McCain and Star Trek

That title is not a typo. I’m not talking about the missile defense program, aka “Star Wars”, I am talking about Star Trek.

More specifically, this guy, Worf:


See any resemblance?

PHOTO: John McCain

The nerd/Star Trek fan in me had to smile when I read dday’s post comparing John McCain’s ideological bent to that of a Klingon. Then when I read at Ezra Klein’s blog that this wasn’t the first McCain-Klingon comparison, I knew I had to write a post about it.

The defining characteristics of Klingons is that they are obsessed with honor to an illogical extreme, and highly predisposed to violence. On the starship Enterprise, Worf often recommended fighting solutions to the problem of the episode, only to be ignored by Captain Picard who sought to use diplomacy first.

The obvious parallel comes from McCain’s own current stance on the Iraq war summed up in this quote:

And what we’re going to do now is continue this strategy, which is succeeding in Iraq and we are carrying out the goals of the surge. The Iraqi military are taking over more and more responsibilities, the casualties are down, and we will be able to withdraw and come home. But we will come home with honor.

(As an aside, I think quotes like that also have the creepy sound of Nixon’s “peace with honor” talk relating to Vietnam.)

The problem with McCain’s dedication to “honor” as an overriding principle is that it leaves no room for nuance and pragmatism. Ideologues from around the country could argue about whether or not staying in Iraq until the job is done is honorable. But even if we assume it is honorable to stay, we have to consider the costs in resources like blood and money. Doesn’t there have to be a point where even honor isn’t worth it?

Would a President McCain recognize the limit of American military power or his he too drunk on the Kool-Aid?

Of course, the comparison could be all wrong:

CARTOON: Obama Worf

Flickr photo of John McCain by soggydan


  1. Ian

    Haha… dork.

    Now that that is out of the way, isn’t the whole idea of “honor” that there is no point where it isn’t worth it?

  2. Chris

    Not sure I understand what you mean…

  3. Ian

    Meaning, isn’t honor supposed to be worth dying for? For those who subscribe to the notion that is.

  4. Chris

    Ahh, I get ya. I would agree that is the idea of honor, but I wonder how many American people would agree that we should stop at nothing to stay in Iraq.

  5. Ian

    It isn’t so much about staying forever; it is about making sure everything there is set up to be self sufficient and stable. I think it is important that that remains the focus, and it doesn’t become staying for staying’s sake.