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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

 
Kewl Kid Krush

by digby


A bunch of people have commented on this kewl kidz exchange as they tried to explain their crushes on Flyboy McCain. Their halting explanations are all perfect illustrations of typical vapid, courtier sensitibilities. But I'd like to address just one comment from Howard Fineman, who seems to have gotten over his Dubya infatuation at long last and gone back to his first love:

MATTHEWS: -- after listening to the four of you. Why does the media like McCain? What's going on here? Does he seem to be more authentic than other politicians?

O'DONNELL: Well --

FINEMAN: Well, I think part of it on this --

O'DONNELL: Well --

FINEMAN: -- part of it on this specific thing, he knows what he's talking about. He clearly has a lot of experience, militarily, from the inside out on the Armed Services Committee.

MATTHEWS: OK.

FINEMAN: He knows his stuff on that -- on this particular question.


Feinman was referring to military issues apparently, but I think it's fair to extrapolate from that that he thinks McCain would make a good Commander in Chief. This leads me to mention Senator Straight Talk's recent unbelievable quote once again:


"One of the things I would do if I were President would be to sit the Shiites and the Sunnis down and say, 'Stop the bullshit,'"


There's a man who knows what he's talking about, alright.

Now, McCain does know a lot about certain military matters from his perch on the Armed Services Committee --- weapons procurement. He finds the odd system to rail against to keep his reputation as a "reformer" but he's neck deep in the military industrial complex. For instance:

I believe the American people can and must be protected from the possibility of a missile attack on our soil. Recent reports of successful tests of a missile defense system demonstrate that such a system can work. I supported legislation stating that it should be the policy of the United States to build a national missile defense system as soon as technologically possible. As President, I would make the deployment of a national missile defense system, as well as defense systems for our Armed Forces deployed overseas, one of my highest priorities."
salon.com | Jan. 10, 2000


Six years later:


FORT GREELY, Alaska, Aug. 27 — Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld said here Sunday that while the fledgling United States ballistic missile defense system was becoming more capable, he wanted to see a successful full-scale test before declaring it able to shoot down a ballistic missile.

“I have a lot of confidence in these folks, and I have a lot of confidence in the work that’s been done,” Mr. Rumsfeld said after touring one of the system’s two interceptor sites. But he added that he wanted to see a test “where we actually put all the pieces together; that just hasn’t happened.”

Mr. Rumsfeld’s assessment was more cautious than that of the Missile Defense Agency director, Lt. Gen. Henry A. Obering III of the Air Force. General Obering said recently that he was confident the system could have shot down a ballistic missile test-fired July 4 by North Korea, if it had been a live attack aimed at the United States.


And the boondoggle expands:

HUNTSVILLE, Ala., Aug. 15 -- The Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency, concerned about a potential threat from Iran, plans to recommend in the coming months a European site for ground-based interceptor missiles, the head of the agency said Tuesday.

Poland, the Czech Republic and Britain have been named by the agency as possible candidates to help bolster a fledgling U.S. missile defense shield against missiles launched from the Middle East.


Despite all the happy talk by people "who know what they are talking about," missile defense continues to fail spectacularly. But it sure pays well.

This is what McCain knows so much about. He knows how to feed the MIC beast. He's still stands solidly for this money pit and will stand solidly behind many more defense department money pits. He'll point to his lists of "defense pork," counting on the gullible kewl kids to take him at his word that they amount to anything --- or that he will lift one finger to stop any of them. But at the end of the day, the greatest insight he gained as a member of the armed services committee has been to deliver for defense contractors. The main lesson he's learned about national security generally is to enthusiastically endorse every single war that is proposed --- and then modify his position as necessary as the war proceeds. He does this for purely political reasons --- voting for war means never having to say you're sorry. He wisely calculates that he can con the kewl kidz into covering for his bad judgment because they think he "knows what he's talking about" even though he's often wrong and constantly criticizes the execution of wars he "supports" when it becomes politically expedient to do so.

It's possible that the calculation has changed with the obvious failure of Iraq, but I doubt it. Certainly, among the gullible kewl kids all you have to do is strut manfully and they will fall in love every time.



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