mccain likes to say that his experience in vietnam gives him an insight into war that few can rival.
but what exactly were these lessons?
1) did he learn about the hazards of rushing to war? did he learn to question our leaders before the war began?
2) did he learn how difficult, no, how impossible, it is to fight an insurgency? how do you fight a guerrilla movement that blends into the civilian population? what do you do when the people oppose your long term presence in their nation? did mccain learn anything about that?
3) did he learn how much wars cost in terms of lives and money? why did he think this war would pay for itself?
4) did he learn the difference between avoidable and unavoidable wars? does he understand that when a nation is attacked you fight the people who attacked them and you continue fighting them until you win?
what lessons did john mccain learn from vietnam?
i can give him one: he learned that torture is evil.
that’s significant, and appreciated – even though, as i noted before, he’s unsure if water boarding constitutes torture– it’s still nice to see a republican who “gets” torture.
but obama “got” that torture was evil too.
so what does mccain’s vietnam experience bring to the table?