Exit Strategies

Dying in Vain

Yesterday John McCain was on Meet the Press.  The following exchange in the context of discussing the Afghanistan war reminded me of what I find so distasteful about him

SEN. McCAIN:  ...you know--and I sound, I sound a little tough to you.  But I just talked...


SEN. McCAIN:  ...on the phone to a young man named Todd Nicely, quadruple amputee.  I met him at Walter Reed, and he's now at Bethesda.  I'm, I'm not prepared to say that--to these young men and women who are putting their lives and their families on the line that we are going to leave it at date certain, which means we are pursuing a strategy that I think is doomed to failure.  We owe it to their families.

Nice dragging out of dead and maimed soldiers to make your point.  He does this in situations like this and when he’s talking about the importance of fighting more so soldiers didn’t “die in vain.”

America could very well still have soldiers in Vietnam, Somalia, and Lebanon going by the same reasoning since in each of those countries servicemen were killed and the US left without leaving behind anything that could be considered a victory.  In none of those countries did the US belong and there isn’t greater “meaning” to the Vietnam War because 58,000 more died in Indochina than Mogadishu.  It’s simply more of a tragedy.  

If somebody wanted to leave Afghanistan after fifty deaths McCain would tell us that we were letting the soldiers die for nothing.  Now we're on a thousand plus and he could conceivably still be using this same argument if the death toll ever reached 10,000 or 100,000.  There's nothing to accomplish there.  Yes, the soldiers did die in vain but it's the fault of those who sent them there in the first place, not those who want to stop this madness and make sure other parents and spouses don't go through the same thing.