Friday, July 11, 2008
The Fatal Delusion of John McCain
Of all the scenes in all the movies I have ever seen one of the most powerful has to be the last few minutes of The Bridge on the River Kwai.
When crazy Colonel Nicholson leads the camp commander Colonel Seito towards the place where a young Canadian commando is waiting to blow up the bridge. All hell breaks out. Colonel Nicholson realizes he has made a terrible mistake. Everyone dies including the hunky William Holden.The bridge blows up. And the medical officer who has witnessed it all cries "Madness! ... Madness!"
So I thought it was kind of crazy when a well known American right-wing blogger compared Colonel Nicholson to John McCain. And got spanked by TBogg.
...What is arguably a serious qualification for president is McCain’s behavior, his steadfastness, for five years in a North Vietnamese prison camp. It has overtones of The Bridge on the River Kwai. Although not as overtly heroic as the film, McCain showed character traits under extreme pressure - dealing with torture, standing with his men, etc., - that demonstrate superior leadership capability. What befits a president more than that?
Was Simon talking about the crazy egomaniac I wondered...or the deluded collaborator?
Of course, the two do have a lot in common. They were both POWs. They both endured savage punishment bravely. They both played by the book.
But what Simon seems to have forgotten is that both men also suffered from a fatal delusion. Because of their captivity they lost touch with the war they were fighting.
For John McCain ,the U.S. Navy pilot, the closest he got to Vietnam was a few thousand feet. He didn't see the bodies of the men, women and children. He didn't hear the screams...he didn't smell the charred flesh.
He didn't feel the pain and the disillusionment of the grunts on the ground. Doing drugs. Fragging their superiors. Fighting a war they knew they couldn't win.
And then when he became a prisoner he lost touch with the war altogether for five long years. In the loneliness of his prison cell he still believed the war could be won.
"Like a lot of Vietnam veterans, I believed and still believe that the war was winnable," he said. "I do not believe that it was winnable at an acceptable cost in the short or probably even the long term using the strategy of attrition which we employed there to such tragic results. I do believe that had we taken the war to the North and made full, consistent use of air power in the North, we ultimately would have prevailed."
Even though it might have triggered the World War Three.
And he still believes in Total War. Still believes that any war can be won with a bit more effort ...and a lot more bombs.
Hmmm.... I think Roger Simon should have thought that one out a bit more.
Or at the very least watched the end of the movie...
John McCain may be a decent enough guy...for a Republican.
But if he's still trapped in that fatal delusion.
He could make a VERY dangerous President...