Wes Clark: McCain's a hero, but I'm not sorry for what I said

I guess he felt he had to elaborate on that Facebook status update.

There are many important issues in this Presidential election, clearly one of the most important issues is national security and keeping the American people safe. In my opinion, protecting the American people is the most important duty of our next President. I have made comments in the past about John McCain’s service and I want to reiterate them in order be crystal clear. As I have said before I honor John McCain’s service as a prisoner of war and a Vietnam Veteran. He was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands and millions of others in Armed Forces as a prisoner of war. I would never dishonor the service of someone who chose to wear the uniform for our nation.

John McCain is running his campaign on his experience and how his experience would benefit him and our nation as President. That experience shows courage and commitment to our country – but it doesn’t include executive experience wrestling with national policy or go-to-war decisions. And in this area his judgment has been flawed – he not only supported going into a war we didn’t have to fight in Iraq, but has time and again undervalued other, non-military elements of national power that must be used effectively to protect America. But as an American and former military officer I will not back down if I believe someone doesn’t have sound judgment when it comes to our nation’s most critical issues.

The more I re-read this and the transcript of what he said on Face the Nation, the more mystifying it is — not because it’s offensive or even controversial (although the insinuation that anyone who hasn’t “ordered the bombs to fall” doesn’t understand the gravity of war is mighty rich vis-a-vis a POW), but because it’s so lame. His point is simply that being bastinadoed by enemy agents won’t inculcate any finer appreciation for the nuances of geopolitical strategy. Er, true enough, except (a) the power of McCain’s Vietnam experience is in its testament to his character, not his mad foreign policy skillz, and (b) no one who supports a guy who cites a few weeks spent in Pakistan on a college trip as a serious policy credential should be raising the subject of executive qualifications with a straight face. As it is, consider this an analog to Rand Beers’s apparent any-weapon-to-hand critique of POW McCain earlier today: Any politically saleable negative spin they can put on his heroism is fair game, even one so inane as to force a comparison between his and Obama’s comparative legislative experience. Exit question: Speaking of flawed judgments, how’s Clark to going to spin it when Obama eventually decides that the surge wasn’t a disaster after all?