McCain speech on Afghanistan: Comprehensive change required

posted at 2:15 pm on July 15, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

John McCain delivered his speech on Afghanistan this afternoon at a campaign stop in New Mexico, and it promises an overhaul of current NATO policy.  In fact, it seems clear from McCain’s speech that he finds the NATO leadership in Afghanistan inadequate and counterproductive.  In its place, McCain proposes a unified command structure, especially in the combat areas:

One of the reasons there is no comprehensive campaign plan for Afghanistan is because we have violated one of the cardinal rules of any military operation: unity of command. Today there are no less than three different American military combatant commands operating in Afghanistan, as well as NATO, some of whose members have national restrictions on where their troops can go and what they can do. This is no way to run a war. The top commander in Afghanistan needs to be just that: the supreme commander of all coalition forces. As commander-in-chief, I will work with our allies to ensure unity of command.

This could be easier said that done.  NATO’s efforts in Afghanistan have been fractious, and many of our allies simply don’t want to face combat situations.  Those who do have resisted a unified command.  As McCain says, this is no way to run a war, but it may not improve much unless the US can convince other NATO partners to accept a supreme allied commander from the US.

McCain also wants a much larger Afghan military, building on the existing army that NATO has trained:

Everyone knows the United States increased the number of its soldiers in Iraq last year. What’s less well known is that the Iraqis surged with us, adding over 100,000 security forces to their ranks. It’s time for the Afghans to do the same. The Afghan army is already a great success story: a multiethnic, battle-tested fighting force. The problem is, it’s too small, with a projected strength of only 80,000 troops. For years, the Afghans have been telling us they need a bigger army, and they are right. We need to at least double the size of the Afghan army to 160,000 troops.

That may still be too small, but it’s a step in the right direction.  Moreover, McCain paints a picture of a coordinated military, economic, intelligence, and diplomatic effort that would be possible under a unified command.  Obama has not given any depth to his plans for Afghanistan with the exception of adding two extra combat brigades.  Further, McCain recognizes that a counterinsurgency effort is needed in Afghanistan, but that it might take a different form than Iraq:

There are, of course, many differences between Afghanistan and Iraq, which any plan must account for. But, as in Iraq, the center of gravity is the security of the population.

McCain here notes that the tactics that worked in Iraq may not be successful in Afghanistan, but the key is to adapt the counterinsurgency lessons learned in Iraq to Afghanistan.  That takes an administration well-versed in military strategy, tactics, international relations, and intelligence.  In this election, that really leaves one choice.

Full text below, as prepared for delivery.

I’m here today to discuss with you several issues that worry you and most Americans, our slumping economy, job loss, rising gas and food prices, and what we need to do to get our economy growing again, create jobs and reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil. But there is another urgent issue I want to address before I take your questions, which I know concerns you because brave Americans are risking their lives right now to deal with it.

Over the last year, Senator Obama and I were part of a great debate about the war in Iraq. Both of us agreed the Bush administration had pursued a failed strategy there and that we had to change course. Where Senator Obama and I disagreed, fundamentally, was what course we should take. I called for a comprehensive new strategy — a surge of troops and counterinsurgency to win the war. Senator Obama disagreed. He opposed the surge, predicted it would increase sectarian violence, and called for our troops to retreat as quickly as possible.

Today we know Senator Obama was wrong. The surge has succeeded. And because of its success, the next President will inherit a situation in Iraq in which America’s enemies are on the run, and our soldiers are beginning to come home. Senator Obama is departing soon on a trip abroad that will include a fact-finding mission to Iraq and Afghanistan. And I note that he is speaking today about his plans for Iraq and Afghanistan before he has even left, before he has talked to General Petraeus, before he has seen the progress in Iraq, and before he has set foot in Afghanistan for the first time. In my experience, fact-finding missions usually work best the other way around: first you assess the facts on the ground, then you present a new strategy.

Although the situation in Iraq is much improved, another test awaits whoever wins this election: the war in Afghanistan. The status quo is not acceptable. Security in Afghanistan has deteriorated, and our enemies are on the offensive. From the moment the next President walks into the Oval Office, he will face critical decisions about Afghanistan.

Senator Obama will tell you we can’t win in Afghanistan without losing in Iraq. In fact, he has it exactly backwards. It is precisely the success of the surge in Iraq that shows us the way to succeed in Afghanistan. It is by applying the tried and true principles of counter-insurgency used in the surge — which Senator Obama opposed — that we will win in Afghanistan. With the right strategy and the right forces, we can succeed in both Iraq and Afghanistan. I know how to win wars. And if I’m elected President, I will turn around the war in Afghanistan, just as we have turned around the war in Iraq, with a comprehensive strategy for victory.

That strategy will have several components. Our commanders on the ground in Afghanistan say that they need at least three additional brigades. Thanks to the success of the surge, these forces are becoming available, and our commanders in Afghanistan must get them. But sending more forces, by itself, is not enough to prevail. In the 18 months that Senator Obama has been campaigning for the presidency, the number of NATO forces in Afghanistan has already almost doubled — from 33,000 in January 2007 to about 53,000 today. Yet security has still deteriorated. What we need in Afghanistan is exactly what Gen. Petraeus brought to Iraq: a nationwide civil-military campaign plan that is focused on providing security for the population. Today no such integrated plan exists. When I am commander-in-chief, it will.

There are, of course, many differences between Afghanistan and Iraq, which any plan must account for. But, as in Iraq, the center of gravity is the security of the population. The good news is that our soldiers have begun to apply the lessons of Iraq to Afghanistan — especially in eastern Afghanistan, where U.S. forces are concentrated. These efforts, however, are too piecemeal; the work of innovative local commanders, rather than a strategy for the entire country. In particular, the U.S. needs to reengage deeper in southern Afghanistan, the Taliban heartland.

One of the reasons there is no comprehensive campaign plan for Afghanistan is because we have violated one of the cardinal rules of any military operation: unity of command. Today there are no less than three different American military combatant commands operating in Afghanistan, as well as NATO, some of whose members have national restrictions on where their troops can go and what they can do. This is no way to run a war. The top commander in Afghanistan needs to be just that: the supreme commander of all coalition forces. As commander-in-chief, I will work with our allies to ensure unity of command.

A successful counterinsurgency requires more than military force. It requires all instruments of our national power, and that military and civilian leaders work together, at all levels, under a joint plan. Too often in Afghanistan this is not happening. And we need to build the same kind of civil-military partnership that Gen. Petraeus and Amb. Crocker have forged in Iraq, supported by the best talent in the U.S. government and the resources necessary to prevail. Unity of command is also a principle I will bring to Washington. Too often, even as American soldiers and diplomats cooperate in the field, their superiors back home have been squabbling. Last year, the Bush administration appointed a war czar, responsible for both Iraq and Afghanistan. This was a step in the right direction. But Afghanistan is sufficiently important that a separate Afghanistan Czar is needed. I will appoint a highly-respected national security leader, based in the White House and reporting directly to the President, whose sole mission will be to ensure we bring the war in Afghanistan to a successful end.

Everyone knows the United States increased the number of its soldiers in Iraq last year. What’s less well known is that the Iraqis surged with us, adding over 100,000 security forces to their ranks. It’s time for the Afghans to do the same. The Afghan army is already a great success story: a multiethnic, battle-tested fighting force. The problem is, it’s too small, with a projected strength of only 80,000 troops. For years, the Afghans have been telling us they need a bigger army, and they are right. We need to at least double the size of the Afghan army to 160,000 troops. The costs of this increase, however, should not be borne by American taxpayers alone. Insecurity in Afghanistan is the world’s problem, and the world should share the costs. We must work with our allies to establish an international trust fund to provide long-term financing for the Afghan army.

We also need to increase our non-military assistance to the Afghan government, with a multi-front plan for strengthening its institutions, the rule of law, and the economy in order to provide a sustainable alternative to the drug trade. Getting control of narcotics trafficking is central to our efforts in Afghanistan. Alternative crops must be able to get to market and traffickers must be arrested and prosecuted by enhanced Special Courts. We should agree on specific governance and development benchmarks with the Afghan government, then work with them closely to ensure they are met.

Just as we have worked over the past 18 months to stabilize Iraq by bringing together its neighbors, this kind of diplomacy is just as important for Afghanistan. The violence there has many causes, but chief among them is the fact that Afghanistan is treated by some regional powers a chessboard on which to pursue their own ambitions. I will appoint a special presidential envoy to address disputes between Afghanistan and its neighbors. Our goal must be to turn Afghanistan from a theater for regional rivalries into a commons for regional cooperation.

A special focus of our regional strategy must be Pakistan, where terrorists today enjoy sanctuary. This must end. We must strengthen local tribes in the border areas who are willing to fight the foreign terrorists there — the strategy used successfully in Anbar and elsewhere in Iraq. We must convince Pakistanis that this is their war as much as it is ours. And we must empower the new civilian government of Pakistan to defeat radicalism with greater support for development, health, and education. Senator Obama has spoken in public about taking unilateral military action in Pakistan. In trying to sound tough, he has made it harder for the people whose support we most need to provide it. I will not bluster, and I will not make idle threats. But understand this: when I am commander -in-chief, there will be nowhere the terrorists can run, and nowhere they can hide.

In wartime, judgment and experience matter. In a time of war, the commander-in-chief doesn’t get a learning curve. If I have that privilege, I will bring to the job many years of military and political experience; experience that gave me the judgment necessary to make the right call in Iraq a year and half ago. I supported the surge because I believed it was our only realistic chance to reverse the disaster our previous strategy had caused, and the right thing to do for our country. And although events have proven me right, my position wasn’t popular at the time, and I risked my own political ambitions when I took it. When I tell you, I will put our country’s interests — your interests — before party; before any special interest; before my own interests, every hour of every day I’m in office, you can believe me. Because for my entire adult life, in war and peace, nothing has ever been more important to me than the se curity and well-being of the country I love. Thank you.


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And although events have proven me right, my position wasn’t popular at the time, and I risked my own political ambitions when I took it. When I tell you, I will put our country’s interests — your interests — before party; before any special interest; before my own interests, every hour of every day I’m in office, you can believe me. Because for my entire adult life, in war and peace, nothing has ever been more important to me than the se curity and well-being of the country I love.

I hate to say it, but it’s for reasons like this that I’ll vote for McCain this year even though I hate him on immigration, McCain-Feingold, and global warming. He actually means what he says — I remember when McCain backed the surge and said “I don’t care if this costs me the presidency, this is the right thing to do.” And McCain has the leadership and judgment to be President. Obama would be a catastrophe in these arenas.

Outlander on July 15, 2008 at 2:20 PM

Almost 7 years after the WTC/Pentagon attacks, and we’re still dicking around with the Taliban and al qaida. THAT is no way to run a war. It should’ve been a massive military effort on our part – the hell with NATO. Had such a force been in Afghanistan, from the start, maybe Bin Hidin’ would be dead in Tora Bora.

OhEssYouCowboys on July 15, 2008 at 2:20 PM

Excellent speech, although I’m sure Obama will draw on his year as a Community Organizer, his stint as editor of the Law Review at Harvard and the time he took a tour of the Capitol Building in Washington, to form a rebuttal.

“Because for my entire adult life, in war and peace, nothing has ever been more important to me than the security and well-being of the country I love.”

Can anyone imagine Obama saying this?

NoDonkey on July 15, 2008 at 2:20 PM

Obama will need someone to translate McCain’s speech for him, since it requires a basic understanding of military command structure and asymmetrical-war strategy.

RBMN on July 15, 2008 at 2:21 PM

That last paragraph says it all.

Go Mac!

JetBoy on July 15, 2008 at 2:22 PM

NoDonkey on July 15, 2008 at 2:20 PM

Don’t forget Obama’s foreign policy expertise, gained from his time in Indonesia – as a youth.

OhEssYouCowboys on July 15, 2008 at 2:23 PM

This is off-topic, but I have to say that McCain is second only to Bill Clinton in his use of I, me and my. When he talks, he talks about himself. This is not a good quality.

BigD on July 15, 2008 at 2:23 PM

This is off-topic, but I have to say that McCain is second only to Bill Clinton in his use of I, me and my. When he talks, he talks about himself. This is not a good quality.

BigD on July 15, 2008 at 2:23 PM

It’s better than athlete-speak.

“John McCain will do this. John McCain will do that. John McCain should be your President.”

– John McCain

OhEssYouCowboys on July 15, 2008 at 2:27 PM

BigD – I could not disagree with you more. McCain sounds strong and confident when he says “I will do this…I know how to win wars….I was right, he was wrong” He’s playing the Commander-in-Chief card here, and doing it well in my opinion. He’s perfectly contrasting his real judgment with Obama’s hopenchange bullshit.

rockmom on July 15, 2008 at 2:27 PM

All Ed does is illustrate the various ways how much better McCain would be as President than BO, & the MDSers call it “incessant shilling”.
Truth is truth.
Thank you, Ed!

jgapinoy on July 15, 2008 at 2:27 PM

“Because for my entire adult life, in war and peace, nothing has ever been more important to me than the security and well-being of the country I love.”

Can anyone imagine Obama saying this? – NoDonkey

I can, because Obama will say anything to gain the presidency, whether he believes it or not.
Just listen to him talking to the NAACP about how government programs can’t help people if they don’t take individual responsibility. Sounded like Reagan.

kirkill on July 15, 2008 at 2:28 PM

McCain speech on Afghanistan: Comprehensive change required

Comprehensive? I dunno. I have rather come to associate the word ‘comprehensive’ when coming out of McCain’s mouth with America getting whacked in the head.

MB4 on July 15, 2008 at 2:29 PM

McCain has said he would rather lose a campaign than lose the war unfortunately if McCain loses the campaign we lose the war.

elduende on July 15, 2008 at 2:29 PM

“Senator Obama is departing soon on a trip abroad that will include a fact-finding mission to Iraq and Afghanistan. And I note that he is speaking today about his plans for Iraq and Afghanistan before he has even left, before he has talked to General Petraeus, before he has seen the progress in Iraq, and before he has set foot in Afghanistan for the first time. In my experience, fact-finding missions usually work best the other way around: first you assess the facts on the ground, then you present a new strategy.

Wonderful snarky comment from McCain on Obama’s bassackwards way of making policy.

HT: Amspec blog

Wethal on July 15, 2008 at 2:29 PM

“Don’t forget Obama’s foreign policy expertise, gained from his time in Indonesia – as a youth.”

Not only that, but Obama used to eat at Chipotle before it was cool.

Now that’s experience.

NoDonkey on July 15, 2008 at 2:29 PM

… I will not make idle threats. But understand this: when I am commander -in-chief, there will be nowhere the terrorists can run, and nowhere they can hide.

Is he saying he’ll send troops into Pakistan? I love the tough talk, but it’s a tricky situation there. He should convince the Pakis to declare Waziristan independant so we can go in there and nail ’em. But they aren’t really allies and would resist letting us kill their muslim brothers.

Tony737 on July 15, 2008 at 2:31 PM

This is off-topic, but I have to say that McCain is second only to Bill Clinton in his use of I, me and my. When he talks, he talks about himself. This is not a good quality.

BigD on July 15, 2008 at 2:23 PM

This scares me a lot less than when the democrats use the word “WE”.

And its’ not the royal we. It’s “Im going to make judgements for you and you will go along because WE are in this together.”

William Amos on July 15, 2008 at 2:31 PM

In its place, McCain proposes a unified command structure, especially in the combat areas

A “unified command structure” ain’t goin’ to do a lot of good if there ain’t enough troops.

MB4 on July 15, 2008 at 2:31 PM

Obama has not given any depth to his plans for Afghanistan with the exception of adding two extra combat brigades.

Well, he does have some additional experience and special interest in the Afghanistan conflict. He does chair a Senate Afghanistan subcomittee,…oh,..wait a minute,..

a capella on July 15, 2008 at 2:35 PM

What’s less well known is that the Iraqis surged with us, adding over 100,000 security forces to their ranks. It’s time for the Afghans to do the same.

How cool would it be if Iraq sent some troops to Afghanistan to help fight a.q. and the talibs there?

Tony737 on July 15, 2008 at 2:35 PM

Obama just said in a speech he will go into Pakistan

William Amos on July 15, 2008 at 2:35 PM

This scares me a lot less than when the democrats use the word “WE”.

And its’ not the royal we. It’s “Im going to make judgements for you and you will go along because WE are in this together.”

William Amos on July 15, 2008 at 2:31 PM

Just a side-note. Orwell based 1984, in part, on a book by Zamyatin – called We.

OhEssYouCowboys on July 15, 2008 at 2:36 PM

Today we know Senator Obama was wrong. The surge has succeeded.

The purpose of the “Surge” was suppose to be to give the Iraqi’s time to get their act together so that we could leave or at least make a big cut in the number of troops we have there. Contrary to a recent claim that McCain made we still have more troops there than we did before the start of the “Surge”.

I know, I know, success is always just around the next Islamic nation building corner.

MB4 on July 15, 2008 at 2:36 PM

Because for my entire adult life, in war and peace, nothing has ever been more important to me than the security and well-being of the country I love. Thank you.

Michelle Obama asked for comment: (Crickets chirping)

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on July 15, 2008 at 2:37 PM

This scares me a lot less than when the democrats use the word “WE”.

And its’ not the royal we. It’s “Im going to make judgements for you and you will go along because WE are in this together.”

William Amos on July 15, 2008 at 2:31 PM

Well, I’ll give you that. And it’s also very irritating that both parties invoke “the American people” as if the people were 1) monolithic and 2) a different species.

Still, as someone who has done alot of content analysis of public speeches and who pays attention to things like this, McCain does speak from a very self-centered standpoint. I was just pointing it out, speaking for me, in my own interest.

BigD on July 15, 2008 at 2:41 PM

MB4 on July 15, 2008 at 2:31 PM

It’d be one hell of a good start, though. And uit’s light-years ahead of the Kerry/Obama/Democrat “we have to consider world opinion” and “with the help of the UN” babble.

In these matters, McCain is The Man, IMO. Far better than the Dems, and far better than Bush, who will probably go down in history as Mr “speak loudly and don’t bother with the stick.”

MrScribbler on July 15, 2008 at 2:41 PM

Our commanders on the ground in Afghanistan say that they need at least three additional brigades. Thanks to the success of the surge, these forces are becoming available, and our commanders in Afghanistan must get them.

What are we waiting for? Some units have been sent home, start rotating well rested units into the border area. Make sure they have air support and plenty of A.F. controllers to call in air strikes. Our troops are way better fighters than the talibs, however that shouldn’t mean they hafta duke it out with ’em, just bomb the cockroaches back … uh, I mean, forward … into the Stone Age!

Tony737 on July 15, 2008 at 2:42 PM

Gates in a briefing when the US announced 3 more marine brigades(?) shipping out talked about the fact that many of the NATO partners don’t have a clue about counter-insurgency, and the possible need to perhaps use a more unified structure to pass everyone through some form of initial training, who would have thought NATO would devolve to the same state as the Iraqi forces!?

Of course we all know whom he was taling about, Obama might want to model the US armed forces on Europe as well going forward, since he’s planning that on just about every other issue. For the record Canadians are fighting hard.

saus on July 15, 2008 at 2:44 PM

Well, he does have some additional experience and special interest in the Afghanistan conflict. He does chair a Senate Afghanistan subcomittee,…oh,..wait a minute,..

a capella on July 15, 2008 at 2:35 PM

Yeah, don’t forget the infamous Afghani Hashish, Obama has some experience there too..

saus on July 15, 2008 at 2:46 PM

Better late than never in noting that the war Afghanistan is going badly.

corona on July 15, 2008 at 2:47 PM

McCain really needs to devote as much time as possible to military matters, and keep his mouth shut about…everything else.

misterpeasea on July 15, 2008 at 2:48 PM

This could be easier said that done. NATO’s efforts in Afghanistan have been fractious, and many of our allies simply don’t want to face combat situations.

We may well have to do without the 500 German “troops” in Afghanistan would don’t want to be anywhere near gun that is fired.

The numbers from the weaselly Euro countries who place severe restrictions on their deployments may not worth the mess they cause in assignments and command structures.

Clark1 on July 15, 2008 at 2:55 PM

It was a waaay better speech than Obambis.

becki51758 on July 15, 2008 at 3:01 PM

Obama just said in a speech he will go into Pakistan

William Amos on July 15, 2008 at 2:35 PM

That poll showing a 73-42 preference for McCain as CiC must have stung. Time for Barry to go gangsta with his rhetoric.

a capella on July 15, 2008 at 3:07 PM

Gee, that old guy sure likes the word “comprehensive”. Does that mean we have to give US citizenship to the people of Afghanistan too?

DanKenton on July 15, 2008 at 3:16 PM

Invade a sovereign nation? With nukes? Great idea, bambi.

How do you resupply, bambi? Can bambi spell “logistics”?

Who told bambi to say this?

This guy is so clearly out of his element. He’s never had a real job in his life and it so clearly shows.

NoDonkey on July 15, 2008 at 3:17 PM

That takes an administration well-versed in military strategy, tactics, international relations, and intelligence. In this election, that really leaves one choice.

If the election only centered on foreign affairs I’d have to agree with you. Sadly, the candidate best suited abroad is equally reprehensible a choice when it comes to domestic issues and conservative values. At best McCain is the default choice not the clear choice- and that is only if one can bring themselves to vote for a political traitor and Republican Quisling. I’m uncertain I can do that watching McCain outright lie and pander when speaking to La Raza this week.

highhopes on July 15, 2008 at 3:19 PM

“In wartime, judgment and experience matter. In a time of war, the commander-in-chief doesn’t get a learning curve….”

Yes, they do get a learning curve, but it is a very short one……..

Seven Percent Solution on July 15, 2008 at 3:23 PM

Obama will respond just as soon as he finishes finding Afghanistan on a map.

Zoltan on July 15, 2008 at 3:24 PM

A great speech. It instills Hope and Change, it does not beg for it.

Dusty on July 15, 2008 at 3:26 PM

Great speech. Even though I don’t agree with everything he says…he’ll croak the most terrorists. THAT’S the most important thing to me right now.

LtE126 on July 15, 2008 at 3:45 PM

Has John Bolton endorsed anyone?

LtE126 on July 15, 2008 at 3:50 PM

Zoltan,
“Obama will respond just as soon as he finishes finding Afghanistan on a map.”

Isn’t it the 58th state?

exhelodrvr on July 15, 2008 at 3:52 PM

And McCain has the leadership and judgment to be President. Obama would be a catastrophe in these arenas.

Outlander on July 15, 2008 at 2:20 PM

True, but the damage to America amnesty will cause is severe and long lasting. Once the electorate is stacked with the “cheat to win” crowd, our national judgement expressed through the voters will be corrupt.

saiga on July 15, 2008 at 3:52 PM

“Isn’t it the 58th state?”

Or, 58th AND State (Chicago joke)

LtE126 on July 15, 2008 at 3:58 PM

The paleos and the liberals do not give a damn about Afghanistan. As far as they are concerned, if we stay out of places like Afghanistan and the Middle East and just mind our own business, we would not have these problems.

I do not doubt that the US has enough troops for this job, the problem is that we into Afghanistan after 9/11 with the aid of allies working through NATO and the UN. And they just have not lived up to their end of the bargain. Not to mention the fact that the Brits do not want to eradicate the poppies while some Americans commanders do…it gets complicated with that many cooks in the kitchen.

I think another part of the problem is Pakistan and the people who are hiding there. And the logistics of dealing with those tribal regions in that remote part of the world is so different from anything we faced in Iraq.

The Bush administration got the Taliban out of power very quickly, but the job of keeping them at bay will take a long long time.

Terrye on July 15, 2008 at 3:58 PM

saiga:

Oh please, what is this obsession with amnesty? What do you think you will get with Obama? Those are the choices: Obama or McCain. Unless you expect the Minute Men to stage a coup or something.

Terrye on July 15, 2008 at 4:00 PM

One is fit to play whack-a-mole, one is not.

[email protected] on July 15, 2008 at 4:01 PM

a capella on July 15, 2008 at 3:07 PM

Seriously, you’re pathetic.

Nonfactor on July 15, 2008 at 4:05 PM

And another thing:

McCain should minimize his use of the word “comprehensive.”

misterpeasea on July 15, 2008 at 4:11 PM

Slowly, day by day, speech by speech the independents are seeing the difference. Is it enough, too early to tell. Nothing timely “before and after” commercials would not hurt.

It should not be forgotten that as much as Repubs like McCain, despite the small amount of “conservatives” that dislike him, as evidenced by the same crew here with the same BS no matter what the subject matter, it is independents that decide the election.

McCain and crew, despite all their shortcomings, are at least aware of that. Thank god. The last thing I need is a majority House and Senate with Obama as President. An election that previously seemed out of reach is at least in focus. In focus with tax cuts remaining in place, a fence promise, better picks for the supreme court, the continued war on terror, drilling and a host of other important issues. Perhaps most important of all, a very, very happy military looking forward to McCain as Commander in Chief. He is Hamas’s, Hezbollah, Assad, Iran, Al Sadr and host of others worst nigthmare in this election.

Please spare me the negatives, I knew them before you.

patrick neid on July 15, 2008 at 4:12 PM

Terrye on July 15, 2008 at 4:00 PM

Not just picking on you but you “Support McCain because” people are really getting annoying. If you are so damned proud that the GOP has nominated this Quisling then you should be able to clearly articulate why McCain is the best choice for America.

Do you people do that? NO! All you do is post that he is so much better than Obama. No facts to back up that claim despite overwhelming evidence that Obama and McCain are virtually reprehensible with the exception of Iraq. All the domestic issues there isn’t significant differnce between tweedle dumb and tweedle dumber.

In short, your mindless uncritical support of McCain shows a lack of conviction about the issues (it must all be about electability). Some of your ilk even question the patriotism of those who are conservatives who voice their differences with a man foisted on the party by a narrow segment bent on driving out all but the most leftward thinking ideologues.

I demand more from a Republican candidate and I think it high time all you fools who refuse to do anything but scream “vote McCain” put up or shut up. Start giving reasons why Republicans should vote for a bitter old man instead of questioning the patriotism or motives of those who thinks the nation deserves better than John McCain for President.

highhopes on July 15, 2008 at 4:15 PM

I’m voting for McCain because I live in Pennsylvania and he needs my vote, and he has already been to my town and asked for it. I don’t need to justify that vote to you or anyone else, thank you very much. Who died and made you the arbiter of Republican correctness?

rockmom on July 15, 2008 at 5:05 PM

I will vote for McCain for only two reasons: Our military and the Supreme Court. I was in the military when Jimmy came to office and I remember what we went through and I would not want that disaster to ever happen again to our troops. As far as the court, we have our 2nd Amendment Rights only because of ONE vote. I know there is no guarantee who McCain might nominate, however I will take my chances over the Liberal left any day…

PS: I just heard on the radio that the McCain campaign has just released Phil Gramm. Another one under the bus… At the rate both campaigns are going there will not be anyone left……….

luckybogey on July 15, 2008 at 5:07 PM

Well, he does have some additional experience and special interest in the Afghanistan conflict. He does chair a Senate Afghanistan subcomittee,…oh,..wait a minute,..

a capella on July 15, 2008 at 2:35 PM

C’mon, Barry can’t be bothered holding hearings on Afghanistan in the Senate so that he can find out what’s actually going on there. He’s too busy running for president and telling us what he’s going to have our troops do in Afghanistan. He’ll have plenty of time to learn the necessary facts about the situation in Afghanistan after he’s become C-in-C and sent more troops over. As with Iraq, Barry believes in stating his position first, and then learning the facts.

AZCoyote on July 15, 2008 at 5:21 PM

This episode underscores BHO’s utter incompetence in all matters military. This is no time in the history of the world, especially the free world, to allow a newbie into CINC type power. How foolish would that be.

Mojave Mark on July 15, 2008 at 7:07 PM

I don’t need to justify that vote to you or anyone else, thank you very much. Who died and made you the arbiter of Republican correctness?

rockmom on July 15, 2008 at 5:05 PM

If that is directed toward my comments- How Dare You?

You take my words and skew them to suggest that I am setting myself up as the arbiter of the GOP when I made it very clear why I am annoyed with you mindless McCain drones demanding I vote for the bitter old man “because he isn’t Obama” and constantly calling into question my patriotism and motives because I don’t join the Zombies for McCain crowd. How dare you? Telling you explain your views or stop with the “vote McCain because” crap instead of slandering those who disagree with you is not demanding you justify your vote. It is yours to squander as you see fit.

That being said, I’m coming to the end of 20+ years in the military. I know a few things about national security and policy from a different persective than one who will vote for whomever comes to town and asks for it. I support most of McCain’s positions on Iraq and about 50% of his national security views (he took serious damage for his rabid personal feud with Rumsfeld and his irrational favoritism over the AF tanker contracts).

I don’t agree with his views on the social issues that matter to me at all. He doesn’t hold my views on amnesty, immigration, border security, corporate taxes, global warming, offshore drilling, gay marriage (he waffles), or a whole myriad of other issues.

I’ve laid out my objections to the man. Is it even possible for you to respond with the counter agruement or like virtually everybody else of your ilk, are you all ill-temper and insults (like McCain himself) or can you give reasons to vote for McCain. I’m guessing not.

highhopes on July 15, 2008 at 7:15 PM

I will vote for McCain for only two reasons: Our military and the Supreme Court. I was in the military when Jimmy came to office and I remember what we went through and I would not want that disaster to ever happen again to our troops. As far as the court, we have our 2nd Amendment Rights only because of ONE vote. I know there is no guarantee who McCain might nominate, however I will take my chances over the Liberal left any day…

luckybogey on July 15, 2008 at 5:07 PM

Thank you! Twp reasons to vote FOR McCain!

I started my Naval career during the Reagan era- the awful treatment of the troops under Carter is legendary. I’d suggest that the social experimentation of the Clinton administration was almost as detrimental but have could have been far worse if “don’t ask, don’t tell” wasn’t forced on him by the JCS.

As to the courts, it really is a pick your poison situation. Obama’s choices would be bad but I think McCain will seek to maintain that 5-4 dynamic which, IMO, is killing the whole judicial system. The right to bear arms was only upheld by the SCOTUS by one vote. The same narrow margins allowed McCain to abridge First Amendment rights and declared emminent domain includes the government’s ability confiscate private land for sale to third parties. I don’t want a swing vote SCOTUS and I seriously doubt that McCain will deliver anything more than just another status quo group of justices- He’d replace Ginsberg with another unhinged liberal, etc. Court nominees is probably the best reason for voting for McCain over Obama but I still don’t feel good about putting my vote (and trust) in McCain- a man who is a virtual Democrat and loathes social conservatives and evangelicals.

highhopes on July 15, 2008 at 7:28 PM

Yes, give McCain credit for backing the surge. This isn’t exactly the surge he wanted, but he did support it. I am just so tired of his constant and needless put down of President Bush. I don’t see anyone pointing out that this surge would not have worked much sooner. Everyone forgets that the troops were training up the Iraqi army and this surge would not have succeeded without the Iraqi army working with the US.

Oleta on July 15, 2008 at 7:29 PM

Great speech. I just hope that a lot of undecided voters outside of Albuquerque heard it.

McCain’s point that military progress in Afghanistan has been slowed by NATO forces with limited Rules of Engagement and fragmented command is excellent, something neither Bush nor the Democrats would dare to say, because the Democrats think everything has to pass a “global test”. Maybe if we went into Afghanistan with only the British and Canadians, and maybe some Aussies, things would be done more quickly!

The second to last paragraph was a gem! McCain “empowering the civilian government of Pakistan to fight terrorism” versus Obama’s “idle threats” and “bluster” of “unilateral military action” “trying to sound tough”! Obama is way out of his league trying to debate military strategy with McCain, like a private arguing with a general!

But the major question is…how many voters heard this speech, or read it?

Steve Z on July 15, 2008 at 8:01 PM

McCain seems to have success by simply plugging along. Doing what he does. Being what he is. Its really like the Hare and Tortoise. Wonder if McCain new Aesop? DD

Darvin Dowdy on July 15, 2008 at 9:50 PM

As I mentioned earlier, how many voters heard McCain’s speech? I was watching Hannity and Colmes tonight on Fox, and all they had were Democrats singing the praises of Obama’s lies, and not a peep about McCain’s speech, even on Fox! If we’re going to be “fair and balanced”, shouldn’t we see equal time between Obama’s speech and McCain’s speech?

Or has Pelosi already imposed the Fairness Doctrine on Fox?

Steve Z on July 15, 2008 at 10:37 PM