Strategy ’08

Obama vs. the other guy, 2008

Cyndi McCain: husband is like genocide survivor

Cyndi McCain took a microphone yesterday and compared her husband to the survivors of the Rwandan genocide.

Cindy McCain kicked off the meeting by describing her recent visit to Rwanda, saying that she was amazed by women there who have recovered from being raped during the nation’s genocidal war in the 1990s.

“These women are far stronger than I could even hope to be,” she said, adding that they reminded her of her husband, who was held in captivity in the Vietnam War. “He suffered and overcame what happened to him. My husband, like the Rwandan women are the essence of hope, the essence of strength and the essence of courage.”

OK, let me first say that I have no idea or ability to comprehend what happened to John McCain in the Hanoi Hilton.

That said, McCain was a prisoner of war, not a victim of genocide. To compare what he went through to what the Rwandan survivors went through is apples and oranges. Where does the analogy end? Is McCain like a Holocaust survivor? Is he like a black family in the south that survived Jim Crow?

Yes, what John McCain went through in Vietnam was horrible. No, absolutely no, it does not give him or his wife to personally identify him with whatever tragedy they want to talk about.

Second, and much more to the point, John McCain then stood up and criticized Barack Obama for his stance on the Iraq war.

The Iraq war?

The same Iraq war that has lead to ethnic cleansing?

“It’s 6 p.m.,” Rashid recounted the masked man saying then, as retaliatory violence between Shiites and Sunnis exploded across wide swaths of central Iraq. “We want you out of here by 8 p.m. tomorrow. If we find you here, we will kill you.”

The same Iraq war that has lead to at least 3.8 million refugees?

Now, the United States and its allies again have caused a refugee crisis in Iraq — “the largest population movement in the Middle East since Palestinians were displaced following the creation of the state of Israel in 1948,” according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). But this time, CNN’s cameras are missing.

Forgotten refugees queue outside foreign embassies and the offices of the UNHCR in Syria and Jordan, pleading for acceptance as refugees by the West. The UNHCR estimates there are between 500,000 and 1 million Iraqi refugees in Syria, 700,000 in Jordan, 40,000 in Lebanon and 20,000-80,000 in Egypt; 1.8 million are internally displaced. But these refugees face closed doors everywhere.

The same war that has turned desperate refugees to the sex trade in an attempt to survive?

Desperate, Umm Hiba followed the advice of an Iraqi acquaintance and took her daughter to work at a nightclub along a highway known for prostitution. “We Iraqis used to be a proud people,” she said over the frantic blare of the club’s speakers. She pointed out her daughter, dancing among about two dozen other girls on the stage, wearing a pink silk dress with spaghetti straps, her frail shoulders bathed in colored light.

As Umm Hiba watched, a middle-aged man climbed onto the platform and began to dance jerkily, arms flailing, among the girls.

During the war we lost everything,” she said. “We even lost our honor.” She insisted on being identified by only part of her name — Umm Hiba means mother of Hiba.

Tell me, Cyndi McCain, is your husband the same as an Iraqi refugee? Is he the same as that 16 year-old girl, forced into prostitution?

Or did you never learn the classic equation?

Two wrongs don’t make a right.


July 30, 2008 - Posted by | Iraq | ,


  1. Zen, I have to admit to having mixed feelings about this. She’s clearly out of her depths here and should NEVER have said this. And it’s yet another example of how hard the McCain camp is going to ride this POW thing.

    But, I have to admit I think we should ease off the verbal gaffe thing when it applies to spouses.

    Just my honest two cents!

    Comment by dansac | July 30, 2008 | Reply

  2. I don’t know, if your spouse stands up at a campaign event, and then you stand up and attack Obama, using what she just said, is the intro off limits?

    I’m not personally attacking her, I’m just questioning her statement. But it’s a fair point.

    Comment by zenbowl | July 30, 2008 | Reply

  3. Oh I agree generally. She’s on the public stage campaigning for her husband, that’s fair game to a degree. But I’m not sure this one stacks up to something worthy of attack (neither did all the Michelle Obama quotes, but the GOP sure ran with them).

    Anyhow, all’s fair in politics, luckily McCain has enough we can attack him on by himself, if only Obama would do it!

    Comment by dansac | July 30, 2008 | Reply

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