So, Senator McCain said he would rather win a war than a political campaign, and some pundits are saying that this remark was a very hard, if not gutsy jab in what will be a very tough battle. McCain, gush these adoring pundits, stands on principle and refuses to give in to the wishes of the people. Blah, blah, blah. Hello, John McCain, this country is supposed to be a representative democracy. The representatives are supposed to give in to the wishes of the people (that's the theory, anyway). If the people are so tired of this war that they'd rather lose it, then you, McCain, can't win it all by your lonesome unless, of course, you want to raise a private army--Blackwater, say--march on Washington, and declare yourself our Lord Protector. This, of course, would be blatantly unconstitutional, but since when has this given a Republican any qualms?
That's what sucks about Democracy and War. Wars, if they last more than a week, are very unpopular, and in democracy what is popular wins and what is unpopular gets dumped. If Democracies are to wage wars successfully, either the general population must like killing as a hobby or the war party must steal the elections. While it is true The United States of America is known for being a nation of violent, trigger-happy psychopaths, we still don't have enough of them to sustain the popularity of endless war. And that's why the War Party has to steal elections, kiddies.
The War in Iraq has gone on for five years after a declaration of victory. But we're still being told we have yet to win it? And what would winning look like? Every single feeling of hostility towards the U.S. banished completely from the Iraqi psyche? Now? After we have bombed hospitals, killed pregnant women, tortured their husbands, sicced Shia and Sunni death squads on eachother, and driven hundreds of thousands of women into prostitution? At this point the creation of a U.S.-friendly Iraq would require outright genocide. The People have good reason to want to "lose" this war.
The Iraqi people want us out. The people of The United States want to pull out. By McCain's (twi)lights this is losing, and he opposes it with all his principled vehemence. Perhaps, a pullout is imprudent. Perhaps, the people don't know what is best for them, and McCain, who thinks Iraq shares a border with Afghanistan, does. So, McCain should be our enlightened despot because democracy is irresponsible. Fine. But I seem to remember that we were supposed to be fighting the Iraq War precisely on behalf of the democratic principle. We knocked out an evil dictator so that the Iraqis could finally rule themselves. That's what we said, at least, but we did indeed say it. So, if we really did mean what we said (and God forbid that our government should ever lie), wouldn't the war be won if the will of the Iraqi demos prevailed? But McCain wants to stand on principle even if it means defying democracy. Therefore, he is the one who wants to lose the war. Therefore, John McCain is a traitor.