When I heard Wesley Clark say, on Sunday, that while John McCain's behavior as a prisoner of war was honorable, it wasn't a job qualification for the presidency, I breathed a sigh of relief that at last someone was calling the McCain campaign, and possibly even more so, the media, on the unthinking conflation of things military with things civilian.
McCain's POW experience speaks to a particular kind of military discipline and honor. Those qualities have some relevance to the character traits we want in a president. But too often, McCain's POW experience seems to stand in for experience in foreign affairs, military command, and numerous other intellectual/managerial qualities we want in a president. I thought that Clark made the distinction nicely, and that it was a distinction that needed saying...
The problem with a lifetime of honorable service in the military, intensified by experience as a POW, is that it can produce a mindset that elevates that military. McCain's membership in today's Republican party and everything he has said so far on the Iraq war suggest that he shares this mindset, part of the militarization of our society.
So I'm joining others in the blogosphere in saying that Wesley Clark said nothing wrong. In fact, what he said could be a beginning of disentangling American security from mindless militarism.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
If you can wade past all the hysteria out there in the media and internets, Cheryl Rofer talks sense on the whole ridiculous Wesley Clark affair and her brief remarks are basically all you need to read: