Hillary Clinton’s priceless contribution to McCain’s campaign, the 3 AM phone call, has triggered an avalanche of Commander in Chief arguments. The Georgia-Russian conflict is fertile ground for the war mongers.
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Commander in Chief involves far more than jingoistic speeches and sending troops and bombs to create hell around the world. The most important part of the job is to responsibly lead this nation including managing the resources of our military. We are not selecting a Generalissimo to parade around in grand regalia and to invade and bomb at will. This is still a democracy responsible to the people.
Who should answer the 3:00 AM call? An intelligent, moral leader with a spine of steel who will render a reasoned decision based on fact? Or a hot head who sees a war opportunity under every rock? A leader committed to the rule of law and the primacy of human rights. Or a dedicated supporter of the failed Bush actions in war, loss of moral leadership and destruction of civil liberties?
The phone rings, now what? President Obama answers and immediately evaluates the severity and immediacy of the reason for the call. First and foremost consideration is the security of the US. Then, how can we take the moral high ground, exercising true leadership? What are our options and the consequences of each? He’s willing to talk to any of the antagonists. Listen to appropriate advisers and then make the decisions that are best for our citizenry and the rest of the world.
Contrast with Field Marshall McCain donning his battle uniform, calling out the Crusade warriors with spear and shield and then buzzing the affected area with nuclear loaded B1s and a variety of shock and awe aircraft and missiles. Maybe we should invade Iran, Syria and North Korea. Bring em on, bring on WW III.
Who to choose?
Consider the Cuban Missile Crisis. John Kennedy held out for morality and reason, unwilling to plunge the world into armed conflict. General Lemay argued strenuously for nuking Cuba. The other warlords chanted their support. If Lemay’s demands had been met it’s very likely that our nukes plus the guaranteed Russian nuclear response would have ignited the world’s atmosphere and we would not be having this discussion. Now we know from recently released documents of that John Kennedy had back channel conversations with Nikita Khrushchev before this confrontation. How despicable, talking to the enemy! Neither leader was willing to allow a nuclear holocaust. They both faced drum-beating military that wanted war at any cost. Both countries had to give up something; the US removed missiles from Turkey, Soviet ships turned around and Khrushchev kept Castro in line. As a matter of fact the US then opened back channel conversations with Cuba! The true leaders understood the glory of peace and the value of negotiation over conflict. JFK deliberately placed the well being of our country and the world far ahead of personal power. Kennedy faced serious opposition in State as well as Defense. Some of his direct orders were ignored. All this peaceful progress was destroyed on November 22, 1963. No more dialogs with enemies. The conflicts droned on for years, causing hundreds of thousands of useless deaths while creating untold riches for the military industrial complex.
Baarack Obama’s vision of civilization is firmly grounded in the dignity of human beings, the rule of law and the value of peace. Killing innocents, starvation and childish drum beating about our grandeur is to be avoided. All nations need to raise the standard of living for all people. Problems are to be solved, not bombed. “Collateral Damage” is not collateral to the hundreds of thousands of innocents killed by our incessant bombing.
John McCain’s narrow view of civilization is based on combat; the enemy de jour must be annihilated. All reaction comes from a pre ordained playbook, not from intelligent analysis. Reason is seen as surrender. Competence and smartness are considered detriments. Making arms merchants and the wealthy even richer is a top priority. The rest of us are to be an eternally fearful underclass to be manipulated to carry out the will of the elite, killing as ordered. The Bush/McCain world is an alternate reality; Bush minions proudly claim their strategy and planning is not based on reality. Truth, morality and reality be damned, power of the elite must be maintained at all costs.
Who’s the real commander in chief?