Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has known former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger since 1973, but during the 2000 presidential campaign, “McCain’s handlers opted not to have the two appear publicly together,” fearing Kissinger “would taint the image of the ‘Straight Talk Express.’”
Now, in his latest shift to the right, McCain is openly embracing Kissinger. Hotline On Call reports that McCain has chosen Kissinger to be the Honorary Co-Chair for his presidential campaign in New York.
The selection reflects an increasingly unified position on Iraq advocated by Kissinger, McCain, and President Bush. Bush is reportedly set to adopt McCain’s plan to escalate the war with tens of thousands of additional U.S. troops, and has taken up Kissinger’s mantra that victory in Iraq simply requires “sticking it out”:
Kissinger sensed wobbliness everywhere on Iraq, and he increasingly saw it through the prism of the Vietnam War. For Kissinger, the overriding lesson of Vietnam is to stick it out.
In his writing, speeches and private comments, Kissinger claimed that the United States had essentially won the war in 1972, only to lose it because of the weakened resolve of the public and Congress.
In a column in The Washington Post on Aug. 12, 2005, titled “Lessons for an Exit Strategy,” Kissinger wrote, “Victory over the insurgency is the only meaningful exit strategy.”
Asked recently about his friendship with Kissinger, McCain said, “I’m not at all embarrassed about it; I’m proud of it.”