Archive for the On John McCain Category

Geezers Going Wild!

Posted in On John McCain, Playthell on politics with tags , on April 12, 2017 by playthell

John McCain and Lindsay Graham

On the Mad Mutterings of Murderous Old Men

True to his campaign promises, Donald Trump is proving “unpredictable” in foreign relations; especially in the deployment of US armed forces.  The covert movement of troops into the Mid-East region and the sudden attack on Syria, which contradicts other often stated positions by Trump decrying US military intervention in that country and the Middle-East generally, is the essence of unpredictability.

From the outset these actions seemed unconnected to any stated policy or discernable strategy.  Now we have been told by Donnie’s Son Eric that his father decided to bomb Syria after daddy’s girl  Ivanka expressed her outrage at Assad.   The fact that this attack may have been ordered up by a clueless Barbie from the rag trade is shocking!  It leaves no doubt that the attack on Syria was an impulsive action whose consequences were not thought through, and thus it could well turn out to be a fool’s errand.

Nevertheless, Trumps assault on Syria is being enthusiastically applauded on both sides of the aisle. The leading ladies of the Democratic Party – Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi – who normally find The Donald unfit for polite company, were dancing in the alise over Donnie’s demonstration of his manly prowess by going upside Assad’s head with a missile smack down.

Yet none of this hoopla has been more enthusiastic than the ringing endorsement from those two pillars of the Senate Republican establishment: John McCain and Lindsay Graham, both former military officers.  As the Senators from Arizona and South Carolina they represent gun totin constituencies for whom military conflict represents a kind of pornography that beguiles them the way sexual pornography bewitches the sex fiend.  These people seem bored with even the possibility of a protracted peace.

Right after the bombing of a Syrian airfield was made public the two Senators released a public statement clearly stating their support.  It begins with the declaration “We salute the skill and professionalism of the U.S. Armed Forces who carried out tonight’s strikes in Syria. Acting on the orders of their commander-in-chief, they have sent an important message the United States will no longer stand idly by as Assad, aided and abetted by Putin’s Russia, slaughters innocent Syrians with chemical weapons and barrel bombs”

To the careful observer there is much to be alarmed about in this paragraph, especially the passage praising Trump for sending “an important message” that “The United States will no longer stand idly by as Assad, aided and abetted by Putin’s Russia” slaughters the Syrian people. The obvious question is what do they mean by this? Is it all blow and no go; or does this signal a radical change of policy where the US will now take on an active military role in the Syrian Civil War?

While what Trump is thinking on the matter remains a deep mystery, since he has chosen to be unpredictable, the Senators are clear on what direction they think American policy in Syria should take.

“Unlike the previous administration, President Trump confronted a pivotal moment in Syria and took action. For that, he deserves the support of the American people. Building on tonight’s credible first step, we must finally learn the lessons of history and ensure that tactical success leads to strategic progress. That means following through with a new, comprehensive strategy in coordination with our allies and partners to end the conflict in Syria. The first measure in such a strategy must be to take Assad’s air force—which is responsible not just for the latest chemical weapons attack, but countless atrocities against the Syrian people—completely out of the fight.”

Reading this, the thoughtful observer of international relations and the laws that govern them, is forced to wonder by what rights does the US justify such acts of war against a nation that has committed no act of aggression against the US?  From all appearances one gets the impression that this would be a divinely ordained mission in which God has chosen America to set things aright.   This will be the second time a Republican President has decided to attack a Muslim country that has done us no harm, and there is abundant reason to believe that the conflict in Syria could turn out to be worse mess than Iraq, in terms of further inflaming and destabilizing the Middle-East by stimulating the militant jihadist movement.

Hence an expanding American military involvement in Syria could prove a bottomless sinkhole for American blood and treasure.  Yet despite their admonition that we should “learn from the lessons of history,” based on their policy proposals they appear to be ignoring them.  For instance, they propose that the US government “must also bolster support for the vetted Syrian opposition and establish safe zones to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis. As we do, we can and must continue the campaign to achieve ISIS’s lasting defeat.”

While this may sound good, these proposals are not supported by the lessons of US history in the Middle East.  Since John McCain has long advocated arming something called “The Free Syrian Army” – a motley collection of Syrians that oppose the Assad regime, and could well contain as many potential villains as heroes – we can reasonably assume that is what they are alluding to when they say we “must bolster support for the vetted Syrian opposition.”

Yet if there is any lasting lesson history teaches us about intervening in Middle-East conflicts, it is that there is no reliable method of “vetting” forces engaged in these armed conflicts.  And that is because we are interlopers widely despised by militants from all sides. Look at what happened in Afghanistan, where we armed and trained both the Taliban and Al Qaeda in their fight against Russia, only to end up with them using those weapons and training against us.  It was from this very country that the devastating 9/11 attack was organized and launched!

Furthermore, the attack was ordered by a Osama bin Laden, a rich Saudi Arabian civil engineer who was trained in terrorist tactics by the CIA, and carried out by citizens of Saudi Arabi and Egypt, America’s closest “allies” in the Arab world.  And the weapons that ISIS – which was created by the ill-fated and unnecessary American invasion of Iraq – uses to wreak havoc were originally given to “friendly forces” of the Iraqi government.  While these truths should be self-evident to any reasonably intelligent person who has been paying attention, it escapes members of Congress from both parties.

John Delaney, a democratic Congressman from Maryland, is a poignant example of this refusal to learn the lessons that history can teach us.  In an interview on MSNBC on Saturday morning he was asked about the statement by Tulsi Gabbard – a Congresswoman from Hawaii and former combat officer in Afghanistan – warning that expanded American military involvement in Syria could lead to a nuclear confrontation with Russia.  To my shock and dismay, Congressman Delaney argued that establishing American “leadership” in the Syrian quagmire is worth the risk of a military conflict with Russia.

Amaingly, this kind of jingoistic nonsense has been echoed throughout the broadcast press,with FOX “News” being the worst.  Listening to the fawning fiddle faddle of their commentators creaming in their jeans over Donnie’s derring-doo in Syria, I am reminded that the ranks of American journalism are to be found saints and charlatans. However my response is that either this Congressman is a madman obsessed with the dangerous delusion of “American Exceptionalism,” or an ignoramus with no real understanding of the danger a nuclear war with Russia poses to the survival of mankind.  Nothing that could happen in Syria would justify a war with Russia!

Since Delaney is balding, I suspect that he came of age at the apex of the American empire; which after the fall of the Russian Communist Party, the dismantling of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pack – a military alliance among communist countries that served as a counter weight to NATO – resembled something akin to a Pax-America, where the US was the sole super power in a unipolar world.  This kind of thinking reflects a 21st century version of what the late Senator William Fulbright aptly called “The Arrogance of Power.”

It is a view of the world largely promulgated by deluded old heads like McCain, Lindsay and Trump: intellectually  pugnacious Geezers gone wild that could get us all killed as we follow their lead into a mass grave.  Which will be a short walk if Trump heeds Lindsay Graham’s advice to set up a no-fly one in Syria and if Russian planes fly into that space we should “shoot them down!”

Alas, giving a clueless, megalomaniacal, pugnacious, impulsive old man like Trump the idea that it is okay for him to attack other countries that have committed no offense against us, and pushing him to become more aggressive against a nuclear superpower like Russia, is the first step down that dangerous road to doomsday.

This is where we are headed….

……If we don’t change course


Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
April 8, 2017







Johnny Mack’s on the Attack!

Posted in Cultural Matters, On John McCain, On Sports! with tags , on January 28, 2014 by playthell

John McCain

 McCain in Beast Mode

 Is this Senator Suffering from Penis Envy?

When I first heard John McCain’s attack on star NFL cornerback Richard Sherman, trashing the entire Seattle Seahawks football team, my immediate response was “What tha fug is he doing jumping on that bandwagon?”  Why is he joining an attack on this young football player whose offense pales into insignificance when compared to the racist assault that has been launched against him by white football fans after a trash talking tirade against Michael Crabtree, a receiver on the San Francisco 49ers, whose lack of sportsmanship in defeat sparked the confrontation.

 What is even more grievous than  a sitting US Senator, who is old enough to be their grandfather, calling them names on national media, is the fact that Johnny Mack never even bothered to get his facts straight. It was enough that he saw a young black buck – which is the way old crackers talk when they are among themselves – asserting himself in an aggressive way. Considering the senator’s silence about the rampant violence in hockey, a virtually all white sport, it must be the sex and race thing that’s got him in hissy fit.  Like my grandfather would say: “dat boy’s out there cutting tha fool in public.”

These guys, rightwing Republicans, just can’t help them self, they really don’t like Afro-American men:  That’s why all the black men in the Grand Obstructionist Party are poot-butts and pussies!  Considering the outright disdain that the Republicans hold for any black person who dares to speak about the rampant racism and economic inequity that is institutionalized in the US, only a self-effacing coon could find a home in the GOP.  That’s why they all come across as grotesqueries. – like that crewcut-wearing lunatic Alan West, or that obsequious lickspittle Tim Scott.

I have not heard a peep out of any black Republican, although the Senator’s statement was clearly racist.  McCain left little doubt about his feelings when he held the blond golden boy Peyton Manning up as a model of virtue, denouncing Richard Sherman and all of his team mates as thugs.  Hence the senator has cast the two football teams in stark Manichean terms with the white guy symbolizing virtue and the black players as villains. He could not have been more obvious had he spelled it out by writing it in the sky.

The entire kerfuffle over Sherman’s trash talking after making the play that sent his team to the Super Bowl is absurd.  In a country where the World Wrestling Association and cage fighting are big business, the outrage over a little trash talking at the end of a football game makes no sense if the race and gender of Richard Sherman is removed from the equation.

One need only read the virulent racist rants – calling him a nigger and a monkey characterizes the bulk of the comments…and some have called for his death, even said they hope he runs into George Zimmerman!  The entire episode reveals the torrent of rancid racism that lies just beneath the placid surface of an American society which the racist right says is “post-racial.”

The experience of Richard Sherman is especially troubling because he is everything American society prizes.  He is a law abiding young man who worked himself up from an impoverished inner city neighborhood in Los Angeles, wisely avoiding all of the pitfalls that destroyed so many of his peers.  He graduated second in his class in high school and then went on to earn a degree from Stanford while starring on the football field. He is the personification of the American dream.

Sherman switched positions as a college senior and in a few short years has become the best in the NFL at one of the most demanding positions in football.  Sherman is tall, dark, handsome, elegant, eloquent, and a millionaire mega-star.  Its easy enough to explain the source of the smoldering hatred directed against him by working class white sports fans: The big boob blond white girls they have wet dreams about are having wet dreams about black Richard with the lion’s mane!

Yet the question remains: In the midst of this madness, with these atrocious assaults on a 25 year old young man who by all objectives is a splendid fellow that I would be proud to call my son, why is John McCain, a rich over-privileged old white fart, joining in the media lynching? I believe it’s because he is a very unhappy man; a sad old cracker who has a serious problem with assertive athletic young black men who attended elite universities….and are the best at what they do. Maybe they remind him to much of that young smartass silver tongued black guy who whipped his ass in the presidential race.

While he he may look enormously successful to most people – rich blond wife, seat in the US Senate, celebrated war hero, more mansions than he can remember – I believe the Mack Man feels like a bit of a failure.  When he looks in the mirror he sees something different from those looking over his shoulder.  It’s the half empty, half full enigma.

The truth is that John McCain has failed at the things that are most important to him.  What he wanted most was to rise higher in the world than his father and grandfather, to move out of their shadow and cast his own.  Hence he followed them into the profession of arms, but didn’t even have the gumption to enter a different branch of the service.  Since he became a flyer, it would have made better sense to join the Air Force than the Navy.  Alas, if Johnny Mack had gone into the Air Force rather than the Navy he would have had to get in on his own merit!

The son and grandson of Admirals, each of whom had a wartime command and served with distinction, John McCain aspired to the same status when he joined the Navy air corps.  Evidently a mediocre pilot – he graduated from Annapolis at the bottom of his class – McCain wrecked a jet plane during an exercise, and then he got shot down over Vietnam. He was held in captivity for the balance of the Vietnam war and squealed like a pig!

A less well connected Swabbie might have been Court Martialed for giving “aid and comfort to the enemy.”  Hence his chance at military glory as a combat officer went down the drain.  And he acts as if he has been looking to start a war in order to experience the thrill of victory ever since.

Shot Down
Mccain in 1967-vietnam_
Captured by the Vietnamese 

Unable to match the success of his pop and grand pop in the military, Johnny Boy decided to go into politics, because the only way he could rise above their pay grade in the military establishment is to become Commander-In-Chief!   But when he ran for president, cast as the silver haired war hero and paterfamilias of the nation, he picked a motor mouth barbarian from the Alaskan wilds as his running mate.  He made a shameless Faustian bargain in the hope of victory that would have put an irrational dumb bell, Sarah Palin, a heartbeat away from the most powerful office in the world.  Even so, he got his assed kicked bigtime by a mouthy, brilliant, Harvard trained black guy!

That was the stake through the heart that is still driving him batty.  I heard on the Washington grapevine that the Great Mack Daddy took the defeat so badly he used to wonder out loud if his balls were as big as Barack’s.  And it is only natural that, when he compares Cindy to Michelle – one a rich, white, pampered, spoiled, dope fiend; the other a daughter of the black working class with an undergraduate degree from Princeton and a Harvard Law Degree, just like her honey in the Oval Office – despite Cindy’s millions Johnny Mack must feel cheated in a wife.

Finally, there is McCain’s curious silence on the ongoing sexual assaults on women serving in the US military; there you have some real criminal thugs.  But John has been silent as a butterfly pissing in the breeze regarding the behavior of his fellow white brass!  Once again he reveals himself to be a shameless hypocrite!  Thus it is reasonable to conclude that there is no question of principle or proprietary involved here. I suspect that Richard Sherman is just a nameless, faceless, black guy upon whom McCain projected all of his hostilities and angst toward President Obama……he may even be suffering from penis envy!

Richard Sherman
 Richard Sherman
The Best in the Business!!!


Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York

January 28, 2014

Dr. Rice Vesus the McCain Gang!

Posted in On John McCain, Playthell on politics with tags , , on November 27, 2012 by playthell
Beauty and the Beast!

Once More Republicans Prove they Cannot be trusted

The Experience of UN Ambassador, Dr. Susan Rice, in attempting to clarify the events surrounding the attack on the American Embassy at Benghazi Libya, where the American Ambassador and four embassy workers were killed, demonstrates once again that the Grand Obstructionist Party must not be entrusted with the national security of this country.

While opportunistic right-wing charlatans like Senators John McCain and his side kick Lindsay Graham are beating the bushes in search of a scandal that could wound the Obama Administration and injure the president – even to the point of inventing one – there are serious foreign policy problems that are critical to present and future American interests in the volatile Middle-East.

The absurdity of the near hysterical fulminations expressed by these Senators and their female mascot Senator Kelly Ayotte – who was obviously chosen to nullify the charge of sexism in their unjustified attacks on Dr. Rice – is being duly noted by a wide variety of critics in academia, the intelligence/diplomatic  community, and the major press.   In fact, it is only on the FOX Network, a Republican propaganda outfit posing as a serious journalistic institution

When Joe Scarborough attempted to discuss McCain’s complaints about how the Obama administration handled the attack, both in terms of embassy security and the explanation given of the event, Time magazine political reporter Joe Klein practically laughed in his face while dismissing Scarborough’s hyperbolic rhetoric.

A crack investigative reporter who has a son that is a diplomat who serves in dangerous foreign posts, Klein has conducted a survey of important figures in the diplomatic and intelligence communities and they all say that there is no cover-up and the explanations provided by the Obama administration is perfectly plausible, and whatever information they have with-held to protect covert assets is perfectly plausible. Editorials in both the Washington Post and the New York Times have treated the McCain/Graham witch hunt as an absurdity.  And the father of one of the victims has accused McCain of playing politics with this tragedy.

The shameless duplicity of Lindsay Graham and John McCain is readily apparent to everyone who is familiar with the very different positions that these same Senators took when Secretary Of State Colin Powell came before the United Nations and presented a justification for invading Iraq that was later shown to be a complete fabrication.  And yet this report led to a war of choice that we are just getting out of after a decade at a cost of two trillion dollars, and thousands of young American lives wrecked or lost.

From her position as National security Advisor – whose role is to evaluate the “intelligence product” before presenting it to the President in briefings twice a day, guiding his decisions about vital national security matters, Condoleezza Rice was culpable in this disaster.  In fact, one could argue that she was the central figure in the massive intelligence failures that led to both 9/11 and the disastrous invasion of Iraq.

Yet these Senators not only enthusiastically supported her, but when democrats sought to question her about the role she played in these national security disasters they were accused of acting out if resentment for having recently lost the elections. Yet there was far more reason to question Dr. Condoleezza Rice’s competence than Dr. Susan Rice’s, since whatever happened in Benghazi she had nothing to do with it, and Condoleezza Rice is directly responsible for the monumental blunder that has resulted in unprecedented national security disasters and foreign policy failures.

These facts beg the question: Why shouldn’t we regard the Republican attacks on Dr. Susan Rice as nothing more than an attempt to discredit the Obama Administration because they are both shocked and outraged at the fact that he creamed them twice in presidential elections…and like FDR, they suspect that Barack could well win a third term if it were not expressly forbidden by law.

Since I have already discussed the twisted emotions that motivate Senator McCain ( See: Stop the Attack on Dr. Susan Rice) I shan’t belabor it here.  It is enough to note the superficiality of their accusations and the transparency of their fake outrage to dismiss their whining as legitimate.  Hence listening to the Gang Of Three’s protest only inspires contempt for their lack of ethics, and anxiety for our nation that such flawed people could exercise such power.

When The Gang of Three says that they are more troubled after their private talk with Dr. Rice than before, well so am I.  For it is clear that she should never have met with them. They are scurrilous frauds, and the tutored eye can easily see it; their protests make no sense.

That’s because they really don’t care about Dr. Rice; their real target is President Obama, they are trying their best to conjure up a conspiracy on the part of the White House to supress the truth about the role of terroist in the attack on the Benghazi embassy in order to improve the President’s chances of reelection.  It is an absurd theory that makes no sense except in the twisted minds of Republican conspiracy theorists.

Hence it was a mistake for Dr. Rice to have them this special deference.  From now on she should let her Republican detractors state their charges in a public hearing if President Obama nominates her for Secretary Of State, and I hope he does!   If she retains the confidence of the President he should go to the mat for her.

The President and his Ambassador

Young, Gifted and Black

Dr. Rice is smart and articulate enough to defend her record against these jackals.  Thus she can kill two vultures with one stone: Clear her name, and put her accusers to shame by turning public opinion against them.  As usual the Republicans are counting on the ignorance of the electorate.  However the results of the presidential election demonstrated that while there is no paucity of morons; there is reason to believe that they are not yet the majority of voters.

The fact that polls show 52% of the public believes that the Republican brouhaha over Benghazi is nothing more than political opportunism suggests that Republicans are about to receive yet another rejection by the American people. In the meantime and in between time Dr. Rice should follow the old Afro-American folk adage: “Tell the Gang Of Three to kiss her where the sun don’t shine…and pay them no rabbit ass mind!”

 The Gang Of Three Stooges
Kelly Ayotte. John McCain and Lindsay Graham



Playthell George Benjamin

Harlem, New York

November 27, 2012

Murder She Wrote!

Posted in On John McCain, On Republican Women on January 11, 2011 by playthell

MaMa Grizzly: The Chief Murder Mouth!

Some Reflections On The Tucson Massacre

The mass murder of six American citizens, including a federal judge and a nine year old girl, in an attempt to assassinate Democratic Congressman Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona, brings to light once again the volatile forces percolating just beneath the surface of a seemingly calm and stable American society.  Yet for those who have been paying attention to the level of antagonistic anti-government rhetoric dished out daily by the talking heads in right-wing media – which is routinely referred to as “hate” media by those who operate in the mainstream – this horrible slaughter comes as no surprise.  You cannot murder mouth government officials, especially the things the verbal arsonist say about Democrats, and not expect something like this to happen.

In the aftermath of this slaughter Republicans can be seen shedding crocodile tears everywhere on television, expressing shock and confusion that something like this could happen.  But I have been warning about the probability of this kind of tragedy since President Obama took office, given the incendiary rhetoric of the Republicans and their Tea Party shills.  When you have elected officials like Congresswoman Michel Bachman talking about she wants her constituents “armed and dangerous” it is easy for a zealot or lunatic to take them seriously.

The most nauseating spectacle in the Republican rush to wash their hands of any responsibility for this mass slaughter is the statement issued by the Alaskan Barbarian Sarah Palin.  For a woman who has described herself as “a pit bull with lipstick,” which is a synonym for a evil vicious bitch, her apology appears about as authentic as a wooden nickel.  From the moment of her entrance on the national scene Palin made the sorts of hysterical charges that riled up the right –wing nut cases.  She even put out political ads with depicting political opponents in gun sights – including Congresswoman Gabrielle

One need only look at Palin’s rally in Strongville Ohio, which was held during her presidential campaign with McCain, to see that her rhetorical style and reckless charges could incite mob violence against Democrats.   At that time she was trying to convince voters that Barack Obama was in collusion with terrorists.  The rally can be seen on You Tube, and there are interviews with people after the rally.  What these enraged air-heads had to say was chilling.  Since their heads were empty, a pervasive characteristic among the Tea Party crowd, they believed whatever Palin had told them.  They said they believed that Barack Obama was colluding with terrorist and was not an American citizen.

It was clear that Sarah had no sense of decency or responsibility. She was clearly willing to create social chaos if it could win elections.  Since they lost the election this Malevolent shrew has become even more reckless in her charges.  It was Sarah Palin who said that the President’s health care program included “death panels” for the elderly!  And she put out political ads with political opponents in rifle sights.  And when Republican zealots showed up at Town Hall meetings to discuss health care brandishing guns, all of the Republicans, especially the Tea Party types, argued that they were just exercising their Constitutional rights!  They said the same thing when these same kooks showed up at Presidential appearances with guns.

Sharon Angle of Nevada, who nearly beat Senate Majority leader Harry Reed, openly talked about citizens resorting to “Second Amendment” solutions if they fail to have their way at the polls.  No one in the Republican Party denounced such talk.  They had their mind on taking control of Congress and they were prepared to make a deal with the Devil to do it.

Listening to spineless clowns like Jim Boehner in the House and vulgar opportunist in the Senate like John McCain, crying crocodile tears and professing their shock and sorrow makes me want to puke!!  They are all responsible for this and the other murders committed by people like Richard Popolowski who murder three cops in Pittsburg because he was enraged over his paranoid belief that President Obama was going to take away white peoples guns so blacks could enslave them, or the lunatic who murdered Dr. Benjamin Tiller outside his church because he performed abortions.

Bill O’Rielly, a pompous megalomaniacal verbal arsonist who not only named Dr. Benjamin Tiller “Tiller The Baby Killer” but also gave the doctors address out over the air repeatedly, was directly responsible for the Doctors murder!  Yet like privileged white boys throughout the history of our country, this verbose asshole got away with inciting murder!  The greed for profit on the part of FOX Television, and political advantage on the right has caused the Republicans to encourage fanatical elements in the US population so long as they could direct their hostility and paranoia toward the Democrats.

That’s why Republican cries of outrage over the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords rings hollow and feels like hypocrisy!  I don’t believe a word of it!  I believe that after stirring up a shit storm of violet rhetoric, the Republicans are scrambling to find a safe place to hide when the shit hits the fan!

Double click to see Sarah incite Strongsville Rally

Playthell Benjamin

Harlem, New York

January 10, 2011



General Clark is Right about McCain

Posted in On Foreign Affairs, On John McCain, Playthell on politics with tags , , , , , , on November 25, 2008 by playthell


A Deluded Old Fool or a Willful Charlatan?

John McCain is not qualified to be Commander-In-Chief

             Now that the Democratic and Republican conventions are over, with the general election soon to follow, Barack Obama is steadily losing ground to John McCain; his once commanding lead has dwindled down to the point where they are in a dead heat!   Should the junior Senator from Illinois lose this historic contest for the presidency, the historical record will show that the main cause of his defeat – aside from whatever role race plays in the outcome – was his ill advised decision to repudiate General Wesley Clark’s candid evaluation of the bogus claim made by the McCain camp, and mindlessly echoed in the media, that Senator McCain’s military experience better qualifies him for the role of Commander-In-Chief. 

It is a point of view that persists in spite of McCain’s myriad factual blunders, at home and abroad, and his transparently flawed analysis of the progress of the war in Iraq, dangerous saber rattling and verbal provocations directed at the powerful Russian bear!  The seriousness of the threat to Barack’s chances of occupying the White House because of McCain’s claim that his military experience better suits him to direct the fate of the nation in war time is verified by the numbers.

Recent polls that found 53% of all Americans believe that the nation would be safer if John McCain was in the white house.  Hence Barack’s chastisement of the General is bad strategy on several counts.  First, General Clark is not only right about McCain – as the Senator’s speech on foreign affairs and national security on 7/15 /08, along with his recent statements on the military crisis in Georgia and the protracted insurgency in Iraq clearly demonstrates – but Barack desperately needs the General to make this point and defuse what is a definite advantage for McCain in the mind of the electorate.

Secondly, by rejecting General Clark’s analysis Barack comes across as spineless and wishy washy to many of the people who have supported him from the git go – like this writer for instance!   Bill Mhar, host of Politically Incorrect – also pointed this out in a recent interview with Larry King.  Barack has been poorly served by the Nervous Nellies among his advisors in this instance; for it is an axiom of political practice that you do not sacrifice a bird in the hand for the bird in the bush.

In other words, in his attempt to win Republican leaning or so-called “undecided voters,” Barrack could lose the support of many people in groups like Move On and other anti-war activists.  What the Illinois Senator should have said is “General Clark is far better qualified to make an assessment of the qualifications of a junior officer than me.  But I remind you that it is senator McCain who has made his military record an issue in this election.”  And then he should have remained mum on the issue and let the general do his thing!

  Instead, the silly and transparently opportunistic apologia offered up by Barack gave credibility to the bogus charge made by the hero worshiping chicken hawks in talk radio and the Fox News crowd – who are cut from the same mould – that have purposely misrepresented the general’s remarks as an attack on McCain’s military record.  It was no such thing, and Barack should have shown a little balls and said so!

By his refusal to support General Clarke’s attack on the McCain myth Barack enabled McCain to shamelessly exploit his military service to great political advantage during his acceptance speech, which was televised to a captive audience around the world.   If Barack had supported the General, McCain would have looked like a rank opportunist – assuming he had the nerve to go through with that charade at all.

This way Barack would have slaughtered two turkeys with one swing: nullify McCain’s military myth, and also come across as a man who is willing to stand on principle even when the political waters get a little rough.  Alas, his choice make  him look like a spineless pooty-pop whose allegiance is dictated by expedience.  Not good.

 What makes Barack’s position so indefensible to those of us who know better is that General Wesley Clark is clearly right in his assessment of McCain.  A Four Star General who graduated first in his class at West Point and also holds a Doctorate in politics and Philosophy from Oxford, Clarke was the Commander of NATO forces during the Bosnian war, a military action I supported and wrote a 3,000 word commentary titled “Bombs Away!” explaining my position on the conflict.

General Wesley Clark 

The Real Deal!

He also has a chest full of battle ribbons and medals.  Who is Barack Obama to contradict his assessment of McCain anyway?  To this ex-soldier he looks more than silly, he is ridiculous, especially since Barack desperately needs General Clark to offer this critique of McCain’s claims precisely because he has no credibility in military matters – not that this is a requirement for a Commander-In-Chief.

            Although military experience is not a requirement for a President – that’s why we have a professional military establishment – too many Americans know too little about the Constitutional requirement that the Commander-In-Chief be a civilian, and they understand even less about the thinking that underlie that decision. Hence they believe that McCain’s military experience makes him a superior thinker on matters of national security and foreign policy.

The fact that most Americans are, as Harold Cruse thoughtfully pointed out in The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual, “anti-historical and anti-intellectual” means that few citizens recognize the fact that our two greatest war time presidents – Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delanor Roosevelt – had no military experience just like Barack!

Yet these Presidents led the nation through perilous times when our national existence was at stake.  If the Illinois Senator had shown a little spunk and stood on truth and principle instead of wimping out and running for cover, he could have used the occasion to teach Americans what the architects of the Constitution intended when they placed the nation’s armed forces under the command of a civilian.

After all, he is a former professor of constitutional law and is well versed about the intentions of the founding Fathers on this issue.  Hence he should once again turn the nation into a vast classroom without walls and instruct us on the intent of the framers of the Constitution in setting up the chain of command with a civilian in charge the same way he enlightened the nation on the issue of race in American history.

 Alas he chose instead to take the path of least resistance, and has remained mum on this all-important issue while John McCain is slowly whipping his ass in the polls, where he is slowly but surely wiping out Obama’s lead! If Barack wants to play “Nobel Othello” while McCain increasingly plays treacherous Iyago and systematically poisons his name, Barack will go down in flames.  And if the Obama camp didn’t understand this before, they certainly should see it now after the way McCain used his military experience at the convention.

            General Clarke was simply setting the record straight about McCain’s grandiose claims. This becomes abundantly clear if we carefully consider what the general actually said.  Speaking on the venerable CBS news and public affairs program Face The Nation, which airs on Sunday mornings, Clark’s remarks in no way disparaged Senator McCain’s military service.  If that were his goal he could have pointed out that by McCain’s own admission he sang like a canary when he was captured by Vietnamese soldiers after he was shot down.

The Unified Code of Military Justice, which is the law that governs the actions of members of the US armed forces, states that when captured by the enemy American military personnel are to give their name, rank and serial number.  That’s all folks!   John McCain however gave his captors a lot more than that.  He told them the number of planes in his squadron, and even the coordinates of their bombing targets!

Thus McCain could have been brought up on charges, court marshaled, and dishonorably discharged: would anybody have called him “a hero” then?    Just asking.   But the general was mum on these embarrassing issues; which is compelling evidence that his intention was not to besmirch McCain’s “heroism.”

         General Clark’s remarks specifically addressed the question of whether John McCain’s military experience gave him special qualifications to be president.  And his answer was a resounding no!   But he took great care in acknowledging the senator’s military service in his critique of McCain’s pretensions to the Oval Office.  “I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war. But he hasn’t held executive responsibility. That large squadron in the Navy that he commanded — that wasn’t a wartime squadron. He hasn’t been there and ordered the bombs to fall.”

This was manna from heaven for Barack, because he desperately needed somebody above McCain’s rank and pay grade to deflate his claim that Barack was unfit to be president because his lack of military experience meant that the nation would be gambling with our survival.  This is McCain’s strongest argument for his pretentions to the Oval Office, but it is a bogus claim that is not supported by history, as the presidential historians constantly point out.

Yet even as Jon Soltz, an Iraq Veteran and Chairman of the anti-war organization, and Lt. General Robert Gard Jr. rushed to Clark’s defense, Barack ducked his head in the sand instead of standing up like a man.  Somebody needs to tell him that this strategy is a mistake, and if he continues down that winding road he will lose this historic election.

            As the controversy around General Clark’s completely reasonable and accurate remarks raged, fueled by rightwing blowhards like that lying fat dope fiend Rush Limbaugh – who always reminds me of Porky Pig – and that greasy headed opportunist Sean Hannity, the General went on television with Dan Abrahams, who along with Keith Oberman and Chris Matthews is one of the fairest and wisest voices in the commercial media, and clarified his views.  Accustomed to maintaining his cool under real fire, the General was unfazed by the hysterical misrepresentations of his views repeated ad nauseum by the air head idiocracy on the right like a Greek chorus.

            “There are many important issues in this Presidential election,” the General said, “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.”

But he went on to point out: “”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.”  What was Barack apologizing for?  This is a completely accurate statement!

            Then, in spite of Barack’s cowardice in throwing him under the bus when he sought to lend him a much needed helping hand – as all the polls regarding whom Americans trust to protect the security of the nation show – the general reiterated his support for Barack’s candidacy for President.

“”I honor John McCain’s character…he’s been on of my heroes for a long time. He’s been over to my house. This is about the qualifications to be president. It is also about the nature of politics today that a comment can be taken out of context so much to create a hullaboo… I think anybody who serves in uniform who serves their country in wartime and has gone through the hardships like John McCain should be honored for their character and courage,” said Clark.

“I think people look for character and courage in their president,” he said, “but I don’t think you’ have to have been at war to have shown character and courage. I think you can see that in other candidates. I think you can see that in Barack Obama’s life.”



Playthell G, Benjamin
November 2008
Harlem, New York