Let's compare trips to war zones by two legitimate military heroes who went into politics: Dwight Eisenhower and John McCain.
Eisenhower, a retired general running for president in 1952, promised voters he would go to Korea. As the commander of all forces in Europe in World War II, Ike was the right man to clean up the mess created by Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
After his landslide victory, Republican and civilian Eisenhower went on a mission of peace and resolution. The conflict there soon ended after a great cost of American blood and treasure.
Before he left office in 1961, Eisenhower also warned the taxpayers to beware of a military-industrial combination working in concert.
As for McCain, he was a junior officer in the Navy when he was shot down over Hanoi. For five years, he suffered as a prisoner of war.
The senior senator from Arizona, now the presumptive GOP nominee, has visited Iraq. However, he went on a mission of war, not peace.
For McCain, the ultimate victory may not come for 100 years, but no one can clearly define victory in that war-torn land. The senator sees problems but light at the end of the tunnel. We heard that before, in Vietnam.
This nation has already lost nearly 4,000 men and women, and countless thousands have been maimed or psychologically damaged. The final cost will be in the trillions of dollars with the debt left to future generations.
Of course, President Bush and Vice President Cheney say once more that this was worth the cost. Once again, they are falsely tying the war on terrorism to the conflict in Iraq.
In Ike's day, he recognized the scars of war against evil—the Nazis and other fascists in Europe. McCain, Bush, and Cheney are deaf to the majority of Americans who want troops out sooner rather than later. The same number realize this was not worth it.
Ike was right. The current trio is wrong.