Am I wrong in thinking McCain is one of the smartest high-ranking Republicans in the country today? And not even he can a good faith defence the war in an informal debate with a comedian. I'm not sure which is worse: that this is the best one of our two political parties has to offer, or that, by contemporary standards, McCain really should be considered a fine statesman.
My favourite part:
Jon: [to McCain's `surrender' bullshit] But that assumes we're fighting one enemy. They're fighting each other. It's not, we're there keeping them from killing each other. Surrender is not, we're not surrendering to an enemy that has defeated us. We're saying, how do you quell a civil war when it's not your country?
McCain: [interrupted by audience applause]
Jon, it seems to me, has hit upon one of the most fundamental conceptual problems with this `war': it isn't even a war. At least, it's not a war in which we are on one definite side. Iraq is in the midst of a civil war which cuts across religious, geographical, and economic lines. One can make a case (though I'm not claiming it's a compelling case) that we have an important peacekeeping role to play in this conflict. But that's not what Bush is sending American soldiers off to die for. We are, according to conservative rhetoric, engaged in a life-or-death struggle with ... the Enemy. Al-Qaeda, generic terrorists, Muslims, or something like that. The problem isn't (just) that this Enemy is spectacularly nebulous and ill-defined. The problem is the notion that there are exactly two sides and we are on one of them. You don't keep the peace by taking sides, and that's what we're trying to do.