Quoth the Straight-talker:
"I don't think you could make a blanket statement about pre-emptive war, because obviously, it depends on the threat that the United States of America faces," McCain told his audience at Bridgewater Associates Inc., a global investment firm.
"If someone is about to launch a weapon that would devastate America, or have the capability to do so, obviously, you would have to act immediately in defense of this nation's national security interests."
During the Cold War, you may recall, the US had a doctrine of no first strike, but massive retaliation, a doctrine that such different personalities as JFK, LBJ, Tricky Dick, Smilin' Jimmy, and the Gipper all accepted. This was during a time when we were actually faced by an opponent--remember the USSR?--with the nuclear capacity to kill at least 100,000,000 Americans in a single ICBM salvo.
And yet, we had a doctrine of no pre-emptive war. Not in Korea. Not in Vietnam. Granted--as in the Gulf of Tonkin--our pretexts were paper thin, but they still had to be there.
It was the Soviet Union that we could therefore denounce for invading and occupying Afghanistan.
Now I'm about to be very cold-blooded, at the risk of offending everyone.
Al Qaeda took its best shot on September 11, 2001, and killed nearly 4,000 Americans.
If a rogue state acquires nuclear weapons (let's use Iran or North Korea as examples) and actually fires one nuclear missile at us, or at our allies, what will happen? We will lose as many as 5-10,000,000 people and proceed to incinerate their entire country in retaliation.
If a terrorist group succeeds in smuggling in, or assembling on the ground, a nuclear weapon or a dirty bomb, we may or may not know against whom we should retaliate.
If, even under the threat of losing half our population in half an hour we did not espouse a doctrine of pre-emptive war, what crazed moral bankruptcy has caused us to accept it?
Part of living in a republic is the acceptance of responsibility for your own actions, and the idea that all risks cannot be eliminated.
I do not want, nor will I accept, vote for, or support any Presidential candidate from any party who refuses to repudiate the Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive war.
John McCain, you are dead to me, now.
I will not be a party to another American Pearl Harbor.