Like many Moms, I turn off the news when the dramatic "Iraq" logo sails onto the screen. I don't want my kids exposed to the violence - or the obnoxiously biased reporting that underestimates, and often undermines, our troops' efforts. (See a military Mom's take on this here.)
That said, you will encounter people who hesitate on McCain because of his Iraq stance - here are some intelligent responses to Iraq objections.
We have no business in other countries. Reluctant Ron Paul holdouts, this is for you. I would love a world where America is not needed or wanted in other countries. I would also like to wear a Size 2 and date the guy from "Prison Break." But here on planet earth, our economy, our security and our way of life are interdependent with other nations. Everything from gas prices to the stock market to human daily lives are affected by the threat of terrorism, and turning our back on that threat will allow it to thrive. That threat will grow whether we are there or not - being present ensures safety for Americans, and hope for other nations.
I won't vote for McCain because he'll keep us in Iraq for 100 years. As I've discussed before, the DNC's fact-less smear campaign completely misrepresents the letter and the spirit of McCain's Iraq policies. Sadly, there are people falling for this. We don't need to be defensive about the wording - for those who care, what he actually said is here. Instead, our best strategy is to be clear and firm on what the actual policies will be (particularly since Obama has not).
McCain has two sons in the military, including one who has served in Iraq. He understands at the most intimate level why our troops should come home. But he also understands how important their job is, and how short-sighted it is to withdraw troops for political reasons. Yet another example of McCain refusing to do what is politically expedient and instead doing what is right.
McCain is just like Bush on the war. McCain jeopardized his standing within his own party to speak out against Bush's strategies, and was a key proponent of the "surge" before it was politically acceptable and had been proven successful. He addressed this in his Louisiana speech.
McCain has a biased view of war because he was a POW. First of all, if you think McCain's military service does not demonstrate courage and strength of character, I'd encourage you to talk to a disabled vet for an hour and see if you change your mind.
That said, valorous service 40 years ago does NOT in and of itself qualify anyone for anything (other than our gratitude). But the dramatic chasm between McCain and Obama on experience is crucial since this is the President's #1 constitutionally-appointed duty. Would you personally hire someone to run our military who has no experience? Would you hire someone to babysit who had never been around kids? Didn't think so.
President McCain would arrive in Washington ready to carefully assess reports from the field and ongoing information, having visited Iraq numerous times, knowing the men and women in uniform and how to get straight information from them. President Obama would be learning the acronyms, how to read lapel pins, when to stand and salute. Commanders-in-Chief make time-sensitive, life-changing decisions every day and this is no place for a rookie.
Whether you love or hate the current Iraq strategy, it is crucial that our Commander-in-Chief make these decisions based on facts on the ground, NOT political expediency. The only candidate offering experienced, realistic solutions in Iraq is John McCain.