Problem w/ McCain and many others from the cold war era is that they tend to over estimate the ability for a conventional military to successfully conduct a guerilla war. Many of these guys think that air strikes have a significant place in these types of conflicts.
McCain’s rhetoric is a dead give away. Al Qaeda’s goal is to draw the US into long protracted conflict of attrition in order to damage our economy. To give perspective, during the Vietnam War, the communist forces often only sought to injure our troops, correctly assuming that each injured troop would require more personnel to assist in medical care. Gen. Westmoreland would boast of success due to a heavy enemy body count, but did not know that the North had millions waiting in reserve. This is how they out lasted our forces and overran the South by 1975. What was needed during the 1960s was what every good CEO, GM, MLB pitcher, or NFL coach does all of the time, which is to provide a change up.
McCain’s attitude toward this conflict is to stay the course. If our enemy has millions waiting in reserve, than sending much of the US military to chase them around forever is by most standards a poor battle plan.
Using international diplomacy, winning hearts and minds, building good intelligence (with the help of allies) and utilizing the military when necessary will win in the end. Making everyone distrust your county’s motives will not.
Could Obama be a better commander who could develop a strategy using much needed creativity?
So far, Obama has found new ways of beating the Clintons and leading in the polls. McCain seems unable to do anything, but try and swiftboat Obama (an old strategy that’s not working). Reminds me of our foreign policy.
As a conservative I am not a supporter of Obama, however, I do think he has the potential to be a very good commander and here’s why. I do believe that he has the capacity and willingness to listen to advisors and he will make a reasonable, educated decision.
Contrast that with George Bush who ignored Colin Powell (after all, why on earth would HE know anything) to listen to that blundering idiot Donald Rumsfeld and to do things "the Rumsfeld Way". Go to Wikipedia and read the "Rumsfeld Doctrine" and then compare it with the "Powell Doctrine" with regard to military use. The Powell Doctrine is time tested and would have been ultimately successful in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Unfortunately, John McCain strikes me as being very rigid and stubborn, especially when it comes to the military. I do understand his background, but the commanding generals on the ground don’t need Rumsfeld v 2.0.
He has the potential to do some very good things, ultimately it’s up to him.