The Blog

McCain's Vote Against Casey

12:37 PM, Feb 9, 2007 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Senator John McCain was one of only 14 senators to vote against the confirmation of General George Casey to be the Army's next chief of staff. In his comments on the floor of the Senate, McCain explained his vote:

So, I want to tell my friends that people in the military, particularly our young officers, are watching what we do here. We teach them, we teach them in our service schools and we teach our noncommissioned officers and our junior officers, you're responsible. You're responsible for success or failure. That's why we appoint you as leaders. And in this case, this leader, despite his honorable character and his dedication to this country, has not led and his responsibility has not been carried out.

A friend of THE WEEKLY STANDARD sent along an email the other day which echoed McCain's concerns:

Apropos of Casey's hearing, I was struck by this quote from Field Marshal Slim's memoir, Defeat Into Victory: Battling Japan in Burma and India, 1942-1945. Slim wrote the following of his feelings after the Allies had been chased out of Burma in 1942, when he was a corps commander:

"For myself I had little to be proud of; I could not rate my generalship high. The only test of generalship is success, and I had succeeded in nothing I had attempted. . . . In preparation, in execution, in strategy, and in tactics we had been worsted, and we had paid the penalty--defeat. Defeat is bitter. Bitter to the common soldier, but terribly bitter to his general. The soldier may comfort himself with the thought that, whatever the result, he has done his duty faithfully and steadfastly, but the commander has failed in his duty if he has not won victory--for that is is his duty. He has no other comparable to it."

We haven't been defeated in Iraq, but by any standard Casey "has failed in his duty."

You can read McCain's remarks in their entirety here.