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McCain – what is he hiding about his military record?

On Sunday, Gen. Wesley Clark said that McCain’s military service, while honorable, did not necessarily prepare McCain to be a good president.

What is interesting to me is that the McCain himself went on the offensive immediately, trotting out a number of retired military men — including Bud Day, one of the original Swift Boat veterans — to condemn Clark’s comments. As you might recall, the Swift Boat veterans were a 527 group that attacked John Kerry’s military service in a number of TV ads, ads that at the time were denounced by John McCain as “dishonest and dishonorable”.

Why is this interesting?  Because Clark did not actually attack McCain’s military service, just the idea that his military service somehow means that one cannot question McCain’s military judgement. In fact, Clark praised McCain’s service. McCain also attacked Obama, denouncing “the kind of campaign Sen. Obama and his surrogates and supporters want to engage in,” even though Obama consistently praises McCain’s service, calling him “a genuine American hero.” (On the other hand, Bud Day directly and dishonestly attacked Kerry’s service four years ago.)

So, when someone completely overreacts to a mild criticism, it makes me think they are trying to hide something. You know, like when you make a mild comment about someone having a drink at a party and they freak out and accuse you of calling them a drunk.

So what could McCain be hiding about his service? Well, here are a few things we do know about it:

Those are the things that McCain has admitted to. The more interesting part is that (unlike John Kerry) John McCain has never released all his military records, preferring to keep them secret. Even the stuff we do know about McCain’s record should cause us to ask some serious questions. But McCain doesn’t want any of those questions answered, and will use known liars to attack anyone who dares to ask even the most innocuous question.

UPDATE: Wesley Clark is not backing down, and other military men are coming to his defense.

UPDATE 2: During a McCain campaign conference call (his second on the subject in as many days) McCain surrogate Orson Swindle said:

General Clark probably wouldn’t get that much praise from this group. I can’t speak for them, but we all know that General Clark, as high-ranking as he is, his record in his last command I think was somewhat less than stellar.

So let me get this straight. The McCain campaign is claiming that it is unacceptable to attack someone’s military record, and to prove their point they attack Clark’s military record — except that Clark didn’t actually attack McCain’s record. Incidentally, Clark’s last command was as the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO.

UPDATE 3: Despite what the media keeps repeating, McCain wasn’t actually a fighter pilot, he was a bomber pilot. On 60 Minutes in 1997 he said “I am a war criminal. I bombed innocent women and children.”



  1. Randy Foster wrote:

    The accident on the Forrestal was not McCain’s fault, and his actions can be described as heroic.

    The same can be said for his actions while a prisoner of war.

    For an excellent, factual account, go to

    Wednesday, July 2, 2008 at 5:08 am | Permalink
  2. iron wrote:

    I never said that the accident on the Forrestal was McCain’s fault (although some people have claimed that it was his fault, see

    It is unclear how collaborating with the enemy can be considered heroic, even if it is understandable given his circumstances. It is also clear that once the Vietnamese found out he was the son of admirals, they treated him much better than other prisoners.

    But my point was not at all about whether or not he was a war hero, only that we are (clearly) not allowed to ask questions about either his military service, nor state the obvious that military service (even if heroic) does not necessarily mean that said soldier would be a good president.

    Wednesday, July 2, 2008 at 8:30 am | Permalink
  3. Sgt. Jones wrote:

    IRON, you’re a spineless fool who’s obviously never put on a uniform in your pitiful life. A 20 year military career and 5 1/2 years of suffering beatings, broken bones, and barbarian torture (real torture, not sleep deprivation and water boarding) are not enough to qualify a man to lead this country? What about the last 35 years McCain has spent as a public servant. John McCain has spent his entire adult life serving this country. Three of his son’s have served in the Military including one who is in Iraq right now. You want to ask questions about his qualifications for office? That’s fine. But would you have had the BALLS to refuse to sign a confession through 4 days of beatings every 2 hours. Would you have had the BALLS to refuse to be released without your fellow Soldiers and Sailors being released with you? No, you wouldn’t have even been in that situation because your BALLS never dropped and you’re too much of a pansy to have ever gotten off your ass and done anything for a cause greater than your own. You are trash, and you should start every morning by finding a person in uniform and thanking them for having enough BALLS to carry their load and yours too.

    Wednesday, July 2, 2008 at 7:55 pm | Permalink
  4. iron wrote:

    Am I running for president?

    Are you saying that anyone who was in the military for 20 years and spent 5 1/2 years as a POW is automatically qualified to be president for that reason alone?

    Yes, since you asked, I am asking questions about McCain’s qualifications for office. You say that’s fine. So we are in agreement. Thanks.

    But other than that, you’re wrong. You know nothing about me, and you’re not very good at guessing.

    Wednesday, July 2, 2008 at 10:55 pm | Permalink
  5. bushgirlsgonewild wrote:

    Damn skippy! McCain also chopped down a cherry blossom tree while a prisoner of war. If having a big pair of BALLS makes one qualified to be president, then Hillary is ahead of McCain.

    Thursday, July 3, 2008 at 6:37 pm | Permalink
  6. Sisterboy Williams wrote:

    Hey Sgt. Jones, you big dumb box of rocks.
    Just being a friggin soldier doesn’t make you any kind of hero. In fact it makes you a jerk. If there were no soldiers, there would be nobody to carry out the plans of greedy bastards like Bush and Cheney. No soldiers=nobody trained to kill=peace on earth…kind of like what Jesus had in mind. I’m fed up with the hero worship of any thick-skulled clown who thinks the military will be a great career, with early retirement and excellent benefits. Not all soldiers are heroes. I’d bet that most of them are just chicken little shits who just want to go home and retire early with excellent benefits.
    The ribbon on my bumper says ‘I don’t support the troops’. They’re just ordinary people too damn stupid to realize how they’re being used.

    Monday, August 18, 2008 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

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