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October 07, 2008

McCain's Steady Hand on the Tiller
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

Do we really want John McCain as the "steady hand" during crisis?  We have a pretty extensive piece on McCain's history in crisis

In this current economic crisis steady and responsible guidance from our leaders is more important than ever. Americans expect this response not just with regards to the economy but also when it comes to national security. Senator McCain’s record in times of crisis is not comforting. Over two decades, McCain has shown again and again that he is prone to jump to conclusions and make reckless calls for military action. In the midst of the anthrax letter attacks after 9-11, McCain with no evidence accused Iraq of being responsible. In the run-up to the Iraq war, McCain urged war on the grounds that Saddam Hussein would turn Iraq into a “weapons assembly line for Al Qaeda.” In the wake of September 11th, McCain called for invading Iraq, Iran, and Syria. He advocated taking military action against North Korea, despite recognizing that there would be “enormous carnage.” His response to the Russia-Georgia crisis was reckless, knee-jerk and out of line with almost every other world leader. McCain has not demonstrated the steady leadership necessary in times of crisis. Instead he shown a clear tendency to overreact, often calling for reckless action.


McCain called for attacking Iraq, Iran and Syria in wake of September 11th attacks. “I have very little doubt in my mind -- after bin Laden is either taken prisoner or killed and his network is destroyed, then what's next? Obviously, Iraq is still bent on -- Saddam Hussein is still bent on developing weapons of mass destruction. Obviously, the Iranians are still supporting terrorist organizations, as are the Syrians.” [MSNBC, Hardball, 10/3/01]

During Kosovo war, McCain urged ground invasion of Serbia, Kosovo. “When the Clinton administration led a North Atlantic Treaty Organization bombing campaign against then-Yugoslavia, Sen. McCain was one of the loudest voices in the Senate urging the White House to prepare for a potential ground invasion. ‘The credibility of America as a superpower is at stake,’ he said.” [WSJ, 3/6/08]

McCain called for airstrikes against North Korea and build up of U.S. forces in 1994, even while acknowledging there “would be enormous carnage.” “Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., renewed his call for military air strikes on North Korea’s nuclear facilities if tough sanctions don't produce quick results, and accused the administration of appeasing the North Koreans… [McCain] said there should be an immediate buildup of U.S. forces on the Korean Peninsula. If there is war, he said "there would be enormous carnage, (but) we would prevail and we would prevail conventionally." [AP, 6/13/94]

McCain thought war with North Korea was inevitable in 1994. "In a chilling message to colleagues on the eve of Memorial Day, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., warned that a major war with North Korea is inevitable unless America finds a way to deter Kim Il Sung, a dictator bent on crashing the nuclear club and unleashing weapons of mass destruction around the world." [The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon), May 30, 1994]

During the Russia-Georgia crisis, McCain’s “we are all Georgians” made reckless commitment. “And I told him (Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili) that I know I speak for every American when I say to him, today, we are all Georgians.” [John McCain, 8/12/08]


McCain falsely accused Iraq of being behind the anthrax letter attacks. “Some of this anthrax may — and I emphasize may — have come from Iraq.” [NY Times, 8/16/08]

As invasion of Iraq was approaching, McCain falsely linked Iraq and al Qaeda. “In World War II, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, we went to war -- against them and against the Nazis, who had not attacked our homeland. We did not have the luxury of fighting one enemy at a time. Sept. 11, 2001 showed that al-Qaeda is a grave threat. Saddam Hussein has the ability to make a far worse day of infamy by turning Iraq into a weapons assembly line for al-Qaeda's network.” [USA Today 2/13/03]

McCain advocated urgent action, because he thought Iraq was rushing to develop nuclear weapons. “We are confronting Saddam Hussein today because we cannot kick the can down the road… waiting until he possesses nuclear weapons, as North Korea now does, thereby constraining our ability to respond to a developing danger. We cannot allow Iraq to become the North Korea of the Middle East.” [Washington Post, 10/24/02]

McCain’s response to Russia – without waiting for the facts – blamed and condemned Russia and implied extensive commitments to Georgia. “McCain took a remarkably — and uniquely — more aggressive stance, siding clearly with Georgia’s pro-Western leaders and placing the blame for the conflict entirely on Russia.” The Politico assessed that “while virtually every other world leader called for calm in Georgia last Thursday morning, John McCain did something he’s done many times over his career in public life: He condemned Russia.” [Politico, 8/10/08. Politico, 8/13/08. CBS, 8/12/08]


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Steady Hand At The Tiller

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