Wednesday, July 02, 2008
If Senator McCain and his auxiliaries are going to tout his experience in the military and as a prisoner of war as part of his qualification for the office of the President, then it is fair for General Clark and other Obama supporters to point out that such experience, no matter how much it may point to certain very real strengths of character, is not in fact a qualification for much of anything other than military (and personal) honor. There is no doubt that McCain showed amazing strength in his imprisonment in truly horrible circumstances, but that isn't all that is called for in a President. Certainly, if he were to be elected President in the parallel world in which 24 occurs—a world in which the ticking time-bomb scenario is our everyday reality and torture really works and where the US didn't develop interrogation techniques from methods the Chinese used to gather false confessions for show trials—if he were in that world, then it would matter immensely how our Presidents could stand up to torture and imprisonment. Fortunately, we do not live in that world. So, what is more relevant are his and any candidate's political credentials. McCain was a hero, but now we ought to care about what kind of leader he would be. So, Vietnam really doesn't matter all that much.