Long before he made his 2008 bid for the presidency, Senator John McCain was the darling of the Washington press corps. He had cultivated the image of a realist hawk; a raptor who was critical of others of his kind. The sort of gent who was not afraid to criticise his peers in the Senate (and former peers in uniform) for wanting to shovel barrels of pork at every billion-dollar gewgaw the military-industrial complex could dream up. Meanwhile, McCain took PAC money from the defense lobby just like everyone else.
None of this will be new to longtime observers of US defence policy, but I still find it entertaining when Senator Maverick gets caught speaking out of both sides of his mouth. This brief item from the “Verbatim” section of last month’s Air Force magazine was so good it had to be shared:
Sen. Straight Talk, Now …
“Over [about 15 years], Congress has authorized and appropriated funds for 113 F-35 jets. Lockheed has, however, delivered just 11. … Some of us saw this train wreck coming.”—Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), remarks at Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, May 19.
… And Then
“We want to increase funding for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, an aircraft and weapon system that in the view of many experts—including my view—would be far more capable [than the F-22] of meeting the emerging threats of the future.”—Same senator, Senate floor speech praising the F-35 when his immediate objective was to kill the F-22, July 13, 2009.
Good one, John. Tell us another one!