24 PM

BOO HOO HOO!

Obama wants McCain to stop "bullying" him and stop all of the mean remarks.

Yeah, and Osama O'bama and his criminal cronies have NEVER, EVER said anything wacky, off-base, mean-spirited or off-color about the HONORABLE Senator McCain...NOT!

Puh-LEEZE! Get a grip, get a life, and get a JOB...but not in the white house. Ain't gonna happen, BUBBA! Not on THIS shift!

Say NO to terrorist wacko liberal nutjobs! We don't need another Bill Clinton or John Edwards type of scumbag in the white house EVER again!

The truth must prevail, but not if the crazy lefties get their way. We will become another communist country like China if they are allowed to take over.

NO FRIGGIN' WAY!

McCain 2009!

Posted by: Obama Osama | August 19, 2008 4:20 PM

If the surge was the great success McCain proclaims, why are we still spending billions and billions and have troop levels there that exceed pre-surge levels? The only thing surging is the deficit and the wallets of people making money off this fiasco.

Posted by: Sara B. | August 19, 2008 4:20 PM

McCain probably is angry with Obama, just as Hillary was. Both are fighters who motivation themselves by disliking their opposition. Obama is different. There is no indication that Obama is angry with McCain. Instead, Obama both says nice things about McCain and also calls on McCain's better nature to improve the tone and quality of the national debate. Dan -- its not possible to rationally equate the two approaches. Also, Dan -- please stop trying to make up unanswered questions re Obama's positions when McCain is not answered questions re the fundamental aspects of his campaign. We know that you know and like the man, but that does not excuse him from explaining his positions to the rest of us.

Posted by: steve | August 19, 2008 4:18 PM

McLame and the Repugs don't know the difference between strategy and tactics. That old war monger is a disaster waiting to happen.

Another Rovian campaign by the GOP. They ain't got nothing, so this is what they do - attack personnally. McCain can go to Hades. In fact, he will!

Posted by: Jon Chin | August 19, 2008 4:10 PM

Is the surge a success? We were told it would stabilize things so we could withdraw our troops. It appears to have stabilized things depending on which day it is, but no troops are coming home any time soon unless Obama gets elected. McCain talks about changing to seek the Presidency, how about his position on torture. He opposed it until he had a meeting with Bush. Afterward, he never spoke of it. Has he condemned the Administration for water boarding? Has he opposed these miliatary kangaroo trials? He is upset over the Russian invasion of Georgia, but fails to point out that we are unable to do anything about it because of the Bush Admministration. We have no available troops because of Iraq and NO moral high ground either. McCain did say that in the 21st Century no nation should invade another.

Posted by: DaddyJ | August 19, 2008 4:09 PM

Republicans for O'Bama .... McCain should take on Hillary for his VP ... then we can really see how far he wants to stretch across the aisle.

You think it sound crazy? Republicans for O'Bama? Our second choice was Cheney ... if not Jeb Bush ... don't judge one brother against the other. Jeb will make a great president!!

Posted by: FactChecker | August 19, 2008 4:06 PM


As a vet I can tell you the actual casualty figure of war is 100%. Not man or woman there will come home the same person who left. Many will have lives that will spiral down, divorce, abuse, alcoholism, drugs and for many suicide. War is no joke especially when it is just the folly of old men. The depth of my hatred for Mccain and people like him escapes words.

--------
Regarding the success of the "surge": does standing on the lid of pressure pot put out the fire? I don't think so.

Considering what we've done in and to Iraq (albeit under orders)we take any honor there there. Really abject apologies is the most we can ever offer. Our brave and honorable men and women in uniform will have to bare that burden for at least a generation.

Wrong is wrong and no election results will change that.

Posted by: Gerald Sutliff, CA, USA | August 19, 2008 3:56 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 4:03 PM

DON'T YOU LIKE how McCain and his lot like to use O'Bama's words like JUDGMENT ... to make it look as though he McCain has the perfect judgment for the office of President. I would have much preferred Jeb Bush than McCain as the Repulican nominee. You are known by your friends ... and with friends like Lieberman ... It is a hard stretch away from politics as usual.

Posted by: FactChecker | August 19, 2008 4:01 PM

Dan--Don't you think you're over-reacting by calling this an "increasingly nasty squabble"? It seems to me that these kind of indirect exchanges are pretty mild by historical standards. I feel like every policy disagreement gets blown out of proportion and re-cast as a harsh personal attack.

Posted by: Ken | August 19, 2008 4:01 PM

The first time he even mentions it is in 1999 and then he has changed the story at least 5 times since. He calls it one of the most profound events in his life he will never forget. But forgot to even mention it for 26 years. It is a lie for sure and despicable to steal a story from brave man and claim it as his own. I don't think there is a low Mccain is not capable of. He is a very sick man.

-------------
Ever wonder why John McCain never wrote about his "cross in the sand" in any of his books before? ----- This can't be verified thus this looks more of a fabrication to spice up his war resume.

Posted by: rmax | August 19, 2008 3:50 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 3:57 PM

Regarding the success of the "surge": does standing on the lid of pressure pot put out the fire? I don't think so.

Considering what we've done in and to Iraq (albeit under orders)we take any honor there there. Really abject apologies is the most we can ever offer. Our brave and honorable men and women in uniform will have to bare that burden for at least a generation.

Wrong is wrong and no election results will change that.

Posted by: Gerald Sutliff, CA, USA | August 19, 2008 3:56 PM

Ever wonder why John McCain never wrote about his "cross in the sand" in any of his books before? ----- This can't be verified thus this looks more of a fabrication to spice up his war resume.

Posted by: rmax | August 19, 2008 3:50 PM

What fortune 500 company would hire a CEO that was 72 years old and had never done the job he was applying for? I believe there should be a limit as to how old you can be and run for President of the United States. What on earth is everyone thinking? Maybe they're not. This concerns me.

Posted by: Judy | August 19, 2008 3:49 PM

--IS JOHN McCAIN ANOTHER GEORGE BUSH??!!!

Russia invades Georgia and President Bush goes on vacation. Our president has spent one-third of his entire two terms in office either at Camp David, Maryland, or at Crawford, Texas, on vacation.

His time away from the Oval Office included the month leading up to 9/11, when there were signs Osama bin Laden was planning to attack America, and the time Hurricane Katrina destroyed the city of New Orleans.

Sen. John McCain takes weekends off and limits his campaign events to one a day. He made an exception for the religious forum on Saturday at Saddleback Church in Southern California.

I think he made a big mistake. When he was invited last spring to attend a discussion of the role of faith in his life with Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, at Messiah College in Pennsylvania, McCain didn't bother to show up. Now I know why.

It occurs to me that John McCain is as intellectually shallow as our current president. When asked what his Christian faith means to him, his answer was a one-liner. "It means I'm saved and forgiven." Great scholars have wrestled with the meaning of faith for centuries. McCain then retold a story we've all heard a hundred times about a guard in Vietnam drawing a cross in the sand.

Asked about his greatest moral failure, he cited his first marriage, which ended in divorce. While saying it was his greatest moral failing, he offered nothing in the way of explanation. Why not?

Throughout the evening, McCain chose to recite portions of his stump speech as answers to the questions he was being asked. Why? He has lived 71 years. Surely he has some thoughts on what it all means that go beyond canned answers culled from the same speech he delivers every day.

He was asked "if evil exists." His response was to repeat for the umpteenth time that Osama bin Laden is a bad man and he will pursue him to "the gates of hell." That was it.

He was asked to define rich. After trying to dodge the question -- his wife is worth a reported $100 million -- he finally said he thought an income of $5 million was rich.

One after another, McCain's answers were shallow, simplistic, and trite. He showed the same intellectual curiosity that George Bush has -- virtually none.

Where are John McCain's writings exploring the vexing moral issues of our time? Where are his position papers setting forth his careful consideration of foreign policy, the welfare state, education, America's moral responsibility in the world, etc., etc., etc.?

John McCain graduated 894th in a class of 899 at the Naval Academy at Annapolis. His father and grandfather were four star admirals in the Navy. Some have suggested that might have played a role in McCain being admitted. His academic record was awful. And it shows over and over again whenever McCain is called upon to think on his feet.

He no longer allows reporters unfettered access to him aboard the "Straight Talk Express" for a reason. He simply makes too many mistakes. Unless he's reciting talking points or reading from notes or a TelePrompTer, John McCain is lost. He can drop bon mots at a bowling alley or diner -- short glib responses that get a chuckle, but beyond that McCain gets in over his head very quickly.

I am sick and tired of the president of the United States embarrassing me. The world we live in is too complex to entrust it to someone else whose idea of intellectual curiosity and grasp of foreign policy issues is to tell us he can look into Vladimir Putin's eyes and see into his soul.

George Bush's record as a student, military man, businessman and leader of the free world is one of constant failure. And the part that troubles me most is he seems content with himself.

He will leave office with the country $10 trillion in debt, fighting two wars, our international reputation in shambles, our government cloaked in secrecy and suspicion that his entire presidency has been a litany of broken laws and promises, our citizens' faith in our own country ripped to shreds. Yet Bush goes bumbling along, grinning and spewing moronic one-liners, as though nobody understands what a colossal failure he has been.

I fear to the depth of my being that John McCain is just like him.

Posted by: MikeS | August 19, 2008 3:49 PM

Folks, rather than rely on Mr. Balz's jabber, I recommend going to Obama's website and read the VFW speech as it was prepared for delivery. You find that besides strongly rebutting McCain's slime attacks, Obama spends most of the speech talking about national security issues and his approach to them.

Then, click on the video link and listen to Obama do the rebuttal.

Do this and you will much better informed that reading what Mr. Balz and many other media jabbers write. Ditto for TV media jabbers with big mouths and small brains.


Posted by: Peter | August 19, 2008 3:49 PM

Gee, Dan, thank you for explaining that "seismic confrontation," otherwise, I wouldn't have known what a "seismic confrontation" it really was, seismically speaking in a non-confrontational way.

I'll bet no other confrontation in the history of the whole world has ever been as "seismic" as that one.

I'm so glad you cover politics for The Post otherwise I wouldn't know what to think.

Posted by: Arcturus | August 19, 2008 3:48 PM

McCain’s charge that Obama’s position on Iraq is solely political (and by implication not patriotic) is worse than false. It is the rankest hypocrisy!

John McCain has shifted his supposed core beliefs in his frantic quest to become president. When is someone going to ask him what happened to his beliefs about biggoted religious leaders? When is someone going to ask him what happened to his beliefs about respecting our coastal waters and protecting them from oil speculation? When is someone going to ask him what happened to his beliefs about torture? When is someone going to ask him what happened to his beliefs about permanent economy-tilting tax cuts? When is someone going to ask him what happened to his commitment to a “straight talk” campaign? When is someone – especially conservatives – going to ask him what he really stands for, other than for himself?

John McCain is just as likely to show his “6” to their religious conservative beliefs if he senses more votes are available by pandering in a new direction.

Posted by: Rich | August 19, 2008 3:48 PM

Just read it yourself and don't bother with the lies.

http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/snubbing_wounded_troops.html

-----------
Factchecker, Obama didnt visit the troops at Ramstien because he wasnt allowed to bring the "armada" of press that was following him on his world tour. He was told that he could visit the troops as a Senator, which he has all the right to do. But as he was looking for publicity, he decided not to visit.

Posted by: retiredmarine13 | August 19, 2008 3:39 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 3:47 PM

Why would someone keep re-posting MY post and then complain that it's re-posted?! You think like Obama.

Posted by: BruceMcDougall | August 19, 2008 3:47 PM

I disagree with this article stating that Senator Obama has not answered the question of "What impact has the surge had on his own thinking about the withdrawal timetable he has laid out for Iraq?" I believe he stated at this event in Orlando that he still wants to implement a 16 month, phased withdrawal and that the Iraqi Prime Minister is onboard with that timetable. Get it right Washington Post. So busy trying to stir up drama to sell a paper. He also has commented that he will always confer with the commanders on the ground, has said this since the beginning of the campaign season. Wow, I thought news papers were suppose to deliver objectionable news. Pitiful!

And he gave our forces credit for quelling the violence via the surge, but just because you righted a portion of a wrong decision does not make the "wrong" decision right! How narrow-viewed this article and the media has become.

Posted by: CitizenAJ | August 19, 2008 3:46 PM

The point of the surge was to quell enough of the violence so that the Iraqi government could take some action and act like a real government. It was meant to buy time. That's all. And the Iraqi government failed to take the opportunity. Why should they? We're providing and fighting for them.

Posted by: ItshotinPHX | August 19, 2008 3:44 PM

IT'S ABOUT TIME......

It's about time Senator Obama has launched a pointed and very CORRECT counter-attack against the FOUL LIE which is the RNC...We understand we are not really running against MEDIA LIE John McCain. He really doesn't exist. No we are running against a party of deception.

THE GREAT DECIEVER'S

The late Jessie Helm's begin this in the 1960's...When he came against networks for what he believed was putting a bad light on that war...These emmissary's of deciet continue to pull out all the strings and even use the kitchen sink strategy which we saw former candidate Clinton use. An ugly incomplete campaign which is not about the REAL ISSUES but the REPUBLICAN smears of the oppoonents character, race and now the worse....PATRIOTISM....Is nayone really surprised???

'LIES LIES LIES YEAH' the thompson twins

Posted by: need4trth | August 19, 2008 3:44 PM


Mccain on oil rig sounded insane.

Oh my God. if you get a chance please catch Mccain speaking from an oil rig in the gulf. They gave him something to read that he stubbled through looking like a 7 year old reading in front of the class, "What I did on my summer vacation". The lies he was telling must have had the men working in the oil rig scratching their heads. There is "Really" something wrong with Mccain. This man need a mental evaluation.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 3:43 PM

Right wingers always claim the mantle of the patriot. They define themselves to be far more patriotic than their left wing counterparts. It sells. Like the twelve-year-old boy who fancies himself a soldier, the only thing that matters is Victory, as defined by the Commander-in-Chief. Sacrifice of self for The Nation is what it is all about. Whether the strategic and tactical decisions taken throughout the conflict have been wise is "old news" and "irrelevant." We want to struggle on to Victory. We want to show the enemy that we are made of sterner stuff than they are. Blah. Blah. Blah. I'm in the process of choosing a new President of the United States. Do I want somebody who graduated nearly at the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy? Do I want somebody who loses his train of thought in mid-sentence? Do I want somebody who is verifiably old and likely to die in office from old age? Do I want somebody who associates himself with advisers who have been complicit in deregulating bankers so that bankers have been able to sell fraudulent collateralized debt obligations worldwide? Do I want somebody who clearly is the placeholder for "more of the same" bad government funding policies, to wit: lowered taxes on ultra high net worth individuals, fantastically increased government spending, putting the nation in major debt to Red China? Do I vote for stupid or do I vote for smart?

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | August 19, 2008 3:43 PM

Before the "surge," as Dan Balz reminds us, McCain "was both a critic of President Bush's policies and an enabler in Bush's ability to win a second term and continue those policies...."

A Gold Medal for the spry old guy on the uneven bars.



Posted by: FirstMouse | August 19, 2008 3:42 PM

The mislabelled "surge" was a tactic inside of the larger strategic failure of the American invasion of Iraq.

The "surge" worked in that it (temporarily) quelled the violence created by the sectarian civil war unleashed by the invasion. The subsiding of the violence is largely due to the Sunni Uprising and also to the brave work of our fine young soldiers who have risked and given their lives to support a misguided policy.

The most important question of judgment is that involving the decision to go to war in the first place. McCain got it desperately wrong. And he continued to blindly support the wrong position several years after the initial invasion was proven to be a disaster. Obama got this fundamental judgment call right.

What McCain continues to fail to grasp is the essential contradiction of the so-called surge: if it is a success as he now argues then why cannot we not begin to remove our troops from harms's way and bring them home? If it was a success, then why don't we see the political settlement and progress among the Iraqis that the surge was designed to promote? If it was a success then why aren't the Iraqi forces taking up the battle in place of American troops?

The simple answer is that the "surge" has not worked. McCain won't answer these questions because he can't face the truth: Obama got it right and the famed POW, full of his own bluster and ego, got it dead wrong...again.

Posted by: dee | August 19, 2008 3:42 PM

Rick Warren, the forum moderator this past weekend, was right McCain is a warrior and direct. Good and bad at the same time. Good if we still live in the 50's, we definitely need that kind of character BUT we are in a different world. Global commercial competition is very fierce. War is on a different dynamics, more on intelligence and urban warfare --- no more massive tanks or artillery (though on some cases useful). What we need is someone who has common sense abilities, one who can restore our reputation worldwide, and definitely something different from what the republicans or democrats have done in the past 16 years. A real change is needed.

Posted by: rmax | August 19, 2008 3:40 PM

Factchecker, Obama didnt visit the troops at Ramstien because he wasnt allowed to bring the "armada" of press that was following him on his world tour. He was told that he could visit the troops as a Senator, which he has all the right to do. But as he was looking for publicity, he decided not to visit.

Posted by: retiredmarine13 | August 19, 2008 3:39 PM

"Seismic proportions???" This election has two candidates running, both of whom leave many voters cold. The only thing "seismic" about this election is the complete and utter disinterest far too many voters have. Do we want the sure-to-be mistakes of the hawkish, petulant, too old McCain? Or the sure-to-be mistakes of the calculating, self-consumed, too inexperienced Obama? Not a lot to look forward to either way. Which is why many of us will either stay home, write-in, or hold our noses when we pull the lever. Nice try, Dan. But even your usual hyperbole can't spice up an election between two men when neither of them should be president.

Posted by: Debbie | August 19, 2008 3:38 PM

Thoughts about the surge:
1) The Sunnis are working with us now not because we defeated them but because we are paying them off. When the money stops will they still remain peaceful?
2) Four million Iraqis have emigrated to other countries or have moved to safer locations within Iraq. The potential for conflict is reduced but it has nothing to do with the surge.
3) Much of the violence has moved to Afganistan. The 'success' of the surge was simply to move the violence somewhere else. Something like Whack-a-Mole.

If John McCain considers that success his standards are astonishingly low.

Posted by: SteveR | August 19, 2008 3:38 PM

It is somewhat remarkable that McCain keeps bragging about the surge as if the IRAQ war began in Jan 07. Unfortunately it began with his blessing and encouragement in March of 2003. Kinda like bragging about the great shot you just made and forgetting that on the first shot you blew off your right foot. I should be impressed?

Posted by: bigustom | August 19, 2008 3:37 PM

McCain's questions Obama's judgement on the "successful" surge that was supposed to give the Iraqi governemnt time to stabilize, provide and oil sharing law and end or at least reduce our presence in Iraq. The Iraqi government is at best no better then before the surge, there is no hint of an oil sharing law and we now have more troops in Iraq then before the surge began. Let's not forget that McCain was wrong to support this war in the first place. No invasion would mean no need for a "surge."

McCain balsted Obama for having "presidential ambitions." That's right. The other candidate for president is attacking his opponent for having the same ambitions as himself!

Obama has voted for bills that really do support our troops while McCain has consistently voted against them and yet he has the GALL to question Obama's patriotism and support.

McCain should crawl back under the rock he came from.

Posted by: Dave from Seattle | August 19, 2008 3:35 PM

Foreign policy hasn't been a deciding issue in a presidential race since Vietnam and it won't be now. We all know it's a dangerous world out there and we're at war, but most people are (and who can blame them) more concerned with health care, education, jobs, gas prices, home foreclosures and other aspects of keeping a roof over their heads. Unless McCain can do a scare-the-pants-off-the-voters-with-terrorism campaign that out-Roves Rove, foreign policy will not decide this election.

Posted by: Tom | August 19, 2008 3:35 PM

BruceMcDougall - The surge was nothing more than the final "bleeding" our military dry in a disasterous phony war that should nver have been engaged in in the first place! If you take all of the ragtag Isalmic fruitcakes in the world in an attack on this country, they could do no more than inflict a pin prick. They could not seriously harm us. WE, in the form of an ignorant Congress and overreaching President, can overreact and damage our institutions, overextend our military, bleed us dry in terms of our economy and will as a people. And that is exactly what has happened! In the meantime, a resurgent Russia, an enemy quite capable of completely destroying us is now in a position to roll back the clock and recapture the old Societ empire. China, too, has territorial ambitions that involve the oil rich islands off the coast of the Phillipines, Taiwan, and U.S. and Russian bases...essentially a reverse rollup of the island chain we ran preparatory to defeating Japan in WWII. Your silly fools, McCain and Bush, squandered any chance we have to stop Russia...unless you are so insane as to advocate a nuclear war. We simply do not have the conventional weapons nor the troops nor the will to stop them.

Your vapid and shallow right wing "leaders" permitted Wall Street to package up fraudulent mortgage loans, artifically jack up the price of oil, and do so much other damage that the entire West is threatened with an economic meltdown such has not been seen since the Great Depression. U.S. corporations of outsourced some 60 million jobs and displaced our own technical and scientific talent with cheap foreign guest workers from China and Russia and India. Worse, those corporations have packed up and shipped overseas the production capacity, the essential technical knowledge and equipment. We will not soon recover from this treachery. We may not even survive it! And you, silly fool, sit back and play stupid games, further the polarization of the public, with lies and half truth and a lot of nonsense. Grow up! Better yet, have A LITTLE care for your country, show a little genuine patriotism, and cease with your nonsense!

Posted by: Observer | August 19, 2008 3:32 PM

Sorry,invading Irag was necessary and a little late as it should have been done after Irag invaded Kuwait.The big mistake was invading Afghanistan, without India, Russia and China involved. Now your Junior Senator Barack Hussein Obama's postion is if the American public is ready to endorse his position which calls for the increasing of USA troops in Afghanistan? He says that we do not have the resources to finish what we started in Iraq. Do we have the infinite resources to jump into a prolonged 15 year or 30 year 50 year war in Afghanistan?

Ask the Junior Senator and his fellow Democrats, what is their time frame and exit strategy for getting American troops out of Afghanistan? Does he or the party even have one?

Why are Democrats not ready to finish the job in Iraq and assist Iraq in rebuilding a democratic society and set up bases there just like was done in Germany, South Korea and Japan when we assisted those countries in protecting our democracy and theirs?

Until Muslim countries denounce radical Islam and get involved with their troops to help fellow Muslim countries fight radical Islamic terrorists, American voters must take a long and serious look at the Junior Senator’s proposal for enlarging and escalating the war in Afghanistan, without any time frame or exit strategy? Keep smiling.....


Posted by: peterclarke | August 19, 2008 3:31 PM

How many time are you going to copy and paste the same BS? How about an original idea. I know you hate to think for yourself but give it a try sometime. You may actually like it.

---------
Both Obama and Bush opposed "the surge". Only McCain kept telling the president and everyone else that this is is what should be done to end the violence in Iraq. It was the surge which convinced the Sunnis that America was serious about defeating the terrorists in Iraq, bringing peace to the area, and assuring democracy in Iraq.
McCain was right. Obama and Bush were wrong. Obama seeks to be president but clearly he lacks the judgement necessary for that office and is apparently so inflexible that he can't admit that he was wrong?!
Why do Democrats always screw up presidential races. Clearly, they should have picked Clinton with Obama as vice-president so that he can get some experience.

Posted by: BruceMcDougall | August 19, 2008 3:21 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 3:27 PM

Ever wonder why John McCain never wrote about his "cross in the sand" in any of his books before?
And it's beginning to look, more and more, like McCain cheated during this bogus "forum" over the weekend.
And to think I actually wanted to vote for this man in 2000.
Obama is not my ideal candidate, but there is no way in hell I would ever vote for McCain now. McCain has truly sold his soul. How pathetic.

Posted by: vegasgirl | August 19, 2008 3:26 PM

More US troops are registered for Obama than for McSame's commie GOP and their traitors in the media and White House.

If you are a US soldier and want to vote:
http://www.fvap.gov/

If you are a follow the link it shows how easy it is for soldiers to vote.

This commie GOP is trying to hide that site from American soldiers and their families. "Traitor Bob" even wrote a piece saying US soldiers could not vote!

Do not let this commie GOP prevent you from voting!

THE GOP IS DEAD.
The GOP lost the National Security Conservative vote after George Bush and his commie GOP buddies tucked tail and ran from Afghanistan when they had a chance to get Bin Laden. The military on the ground do not forget that kind of FUBAR REMF from the likes of Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush.

After a needless war in Iraq.

NO WMD
NO Link to Al-Qaeda
NO Link to 9/11
That kinda grates on the military.

After outing a US NOC agent Valerie Wilson (nee Plame); you reading this “Traitor Bob”?
That really gets soldiers hackles up.

After no body armor and no Humvee or Truck armor and most of all after a cockroach and rat infested Walter Reed and STILL nobody talking about the real problems of PTSD!

And after the abiding shame of the US nation dragged through the putrefaction of state sponsored torture. Soldiers do not not take lightly to the Flag being dragged through the mud by some commie GOP.

THE GOP IS DEAD.

Everyone can see the Republican party ain't conservative any more, time somebody dug a hole and buried the GOP's stinking slimy commie corpse!

What patriotic American would vote for this commie GOP?

Do you want the commie GOP to continue to dammage America?

Are you a commie GOP suporter?

Posted by: walker1 | August 19, 2008 3:25 PM

In these discussions about the Surge, why is it seldom/never mentioned that the Surge included bribing the Sunnis?

If bribery be a form of military escalation, it's news to me.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 3:24 PM

They are bigots, there can be no other explanation why anyone would support a mental case like Mccain. Anyone who doesn't think he is nuts has to as nuts as him. The fact is a certain number of people will never vote for a black for president. I don't think they are enough and Obama will most likely win. Even a bigot has their ow self interests and Mccain is "SO" bad I can't imagine anyone in their right minds voting for him.

---------
Oh Balz, Balz, Balz,

Your blatant partisanship is inescapable!

Obama's position is simple; when you make a mistake (like invading Iraq)- further mistakes (like the escalation that you idiotically refer to as the 'surge') only makes the first mistake worse.

What part of that are you too F-ing stupid to understand? You and all the other F-ing magoo idiots on these boards.

Reagan said it best; "There you go again...".

Posted by: Vote Magoo he's an adulteror too! | August 19, 2008 3:18 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 3:24 PM

I love how it is a given that the surge was/is a great success - the whole idea of the surge was to give the parties in Iraq time for political reconciliation, but there has been none. Lower casualties - great, but if we bring all the troops home there will be zero casualties.

Posted by: Tom | August 19, 2008 3:23 PM

"In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq," Obama told the VFW, "I warned that war would fan the flames of extremism in the Middle East, create new centers of terrorism, and tie us down in a costly and open-ended occupation. "

The invasion of Iraq took place nearly a year before Obama was elected to the Senate. Prior to that Obama was a state legislator and professor. Regardless of what Obama said, he had nothing to do that would influence the US Senate.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 3:22 PM

The surge DIDN'T work.

McLame is a LIAR.

What worked is when General Betrayus BRIBED the Sunni militias.

We didn't meet our benchmarks and it took 2 years, more than the time alloted.

The surge DID NOT WORK.

You Repukes are LIARS.

Posted by: Tom3 | August 19, 2008 3:22 PM

Both Obama and Bush opposed "the surge". Only McCain kept telling the president and everyone else that this is is what should be done to end the violence in Iraq. It was the surge which convinced the Sunnis that America was serious about defeating the terrorists in Iraq, bringing peace to the area, and assuring democracy in Iraq.
McCain was right. Obama and Bush were wrong. Obama seeks to be president but clearly he lacks the judgement necessary for that office and is apparently so inflexible that he can't admit that he was wrong?!
Why do Democrats always screw up presidential races. Clearly, they should have picked Clinton with Obama as vice-president so that he can get some experience.

Posted by: BruceMcDougall | August 19, 2008 3:21 PM

Hey Stars and Gripes, as a liberal Democrat, I had no idea i was on the side of Al Queda, Hezbollah and Hamas. Thanks for clearing that one up for me. Oh, and keep squirming, the forcoming Democratic landslide that keeps you awake at night is a mere 77 days away.

Posted by: rcupps | August 19, 2008 3:20 PM

GRUMPY OLD MAN ALERT!!!

Posted by: satownmh | August 19, 2008 3:20 PM

A surge when it works is based on the oldest battle strategies in existence that goes back to Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan. It consists of such a mas of man power and force it can't be resisted and breaks the enemy. The problem here is for a surge to work you have to completely decimate the enemy into submission. Destroy them with a mighty push. That is not what they did in Iraq. Al they did was add a few more troops and as a natural course of things they begin to see things slow down. But then what? We can't keep it up and they know what we are doing, so they just hang back and wait. Later they start the sh&t all over again. It is futile and a waste of American lives. The simple fact is, there is no victory to be won there. If you listen close to Mccain all you hear is an old man willing to have others die for his ego. Not a very good basis to fight a war. He is not leaving without victory no matter how many Americans have to die. He is a mad man if you listen close.

--------
Both Obama and Bush opposed "the surge". Only McCain kept telling the president and everyone else that this is is what should be done to end the violence in Iraq. It was the surge which convinced the Sunnis that America was serious about defeating the terrorists in Iraq, bringing peace to the area, and assuring democracy in Iraq.
McCain was right. Obama and Bush were wrong. Obama seeks to be president but clearly he lacks the judgement necessary for that office and is apparently so inflexible that he can't admit that he was wrong?!
Why do Democrats always screw up presidential races. Clearly, they should have picked Clinton with Obama as vice-president so that he can get some experience.

Posted by: BruceMcDougall | August 19, 2008 3:15 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 3:19 PM

Oh Balz, Balz, Balz,

Your blatant partisanship is inescapable!

Obama's position is simple; when you make a mistake (like invading Iraq)- further mistakes (like the escalation that you idiotically refer to as the 'surge') only makes the first mistake worse.

What part of that are you too F-ing stupid to understand? You and all the other F-ing magoo idiots on these boards.

Reagan said it best; "There you go again...".

Posted by: Vote Magoo he's an adulteror too! | August 19, 2008 3:18 PM

WASHINGTON - On a frozen winter evening at a Town Hall meeting in a school in the Manchester, N.H., suburbs, John McCain expressed surprise and irritation with an intelligence report downplaying the threat of Iran's nuclear program.

It seemed at the time to be an odd thing to say about a Muslim country. After all, even if there were no nuclear program, no oil, and no rabble-rousing president, Iran still wouldn't have Judeo-Christian values. And it's troubling to wonder if that alone would be a reason for suspicion.

Even President Bush has resisted framing the war on terrorism as a clash of religions; his inexpert use of the word "crusade" early in the conflict set off a wave of criticism and backtracking. He's never repeated it.

Perhaps McCain's comment was a similar mistake.

But on Saturday, at the nationally televised forum at evangelist Rick Warren's Saddleback Church in California, McCain declared: "Our Judeo-Christian principles dictate that we do what we can to help people who are oppressed throughout the world."

And a review of online records by the Globe library shows that McCain uses the term "Judeo-Christian values" quite often, and in varying contexts. For example, last week in York, Pa., he praised small-town Americans by saying, "The Judeo-Christian values that they hold are the strength of America."

He has also repeatedly urged that illegal immigrants be treated in a manner "consistent with Judeo-Christian values." In February, he declared that job training was a Judeo-Christian imperative.

"We've got to educate and train these people," he said, referring to laid-off workers. "It is a Judeo-Christian values nation and it's an obligation we have and we are not doing it."

Last year, when he was criticized for telling the website Beliefnet that America was founded on Christian principles, McCain's defense was that he meant to say "Judeo-Christian." (When pressed, he said he believes a Muslim could serve as president.)

The term Judeo-Christian has a benign history. It was popularized by liberal groups in the 1920s and 1930s to forestall anti-Semitism. It has come to describe the underpinnings of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. McCain, who rarely talks about his personal faith and has disdained the religious right, often uses the term as a synonym for "American values."

But when discussing foreign policy, his use of the term can be glaring.

McCain's view of American power harkens back to the World War II era, when the United States held the moral high ground as liberator. He is a staunch interventionist, both on humanitarian and national-security grounds.

To most of the world, especially in Muslim nations, there is an enormous difference between standing up for freedom and standing up for Judeo-Christian values, but McCain conflates the two. And sometimes, his use of the term seems more than accidental.

"This just wasn't the elimination of a threat to Iraq - this was elimination of a threat to the West, part of this titanic struggle we are in between western Judeo-Christian values and principles and Islamic extremists," McCain said in 2006, after the killing of Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

"The number one issue people should make [in the] selection of the president of the United States is, 'Will this person carry on in the Judeo-Christian principled tradition that has made this nation the greatest experiment in the history of mankind?' " he told Beliefnet last year.

On Saturday, in arguing for a strong defense of Georgia in its struggles with Russia, McCain twice noted that Georgia is a Christian nation - perhaps to distinguish it from other crumbling pieces of the former Soviet Union that are Muslim, such as Chechnya and Azerbaijan.

Such comments may pass unnoticed by most American voters and may be reassuring to some religious Christians and Jews. They may even go over well with some secular Americans who are pleased that he is using more inclusive language than some members of the religious right.

But his repeated invocation of "Judeo-Christian values" is sure to stick in the ears of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and people of other non-Christian, non-Jewish faiths. And they're sure to be asking themselves: Just what is McCain trying to tell us?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 3:16 PM

Both Obama and Bush opposed "the surge". Only McCain kept telling the president and everyone else that this is is what should be done to end the violence in Iraq. It was the surge which convinced the Sunnis that America was serious about defeating the terrorists in Iraq, bringing peace to the area, and assuring democracy in Iraq.
McCain was right. Obama and Bush were wrong. Obama seeks to be president but clearly he lacks the judgement necessary for that office and is apparently so inflexible that he can't admit that he was wrong?!
Why do Democrats always screw up presidential races. Clearly, they should have picked Clinton with Obama as vice-president so that he can get some experience.

Posted by: BruceMcDougall | August 19, 2008 3:15 PM

Stars and Strips, stop the incest. No more inbreeding please. Your ignorance is overwhelming. What cause's your thinking? incest, cousins kissin cousins? What? You're a happy mouth piece for the repukelican party? You're a card carrying idiot? Please, go and make the world a little smarter and safer, jump off somwhere

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 3:15 PM

"McCain lobbied for a war against Iraq even before Bush did," notes someone earlier.

McCain personifies what Joseph Schumpeter called atavism, a throwback to times when only violence mattered without regard to economic sense, let alone citizens' material interests.

Posted by: FirstMouse | August 19, 2008 3:14 PM

Both Obama and Bush opposed "the surge". Only McCain kept telling the president and everyone else that this is is what should be done to end the violence in Iraq. It was the surge which convinced the Sunnis that America was serious about defeating the terrorists in Iraq, bringing peace to the area, and assuring democracy in Iraq.
McCain was right. Obama and Bush were wrong. Obama seeks to be president but clearly he lacks tghe judgement necessary for that office and is apparently so inflexible that he can't admit that he was wrong?!
Why do Democrats always screw up presidential races. Clearly, they should have picked Clinton with Obama as vice-president so that he can get some experience.

Posted by: BruceMcDougall | August 19, 2008 3:13 PM

Yonkers, New York
19 August 2008

Time and time again, Barack Obama has let on that the surge has succeeded in reducing the level of violence in Iraq, in Baghdad in particular.

To that level, in fact, where the democratic and sovereign government of Iraq, under the leadership of prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, has now been emboldened to craft its own U.S. Witdrawal Timetable, giving the US forces 24 months within which to exit Iraq.

For his part, if elected President, Barack Obama has made it clear that he will withdraw US forces out of Iraq within 16 months.

The difference between the al-Maliki withdrawl timetable and Obama's is 8 months, with Obama's timetable in fact shorter than al-Maliki's.

On the other hand, while loudly proclaiming the success of the surge, Republican John McCain still promises the American people that if elected President, he will pursue "victory" (whatever that is) in Iraq even if it takes him a hundreds years to do it--and obviously (although he studiously fails to mention it) even if he bankrupts the United States pursuing the Quixotic "victory" he has in mind.

The American people--and in fact the whole world!--are acutely aware of the fact that George W. Bush invaded and occupied Iraq illegally and unjustly, preemptively and unilaterally, on the basis of inadequate, misleading and even doctored intelligence.

There he has squandered the lives of over 4,000 US troops, with some 30,000 more injured (13,000 of these so severely as to require expensive care the rest of their lives).

Moreover Bush's Iraq Folly has cost the lives of countless Iraqis. He has reduced much of Iraq to rubble. He has squandered US treasure to the tune of $1 trillion in direct and indirect costs.

And all this for what?

For OIL, as Alan Greenspan has frankly and truthfully told the American people? (Note that the 5 US oil "majors" have already acquired full access to Iraq's oil thru NO-BID contracts, with the "help" of the U.S. government.)

Is this the real reason John McCain intends to pursue "victory" in Iraq, to see to it that the U.S. has full access to Iraq's oil with the help of U.S. forces? He must know that without the continued presence of U.S. forces in Iraq, the Iraqi government will surely abrogate those no-bid contracts the U.S. oil majors acquired probably illegally under Iraqi law--which could be the real reason John McCain deceptively and perversely insists on staying in Iraq--till kingdom come?

Mariano Patalinjug

MarPatalinjug@aol.com

Posted by: Mariano Patalinjug | August 19, 2008 3:11 PM

McCain was blabbering for on to Baghdad within days of September 11. We don't need another arrogant and ignorant war monger in the White House which will occur if we get someone who thinks and acts like Bush.

Posted by: ejgallagher1 | August 19, 2008 3:11 PM

It's funny that McStank supporters complain that the reasoning Obama has for withdrawl or the economy or energy isn't good enough, all McCstank says is that he's gonna change this, he's gonna change that,well HE HASN'T SAID HOW! All talk express does exactly that, JUST TALK! He is the dumbest of candidates and you sucka's are supporting him not because of his policy views or his record cause lord knows he hasn't done a damn thing since he's been in congress. See it was all fun and games until Obama started looking like he could actually win and all of a sudden, you attack like the trained little drones that you are. You attack because your fear not of a young president, but a young black president and so all of your fears about african americans are just killin you inside. McCain is a dumb and dangerous politician. He's only qualified to be P.O.W, I know you don't like that cause you want him to be a hero but he's not. He finished at the back of the class, his grades were horrible, his dad and grandfathers were admirals, he a wrinkled p.o.w who too dumb to speak for himself so his campaign muzzled him and told him just to say the words on the pretty paper! lolol WHAT A BAFOOOOOON!!! All who supports, are nothing but bigger dumber BAFOOOOOONNNNSSSSS!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 3:11 PM

FighterTom needs to listen to the news rather than listening to gossip ... O'Bama was not allowed to visit the tropps when he was overseas ... he asked but, Bush' buddies and McCain pals found a convient reason to say that they could not accommodate.

Posted by: FactChecker | August 19, 2008 3:10 PM

maybe we can fix the economic problem by purchasing trillions of dollars of oil from nations that hold the US in contempt, and turning our coastline into a hideous rendition of west texas.
though there is that virtually infinite, and free, source of power

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 3:10 PM

Dan Balz has become adept at recycling the McCain-RNC talking points. There is no inconsistency between believing that the Iraq war was wrong in its conception, on the one hand, and acknowledging the gains made by the "surge" on the other. As Obama has stated time and again, we have an excellent military that is capable of accomplishing any mission. The war is going into its 5th year, but one gets the impression that Dan Balz believes the surge is the sum total of the War. The real question is whether the War is worth the cost in blood and treasure. Obama says no. McCain says yes. No further analysis is necessary.

Posted by: Elon | August 19, 2008 3:10 PM

________________________________________________________

Funny How Liberal Democrats want to be on the side of...

Russia
Al Queda
Hamas
Hezbollah
Iran
Cuba
Venezuela
Jeremiah Wright
Rezko
Ayers

________________________ name your socialist country or terrorist organization of choice here.

What exactly motivates this way of thinking? Mental Disease? Idol worship? Demonic Possession? Low IQ? Secret plan to grab money and power?

________________________________________________________

Posted by: StarsandStripes | August 19, 2008 3:08 PM

Is Obama the only one in this race that is supposed to be ambitious?

Posted by: 2mature2bhornswoggled | August 19, 2008 3:07 PM

If you conclude that they were both mistaken: McCain about the necessity of war, Obama about the value of the surge; then, ask yourself, in the next four years, what kind of caution do you want our President to excercise in the push toward war? Face it, the surge was a desperate attempt by Bush-Cheney to salvage their legacy. It helped slightly, along with a lot of lucky developments, but I'm not planning on taking my vacation there anytime soon, are you?

Posted by: Edward | August 19, 2008 3:07 PM

McCain lobbied for a war against Iraq even before Bush did. He is clearly interested in a military response to Iran, as well, and even joked about it in song (to the Beach Boys) when he sang, "Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran." Even IF WMD had been in Iraq, the invasion was wrong because it was an unprovoked invasion. There was no international support for it. The U.S. was alone. McCain's blustering about Georgia (his chief intl adviser was a lobbyist for Georgia) against Russia shows just how dangerous he is. He has no comprehension, remarkably (considering his POW background) of how awful war is, and is happy to put our troops into harms way. He is a warmonger, and, even if you like war, you have to admit we can't afford it any more, as it is driving the nation to bankruptcy, destroying the value of the dollar, and sucking the economy dry.

Posted by: Fearless | August 19, 2008 3:03 PM

I wish someone would remind Americans that the most important aspect of the Surge, The Sunni Awakening, began before the Surge was even announced. And its success meant that the Anbar province was only reinforced with 4,000 trooops, 10 months after the Awagkening began. The Surge didn't have an affect there.
Nor did it really affect the political reconciliations that occurred in Iraq.
The Surge helped, but if the Sunnis had continued their opposition it probably wouldn't have.

Posted by: rick | August 19, 2008 3:03 PM

BO has no place here. He refused to visit wounded veterans while on his PR campaign over seas. He is not a leader. He has no idea what the military is for.

Posted by: Fightertom34 | August 19, 2008 3:03 PM

Hillary Clinton will be the VP pick on the 3rd. night of the Convention.

O'Bama wants a double bounce coming out of the Convention ... because McCain plans to make his announcement right after.

Posted by: TheTrueStory | August 19, 2008 3:02 PM

If the media continue to hold truth and untruth equally worth reporting as though there's no difference between the two, continue to stoke the popular suspicion that intelligence, education and an open mind are undesirable qualities in a US President, continue to be easily bullied by self-serving cries of bias from one side, the wrong candidate will always win, period.

Posted by: R M Gopal | August 19, 2008 3:02 PM

You can't actually tell if the surge is working/sustainable until we reduce the amount of troops over there. Why are we evaluating it as though it's a final grade?

Posted by: Bill J | August 19, 2008 3:01 PM


The surge is working miracles -- for the Russians.

And maybe soon, the Chinese as well. As soon as these stupid games are over, it will be genocide for Tibet.

Why? The U.S. has used all its military resources in Iraq, that's why.

Vote for McCain? I think not.

Posted by: tony the pitiful copywriter | August 19, 2008 2:59 PM

Ode to the Old P.O.W.

Dispute the young man’s patriotism,
a futile exorcism
of internal demons haunting
ceaselessly taunting
you for lies longer lived
than heroic courage given short shrift.

M. West in Germany

Posted by: Michael West | August 19, 2008 2:55 PM

You heard it here first ... it is TIM KAINE and MITT ROMNEY

BATTING 1000

Posted by: Here First | August 19, 2008 2:54 PM

"But Obama has not fully addressed questions..."

maybe. But be fair: McCain has not addressed any questions concerning his initial assessment of going to war; nor has he answered any questions concerning how to fight two wars successfully.

Posted by: Fred D | August 19, 2008 2:54 PM

The GOP has one road map for victory of the presidency.

Fear.

"Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd."

"You can judge your age by the amount of pain you feel when you come in contact with a new idea."

Posted by: gatorskinz2000 | August 19, 2008 2:52 PM

Apparently military strategy isn't above his pay grade, but abortion is. Commander in Chief Urkel, leading the retreat.

Posted by: Sand Box | August 19, 2008 2:52 PM

The surge may have "worked," but what happens whe we stop surging? If the militants had sense, they'd back off until we leave, then take back their country.

Posted by: djmolter | August 19, 2008 2:51 PM

It's fair to question Obama's position on the surge, but only if you are willing to accept a satisfactory answer, which he has provided: The intent of the surge was to reduce violence so that allow the once-divided Iraqi government to unify and stablize, but as it happened, the localized sects and governments did that on their own (while the politicians were sitting on the fence). Sen. Obama calls it as he sees it, and he sees it correctly, and doesn't use the war to divide American voters as John McCain does.

We can all be thankful for the reduced levels of violence, certainly, but the surge has not as of yet achieved its goal--the Iraqi government is still unstable and another outbreak of 2006-level violence is entirely possible unless a more heavy-handed diplomatic approach is implemented that puts the responsibility for Iraq's stability on 1. Iraq, 2. Friendly neighbors in the region, and 3. A diplomatic coalition from around the world that understands the importance of a stable Iraq.

And it's hypocritical of John McCain to say Sen. Obama won't "admit" a mistake, when John MCain won't admit his grave error in supporting this war in the first place.

(But then again, I guess hypocrisy is the name of the game for someone like talk-show regular John McCain to call his opponent a celebrity, or criticizing someone for having the ambition to run for president, as if he's not doing the same.)

Posted by: FrankD | August 19, 2008 2:51 PM

What i think is more ridiculous is this kind of journalism.

It has been clearly reported that at the time the surge was decided, the Irak government was already negotiating with the different parties.

McCain and his journalists (e.g. Mr. Dan Balz) deliberately ignore this and keep bombing Obama to concede on something that's not sure it is responsible for the reduction in violence.

In the same vain, i don't know why nobody is asking McCain to recognize that he was wrong on voting for this war.

The US journalism is something very strange.

Posted by: Klaus | August 19, 2008 2:50 PM

Old man McCain must be treated as the individual he is. He is a person without a moral compass or a lasting value system.

To win, old man McCain must avoid an intelligent discussion on Iraq and US foreign policy. The media needs to call him on both his negative campaign and personal attacks as well as his avoidance of the issues, both on foreign policy and in the domestic arena.

Old man McCain is what he is: the holder of a failed career in the military who has milked his POW status for all he can get from it; a failed personal life and marriage; a value system which changes to accomodate whoever controls the Republican Party; and a man who will willingly send our young men and women to their deaths in any number of wars in order to show the world his manhood.

Old man McCain needs to be stopped before he destroys this nation.

Posted by: No War Hero | August 19, 2008 2:50 PM

The Bush-McCain War in Iraq is an utter fiasco. It has wrecked the military and left us in much deeper debt to foreign governments, without achieving anything of consequence in the Middle East, save to strengthen Iran.

McCain is a scoundrel: an egomaniac who is physically, intellectually and morally unfit for the Presidency and who "wraps himself in the flag" in an effort to obscure this -- all while hypocritically and falsely accusing his opponent of being an even bigger scoundrel.

Posted by: mnjam | August 19, 2008 2:49 PM

McCain is a warmonger. Vote McCain, and you'll get more war.

Posted by: JakeD's shadow | August 19, 2008 2:46 PM

It's sad to reflect on the fact that this election will be determined by people who don't read newspapers, don't watch the evening news, believe with the faith of a small child their wives' third cousins' insistence that they really found Bigfoot buried in Georgia, think that the Russions invaded the STATE of Georgia, watch professional wrestling and believe that it's real, love to watch "Dog, the Bounty Hunter," believe their individual pastors have a direct line to God, doubt that the U.S. really landed someone on the moon, and believe if they pray hard enough that their alcoholic Uncle Elmer will be cured of his terminal cirrhosis of the liver.

That's how we got Lil' George, that's how we might get McCain. We live in a Republic of fools who venerate third-rate men.

Posted by: reporter1 | August 19, 2008 2:45 PM

If Obama doesn't come out swinging and soon the neocons will run away with this election for sure. These con-artists are content to preside over the demise of the American dream so long as it puts a dollar in their pocket and every one else can go rot. Clinton would've had 'em on the ropes by now. They need to bleed and bleed bad.

Posted by: skywayron | August 19, 2008 2:44 PM

When the "maverick" crud is stripped away, how is McCain really that different from Bush or the GOP line?

I just don't see it. His foreign policy stances seem to come from basically a neocon perspective. Maybe in '00 he was different, but I just don't see what will change.

And it is unfair to question Obama's patriotism. I never supported this war, and have had my patriotism called into question countless times in these online forums. Conservatives should realize that a majority of Americans feel the war was a mistake - so be careful launching attacks that hit the voters personally, as well as Obama.

Posted by: BB | August 19, 2008 2:44 PM

Enough of this argument about who said and did what about the
Iraq invasion and occupation.

I want to know how and when the US troops are coming home---
the sooner the better.

Posted by: janye1 | August 19, 2008 2:43 PM

Why does no one truly acknowledge the role the Groups such as The Sons of Iraq have played during this "surge". Without them playing the role they played, the surge definitely would not be considered nearly as effective.

Posted by: gatorskinz2000 | August 19, 2008 2:40 PM

To say the the surge is a success is ridiculous. With the shift of troops to Iraq, Afghanistan is now starting to boil over, and Al-Qaeda is building up in Pakistan. You have to look at the whole, not the parts. Obama understands this. McCain is the one making an false argument.

Posted by: Jen | August 19, 2008 2:39 PM

This whole aspect of the debate is stupid - it supposes that the eventual Commander-in-Chief is going to personally lead the military to glory. Democracies have civilian control of their militaries, but one need look no further than the past 8 years to receive an object lesson in what happens when a civilian who fancies himself a military genius takes the reins. Leave military campaigns to the military. The greatest military leaders in history generally agree that you - as the country's leader - need only tell the military what you want done. THEY'LL tell YOU if it is achievable, and how best to go about it. Barack Obama could do that just as well the Incredible Dried-Apple-Doll Republican candidate. Grampy McCain is not going to personally lead the military, and military experience decades ago does not equate to foreign policy chops today - in fact, it might be a hindrance.

Posted by: marknesop | August 19, 2008 2:39 PM

A surge always works. It is based on the oldest battle strategies in existence that goes back to Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan. It consists of such a mas of man power and force it can't be resisted and breaks the enemy. The problem here is for a surge to work you have to completely decimate the enemy into submission. Destroy them with a mighty push. That is not what they did in Iraq. Al they did was add a few more troops and as a natural course of things they begin to see things slow down. But then what? We can't keep it up and they know what we are doing, so they just hang back and wait. Later they start the sh&t all over again. It is futile and a waste of American lives. The simple fact is, there is no victory to be won there. If you listen close to Mccain all you hear is an old man willing to have others die for his ego. Not a very good basis to fight a war. He is not leaving without victory no matter how many Americans have to die. He is a mad man if you listen close.

-------------
Of course the Republicans want us to believe that the reduction in violence was caused by the surge. There are lots of opposing explanations. It is clear that Obama was right, McCain was wrong. Don't hire the arsonist to put out the flames.

Posted by: thebob.bob | August 19, 2008 2:17 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 2:36 PM

Come on already, it is nonsensical exaggeration to say that a vote for Mccain is to keep things EXACTLY as they are.

A vote for McCain is a vote for McCain just as a vote for Obama is not a vote for Al gore.

Posted by: jligayaj | August 19, 2008 2:35 PM

A vote for McCain is a vote to keep things exactly as they are - at war, in a recession, rich CEOs getting richer by shipping middle class jobs overseas, and a blind eye on illegal immigration to keep labor costs (our wages) down.

THAT is what NEO-CONS believe in and what McCain's advisors (Bush's team) are pushing in this election.

If you want the sleaze behind the curtain to keep running things vote McCain.

If you want AMERICA back - Honorable America. Smart scientific America. Ethical America. America with loyal ALLIES in the world... vote Obama for President!

Posted by: JBE | August 19, 2008 2:30 PM

you guys want to pin a badge on a guy who started the original blaze, poured gas on it, and finally came to the fire with a garden hose. Sheesh are you people morons!!!!

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | August 19, 2008 2:27 PM

Of course the Republicans want us to believe that the reduction in violence was caused by the surge. There are lots of opposing explanations. It is clear that Obama was right, McCain was wrong. Don't hire the arsonist to put out the flames.

Posted by: thebob.bob | August 19, 2008 2:17 PM

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