The McCain Amendment
Do we need the McCain Amendment? Victor Davis Hanson believes we do; but not for the reasons commonly sited. Instead, he argues it is “a public reaffirmation of our country's ideals … reminding us that we need not and will not become anything like our enemies.”
I oppose the amendment. Historically, we are in the top ranks in terms of discipline and proper procedures. And we deserve to compare our tradition to the best—both that of our forefathers and other liberal democracies. Hanson’s comparison is to our enemies – the lowest rank of barbarity. This is inappropriate and surprisingly out of character for Mr. Hanson.
Having never served, I’m hesitant to micro-manage the military through the legislative process. Furthermore, this isn’t what will insure standards in the ranks. Our military derives its strength and ethos from its honor. Cultivating a sense of honor isn’t an external imposition competing with the requirements of effectively fighting a war. It is a source of the strength – especially when it is reality based. The challenge of discipline, honor and survival are constant concerns of our men and women. It is precisely this sense of honor that has initiated the investigations that were widely reported.
The ethics of our men and women reflect the ethical tradition of our society. The amendment is an insult to both our troops and our country.