Posts Tagged ‘bin Laden’

McCain’s Sanctimony

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Sen. John McCain

By Jeffrey Page

For the first anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden, President Obama reminded the nation of the 10-year hunt for him. In doing so Obama noted – not very subtly at all – that he was the commander-in-chief who approved the operation.

Senator John McCain quickly went on the attack, using extremely strong language even for American politicians of the 21st Century, when the rules of decency and civility have been tossed. This is a time when the elected and their electors find it easier to slander their opponents than to discuss ideas with them.

Obama, McCain said, converted “the one decision he got right into a pathetic political act of self-congratulation.” And he added: “Shame on President Obama for diminishing the memory of Sept. 11 and the killing of Osama bin Laden by turning it into a cheap political attack ad.” Do you suspect that McCain will never get over the fact that he lost the ’08 election.

The incomparable Mitt Romney chimed in, essentially saying that the decision to deploy the Navy Seals to get bin Laden was no big deal. After all, Romney said, “even Jimmy Carter” would have done the same. Was he implying that Carter wasn’t much of a military leader or that he didn’t have the guts? How easy it is for a candidate who’s waffled on every issue to to criticize Carter who – remember? – ordered the failed hostage rescue operation in Iran.

I don’t have much patience for politicians who condemn their opponents for being, uh, politicians. But McCain’s sanctimony tests the limits of my tolerance. (I’m holding off on Romney for now; he might change his mind any minute.)

Is McCain’s real message that had he been elected, he would have let the bin Laden anniversary pass without comment? And does he expect anyone to believe that?

Some questions and observations:

— Can you imagine McCain’s venomous outcry if Obama had said nothing at all about the anniversary? Insult to the Seals, he would have blustered.

— McCain may condemn Obama for statements regarding the bin Laden operation, but this works both ways. So let’s consider some of McCain’s remarkable silences.

— Shame on John McCain for saying not a word in 1985 when President Reagan decided to place flowers at a German cemetery whose graves include those of 49 Waffen SS soldiers.

— Shame on John McCain for remaining silent when President George W. Bush performed a pathetic political act of self-congratulation by hot-dogging a Navy fighter onto the flight deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln. There he announced that major combat operations in Iraq were over; he was off by several years and many casualties.

— Shame on John McCain for being mute about Bush’s diminishing the memory of American troops killed and wounded in Iraq with the syntactically challenged observation: “There are some who feel like – that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring them on. We’ve got the force necessary to deal with the security situation.” That may have been the only time in our history when a commander invited an attack on his own troops.

— Shame on John McCain for inflicting Sarah Palin on the nation and for his silence when she tried to hoodwink us into believing she had significant foreign policy experience because Alaska is just 50 miles across the Bering Strait from Russia.

— And shame on John McCain for saying he would support the repeal of don’t ask-don’t tell only when the military informed him that such a change would not harm morale, unit cohesion or performance. That assurance soon came from no less than Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. But McCain, facing a conservative primary challenge, went silent.