Torture is Stepping on a d4

I spotted this on a tweet from Will, then I read the article on Boing Boing. It has to do with questioning McCain’s “Cross in the dirt story” and how it might be plagiarized from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’sexperiences in the gulag.

It may be typical of the pro-Obama Dungeons & Dragons crowd to disparage a fellow countryman’s memory of war from the comfort of mom’s basement, but most Americans have the humility and gratitude to respect and learn from the memories of men who suffered on behalf of others. John McCain has often said he witnessed a thousand acts of bravery while he was imprisoned, and though not every one has been submitted into the public record, they are remembered by the men who were there (one such only recently reported by Karl Rove though it escaped mention in any of Senator McCain’s books). But as Swindle said, this is a “desperate group of people trying to make something out of nothing.”

In the spirit of full disclosure, I need to inform all of my readers that I am a member of the pro-Obama D&D crowd. Also, I added the link from Firedog Lake in regards to Swindle–just so we get a better understanding of who he is.

I have not maligned McCain’s war record, nor have I seen any evidence of Obama’s supporters attacking his record. I also don’t know how many of my fellow Obama supporters game. Why the AdHomin attacks on gamers?

Gamers are a diverse group, politically speaking. There are liberals (like myself), independents (like Itanya) and conservatives (like Lewis). To lump us all together is to invite a lot of comment from right leaning gamers as well as lefties, like me.

What I am more concerned with, however, is McCain’s war record. Most of us–and by most I mean 99% of the American people–respect and admire Mr. McCain’s service to our country. We respect him for his service. Even though I no longer think of him as a Maverick or hold him in high regard, I do respect him for enduring in the Hanoi Hilton. However, once you say that your War Record is a prime qualification for service, your War Record is going to be scrutinized. Furthermore, being a War Hero is not enough to President of the United States.

Scrutiny is not swiftboating. John McCain should know this–he stood up for Kerry in 04. I think he forgot the difference in the past four years–especially when he hired the same people who vilifiedKerry in 04 to “defend” his record.

Being a War Hero is all that McCain really has in this election. His policy suggestions are laughable. His record in congress over the past four years will show how close he was to Bush’s policies–and that is not a good place to be considering Bush’s political radioactivity. As an orator, he cannot hold a candle to Obama. His base is rallying behind him, but it is with reluctance. But he’s a War hero. Because he is a hero, he can also be the independent minded Maverick. He has the glamour that comes with being a hero. The entire basis of his campaign stems from his War Hero status.

At what point does being a War Hero qualify one for service in the highest position in our government? I will not deny that it shows tenacity, determination and courage–but those traits are not only demonstrated by being held captive by enemy forces. President Lincoln demonstrated those very same qualities, and he never fired a musket at another person. Republicans claim that Reagan showed the same qualities, yet he was not a war hero. Because all McCain brings to the table is his war hero status–keep in mind he has wavered on almost every policy decision he had in the Senate, from Off-shore drilling to torture, to appease his base–this quality is being emphasized by the Right.

Therefore, McCain and his staff have to attack any perceived threat to his status as fast as possible. If his status is questioned, he will lose the election. That being said, I’m not going to question his status as a War Hero. I do, however, question the notion that being a war hero is what qualifies him for being the chief executive of our nation.

51 thoughts on “Torture is Stepping on a d4

  1. First of all, the basement comment says everything. It is an ad-hominem.

    Now, I am not a D and D girl but I am pro-Obama anti BS war hero McSame crap.

    You are not a war hero if you go overseas for Ameria after being trained for mortal combat, get paid for your work and come back without so much as a dent in your head in terms of being fully able to go on and live your life successfully.

    Rather, you are someone who served your country. And was trained and paid to do so. You also probably have some Daddy gun issues and for McSame’s generation — possibly went on the GI bill which paid for your education and now you have the VA services for life, if you so desire to use them. So bonus to you! End of story.

    Being a righteous citizen does not make you a hero. I think we need to be clear about the distinction between the two.

    A hero? I would say that is saved for folks like Mother Teresa, Bobby Sands and perhaps the next President of the US who gets us out from under all the Bush Co. failings. McSame is not a hero. Sorry.

    Try again!

    Wah. Wah.

  2. Gamers tend a little liberal because they’re usually younger, and younger voters trend liberal.

    My reluctance to rally behind McCain has been because I don’t think he’s conservative enough on some things, not because of his closeness to Bush. He’s peed on the conservative Republican base enough times that we’re getting a little tired of keeping our umbrellas and slickers handy. That having been said, for me, he’s still the guy I’m gonna vote for over the Anointed One–not because he’s a “war hero,” though that shows his positive character traits like you said. It’s because he’s more in agreement with me on the issues than Obama. Not perfect agreement, but better.

    BTW…Obama gives a much better speech than McCain. Pull Obama’s teleprompter out from in front of him, and put the two of them in a debate (see the Saddleback thing over the weekend) and watch McCain acquit himself a lot better. And no, he did NOT “cheat,” that’s horsecrap.

  3. AG…”get paid for your work and come back without so much as a dent in your head in terms of being fully able to go on and live your life successfully”?

    Try five years in the Hanoi Hilton being beaten on a regular basis by the guards. Try not being able to raise an arm over your shoulder because your captors re-broke it. And most importantly, try turning down a shot at getting out early for propaganda purposes because you’re the son of a four-star admiral, and staying there four more years as a result, still being intermittently tortured.

    Good Lord, I’m not saying the man is perfect, far from it. But don’t try to make it sound like he went over there and had tea and crumpets with the damn NVA for five years. Yeah, we overuse the term “war hero.” Scott O’Grady got pegged as a “war hero” for getting an F-16 blown out from under him over Bosnia and escaping and evading for six days. But I will say that the way John McCain acquitted himself in captivity is pretty close to heroic in my book.

  4. I’m going to light you both on fire.

    John McCain did a hell of a lot more than just fight as directed by his superiors. He was a PoW. I don’t go for this War Hero crap anymore than anyone else, but I will not sit here and read about how our armed forces do not deserve some respect for what they suffer.

    Nor do I appreciate reading about these assumptions made about McCain because of his service, Daddy Gun issues indeed. That is an insult to anyone who has served. Yeah, that annoys me, my family has a long military history and I would rather not see that disparaged because someone doesn’t like the military, McCain or open conflict.

    Also, this McSame thing. that is pure bullshit. McCain has always been on the moderate edge of Republican. He is definately not W reborn.

    On the other side, Obama is NOT the Annointed one. He’s not the Messiah and anyone treating him like he is is stupid.

    Let’s try and avoid the inflamatory BS here.

  5. Lewis & Itanya –

    That’s not at all what AG was saying.

    And also, our armed forces do deserve respect. Service in the military, however, should not be a qualification above ALL OTHERS for President.

  6. No, you’re right Shannon–for example, IMO, I think Ronald Reagan was the greatest president of my lifetime, and Jimmy Carter the worst. Reagan served in name only in Hollywood during WWII while making movies; Carter was a Naval Academy graduate and nuclear submariner, a very difficult arm of the Navy to join. A lot of folks think Bill Clinton was an excellent president, and he never served at all. So military service definitely isn’t some sort of magic defining qualification.

    But, I do think it’s a definite plus for the job, a positive entry on the resume. If nothing else, it may help a Commander-in-Chief to understand what he may be asking our young men and women in uniform to do. Not a requirement, but certainly a good thing.

  7. BTW, whatever our political affiliations, I think we can agree that the post title is pure win. I sure know I always hated stepping on the pointy little bastards.

  8. In my limited experience interacting with “gamer communities” (and the Internets as a whole) I gotta say it is my impression that the predominant “political view” is Libertarianism-y. Maybe “liberalism” comes second, and by that I mean basically “not thinking the Iraq War was the bestest thing in history.”

    Now I’m gonna nitpick: I don’t know what your definition of “always been” is, Itanya. Maybe years ago before he gave more than a passing thought to running for President he wasn’t one of the most conservative members of the Senate. I am pretty sure you are aware of just how ridiculously close he’s voted (on the times that he dignifies the Senate with his presence) with the White House in recent history.

    Just because ages ago he wasn’t gung-ho anti-abortion anti-sexed (which he now is and makes a point to remind us as soon as he’s done mentioning his former PoW status) doesn’t mean he wasn’t pretty conservative. If tomorrow I became anti-abortion, I’m pretty sure that “liberal/progressive” would still be the label that better describes me, is what I’m saying.

    The few issues where I can see -any- difference between McCain and GWB is when McCain tries to out-toughguy Bush. Which I would hope most people recognize as nothing short of disastrous.

  9. Lewis, the age and politics of gamers depends on how we define “gamer.” The D&D demographic is skewing older every year as the existing fan base ages and new blood is slow to trickle in. (This is anecdotal evidence drawn from conventions and the like, but most gamer demographic data is anecdotal.) D&D players may not skew left, really. It’s difficult to estimate, but I can tell you that I’ve met plenty right-of-center gamers over the years. It could even argued that “pro-Obama” was necessary to narrow the breadth of the “Dungeons & Dragons crowd” comment.

    Just how the D&D comment is relevant to the subject of the McCain staffer’s post eludes me. That’s what makes this dig notable, in my opinion: it’s a non sequitur.

  10. I said moderate edge of Republican, dude, not centrist. To be frank, in 2000 an number of us left leaning libertarian types thought that McCain might be Republican’s redemption.

    Such was not to be, since the party whipped him back into line and how quick he jumped.

    Do I truly believe the spew that comes out of his mouth right now? Hell no. I think he still believes the stuff he did before.

    Do I think he’ll act on what he believes? Hell no. Unlike a lot of the lefties that continue to see McCain the “Maverick,” I believe that he has caved to political necessity.

    We have seen the disasters brought on by someone who will follow what they believe without room for reconsideration at any point. That is W’s real problem. Once he has made up his mind, he’s like a hound on the scent. The man does not think.

    Part of the reason why I like Obama so much, though this has waivered some lately, is that he expect people to think for themselves!

  11. Fair enough, IB. I did assume by “moderate” you meant closer to the center than what I now know you intended.

    I’m still holding my “always been” nitpick as valid, though 😛

  12. I am late to the flame war.

    We all seem to agree with the major point, despite it being taken out of context that he is NOT a war hero. And hero = military service.

    Itanya, prove to me he’s no McSame. I don’t see much difference other than I see him as being far worse; if that is possible.

  13. SorryAG, misread what you were trying to say. And why weren’t you around yesterday? We could have flambe and everything?

    McCain can’t be McSame, if only because he has proven himself capable of changing his damn mind. W is not capable of that. He’s so stupid he belives that changing his mind makes him weak.

    Since I tend to be the centrist in this insanity, I have to say that I continue to find it amusing that neither side really likes McCain. The “Conservatives” don’t like him because he is not conservative enough. The “Liberals” don’t like him because he is too conservative.

    At any other time, that would probably make thim the best candidate on the board.

  14. Itanya, stop by RoD. I linked to an interesting read about McCain in the NY Times today.

    Did you know that Bush couldn’t get countries correct either? He confuses Columbia and Switzerland.

    I find them too much alike.

  15. Bush couldn’t say multisyllabic words correctly on the campaign trail. I know people that constantly say the wrong name or word or mix things up. To me, that doesn’t classify someone as fit or unfit for office.

    Once again, the mere fact that McCain is capable of changing his mind makes him unlike W. I do not agree in how he has changed his mind, but at least he can do it.

    And the Op-ed piece had one thing dead on. The Press has spent far too much talking about Obama. They have given McCain a free pass. With all the publicity on Obama, McCain’s campaign has been able to keep poking at Obama.

    The spot light needs to be turned on him. I’d love to see it.

  16. I believe most of the weight behind the McSame allegations reside in that, if you look at McCain’s current platform and compare it to Bush’s, they look eerily alike in direction.
    Now whether or not their personalities or whatever have any similarities is a whole ‘nother issue.
    As far as I understand, the main point people try to make when they say McSame (which doesn’t mean it is the point that gets across for most people who hear/read it), is that McCain would constitute for most intents and purposes, a third term of a Bush Administration -policywise.-

  17. @lewis: I had hoped someone would appreciate the title.

    The McCain/McSame argument–one of the Move On talking points– is the similarity of policy between the Maverick and the Dubya. While McCain has shown he can change his mind, in the instances where he has changed his mind, off shore drilling, torture and I believe FISA, he has sold out his Maverick title to be more in line with leading conservative ideology. John Stewart put it best when he said, “You’re not freaking out on us? Are you freaking out on us, because if you’re freaking out and you’re going into the crazy base [politics] world— are you going into crazy base world?”

  18. I know what people mean when they say McSame guys, really, I understand what you are trying to say, but I still do not agree.

    I think that McCain is not the second coming of W. No way. I agree he sold out his Maverick title. Sold it out for a position on a commitee back in 2000.

    But, he has shown that he can be flexible, which in my mind makes him already a step up from Bush. I’m not advocating you vote for him, just taking an issue with it.

    I’m trying to think of a way to talk about Move On that isn’t out right knee jerk. The Husband worked for them four years ago and I find them no less palitable now than I did then.

    Maybe part of my objection is this labeling of the candidates. Each side has it’s own buzz word for the opponent. I find that distasteful and incredibly limiting and rather insulting to the candidates.

    But all of this aside, I find the focus on the office of the president as amusing as I find it any election cycle. In the end, the congress is what we should be looking at changing, but everyone is focused on the president.

  19. As a Massachusetts resident, I’d like to just toss out a bit of funny. Ever really looked at John Kerry’s record? Worst flip-flop on the Senate books for a LONG time there, yet the people pissing and moaning about McCain prolly all voted for him. Mind you, I’m pro-Obama, but I can appreciate a good bit of hypocrasy when I see it. Hee.

  20. When you’re in the senate for long enough, you’re positions are going to change. What make’s McCain’s position changes so odorous is the pure pandering to his base. He called Falwell a detriment to the country–but when he started running,he started to woo Falwell and h is ilk.

    The simple fact that Kerry couldn’t explain his positions well (unlike Biden and others) proves he was a bad choice. That being said, the Swiftboat Vets for Truth campaign was one of the biggest, slimiest political hack jobs on record.

  21. And now the Swift Boat authors are attempting to do it again with a book called Obama Nation that hit #1 on the NYT Bestseller List its first week out of the gate.

    Though I have to say the Obama campaign is doing far better to counter it than Kerry’s did – they released a 41-page rebuttal called “Unfit for Publication.”

  22. This adds a whole new dimension to the discussion. In the spirit of fairness, I want to see Obama stats (As well as in other systems).

  23. Well let’s be realistic too:

    You are running for president in a country where you pretty much HAVE to pick a demo/rep party in order to be taken seriously. The Ross Perot debaucle of a few years back proved third party candidates ain’t all that and a bag of chips. So you gotta pick a side. The side you pick, because your leanings are more one way than another, has been in charge of the country and the people are PISSED at your party, understandably so, too, because we fought in a questionable war and are now pretty much broke. The American dollar ain’t worth crap.

    In order to win, you have to overcome your party’s stigma. You NEED votes, and the south is you know, bible lickers. They’re also historically republican. So do you shoot yourself in the dick and refuse to play the game and stick to your principles, or do you eat some crow and give the appropriate lip-work.

    If you tell me that most people would flip off the tried and trued republican base and would lose with grace because principles > winning the election, you (and this is a general you) are being ridonkulous

    As much as he prolly hates to admit it, and we hate to admit it, if McCain’s going to win? He needs the fucker Falwell.

  24. I had a comment, then the gtalk debate started.

    To summarize: These points about the necessity of his campaign undercut his persona of being a straight talking maverick.

  25. Bah!

    Just because I’m not Agnostic doesn’t mean I was ever ashamed of being a Xian, but I continue to be annoyed at the categorization of Xians as being dim-witted barbarians.

  26. Before we start talking about who licks what, and who is proud of it or offended by it, let’s remember that what we are talking about is John McCain’s attack on nerds.

    Also, having licked a bible before, I Can say it tastes dusty.

  27. Calming myself down here…

    McCain has a problem on the right. For those of us on the Genghis Khan wing of the party, he wasn’t our choice. (I was a Duncan Hunter or Fred Thompson guy, myself, preferably Thompson because he was the most federalist of the candidates.) I think his staff has realized that, and also realized that he’s got to slide slightly back to the right in order to pick up some of his base.

    That having been said, there’s repeated rumblings that McCain might pick Joe Lieberman as a runningmate. If he does that…man, I don’t know what is going to happen over here. I’m not sure if that will pick him up as many votes in the center as it will cost him on the right. Lieberman is a stand-up guy, and I like him and respect him, but his record is anathema to a lot of conservatives (pro-choice, pro-NEA, pro-amnesty). Not to mention that a three-toed sloth would be a better campaigner. Or at least cuter and fuzzier.

    As for McCain being like Bush…well, yeah. Bush is a middle-of-the-road Republican. He’s not an arch-conservative. A hardcore conservative wouldn’t have reached across the aisle to Teddy Kennedy and given us No Child Left Behind, he would’ve disbanded the Department of Education and returned control to the states. A hardcore conservative wouldn’t have given us Medicare Part D with its attendant bureaucracy, he would’ve worked on a more market-based solution. A hardcore conservative wouldn’t have grown the Federal government at the insane pace that Bush has, he would’ve slashed spending and Federal power. And so on.

    Bush is, basically, a moderate mainstream Republican. In that regard, it’s not illogical that McCain’s fairly close to the same thing. The biggest differences I’ve seen have been on “climate change”–McCain’s bought into it, Bush doesn’t seem to have–and the fact that McCain actually talks much tougher on spending and earmarks that Bush ever did, even in 2000.

    McCain’s bucked the GOP in the past to reach across the aisle; sometimes it’s been good, sometimes it’s been bad (a lot of us can’t forgive him for the “Gang of 14” judicial nominee fiasco). But believe it or not, his American Conservative Union ratings have always wobbled between 60 and 85, with the higher numbers coming in earlier years.

  28. I’m really going to disagree with you about Bush being middle of the road. Bush’s crowd is the one that believes that the President should have more power. He has spent eight years trying to bolster the office of the president with total disregard for Congress or anyone else.

    No Child Left Behind is a disaster. If you want to truly limit government, then vote for Libertarians, constitutionalists, green party. Get the independents into the congress. The two party systems is part of the problem.

    The president that you say was the best, Ronald Regan, oversaw a huge increase in the federal government. What we need is a real fiscal conservative in the office and a bunch of them in congress. The problem is that social conservatism has ruined the Republican party. Social convservatism is why people like me no longer consider themselves Republicans.

    Fiscal conservatism is why I liked McCain in 2000, but he has lost a lot of his middle of the road supporters with his capitulation to the social conservatives of his party.

    And Lieberman? I detest the guy. This is the same jerk-off that wants to ban video games. He wants more government, not less.

  29. As I said to marty where my tone probably came across a lot better – bible licker was a joke, and I’m sorry to my friends if that came across as cruel. The original context was much lighter and airier and this is a pretty serious conversation. My timing was poor. Next time I’ll pick a less touchy subject to insert sarcasmo-wit.

    If you read my post, I’m actually defending McCain because I don’t feel he’s in a place where he can win no matter what he says or does. Maybe it’s because the basis of his campaign – where he started – is not where he’s ending up. Marty’s point of his campaign being based upon integrity , and now he’s courting the very same people he used to snub . . . well? Maybe his intentions were one thing and the political machine is pushing him in another so he can just get the votes needed.

    Obama comes to the table as a young guy who has the added bonus of NOT being republican right now. I mean, honestly . . . if you ask the average american who’s to blame for the country being in the crapper they’re going to point the finger at the president. Even if the blame should be equally split between him and congress, they only see him and his party. Obama has that working for him, and McCain has that working against him.

    To that point, I sincerely doubt McCain is going to pick a hardcore conservative for his running mate at this juncture, and I’m betting really rough and tumble conservatives aren’t going to like his choice whomever it is. He’ll go for someone more aligned to his original ideals, so you know, maybe he’s a bit of a sell out, but his partner in crime won’t be. I was talking to my mother about this (she’s a registered republican) and she’s so anti-Obama that she’s going to vote McCain no matter what. He could have Bozo the Clown (RIP BOZO) as his running mate and she’d still vote McCain. So. There you have it.

    Mmmf. I still don’t like two party politics. Not at all.

  30. He is. Seriously. As Republicans go, George W. Bush is not all that conservative. Socially, maybe. Fiscally? Hell, he outspent Bill Clinton by a gigantic margin. And as for foreign policy, well, it depends on who you ask. If you talk to the Pat Buchanan paleoconservative wing of the party, Bush is nothing more than a Wilsonian liberal.

    There’s a long, long, long way out there on the right wing beyond Bush. Trust me. I live in it. Overall, I’d classify McCain as slightly to the left of Bush. But only slightly.

  31. The perspective has shifted. Bush has become middle of the road, Spector is a moderate and Obama is a flaming liberal.

    This is how people view our system. This does not mean this perspective is accurate.

  32. the question needs to be asked, what has caused this shift and is it accurate. More later, iPhone blogging while I wait for clients hurts my eyes.

    However, the whole liberman rumbling is pure posturing. McCain has spent so much time gathering his base that this choice, or ridge, would be the kiss of death. Ridge, if I remebed right, canny take communion in his parish anymore. Opus dei catholics wouldn’t vote for him either.

    If mccain. Picks liberman, I’ll play the first month of Wrath on a horde side dk.

    **I meant to say mostly posturing, however i cant scroll back qnd esit it. The two are friends and have a few key points in common. That being said, if liberman is a liberal, I’m karl Marx, or castro.

  33. Ok, the fact that there is space to the sides is not sufficient to qualify a position as “middle of the road.”

    By that logic, there’s only the two most extreme positions (on each side), and then there’s middle of the road.

    There’s nothing wrong in acknowledging that somebody (including oneself) is not “average.” Just because I think of myself as more of a leftist than Obama, it doesn’t follow that it is all I need to say that Obama is “middle of the road.” I think he is progressive. He is not the most progressive, he is certainly not as progressive as I’d like, but he -is- progressive.

    What frustrates me about this changing of the goalposts is that it allows people to say “Well, the country’s all screwed up, but it’s not because of conservative mistakes. After all, one can hardly call Bush a conservative.” Conservatives have been overwhelmingly cheering for the man all along. If you take the good, you gotta take the bad.

    And I am really really hoping McCain picks Lieberman. I really do. I’m sure he’s begging for it, he knows he’s gonna get nothing from Dems once they don’t need his one vote to have a majority.

  34. Man. Now I’m going to have to hope McCain picks Lieberman just to get Bricu on an angsty Forsaken DK. Putting a Democrat one heartbeat from the Presidency just to get a month worth of lulz? SIGN ME UP SIR.

    PS Marty:

  35. @Torteya: I guess where the middle of the road is to you depends on which lane you’re standing in. I view things from a perspective heavily slanted to the conservative side. To me, Bush is middle of the road, McCain’s a little left of the white line, and Obama is waaaaaaaaaaay the hell over in the inside breakdown lane. To you it’ll look pretty much the opposite.

    Then again, I think the country’s screwed up because we haven’t been conservative *enough*. But then you start spiraling off into the various definitions of “conservative” and socons vs. fiscal cons vs. neocons vs. paleocons vs. libertarians, and I’d much rather think about Bricu on a Horde deathknight kthx.

    Although your point about Lieberman is a good one. By speaking at the RNC, he’s practically signed his political death warrant on that side of the aisle. It’s a gutsy move that’s either “I’ve got nothing to lose” or “screw you hippies, this is for running Ned Lamont against me,” I can’t figure out which. If Lieberman is not the VP nominee, it would not surprise me one bit to see him get a high position in a McCain administration.

  36. I think part of the problem is that we’re looking at the spectrum in only one dimension.

    Lewis is right, conservatives are a wild and wooly bunch. I don’t agree with him that we are not conservative enough.

    My views are essentially Libertarian, but I am realist enough to recognize that a true Libertarian state cannot exist on its own.

    To have a Free Market economy, we would have to have a true free market, a global one. We don’t have one of those and to act like we do is economic suicide.

    There are other things to get into, but the gist of it is this:

    It’s the two parties that have screwed us up. Neither side truly holds to the ideals they feed to the American public. They are, for the most part, only concerned about keeping themselves in power. They feel no responsibility to their electorate or to any moral compus.

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