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Wes Clark and John McCain
Posted by: Jon Henke on Sunday, March 02, 2008

Wes Clark is suddenly down on the relevance of (some) military service for the Office of President.
In the national security business, the question is, do you have — when you have served in uniform, do you really have the relevant experience for making the decisions at the top that have to be made? Everybody admires John McCain's service as a fighter pilot, his courage as a prisoner of war. There's no issue there. He's a great man and an honorable man. But having served as a fighter pilot — and I know my experience as a company commander in Vietnam — that doesn’t prepare you to be commander-in-chief in terms of dealing with the national strategic issues that are involved. It may give you a feeling for what the troops are going through in the process, but it doesn't give you the experience first hand of the national strategic issues.
That's funny, Wes Clark certainly seemed to think mid-level Officer experience and "physical courage" in the Vietnam War was quite important during the 2004 Presidential campaign.

Now, however, he's essentially arguing that Laura Bush would be more qualified on foreign policy than John McCain. Well, that's just...stupid.
 
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If military service is irrevlevant, then so too is Wes Clark.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
However, Laura probably has a better tempermen for it...

Oh, and check out Gloria’s statements while stumping for Hillary today...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
How do people like this make it past O-3?
 
Written By: Diffus
URL: http://
Military service is only relevant to the Democrats when their nominee has it. This has been true of every election since 1992.

 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
Okay, here’s the thing I don’t understand. To whom is Clark pitching this argument?

His stupid ’04 arguments about Kerry notwithstanding, there is no arguing against Clark’s point that one’s military service 35 years ago does not qualify one to be the CIC today. By which I mean, there is nobody arguing that McCain should be CIC based solely or even primarily on what he did 35 years ago. So whom is Clark even talking to?

With the question of foreign relations experience, clearly McCain’s record stacks up well against either Clinton or Obama. He’s been in Congress since before Obama could purchase alcohol. During McCain’s entire first decade in D.C., Clinton was still in Little Rock. There are points that could be made to convince voters that John McCain ought not to be the next president, but the experience argument is not one of them.

Stupid is an excellent word for it, Jon.
 
Written By: J Sterlace
URL: http://
The current quote aside, does military experience make you more qualified for the job? Personal opinions wanted :)

Personally i would say yes, just the same way that any college degree can get you into some jobs, no matter the degree. Its a show of how you can complete and follow through on something, a showing of desire. In that way, military services shows a bit of your character, it shows you give some thought to your feelings about your country, and wish to support it in some way. Also it speaks to your discipline and lots of other smaller details. Thing is, its definitely not the most important issue, and the things you say and do can completely blot it off your record :)
 
Written By: josh b
URL: http://
Is it the "be all" and "end all" qualification for CiC? No. Obviously not. However, is it a major resume enhancer? You bet.

And it certainly, at least in my opinion, makes a candidate more qualified than one without such experience.

When I look at the resumes of all three candidates in that regard, the only real difference, other than length of service in the Senate for each, is military experience and what that brings to job.

As for Ms. Clinton’s claim of experience by osmosis, or perhaps "experience by hanging around those in charge", I don’t buy it. Not to the level she’s like to sell it anyway. And Obama, essentially, has little experience which I find applicable to the job in question and I do find her insistence that she has more experience than Obama to be convincing. But for the job of CiC, both pale in experience to that of McCain. Not only has he much more Senate experience, he has 20+ years of military experience. Despite Clark’s implication, he didn’t end his career at the "company commander" level(0-3), but retired as a CAPT in the Navy (0-6 - equivalent to a Colonel in the Army) and commanded various aviation units during his career.

In the field in which he finds himself, McCain’s combination of more Senate experience and the only one with military experience makes him far more qualified to be CiC than either of the Democrats.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Okay, here’s the thing I don’t understand. To whom is Clark pitching this argument?

His stupid ’04 arguments about Kerry notwithstanding, there is no arguing against Clark’s point that one’s military service 35 years ago does not qualify one to be the CIC today. By which I mean, there is nobody arguing that McCain should be CIC based solely or even primarily on what he did 35 years ago. So whom is Clark even talking to?
Well, in 2004 Bush wasn’t running on his F-102 jocky experience, he was running on his previous 4 years as President. Yet Air National Guard docs were a key element in the Democratic attempt to defeat him.

I think the thing about these characters is "stuck on stupid".
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
but retired as a CAPT in the Navy (0-6 - equivalent to a Colonel in the Army) and commanded various aviation units during his career.
This is actual executive experience.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Wesley Clark’s perspective is as a politician. His combat experience consisted of one month as a company commander in Vietnam and an aborted attack on Pristina Airport occupied by Russians that some think could have started WWIII. Ike, he is not.

He was a White House fellow during the Carter Administration and considered himself above the normal military chain of command. His command at Ft. Hood and his assignment to NATO were political. In Kosovo he angered both the Chief of Staff and the Secretary of Defense. General Shelton forced him to retire and had real problems with Clark’s loyalty.

Consider what Eisenhower did. He commanded a force of 100 divisions - 4,100,000 men - through the successful invasion and liberation of Europe and the utter and complete defeat of NAZI Germany. Even that was not preparation to be President on day one.

McCain flew and fight in Vietnam. After a month of flying into the most heavily defended airspace on earth, his A4 was hit by a Soviet SA-2 missile forcing him to bail out and spend five and a half years in Hanoi. His wounds were not treated. When you watch John move his arms, remember that North Vietnamese guards tied his wrists behind him and hoisted him off the ground until his shoulders dislocated, then they beat him with truck fan belts. In spite of this torture, he refused an offer of early release, instead remaining until the POWs were repatriated in the order captured.

Returning to the Navy, he got back on flying status and retired as a O-6. In the Senate, McCain has been on Senate Armed Services Committee, campaigning against wasteful and unwanted pork. It is worth remembering Wesley Clark’s prior condemnation of Petraeus’ plan, a successful strategy supported by McCain. John’s not Ike either, but at least he’s not Wesley, Hillary or Barack.

 
Written By: Arch
URL: http://
"His combat experience consisted of one month as a company commander in Vietnam"

It sounds odd to say it, but John Kerry has more combat experience.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

 
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