Regardless of who wins the White House on 4 November, regardless of whom we inaugurate 20 January 2009, that person will still inherit a nation at war. Even though the news and the campaigns largely choose to ignore the fact that more than 200,000 members of our all-volunteer fighting force are in harm’s way, we will still inaugurate a wartime president. Whether the winner of the election believes in the notion of winning or withdrawing, he will still be forced to deal with the harsh realities of deployments and fighting and dying because we are a nation at war.
And, we will still be a nation at war long after this president has been replaced by someone else. We can try to reduce the problem to simplicities like “Bush lied, people died” or “we let Osama get away”, but the conflict has always been wider than those ideas. The United States and most of the rest of the world is embroiled in a conflict against an enemy whose Islamic fundamentalism makes it want to return the world to the days of pre-medieval despotic theocracy. This enemy will not quit just because we have a new president, and this enemy is just waiting for us to forget what is really going on.
We can all debate about which candidate might have the best economic plan. We can disagree on whether or not a nation as rich as ours should somehow provide healthcare to all of its citizens. We can debate libertarianism versus socialism. None of it matters if we are not secure enough in our own nation to put whatever conclusions we might reach into practice.
It is far too easy for far too many of us to descend into academic inconsequentialness, debating whether we should talk to our enemies or sanction them or use the leverage of world opinion to cajole them into behavior. What we fail to realize is that the world’s fanatics and despots do not care at all about our self-proclaimed enlightenedness. While we pretend they do not exist, there are still fanatics and despots who want to conquer and rule the world in ways we want to believe died out long ago.
So, we all need to ask ourselves who is honestly best prepared at this moment in time to deal with the real world, the one we seem to try to ignore and hope it will go away. This is a world of a Russia resurgent, invading its neighbors and demonstrating new weapons capable of matching anything we currently possess. This is a world of despot regimes trying to acquire nuclear weapons they intend to use. This is a world of fanatical fundamentalists linked by a well-funded and global network of religious teaching and technical capacity that still proves able to launch terrorist attacks against us after seven years of fighting and hundreds of billions of dollars.
Do you trust Barack Obama to understand what is necessary to deal with these realities? Keep in mind, he is the one who promises to abandon Iraq, negotiate with Iran, and cut funding to important military programs even as our currently military hardware ages. He is the one who believes he can ignore the world as it actually is in favor of socialism he wants to create. Is this who we want to lead us as a nation at war?
I, for one, do not. For me, John McCain is the only logical choice for President of the United States. I trust McCain to keep us secure. The rest is up to us.