We all have to gauge the national security qualifications of the two candidates for president. I have no experience there, so I look to people better schooled in that area than I am for their opinions.
John McCain was fifth from the bottom of his class at Annapolis. He’s admitted that he was constantly having problems with discipline and authority. I would normally applaud that, but he was in the Navy. After Annapolis, he crashed two planes, and ran another into some power lines. This is a picture of a mediocre pilot, not some hotshot. He went to Vietnam, was shot down and became a POW for six years, during which he suffered from torture by his captors. Upon his return and physical rehabilitation, he commanded a Florida training squadron.
He was never offered a significant sea command, which led to him retiring from the Navy as a captain. So it appears that aside from his POW experience, John McCain was not an exceptional or especially well regarded Naval officer. I presume that those Navy promotion boards knew what they were doing.
When Wesley Clark, West Point valedictorian, Rhodes Scholar, four-star general, and Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, says this about John McCain:
John McCain is running his campaign on his experience and how his experience would benefit him and our nation as President. That experience shows courage and commitment to our country – but it doesn’t include executive experience wrestling with national policy or go-to-war decisions. And in this area his judgment has been flawed – he not only supported going into a war we didn’t have to fight in Iraq, but has time and again undervalued other, non-military elements of national power that must be used effectively to protect America. But as an American and former military officer I will not back down if I believe someone doesn’t have sound judgment when it comes to our nation’s most critical issues.
…I’m going to believe Clark’s assessment. Clark is making a judgment about McCain’s experience and fitness to be President, based on his (Clark’s) superior knowledge of the national security arena. I think that Clark is far better qualified to make that judgment than I am, and far better qualified than virtually all of the weenies on the right and the left that are criticizing him for daring to tell a hard truth about the Sainted McCain.