So, today McCain said some things that cracked me up. I mean "cracked me up" in the way that it makes me laugh at how completely out of touch with reality McCain really is.

OK, check it out and remember that his comments are in italics:

Thank you, Major General Marty Umbarger, for that kind introduction. Colonel Al Faber, Major General Poythress, Brigadier Generals Arflack, Taylor, and Ross -- I thank you gentlemen as well. And let me add a warm hello to my good friend Major General Stan Spears of South Carolina, and to Brigadier General Steve Koper, and Lieutenant General John Conaway. It's an honor to join with all of you again for this 130th General Conference. And I bring greetings from the Governor of the Great State of Alaska, Sarah Palin.


No blatant lies so far...

Every day in this country and across the world, the men and women of the National Guard are giving brave and faithful service. Everyone who wears the uniform of the United States has accepted the calling of service to a cause greater than self.


"Because country IS greater than self. It's called communism and I think you'll like it!"

This hard calling is what defines the citizen soldiers of the National Guard, and America is in your debt.


"Which we plan to pay off by sending you on more unjustified wars based on lies."

"Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran."

Sorry, that was from a different McCain event. :)

As we meet, Guard members are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, while still others have just returned from a training mission in the nation of Georgia. Other guardsmen are still working to bring order and safety to the victims of Hurricane Ike along the Texas coast, just as they did after Katrina.


It's pretty cool when we don't abuse our men and women in uniform, isn't it?

Our nation faces many challenges. We have all watched the crisis on Wall Street this past week, and I would like to address that for just a moment.


Because it has SO much to do with the National Guard! :P

Last Friday, I proposed a plan for comprehensive reform of the broken institutions that allowed this crisis to become a grave threat to our economy.


Was this the part about even less regulation for banks? I'm pretty sure it was the lack of regulation that got us into this mess.

At the center of the plan is the principle that we must keep people in their homes and safe guard the life savings of all Americans by protecting our financial system and capital markets.


"Life savings"?

Who's got life savings?? How many Americans even have savings accounts?? I don't.

Could this guy be more out of touch?

Senator Obama has declined to put forth a plan of his own. At a time of crisis, when leadership is needed, Senator Obama has not provided it.


That's a point you have there, sir--but I have already heard Obama plans to release his plan for the economy (which I will quip to, don't worry!).

We saw this same lack of leadership on Iraq.


Whaaa? You mean when Obama spoke out against the Iraq invasion? He seemed pretty leaderish back then.

Because of the sacrifices and perseverance of all the troops -- active-duty, Guard, and Reserve -- victory in Iraq is finally in sight.


"victory in Iraq"???

What the hell does that even mean?

So, we killed Saddam but couldn't get rid of his WMD because he never had any!

Basically, we killed a guy who was zero threat to anyone but his own people. Mind you, his own people had a fairly prosperous, secular and even free life for living under a dictator. Unlike Saudi Arabia, where religion police patrol the streets and women aren't allowed to drive (or go out alone), in Saddam's Iraq, people weren't forced to be Muslim, women could be doctors, lawyers and even drive their own cars!

What an evil guy Saddam was!

He was a bad guy, but you get my point--he wasn't as bad as other dictators we could topple. More importantly, it seems like we have made the country worse off than it was before we got there.

My opponent, Senator Obama, likes to say that the surge in Iraq was more successful that anyone could have predicted at the time. He said that the surge succeeded, "beyond our wildest dreams." That's his way of saying that it took him by surprise.


So, you weren't surprised when US forces weren't greeted as liberators? How about when Iraqi oil revenue failed to pay for the invasion--did that surprise you?

And to this day Senator Obama still cannot bring himself to admit his own failure in judgment.


How do you sleep at night, John?

I bet you've got a picture of the White House over your bed and an iPod under your pillow playing a single mp3 over and over again while you sleep. The mp3 is a recording of the phrase "Say anything to get elected.Say anything to get elected.Say anything to get elected.Say anything to get elected.Say anything to get elected.Say anything to get elected.Say anything to get elected.Say anything to get elected.Say anything to get elected.Say anything to get elected.Say anything to get elected.Say anything to get elected.Say anything to get elected.Say anything to get elected.Say anything to get elected."

You want Obama to admit his failure in judgment regarding the surge? Why don't you admit that Iraq was a mistake AND a violation of the UN Charter--which makes us international criminals.

Hmmm? Not willing to admit that? How about you shut up then?

For a guy who talks so much about hope, he didn't hold out much hope for victory in Iraq.


Well, he's not an idiot, John.

Instead, he commits the greater error of insisting that even in hindsight, he would oppose the surge.


I think the greater issue here is that he opposed the invasion. Unlike you. Why should he be for the surge if he was against the thing that made it necessary?

Even in retrospect, he would choose the path of retreat and failure for America over the path of success and victory.


We've already failed in Iraq. It's John McCain and George Bush's policy that caused the death of thousands of military men and women.

Yes, I'll say it--those people died for the mistakes of the United States Government--they didn't die for freedom or democracy. They didn't die for WMD, either.

Yes, good may come from this eventually, but it won't bring back the dead or unbreak the laws the Bush Administration broke by invading.

Behind all of these claims and positions by Senator Obama lies the ambition to be president.


Look who's talking! You're 72, man!! Most people your age don't want to be anything but retired! My own father is your age and he's enjoying his life by working at his church and not holding down a full time job. YOU'RE the one who's still driven to rule America.

What's missing is the judgment to be commander in chief. In short, both candidates in this election pledge to end this war and bring our troops home. The great difference is that I intend to win it first.


Once again, what does "win" even mean at this point. Our main reason for going in Iraq (WMD) was a lie. We've already lost.

Saddam was never a threat to the US. We killed him for nothing. Sure, the Iraqis are happy he's gone, but why is it our responsibility to give them their freedom from their dictator? We got rid of ours back in 1776, why can't they take care of themselves in 2008?

The achievement of our troops in Iraq is even greater because they had to press on even as some politicians back home were telling America and the world that our cause was too hard, and all was lost, and retreat was our only option.


I seriously challenge McCain and anyone else to quote an anti-war politician using the word "retreat". Use of such a word is basically lying--especially since the definition of "lie" in the dictionary is something to the effect of: "expression with the intent of deception."

I'd look it up but this is a long speech McCain gave.

Those politicians panicked when things got tough, which seems to be a pattern with my opponent.


Obama panics? How so?

I don't remember anyone panicking--everyone knew it would be an impossible war to win and no one was surprised or panicked.

Whether it's a reversal in war, or an economic emergency, he reacts as a politician and not as a leader, seeking an advantage for himself instead of a solution for his country. Among the many lessons of Iraq were the words of General David Petraeus. Upon arrival in Iraq, he told his troops to remember that "hard is not hopeless." And that is a lesson that applies to other great challenges that America now faces: Hard is not hopeless.


So, now McCain uses the "hope" buzzword and accuses Obama of reacting like a politician?

...in a speech about the National Guard?

...during a presidential campaign?

How else is he supposed to act?

How are you acting right now?

Unlike Senator Obama, I believed the surge would succeed because I knew the capabilities and culture of the United States military. I was blessed to have been born into a family that made its living at sea in defense of our security and ideals. My grandfather was a naval aviator; my father a submariner.


Oh yeah? Well, I heard that Obama's grandfather served in Patton's army!!

So THERE!

(I think you've made your point--the surge worked, but you still have yet to take responsibility for the mess that made the surge necessary in the first place.)

Earning their respect was one of the great ambitions of my life.


Which is why it took multiple plane crashes (with you as pilot) and a stint at the Hanoi Hilton for you to stop being a selfish dickhead.

And so it was nearly pre-ordained that I would find a place in my family's profession, and that occupation would one day take me to war.


You sure are a Maverick!!

Such was not the case for many of you. Your ambitions might not have led you to war; the honors you sought were not kept hidden on battlefields.


Wha?

Who hides honors on battlefields?

Soldier: "HEY, SERGEANT! LOOK! I FOUND A MEDAL BEHIND THIS ROCK!"

Sergeant: "OH YEAH! I HID THAT THERE FOR YOU!"

As I said: Wha??

You answered the call when it came; took up arms and served for your country's sake. You were citizen-soldiers. And yet today, the National Guard's role resembles, in many respects, the role it performed in World War II, when Guard units fought in every theater and every major campaign. Units such as Company A of the 116th Infantry Regiment -- the famed "Bedford Boys" of the Virginia National Guard -- that spearheaded the allied assault on Omaha Beach, June 6, 1944.


And how'd that go?

Oh yeah, no air support. Good reference, John! You might want to refer to a battle that didn't appear as the most violently disturbing 20 minutes of American cinema in recent memory.

Before 9/11, a lot of us didn't always fully appreciate the power and potential of the Guard, and what it might one day be called upon to do. But my friends,


Drink. (He said "my friends.")

we understand it now. Times have changed -- we all understand that now.


Times have NOT changed--we just caught up with them.

Today, thousands of National Guard soldiers and airmen once again fight alongside their active component comrades on every battlefield in the war against militant Islam. From the mountains of Afghanistan to the back alleys of Iraq, Guard and Reserve personnel are engaged in every aspect of this conflict.


A conflict that is more a "disagreement" since it's not like a few extremists could seriously threaten America. I hate when politicians go down this road because we have so little to fear from a few thousand terrorists with almost no resources.

I'm asking you, John McCain, is America that weak?

The men and women of the National Guard represent the very best of what it means to be an American and what our country is truly all about -- free people of every race, creed, color, and ethnic background, who regard it as their sacred duty not simply to indulge in the rights and privileges of citizenship, but to answer its obligations. No matter the danger to our security or safety -- at home or abroad -- the National Guard has answered the call. You have always been ready. You have always been there.


Which is awesome, for sure--but McCain completely forgot the people that join the military to get their citizenship. Others join so they can afford to go to school. Yet others join because they don't see any other options for them. Then there are some that join because they come from a long line of military people--like you, John!

For everyone in the military today -- whether you are Guard, Active, or Reserve -- these are difficult times. We are a nation at war, and we have asked of our men and women of the armed forces an almost unprecedented level of commitment and sacrifice. Extended deployments and back-to-back combat tours have become the standard rather than the exception.


And for an illegal war based on lies.

Who's fault is that again, John?

The new security environment in which we live will continue to pose great challenges, and require that we use all elements of national power to defeat radicalism. The National Guard will play a vital role in this multi-dimensional effort, precisely because its citizen-soldiers and airmen bring such a wide range of skills and capacities to the force.


Sounds lovely! But will there be enough National Guardspeople around to help the next time a Katrina-esque hurricane tears through or will we hire Blackwater to patrol the streets and take away our guns again?

We place great demands on the National Guard. At times, the Guard's responsibilities exceed even the demands we put on our active-duty forces. And our government has certain obligations that it has not always kept.


Slight understatement!

As we go forward, America must make a new and lasting commitment to our National Guard. This commitment must begin with our political leadership recognizing the sheer magnitude of what we ask Guard units to accomplish -- abroad and here at home -- with a force comprised primarily of part-time soldiers and airmen.


Wow, frank talk! I wonder if he'll follow it up even if he loses in November.

This means a national leadership that respects and treats our governors and adjutant generals as partners in national and homeland security policymaking, rather than as impediments and intruders.


So governors will be able to pull Guard guys out of Iraq to help at home if they want? I don't think they can do that now.

Part of that essential effort was to grant the Chief of the National Guard Bureau the fourth star that the position merits -- and I'm pleased to congratulate General-Select Craig McKinley on being the first Guardsman to wear that fourth star.


Sounds cool enough to me--also sounds like it should have happened before now.

This means getting rid of policies, practices, and customs that fail to promote a seamless Total Force based on cooperation, jointness,


"Jointness"?

Was the word "teamwork" unavailable?

and the mutual respect that all components, including the Guard and Reserve, have earned with their blood and bravery. We cannot afford -- and I will not tolerate -- an environment in which parochialism stands in the way of building an integrated Total Force.


So, now we're against the nation of Parochia? Man, is there ANY country we DON'T hate?? ;)

This means giving the National Guard all the manpower it needs -- including a sufficient complement of full-time positions -- so that every unit is ready to mobilize for any contingency. This means providing all the training the Guard requires, so that no one is asked to take on a mission unprepared. And it means ensuring that our Guard is well supplied, so that no unit will ever go into harm's way without the best equipment that America can provide.


Wow--giving the Guard the manpower it needs, the positions it needs, the training, the supplies, such novel concepts, McCain! INDEED, YOU ARE A MAVERICK!

A serious commitment to supporting the Guard also means that service to country should come at the cost of a civilian career. When employers exceed the requirements of the law in supporting the Guard commitments of their workers, we should encourage and honor that. And when employers fall short of those legal requirements, the sanctions should be serious, and they must be enforced.


So, what your saying is "give sanctions a chance to work?"

:P

Finally, our commitment to the Guard and Reserve means establishing a new compact with our Guard and Reserve personnel to ensure that they and their families are given appropriate care, during and after their time of service.


Once again, John: novel thinking!

Imagine a military that takes care of it's own!! WOW!

PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury affect Guard members just as they do active-duty personnel. In the Senate, I co-authored the Wounded Warrior Act, which was the first major legislative initiative to address these injuries. And I pledge to you that, if I am president, I will build on this legislation to improve screening and treatment for these severe injuries suffered by many in Iraq and Afghanistan. And I will ensure that we take into account the special challenges of identifying and caring for our traditional Guard members -- and their families -- who need assistance.


Again, this sounds great, but also again, why hasn't this already been done?

We made a great step forward when the president signed the GI Bill for the 21st Century this summer. I am proud to have supported that legislation in its final form, once it included the number one request of career service members -- that they be given the freedom to transfer their benefits to a spouse or child. I expect that many eligible Guard members and their families will want to take advantage of that benefit.


"In fact, I hope they will transfer ALL of their benefits to their family members because we can't afford to lose any more soldiers to higher education."

As with anyone who has served in uniform, veterans of the Guard deserve the best of medical care and other benefits. As president, I will do all that is in my power to ensure that those who serve today, and those who have served in the past, have access to the highest quality health, mental health and rehabilitative care in the world.


Why wait? You've been a US senator for more than two decades.

And I will not accept a situation in which veterans are denied access to care on account of travel distances, backlogs of appointments, and years of pending disability evaluation and claims. We should no longer tolerate requiring veterans to make an appointment to stand in one line for a ticket to stand in another.


Why did we EVER tolerate it, McCain? How long have you been a senator? Hmmm?

We must also modernize our disability system to make sure that eligible service members receive benefits quickly, based on clear, predictable, and fair standards. And we must address the problems of capacity and access within our VA health care system.


Definitely. My question, at this point, is how will we pay for this with over a trillion dollars going to bail out our economy?

I mean, it's fine to say all this stuff and to even mean it, but how do you intend to do all of this, John?

While this will involve a wide range of initiatives, I believe there is a simple and direct reform we should make right away. My administration will create a Veterans' Care Access Card to be used by veterans with illness or injury incurred during their military service, and by those with lower incomes. This card will provide those without timely access to VA facilities the option of using high-quality health-care providers near their homes.


So, like private-school vouchers for veterans. That's a cool idea. However, you know what would be even cooler?

Free health care for everyone! We'd then be able to make sure veterans didn't need vouchers or a gift card or anything.

How would I pay for free health care for all Americans?

Simple: I'd cut the military budget.

I wouldn't even need to raise taxes! (We spend A LOT on the military.)

For many veterans, the closest VA facility isn't close enough. And many of their local providers are already familiar with the most common needs of veterans. Often, all that prevents them from receiving local care is a system for sharing medical records among VA, DOD, and civilian hospitals and doctors. My reform will improve care, reduce risks, and broaden access all at the same time.


Sounds great! But I'm still not going to vote for you since this should have already been in place for years. What exactly have you been doing as a senator all these years, anyway?

The VA must also broaden its care for the women who are entering the armed forces in greater numbers than ever, and who are suffering from the same war wounds -- visible and invisible -- suffered by other veterans.


Like rape?

As rapidly as possible, we must improve the VA system so that it can fully assess and treat conditions that predominantly or exclusively affect women.


Like rape.

And here the Veterans Care Access Card will prove especially valuable, affording women medical options while the VA improves capacity and expands services.


For when they get raped.

:\

Only half kidding. Rape is a serious issue in the military and it has a history of being ignored by the military.

No one who has worn the uniform of his or her country can ever take these matters lightly. We all learned an ethic in the service of looking after one another, of leaving no one behind, and this commitment did not end when we left the service.


"Which is why I'm all for waging wars!!"

As a matter of duty and of honor, whatever our commitments to veterans cost, if I am president those commitments will be kept.


"If I'm not president, fuck you guys."

The next president will have many responsibilities to the American people, and I take them all seriously. But if I am elected, I will have one responsibility that outweighs all the others.


Upholding the Constitution?

And that is to use whatever talents I possess, and every resource God has granted me to protect the security of this great and good nation from all enemies foreign and domestic.


Oh. You sound just like that Palin chick.

It is every veteran's hope that should their children be called upon to answer a call to arms, the battle will be necessary and the field well chosen.


THAT SURE WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE IN IRAQ!

But that is not their responsibility. It belongs to the government that called them. As it once was for us, their honor will be in their answer not their summons. Whatever we think about how and why we went to war in Iraq, we are all humbled by and grateful for their example.


Actually, I'm humbled and grateful for the examples of those active-duty enlisted men, women and officers who wear the uniform and speak out against the Iraq invasion. I understand about the Uniform Code of Conduct, but before you're a soldier, you should be a human being with morals. In between being a human with morals and being a soldier, you should be an American. I wish more soldiers would remember that and speak out against the occupation of Iraq. I know it'll get you in trouble, but which is more honorable? Killing as ordered or ignoring the order and choosing to stop the killing when it isn't justified?

That's where the full honor lies. When your country goes wrong, don't do right by it--do right by the morals your country has forgotten.

They now deserve the distinction of the best Americans, and we owe them a debt we can never fully repay.


You've got that right, John!

We can only offer the small tribute of our humility and our commitment to do all that we can do, in less trying and costly circumstances, to help keep this nation worthy of their sacrifice.


Too bad it's not even close to being worthy!

Ha. "our commitment to do all that we can do" isn't much is it, John?

Many of them -- especially our Guardsmen -- have served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many had their tours extended. Many returned to combat sooner than they had been led to expect. It was a sad and hard thing to ask so much more of Americans who have already given more than their fair share to the defense of our country. Few of them and their families will have received the news about additional and longer deployments without aiming a few appropriate complaints in the general direction of people like me, who helped make the decision to send them there.


How sad for you, John McCain, to know that you are partially responsible for this.

For every soldier who dies, I hope you repeat to yourself "The surge is working!"

For every Iraqi civilian who dies, I hope you repeat to yourself "We're bringing democracy and freedom to Iraq!"

And then they shouldered a rifle or climbed in a cockpit and risked everything -- everything -- to accomplish their mission, to protect another people's freedom and our own country from harm.


And how's that going?

OH YEAH, "victory is in sight." I forgot.

It is a privilege beyond measure to live in a country served by them. I have had the good fortune to know personally a great many brave and selfless patriots who sacrificed and shed blood to defend America. But I have known none braver or better than those who do so today.


So, those guys in the Hanoi Hilton with you were pussies?

:P

To the National Guardsmen who today will walk combat patrols in Iraq and Afghanistan, to those who will fly missions in support of our deployed forces, to those engaged back home in humanitarian efforts to relieve suffering, and to all of you who know what it means to stand the long night watches -- thank you. You understand both the value -- and the price -- of freedom.


Too bad you've completely forgotten that price, John.

You are the best among us, and I pledge to you my undying fidelity to the cause of protecting America -- and to a National Guard that will always be ready, and always be there. Thank you.


Yeah, his undying fidelity--which is why he voted down that torture ban, so when you guys get captured by the enemy you can get tortured, too! Hope you like drowning!!

This disgusts me to no end.

You can't support the troops and be for a war with a country that is not a legitimate threat to us.

It's the ultimate in hypocrisy.

We need to pull out of Iraq NOW.

The "you break it, you bought it" argument works at the Pottery Barn, but NOT when human life is at stake. The Iraqis are grown adults--leave them to their country. If they can't sort it out on their own, it's not our problem. It was never our problem to begin with. History should punish the Bush Administration and the Republicans and even the Democrats for what has happened in Iraq, but I see no reason, past, present or future, to force the American people and the American military to bear the cost in blood and money for the continued occupation of foreign land by ANY member of the US military.

OK, climbing off my soap box now!