Mr. McCain’s 1974 thesis, though, also revealed a welter of other emotions about his years as a prisoner of war, including a deep anger at those he considered collaborators, a tough-minded disdain for public hand-wringing about captives like himself, and a sharp impatience with the American government for failing to “explain to its people, young and old, some basic facts of its foreign policy.” But at the same time, Mr. McCain also urged that any military survival training should include lessons in what he called “the necessity to forgive.” NY Times
The Senior Service Colleges (War Colleges) are year long mid-career courses for the most promising officers. Selection for attendance is by national board and the selection rates for officers are very, very low. McCain as Lieutenant Commander was quite young to go to one of these as a student, but the Navy does things its own way. There are some civilians from other parts of the government in each class. They are there for "broadening" and to provide some successful civil servants for the officers to interact with in an educational environment. Some of the officers have spent their careers to that point in regimental duties and know few civil servants. Attendance at such a course is a major "gate" in a career and is as much therapy and a chance for familiy repair as a chance to do research. A War College "thesis" is often as much a way to get things out "on the table" as anything else. I would judge this one to be that.
He seems to be much the same man now. There is a certain rigidity about him, and an inability to deal with new paradigms of thought that I find worrisome. He seems locked into a paradigm made up of World War II, the Cold War and Vietnam. This is a problem. That paradigm is no longer supported by reality.
The Soviet Union is no more. The takfiri jihadis are not the Soviet Union. They do not have the capacity to destroy the United States. There is no Al-Qa’ida equivalent to the "Red SIOP." Why is there not such a plan? Simple. They lack the weaponry and always will. They are a regional threat in the Middle East. They are losing both in terms of physical destruction of their assets and in their appeal to Sunni Muslims. Muslims are not fools. Al-Qa’ida’s cause has been demonstrated to be a very expensive adventure in medieval thinking. Iran is not Hitler’s Germany nor Mao’s China re-born. Once again, Iran is a regional threat which should be dealt with through aggressive diplomacy and minimalist police and special operations.
McCain does not seem to be able to grasp the complexity of that set of ideas. He often lapses into confusion over the basic facts of the situation regarding the Middle East and sometimes seems to resemble the intellectually isolated souls across the country who insisted during the primary season that Obama is a Muslim because for them he fits neatly into the category of "other" and therefore must be one of them "Ayrabs." When told that Obama says he is a Christian, such people often replied with something such as, "Well, he’s a Muzlim (sic) to me."
“the necessity to forgive.”
Someone will tell us who it is that he wanted to forgive. The collaborators? Some of us are not particularly good at "forgiving." pl