McCain: ‘There Will Be Other Wars’

John McCain wants Florida voters to know that national security policy, not the economy, is the most important issue in this presidential election because we’re in a war and will inevitably be in others. Sam Stein is worried:

Sen. John McCain told a crowd of supporters on Sunday, “It’s a tough war we’re in. It’s not going to be over right away. There’s going to be other wars.” Offering more of his increasingly bleak “straight talk,” he repeated the claim: “I’m sorry to tell you, there’s going to be other wars. We will never surrender but there will be other wars.”

McCain did not elaborate who the United States would be fighting. But he did warn the crowd to be ready for the ramifications of current and future battles.

“And right now – we’re gonna have a lot of PTSD [post traumatic stress disorder] to treat, my friends,” he said. “We’re gonna have a lot of combat wounds that have to do with these terrible explosive IEDs that inflict such severe wounds. And my friends, it’s gonna be tough, we’re gonna have a lot to do.”

I don’t know the context of these remarks. They’re rather strange and depressing if they’re part of a stump speech but just more “straight talk” if they were in response to an audience question.

There’s not much question about the underlying point. Every president in my lifetime has used military force, often many times. Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon had Vietnam; Gerald Ford, Mayaguez; Jimmy Carter, Desert One; Ronald Reagan: Beirut and Grenada; George H.W. Bush: Panama, Desert Storm, and Somalia; Bill Clinton: Somalia II, Haiti, and perhaps a dozen others; George W. Bush: Afghanistan and Iraq. And that’s just off the top of my head.

Some of those conflicts were unavoidable and perhaps ill advised. But, with the exception of Nixon’s inheritance of Vietnam, they all had at least one thing in common: The president wasn’t expecting them when campaigning for office.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, National Security, , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. rodney dill says:

    they all had at least one thing in common: The president wasn’t expecting them when campaigning for office.

    Or at least they were smart enough not to talk about it. McCain’s bluntness may be one of his biggest exploitable weaknesses, even when he is telling the truth.

  2. Pug says:

    “It’s a tough war we’re in. It’s not going to be over right away. There’s going to be other wars.” Offering more of his increasingly bleak “straight talk,” he repeated the claim: “I’m sorry to tell you, there’s going to be other wars. We will never surrender but there will be other wars.”

    I’m doubting this is a winning message from John McCain.

  3. Triumph says:

    Forget the war thing–the big question I have is why does McCain ALWAYS refer to members of his audience as “my friends” at least a dozen times in each speech he gives???

  4. Rieux says:

    why does McCain ALWAYS refer to members of his audience as “my friends” at least a dozen times in each speech he gives???

    He’s (intentionally) channeling Reagan.

  5. equality of conditions says:

    “My friends” we are all being hoodwinked for the third, at least in my young memory, goddamn time. How can anyone reasonably support presidential candidates that will only lead us all into more wars. The fact that this sort of straight talk is lauded simply for the fact that a candidate is putting on the facade of honesty, is deplorable. Does it even matter any more what these people say? Or are we simply looking to drink a beer, be dazzled by charisma, and then be screwed over with a smile on our face because we feel we have freely elected a good leader. Wake up, learn to expect more out of your presidents, your congress people, and your government. Learn to care about the democratic process, speak out about the problems we all have faced over these past seven awful years of Bush, and demand that your presidential candidates do more than just sound presidential, but actually know how to be presidential. More wars, staying the course in Iraq, not cutting back carbon dioxide emissions, poor health care…these are all things the top two (yes democrats included) presidential candidates are promising. Listen to what they saying, its not what you want in your country. This is the United States, a democratic nation at its core, so lets make sure the government obeys and fears the will of the people, not the other way around.

  6. Tlaloc says:

    George W. Bush: Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Some of those conflicts were unavoidable and perhaps ill advised. But, with the exception of Nixon’s inheritance of Vietnam, they all had at least one thing in common: The president wasn’t expecting them when campaigning for office.

    Uh, they sure as hell were planning on Iraq when Bush was campaigning. Afghanistan was probably a surprise but from the get go they wanted any excuse to topple Hussein.