John McCain has accepted an invitation to appear at a nationally-televised town hall meeting next month organized by a coalition of support organizations.  Despite pleas from the group, Barack Obama has refused to appear at the same event, underscoring his desire to avoid extemporaneous exchanges with John McCain, especially on military matters in which he has no experience at all.  The Fort Hood group has offered to change dates, but Obama remains obstinate:

“Senator Obama strongly supports America’s veterans and military families and has worked hard on their behalf in the Senate,” said Phillip Carter, director of Mr. Obama’s veterans effort and an Iraq war veteran. “While we unfortunately had a previously scheduled commitment on the date proposed, Senator Obama looks forward to continuing the dialogue he’s been having throughout the country with veterans on how we can better serve our men and women in uniform as they serve us.”

Carissa Picard, managing director of the Fort Hood Presidential Town Hall Consortium, said she had suggested Aug. 11 and asked the campaign to suggest other dates if that was not convenient, but after several conversations she had not been able to work anything out.

“I’m having extreme difficulty getting the Obama campaign to commit to this event, and we do not understand why,” said Ms. Picard, whose husband is deployed in Iraq. “We made it very clear to them that if they would commit to the event, we would work with them on dates.”

On several occasions, Obama challenged McCain to debate foreign policy and the war, “anywhere, any time”.   Here’s a clip showing one such challenge from May:

What are we to make of this? The man who wants to be Commander-in-Chief lacks the testicular fortitude to appear before military groups to make his case in an open format? That hardly suggests Obama as a man who can lead a nation during a time of war, nuclear proliferation, and terrorism.What makes this a little more ironic is that the crowd would probably be more sympathetic to Obama than some might think. Military families have sacrificed and endured much over the last five years, and they want to see the Iraq war come to some sort of conclusion. Obama, if he had any courage at all, has the opportunity to make a case among open minds. How open will those minds be when it becomes clear that Obama can’t face them?

Instead of Vero Possumus, perhaps the motto on Obama’s seal should have been Vero Pusillanimous.