Jeffery Goldberg Inteviews John McCain
JM: ... Because of the rise of Islamic extremism, because of the failure of human rights and democracy in the Middle East, or whether there are a myriad of challenges we face in the Middle East, all of them severe, all of them pose a threat to the existence to the state of Israel, including and especially the Iranians, who have as a national policy the destruction of the state of Israel, something they’ve been dedicated to since before President Bush came to office.
JG: What do you think motivates Iran?
JM: Hatred. I don’t try to divine people’s motives. I look at their actions and what they say. I don’t pretend to be an expert on the state of their emotions. I do know what their nation’s stated purpose is, I do know they continue in the development of nuclear weapons, and I know that they continue to support terrorists who are bent on the destruction of the state of Israel. You’ll have to ask someone who engages in this psycho stuff to talk about their emotions...
... Senator Obama is totally lacking in experience, so therefore he makes judgments such as saying he would sit down with someone like Ahmadinejad without comprehending the impact of such a meeting. I know that his naivete and lack of experience is on display when he talks about sitting down opposite Hugo Chavez or Raul Castro or Ahmadinejad.
.... As you know, our ambassador in Iraq, Ryan Crocker, has met with the Iranian ambassador in Baghdad on a couple of occasions. Those discussions, according to Ambassador Crocker, have been totally unproductive, because Iran is hell-bent on the destruction of Israel, they’re hell-bent on driving us out of Iraq, they’re hell-bent on supporting terrorist organizations, and as serious as anything to American families, they’re sending explosive devices into Iraq that are killing American soldiers.
JG: You bring up an interesting question about the Holocaust, to which you say never again. But do you have an absolute commitment to stop genocide wherever it occurs?'
JM: That has to be the fundamental goal, but it has to be tempered by the idea that you have to actually be able to do it, that you can succeed. If you fail in one of these efforts, that encourages others, and increases feelings of isolationism and protectionism in America. It’s hard to convince Americans to send young Americans into harm’s way, as it should be.
JG: A final question: Senator Obama talked about how his life was influenced by Jewish writers, Philip Roth, Leon Uris. How about you?
JM: There’s Elie Wiesel, and Victor Frankl. I think about Frankl all the time. “Man’s Search for Meaning” is one of the most profound things I’ve ever read in my life. And maybe on a little lighter note, “War and Remembrance” and “Winds of War” are my two absolute favorite books. I can tell you that one of my life’s ambitions is to meet Herman Wouk. “War and Remembrance” for me, it’s the whole thing.
Then there’s Joe Lieberman, who lives a life of his religion, and who does it in the most humble way.
JG: Not a big Philip Roth fan?
JM: No, I’m not. Leon Uris I enjoyed. Victor Frankl, that’s important. I read it before my captivity. It made me feel a lot less sorry for myself, my friend. A fundamental difference between my experience and the Holocaust was that the Vietnamese didn’t want us to die. They viewed us as a very valuable asset at the bargaining table. It was the opposite in the Holocaust, because they wanted to exterminate you. Sometimes when I felt sorry for myself, which was very frequently, I thought, “This is nothing compared to what Victor Frankl experienced.”
I mentioned Viktor Frankl in these posts in the past. Here are two important thoughts from him:
"We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked
through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They
may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can
be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose
one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own
"Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lays
our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth
"Civilization is not self-supporting. It is artificial. If you are not prepared to concern yourself with the upholding of civilization -- you are done." (Ortega y Gasset)
Friday, May 30, 2008
Jeffery Goldberg Inteviews John McCain