21 October 2008

Sometimes Symbolism is Just Too Perfect

Reading Juan Cole's blog "Informed Comment", I came across a link to a piece by Jonathan Landay tracing McCain's philosophical journey from pragmatist to neocon, which Landay argues was complete before Bush II ever took office.

In the latter article, there's a link to McCain-Palin campaign's "National Security" topic page. I couldn't resist commenting on how much the campaign doc talks about revving up spending on "advanced weapons systems" for the military as well as increasing the size of the Army and Marines, without ever hinting that perhaps we'd be safer if we sought to make fewer people hate us, rather than threatening the lives of anyone who seems to.

What really killed me, though, was the picture illustrating McCain's national security page (exactly as seen at upper right). Wow, that's dramatic! For the non-aviation-buff set, that's the pointy end of an F-14 Tomcat, a Navy fighter (no, McCain never flew one) with Mach 2 top speed, 100-mile-range Phoenix missiles, and gorgeous lines. It's what Maverick flew in Top Gun. It's the very image of high-tech, modern, kick-ass American military might.

Except it's not. Tomcats are obsolete -- they first flew in the 1970s -- and the last few were retired this year.

I'd point this out to the McCain campaign, but the symbolism is all too fabulous. Let 'em leave it up.