I challenge anyone currently being critical of Wesley Clark to disprove his point on its face.  I don’t want to hear anything about Clark’s own military record or Barack Obama’s lack of one.*  I want you to list the specific executive qualities cultivated by twenty-three bombing missions and five years in a POW camp.

Yes, I’ll hold.

Zoom zap a do do walla do dop diddly do dum dum dum dap da dap da doom

Hi, I was waiting to—yes, I’ll hold.

Do do do doop da da dap dop dop diddly do dapa dapa dapa dap zoom a zoom

Hello?  No, I don’t want to be transferred to—yes, I’ll hold.

Bam bam biddly bam dop dop bam oof oof zoom zoom boom a dam dam dam

I don’t need to speak to your supervisor thank you very much. But I would like an answer.  Because you know what I think?  Your addiction to torture porn has become so all-consuming it now encompasses its opposite: reverse torture porn.

For almost six years, you’ve drifted off to sleep play-acting Jack Bauer.  A dark foreigner planted a ticking bomb in a Major American City and only you can discover its location before millions die.  You tumesce at first thought of the necessary force this mission requires.  Which method will you use?  You weigh the pros and cons of all the law allows, but the bomb is ticking, so you consider those it forbids.  You delight in cataloging the sadistic acts the situation necessitates.  Your decision made, you apply the screws, water, electricity, heat, cold, Manilow, &c.  You save America.  You are a hero.  Men want to be you, women to be with you.  You fall asleep.

But just as legal coercion lost its luster, so too have the techniques implemented outside the law.  You can do no more harm to these imagined bodies without imagining yourself a murderer, so you shift from the torturer to the tortured.  Where before the tortured man made war upon America, in John McCain, mind and body are broken in its service.  Your heart swells with pride when you consider his sacrifice.  Your beloved car battery acquires menace, as the means by which you once saved America nightly becomes the means by which they would have you betray it.

You are now addicted to reverse torture porn, and John McCain is your enabler.  You are incapable of thinking about politics outside a primal scene of human suffering.  You shape your policy in rooms whose walls perspire, on improvised furniture carelessly shat on a bloodstained concrete floor, and you ignore the damnable hypocrisy of it all.**  Whatever McCain learned in a hole like this qualifies him to lead the free world.  We teach terrorists something different.

What exactly?  I don’t know.  You don’t either.  But it’s categorically different than what McCain learned, whatever that was; and whatever that was, it is now a quality desired in a President; and because whatever it is, Obama lacks it, McCain is the better candidate.

I think that about covers it.


*The comparison doesn’t work because, as Clark himself said: “Barack is not—he is not running on the fact that he has made these national security pronouncements. He’s running on his other strengths. He’s running on the strengths of character, on the strengths of his communication skills, on the strengths of his judgment—and those are qualities that we seek in our national leadership.”

**Overwritten, certainly, but considering I initially wrote “walls perspire fungal rot,” you should be thankful I somehow managed to rein myself in.