This isn't a political blog, but I'm astonished at watching the slow-motion meltdown of Sen. John McCain, who formally announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president today.
Last night, Sen. McCain, a frequent guest on Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" program on Comedy Central, got involved in a tendentious interview in which, among other things, he joked that while shopping in that splendid Baghdad market he praised as so safe last month, he purchased for Mr. Stewart "a nice little IED to put under your desk."
Here's a link to the interview (which goes on way too long, by the way). This is just a few days after Sen. McCain was shown in a video singing the start of a "Bomb, bomb, bomb; bomb, bomb Iran" ditty to the tune of the Beach Boys' "Barbara Ann." You have to wonder about the guy's judgment when a presidential candidate advocating widening a hugely unpopular war thinks it's funny to joke about aerial bombs as well as IEDs -- improvised explosives devices, including roadside bombs, which are routinely killing and maiming our troops in Iraq.
Incidentally, that "Bomb, bomb Iran" parody is actually contained in a wickedly sharp cartoon, an anti-Bush satire titled "Let's Bomb Iran" by Adam Kontras, that's making the rounds online and has been downloaded at least a half-million times already. Here's a separate link if that one doesn't work. As a satire, it's a riot.
But from a guy who used to drop bombs for a living and who wants this war to continue and even escalate ... not so funny. Joking about bombing in general, for that matter, is something Sen. McCain ought to be a little sensitive toward. Sen. McCain was a Navy bomber pilot in Vietnam who was shot down on a bombing raid and spent 5 years in horrible conditions in a Hanoi prisoner of war camp. In captivity, he behaved with courage and dignity. But he might consider losing the bomb yuks.
ADDED APR. 26: ("Just Getting Started'???!!)
From the AP: "Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said Thursday that conditions in Iraq may get harder before they get easier and will require 'an enormous commitment'' over time by the United States. ...The four-star general, named by President Bush to oversee the recent buildup of American forces, cited some progress in the two months since the troop increase began. Still, he said, 'there is vastly more work to be done across the board. ... We are just getting started with the new effort.'
"...He said that the increasing use of roadside bombs and suicide attacks, plus the greater concentration of U.S. troops among the population, has 'led to greater U.S. losses' as well as increased Iraqi military casualties..."
Meanwhile, Rep. John Murtha assailed McCain on the House floor for his joke about IEDs, ABC News says. "Imagine a presidential candidate making a joke about IEDs when our kids are getting blown up," said Murtha, who as a Marine officer during the Vietnam war received a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.
Ex-Capt. "Bombsaway" McCain defended his wisecracking about IEDs. "I don't know how to react to that kind of hysteria to a comedy show," he told Diane Sawyer [the former Nixon aide] on "GMA." "All I'm going to say to Murtha and others. … Lighten up and get a life." [He should say the same to the troops who lost theirs from IEDs]And for the record, Capt. Bombsaway, we lost the war in Vietnam after dropping more tons of bombs on it than were dropped by Allied forces in all of World War II.
P.S. -- You think I'm being harsh? Lookit this.