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21 January 2008

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frank durkee

Who the hell is. I have you by 8 years and a president starting over 65 or so would worry me.

David W

I understand the message of this post, however, I feel it is the wrong conclusion--if anything, McCain's aging has made him appear more genial, and, for the better, taken some of the sheen off his 'Manchurian Candidate' personae.

Frankly, I think his exterior is wearing better than his insides--McCain blew his credibility long ago, and his sophomoric 'Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran' moment should tell people everything they need to know about this desperate toady.

It's also telling that, afaik, he is the only high-ranking public official who has been tortured as a POW, yet he refuses to even say that waterboarding is torture, because he fears he might lose some of his political base. (Frankly, he is missing the boat here, imo, because he could be the one who stands up against torture, while still maintaining a tough stance against our enemies)

I'm sorry for Mr. McCain, but what was once a heroic soldier's tale of triumph has turned into a sad spectacle of turning tricks to get elected. And there I agree with you--nobody likes to see an old ho' still out on the street.

jonst


Pl
I don't know if you are referring to the picture on TV the other day of his wife helping him down the steps of the plane, or whether you have seen this before, or, perhaps, in person. But I was really struck with how fragile he looked in the shot. I had never seen him come down steps before.

jonst

David W,

I'm not crazy about McCain. Will not vote for him. For a dozen reasons. At minimum.

That noted...I wanted to address the following:

1. You reference him as having a "Manchurian candidate persona". Albeit one that has diminished somewhat. If I get your point. The only time I have ever seen that reference it came from the bat shit crazy swift boat, Karl Rove types, who pass this scurrilous gossip re his imprisonment around. So I ask you...where are you getting this from?

2. McCain has said, publicly, in a debate, and with emphasis that he IS against waterboarding and he DOES think it is torture. And I believe it has cost him with the base of the GOP. So where are you getting your conclusions. What McCain has done re torture that surprised and disgusted me was; he did not come out and vigorously complain about, and explain about, what the implications of Bush's 'signing statement' on the bill dealing with torture that McCain sponsored in the Congress are. But he did, at some political risk, come out against waterboarding.

McCain, while a disappointment to me, and a man I have strong, and bitter, if it came to it, disagreements with, is an honorable man in my opinion. He may not be the smartest man in the room (I don't he would claim to be)....and he may have a lot of lingering issues, both mental and physical, from his incarceration, who would not? Nonetheless,he is man, a flawed man, perhaps a deeply flawed man who I admire and respect. He is not, in my opinion, an old ho turning tricks'. He is trying, one last time, to do something of service for his country. I think the rest, or most of them, want it for themselves. I think McCain wants it for his nation. Whatever my disagreements with him.

Just my take.

bstr

McCain's age and health are not the pressing issue. His combination of charm and willingness to please are more problematic. David W. is right to be troubled by McCain's position on Iran. His charm is such that it is likely if he were to face H. Clinton he would win. His win would mean assurance of a ultra conservative Supreme Court for at least a decade. By the way,PL middle age now ends at seventy-five. A senior citizen, well, as far as buying habits (which is the American way to measure cohorts) is around eighty-two. God bless Willard Scott.

Richard Whitman

McCain is an ideal 20th century man. Didn't we "build a bridge to the 21st century" back in 1996?
Forget about him, he is yesterdays' candidate with old ideas. The US and the world has changed but he has not. Can anyone really imagine a McCain health care plan or a McCain foriegn policy proposal that is not the same as we have now.

Cloned Poster

The fact that he is still a loyal member of the GOP after Rove/Bush butchering him in 2000 is testament to the fact that there is an organ player (pun intended) behind him.......... retire and enjoy you later years is my message, don't be a senile monkey, that said remember RR?

If he does get the nomination, the neo jacobins will pick the VP, watch closely.

David W

Jonst, regarding McCain's stance on torture, while you may be technically correct, I find his answer impossibly disingenuous:

McCain: Waterboarding Not Used By U.S.
CONWAY, S.C., Nov. 1, 2007

(AP) Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Thursday the United States does not use an interrogation technique known as waterboarding and argued that Attorney General-nominee Michael Mukasey would not allow the method.

"I am confident he would not condone such practices," the Arizona senator told more than 250 students during a town-hall meeting at Coastal Carolina University. "I have been briefed enough to know we are not doing that today anywhere in America's government."

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/11/01/politics/main3441067.shtml

My 'Manchurian Candidate' remark was ill-considered, since I wasn't intending its original meaning, which i'd really forgotten about. I agree with you that McCain has had a tremendous career of political achievement, and perhaps my characaterization of him was over the top (Romney, now there's a Manchurian Candidate/'ho!), however, I think he lost his marbles back in 2000, and as others have noted here, his time has really passed.

Leigh

I bought into the "straight talk express" ... literally. And I was pleased in 2000 to do it. I thought he was a straight talker. But when he hugged Bush at the convention--and this after the Karl Rove nonsense in the South Carolina primary--that was too obsequious for me. I cannot support him.

As for his age, it's against him, both physically and mentally. If you ever want to talk to someone set in his ways, talk to a 70-year-old. In this age of instant communications, etc., we don't need a stubborn old so-and-so to be in the White House.

Paul

Much is said about those "inside the beltway" as being narrow-minded and uninformed about the real world. The same might be said for most of the American public.

The presidential candiates are pitching nickel and dime positions (flags, taxes and Jesus to name a few) to their respective bases. Unfortunately, Americans are deluded in their vision of America's standing in the civilized world. Like it or not, America is sucking hind teat! No major issue (war, trade, oil prices, et al) will be solved because Americans fundamentally refuse to look at themselves in a mirror.

The nation's foreign and domestic issues are joined and their solution requires a president who is primarily a statesman.

Aside from the age question, John McCain's attitude and sarcastic personality and his unrealistic desire for "victory" in the Middle East disqualify him for that post. Like Mr. Irrelevant, he sometimes sounds like a frat boy.

Hillary Clinton might fit that role so long as her husband, Bill, is muzzled. Obama may be a superb orator but he is a "boot" who has yet to qualify with his rifle.

God save us from a Republican president.

Marcus

Sorry Jonst, I'm with Davis here. As biting (and funny)the comment, it rings true.

At one point he seemed to be among "men of duty" following the call of his own beliefs, but that is gone. He is following the "Bush Doctrine" more than Bush, and pandering to Neocon fantasies.

Me thinks Romney to be the only one to have a snowball's chance against the Dems.

clifford kiracofe

1. McCain often says he is a "Scoop Jackson Democrat". Senator Jackson, of course, provided nesting grounds in the US Senate for Cold War Zionist Neocons [Jacobin-Nitetzschean Jabotinskyites with a dash of Trotsky] such as Perle.

The very hard core Neocon DC org "Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs" presented McCain in 2006 with its Scoop Jackson Award.

" Former POW Senator McCain Says ‘U.S.-Israel Alliance is Forged in Common Values’
Remarks Upon Receipt of JINSA’s Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson Distinguished Service Award by Senator John McCain
December 5, 2006, Washington, D.C.

Thank you for this extraordinary honor. It is a great privilege to receive an award named for one of America’s great men, the late Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, and for this I am deeply grateful.

I got to know Scoop when I was the Navy liaison to the Senate in the late ‘70s. Scoop was and remains the model of what an American statesman should be. In 1979, I traveled to Israel with Scoop, where I knew he was considered a hero. I had no idea how great a hero he was until we landed in Tel Aviv. When we arrived, we were transferred to a bus big enough to accommodate our large delegation, as well as the U.S. Ambassador to Israel and several of his staff. About a hundred yards outside the airport, the bus was surrounded by a crowd of seven or eight hundred Israelis screaming for Jackson, waving signs that read “God Bless you, Scoop,” “Senator Jackson, thank you,” and dozens of other tributes. For a patriot like Scoop, their affection for him was nothing less than affection for America.
....
Yet Israel has thrived. I would like to believe that Israel’s success has been aided by America, Israel’s natural partner and ally. The tests continue today, however, in the form of suicide bombers and rocket fire, in the anti-Semitism so pervasive in the Arab press, and in the existential threats issued routinely by the Iranian president.

But Israel will survive. Just as it has thrived in the face of armies and terrorists, just as it has prospered in the most dangerous neighborhood on earth, so will it succeed in the face of today’s threats. There will always, always be an Israel.

The path to future success for Israel will not be an easy one, and there will be a number of difficult issues. Foremost on many minds is, of course, Iran. The world’s chief state sponsor of international terrorism, the Iranian regime defines itself by hostility to Israel and the United States. It is simply tragic that millennia of proud Persian history have culminated in a government today that cannot be counted among those of the world’s civilized nations. When the president of Iran calls for Israel to be wiped off of the map, or asks for a world without Zionism, or suggests that Israel’s Jewish population return to Europe, or calls the Holocaust a myth, we are dealing with a possibly deranged and surely dangerous regime. "
from the JINSA website at
http://www.jinsa.org/articles/print.html/documentid/3636

2. On Neocons, just picked up Jacob Heilbrunn's "The Knew They Were Right. The Rise of the Neocons"(New York: Doubleday, 2008. His insights, such as on the Trotskyist (-ite) origins of the Neocons, are useful as context.


Fran

I see no evidence from the campaign discourse so far that PL's concerns about McCain's age are widely shared.

My suspicion is that any such concerns will be seen as "off limits" as discriminatory by the news media. Opposing candidates will fear to raise it, and if they make the mistake of doing so, McCain will come back with some crushing reply that will only increase his popularity.

McCain is an extremely formidable general election candidate. No Democrat will beat him easily, and I doubt HRC can do it at all.

William R. Cumming

South Carolina was McCain's highpoint. Now the real game will be played after February 5th. Both parties no longer care about policy just want to win. To the winner goes the spoils and in this case that includes (witness document destruction by both parties--e-mail vis a vis Sandy Berger types) the ability to rewrite history. The virtual world has both helped and hurt the fundamentals of democracy yet both Congress and the Exeutive Branch don't wish to pay attention and cannot be forced to do so by the voting public. Another technological revolution that may end up preventing an educated public, witness China and its internet controls.

jonst

David,

"(Romney, now there's a Manchurian Candidate/'ho!" Now THERE is a proposition we can agree on!

You know David...I just hate the swift boat types so much...what they did to McCain in 2000, in SC, and what they did to Kerry, and Cleland, I go ballistic when i see evidence of their deeds.

But in the end, and another thing I suspect we agree on....McCain compromised on his professed ideals. But then they were much than other men (in the generic sense...before someone says otherwise)that I give him the benefit of the doubt. And who among us.....well you know the rest.

But i still bitterly oppose him. He is a 20th century man in seeking to lead in the 21st century. That, in and off itself is not necessarily a bad thing. But it is if the man insists on 20th century solutions to 21st century problems.

Kevin

I am not too impressed with any of the candidates. The lesser of evil between both parties is Ron Paul.

David W

Jonst--I think we both agree about McCain and Romney; at least McCain had some ideals and accomplishments to lose, and I fear that Romney is the very model of the 21st century political candidate.

Clifford--thanks for the McCain quote and JINSA link; doing some Googling, I found a very interesting article from The Nation 2002 that includes this key graf, which explains the above quote:

The bulk of JINSA's modest annual budget is spent on taking a bevy of retired US generals and admirals to Israel, where JINSA facilitates meetings between Israeli officials and the still-influential US flag officers, who, upon their return to the States, happily write op-eds and sign letters and advertisements championing the Likudnik line.

And, perhaps more telling, in light of Sibel Edmonds, this one:

JINSA/CSP advisers Richard Perle and Douglas Feith have spent the past fifteen years working quietly to keep the US arms sluice to Turkey open.

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20020902/vest

David Habakkuk

Clifford Kiracofe,

On Scoop Jackson, a piece by Lars-Erik Nelson in the New York Review of Books back in 2000 is interesting.

It points out that the warnings about the 'missile gap' which Jackson and JFK used so effectively against Eisenhower were not only completely without foundation, but were known to be by JFK -- and it is likely also by Jackson -- at the time he was making so much of this non-existent gap in his campaign for the presidency. In February 1959 the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, with Kennedy present, was briefed in closed session by the Air Force Chief of Staff, General Nathan Twining, on the mythical nature of the supposed gap -- which had been made plain by the U2 overflights and NSA intercepts.

We all know that the desire to win pushes politicians to take liberties with the truth, but it seems excessive to describe one of the more extreme practitioners of hysterical alarmism as 'a model of what an American statesman should be.' As his description of Iran is very much in the Jackson tradition, we have reason to be apprehensive about what a McCain presidency might look like.

Reverting to some points you made in an earlier thread, the Jackson link points to a key path through which the Nitze and NSC 68 strand in American security thinking comes together with Zionism -- the work of Albert and Roberta Wohlstetter. Both Perle and Wolfowitz studied with Albert Wohlstetter before going on the cut their teeth in Washington with Jackson. There was an interesting piece by Leila Hudson in Middle East Policy back in 2005, entitled 'The New Ivory Towers: Strategic Studies, Think Tanks and Counterrealism', which focused on the Wohlstetters, and in particular stressed the importance of Roberta Wohlstetter's Pearl Harbour study.

This is I think invaluable in making sense of the way in which the implications of the coming of nuclear weapons were interpreted through the lens of Pearl Harbor.

There is one very real parallel between the American-Japanese strategic equation in 1941, and the American-Soviet after 1945. As against both antagonists, the United States has an enormous superiority in military-industrial potential -- according to NSC 68, the U.S. production of motor vehicles was more than ten times that of the Soviets. But, as a democracy accustomed to invulnerability, it has difficulty maintaining military preparedness -- particularly ground forces -- in peacetime. The advantage in potential power is so great, however, that so long as this power can be effectively remobilised and deployed the United States will in the end prevail -- as it did against Japan.

As long as it lacks a nuclear capability, if it is to avoid eventual defeat in a war against the United States, the Soviet Union must eliminate the bridgeheads on which American power can be deployed: which necessitates evicting NATO from continental Europe. A Soviet nuclear -- and even more thermonuclear -- capability however changes the equation. As Mrs Wohlstetter puts it, 'thermonuclear surprise attack not only might kill tens of millions, but also might cripple both the immediate military response of the attacked nation and its chances of slowly mobilizing a war potential.' Here, she was simply restating a central theme of NSC 68.

Obviously, a Soviet planner will have to take account of the possibility of retaliation. So long however as such a planner calculates that eventual all-out nuclear use by NATO is inevitable, his least worst option may still be all-out nuclear attack at the outset of a war. If one looks carefully at NSC 68, one can see that precisely this logic underpins its apocalyptic vision of the implications of the coming of a bipolar nuclear world -- and the underlying sense, which runs through the NSC 68 tradition, that it is necessary for a security elite to warn the ignorant masses of dangers they do not understand. Accordingly, there is a naturally harmony between the influence of the Wohlstetters and that of Strauss.

Another strand in NSC 68, however, was the emphasis on a conventional buildup. One of its goals was, quite precisely, to get out of the intractable strategic problems involved in the reliance on strategies of nuclear first-use into which NATO had fallen. And it is important that Paul Nitze -- like George Kennan -- had deep moral qualms about strategies involving the mass annihilation of civilians. Unfortunately, however, to break the political opposition to massive increases in defence spending -- particularly the opposition of Truman himself -- it was necessary to portray Soviet intentions in an apocalyptic manner. Hence at the head of NSC 68 one finds the argument about the compulsion of the rulers of the 'slave society' to eliminate the subversive threat posed by the very idea of freedom. This is of course precisely the argument which has been mindlessly recycled in interpretations of 'Islamofascism'.

Now and then the effect, and in part the intention, is to obscure the extent to which the actions of others are affected by those of the United States. In the case of the Soviet Union, the effect was that Western leaders failed to grasp a central effect of the shift from 'massive retaliation' to 'flexible response'. From the point of Soviet planners, the result was to cause a shift from the planning assumption that a general war with the United States would inevitably be nuclear, to the planning assumption that it might be possible to keep war conventional or to limit escalation if that failed. Of course, a corollary was that it would then be impossible to strike at the American military-industrial potential, and one would have to plan for a protracted conventional war. The change of strategy became patently clear from Soviet procurement, training and exercising patterns in the late Seventies and early Eighties. But the accumulating evidence of change was ignored by the heirs of NSC 68 -- even though its possibility is implicit in the paper's arguments.

A corollary of all this, incidentally, is the common view that nuclear weapons stabilised the strategic relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union is almost certain patent nonsense. But Western policy makers, academics and journalists reiterate it mindlessly -- thereby encouraging precisely the nuclear proliferation they fear.


clifford kiracofe

Here is some information per the Elmer Gantry set and its relationship to the Republican Part 'base'.

..." Parsley has emerged as a leading figure in Christian conservative politics and is a frequent visitor to the Bush White House and Capitol Hill. Many credit him with the GOP victory in his native Ohio in 2004, a result that gave Bush the necessary electoral votes to capture the White House a second time....."
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/012208G.shtml

The reference here is to the (neo)-Pentecostal component. There is also the Charismatic component, and the Fundamenalist component (Southern Baptists, Independent Baptists, and others). Robertson is from the Pentecostal component and has endorsed Romney. Falwell's component is in the Baptist area generally. Some group all these under the term Fundamentalist and use the phrase Christian Right and a descriptor.

" The overamplified pop music of the Crabb Family, a band frequently featured on TBN programming, is nothing compared to the collective shriek of thousands of whistles that Parsley's assistants pass out in buckets. The whistles, it turns out, are surrogate shofars (the ram's horn blown in synagogues on high holidays) because, Parsley tells us, he couldn't find actual shofars. Parsley has a real shofar for himself, and after he blows it, he anoints himself the arbiter identified in the Gospel of Luke who will announce Jubilee. It's Jubilee, Parsley says with his characteristic absence of humility, "when the prophetic voice announces it. And I'm here to tell you, it's Jubilee." As pandemonium breaks out in the crowd, Parsley continues: "It's time for a perpetual party. Your long face is out of order. Your depression has got to go.... No more quiet services, mundane Christianity has got to go. Shout it, it's Jubilee!" He implores his audience to blow their whistles, which he claims can miraculously heal; he proclaims, "All tumors, swallowing problems, and cataracts are healed as people blow the whistles...."

The speaking in tongues thing (so dear to Pentecostals and Charismatics) originated in the cultic activity of Edward Irving and his circle in England in the 1820s. Irving also invented the "Rapture" thing. Then they were dumped on us from about the 1850s on ...and here these voters go for 2008. Interesting psy op one might say. Anent Irving
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Irving

clifford kiracofe

David Habbakuk,

Thanks for the Hudson reference, I will look it up. Also, I quite agree with your argument.

Here is a paper I presented in Berlin and which appears in different forms elsewhere with respect to the National Security State:
http://www.cliffordkiracofe.com/Logenhaus%20Conference%20March%202006.pdf

We have NSC 68, the Gaither Commission, the Rockefeller Foundation Report, the Missile Gap and etc. all based on falsehood in support of an imperial policy, IMO. Today, same old same old perpetuated by the follow on generation(s) who have picked up bad habits. Essentially, the German "Big Lie" strategy of the 1930s Nazi elite political pulture.

Ike knew it cold, and opposed it..hence his reference to the Military industrial complex.

I just reread Ambassador Dodd's Diary of his years as US Ambassador to Nazi Germany. I recommend it if you have not already read it.

clifford kiracofe

David Habakkuk,

Some additional points

1. I would note specifically Ike's speechwriter, Dr. Malcolm Moos, who placed the military-industrial complex phrase into Ike's famous speech.

"As the president's chief speechwriter, Moos was responsible for Eisenhower's valedictory warning about the influence of the military-industrial complex."
http://www1.umn.edu/pres/05_hist_moos.html

2. The phrase "military-industrial-financial" complex appears in Ambassador Dodd's Diary. The citation for Ambassador Dodd's Diary would be,
William E. Dood, Jr. and Martha Dodd, eds., Ambassador Dodd's Diary. 1933-1938 (New York: Harcourt, 1941). it is worth a very careful read.

Per this diary, I would note Ambassador Dodd's emphasis on the Nazi persecution of: university professors (Jew AND Gentile), journalists, and Christian clergy (Protestant and Catholic). Consider the situation in the United States today...and think of the Christian Right as the "Deutsche Christen" of the Nazi era...Jesus is assimilated into Wotan...

3. Nitze worked for the Dillon Read investment firm of New York, as I noted the primary financial backer of the German military industrial complex in the 1920s etc...the Steel Trust in particular.

My forthcoming book will have some of this in it...
Dark Crusade. Christian Zionism and US Foreign Policy (London: IB Tauris/Palgrave-Macmillan) Fall 2008.


Stephen Calhoun

I'm counting on two things and those two things account for me being hopeful and optimistic. Do not misread my general hunch as being indicative of naivete.

One, that the middle of the electorate will be inclined to strongly hold the Republicans accountable for our country's decline in a number of 'domains,'

Two, That the economic and security environment in November will not present an opportunity to run to the right of where Bush leaves off.

The always-present third is that unknowable events can intrude.

Iraq. The curious gloss of Iraq is that the combination of ethnic cleansing, the great awakening, community policing by the US, and vigorously violent ops against insurgent infrastructure (bomb factories, etc.,) will continue to stave off civil war. This seems true irrespective of the political challenges.

However it seems completely unlikely that a nation-loyal Iraqi military will allow Shi'a national army units to stand up in Sunni areas. Ever.

Iraq is not a democracy despite the window dressing. Realists are of two broad stripes: the first sort believes this stand-off can be maintained indefinitely. The second sort believes that there is a minimalist version of this that includes a partial exit strategy.

Meanwhile, it also seems obvious that there remains the influence of the fantasists, the neocons who believe that Iraq remains a fine platform from which to launch more sobering attacks on the mashed up 'Islamic' threat. For this group the distinction between Salafi and Shi'a is besides the point.

My fear about McCain is that he is in this third group.

William R. Cumming

Dr.Moos should have added the words "Academic Community" to the term "Military-Industrial Complex." The bureaucratization of academic institutions by government, largely DOD contract dollars, is frightening. Reading "Castles of Steel" about the dreadnought era reminds me of how societies can run off course in the name of "national security." All defense contractors working for DOD should be prohibited under the terms of the contract from lobbying Congress and the Executive Branch on directly related issues. Also prohibition on advertising "to be" contracted for weapons by non-deductability would be useful. Just as we finance both sides of the GWOT we finance both sides of the lobbying by the military-industrial-academic complex. Don't ask for whom the bells toll, just ask POGO.

clifford kiracofe

William Cumming,

"The bureaucratization of academic institutions by government, largely DOD contract dollars, is frightening." Yes, I believe what Moos was trying to indicate with the word "complex" is that other institutions would be included. For example, the RAND Corporation would at that time have been military-academic. And Sam Huntington's Soldier and State and all that...

I would think the complex would also include law firms and accounting firms and engineering firms and the like plus tax exempt foundations.

But this would be the logical consequence of the militarization of American society over the past five decades and the erection of the National Security State and Imperial Presidency.


David Habakkuk,

When you locate Ambassador Dodd's Diary I think you will find the entry on the William A. Nitzes on page 14-15 of interest. Says Dodd, "The William A. Nitzes, colleagues of mine in Chicago, asked us by letter particularly to meet their friends, Mrs. Henry Wood and her family in Potsdam. Mrs. Wood is the wife of the famous professor at Johns Hopkins....we drove out...The conversation was good but not very clever or learned, and the tone was quite Hitlerite."

I note in my Who's Who in America for 1934-1935 (p. 1777) the following entry:

"William Albert Nitze...m. Anina Sophie Hilken...children Elizabeth Hilken and Paul Henry."

See Wiki for Paul Henry Nitze:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Nitze


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