Simba Roars

I just found this TL and may I just say it is absolutely magnificent. I’m watching this for sure. Please keep it up, because it’s such a well written variant of an idea that gets kicked around but never truly touched on.
 
I just found this TL and may I just say it is absolutely magnificent. I’m watching this for sure. Please keep it up, because it’s such a well written variant of an idea that gets kicked around but never truly touched on.
thanks so much, I appreciate it. I'm also a Beaten Path fan!
 
6. Coming Together
Chapter 6

Coming Together


Beau Biden (far right) looks on his as his father campaigns for president in 1988. After Joe Biden's death on 9/11, Beau was appointed to replace him in the Senate.

At 32-years-old, Beau Biden was the youngest member of the United States Senate. It was altogether fitting as when Beau’s father, Joe Biden, entered the Senate in 1973, he was the body’s youngest member as well. In fact, he barely met the Constitutional age requirement to be a senator. Now, 28 years later, Beau Biden stood on the floor of the Senate to deliver his first remarks since assuming his father’s seat. Four senators were killed in the attacks on September 11, 2001: Biden, Wayne Allard of Colorado, Max Cleland of Georgia, and Dick Durbin of Illinois. All four of them were respected on both sides of the aisle, but the death of Joe Biden hit senators a little differently. Durbin was a rising star within leadership and Cleland was seen as a trusted voice of wisdom, but none of the others had the presence that Joe Biden had. He would walk onto the Senate floor and hug you and ask how your kids were. He worked well with members from both parties. As a Chairman – first of the Senate Judiciary Committee and then of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he gained a reputation as a fair and honest senator. Now, he was among those killed in the worst terrorist attack in American history.

Beau rose to deliver his first speech as a United States Senator. It was not, however, delivered on the floor of the U.S. Senate but rather an improvised one housed in the Family Theater of the Kennedy Center. He began his remarks with a moment of silence for those lost during the attacks on September 11th, then he continued, “I am one of thousands of Americans who lost a loved one on 9/11. My dad, Joe Biden, was an American hero who served the people of Delaware and this country for majority of his adult life. He overcame personal tragedy, including the loss of my mom and sister, and while he cared for Hunter and me, traveling great lengths to be by our sides, he fought for a better nation.” Beau began to choke up. Taking a deep breath, he regained his composure and kept going, “I am honored – I am humbled to be before you today standing in his place, but my story is unique. For the countless others who have lost a loved one, there was no job in the United States Senate for them. Instead, they are struggling. They are struggling with a national tragedy that feels more like a personal one to them. I do know that feeling, and I am here today to fight for them. We have proposed a massive piece of legislation. It will guarantee financial assistance for families who have been personally impacted by the tragedies at the Twin Towers, the Empire State Building, here in Washington, and across the river in Virginia. We must pass this legislation.”

And pass it they did. An extensive package was passed to provide relief for families who lost members during the 9/11 attacks. It was one of many pieces of legislation that made its way through a disjointed Congress in the days after the attack. Of course, there was the Congressional authorization for the use of military force against Afghanistan. Then, there was the aid bill. Then, there was a bill restructuring the federal government to create a new Department of Homeland Security. Another bill was passed authorizing funds to rebuild the Capitol Building and the Pentagon – an expansive package that also included funds for a “9/11 Memorial” on the National Mall and at Ground Zero in New York. The bill included enough appropriations to have the Capitol Building rebuilt in time for January 20, 2005 – the next presidential inauguration. Additionally, funds were included so that all 15 members of Congress who died could be buried together (and eventually with their spouses) at another memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

In the wake of the attacks – including the loss of numerous colleagues – members of Congress halted partisan rhetoric and began to come together on a number of issues. Divisive matters like the Federal Marriage Amendment were put aside and the disagreements between the president and his social conservative base seemed trivial. McCain’s leadership was receiving bipartisan praise with leaders appreciating his tough rhetoric and bullhorn rallying cry as well as his dedication to leading a responsible War on Terrorism. He announced his first Secretary of Homeland Security would be a Democrat, Lee Hamilton – a former congressman from Indiana. Hamilton was confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate.



Mayor Rudy Giuliani appears on Saturday Night Live on September 29th - the first episode to air after the 9/11 attacks.

McCain also sought to heal a fractured nation. On September 29, 2001, New Yorkers and tourists gathered for the opening of Saturday Night Live’s 27th season. Millions watched at home. During the cold open, Mayor Giuliani and members of the FDNY appeared on stage to encourage everyone to carry on. During the sketch, Lorne Michaels famously turned to Rudy Giuliani and asked, “Can we be funny?” Giuliani shrugged, “That’s not a question for me,” he said and took out a cell phone. He dialed the number and President McCain picked up. “Mr. President,” Giuliani said, “I have Lorne Michaels here. We’re about to start SNL, and he wants to know if they can be funny.” McCain’s voice crackled through the phone, “Why start now?” Giuliani then gave the famous, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday night!” (with an added emphasis on “from New York”).

The president became a fixture in other ways as well, appearing for interviews on every morning show, many cable stations, and evening news broadcasts in the week following the attacks. In one of the final interviews, on World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, the president explained why he had become so available in the wake of the attacks, “The American people are looking for leadership right now, and I want everyone at home to know that I am completely committed to getting us up and running again – and we are. From the little things, like Saturday Night Live, to markets and businesses in New York and Virginia – America is coming back from this, and we will be stronger than ever. I am proud of my country – I always have been, but I am especially proud of my country for answering this moment.” His approval rating topped 98% in the wake of the attacks. America was unified behind its president.

In the midst of these legislative debates, Congress was again consumed with worry as congressional leaders and members of the news media fell victim to the 2001 anthrax attacks. Prominent Americans, including Tom Brokaw and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, received cryptic messages laced with anthrax. For almost a month, Americans were consumed with worry. President McCain urged caution as Americans went to their mailboxes, but inside the White House he was determined to name a suspect. He sought to pin the attacks on Al Qaeda in order to garner additional evidence and rationale for the War on Terror, but FBI Director Robert Mueller pushed back on this effort, saying that there was little reason to believe bin Laden and his organization were responsible.

Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Liz Cheney approached Marc Grossman, Under Secretary for Political Affairs, and suggested there was a possibility that Iraq was behind the attacks. She said that she didn’t believe there was direct evidence, but she pieced together circumstantial evidence that she found compelling. Though it is not entirely clear how, the report ended up in front of President McCain who brought it to FBI Director Rob Mueller and demanded that the FBI pursue the Iraqi lead. Steve Schmidt talked the president out of publicly mentioning Iraq before more evidence could be found. Mueller and some in the State Department dismissed Cheney’s report, but McCain appreciated her willingness to think boldly about Middle Eastern affairs.



Liz Cheney, the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, began to figure prominently in discussions about the War on Terror.

While a series of aids packages and the authorization of force against Afghanistan made it through with relative ease, there were behind-the-scenes concerns about the president’s proposed PATRIOT Act. Privately, some legislators felt that it went too far, and while they were able to make the legislation sunset on December 31, 2007, but they otherwise lacked the political capital to make more substantive changes. President McCain signed the legislation, which substantially increased powers for intelligence-gathering agencies, on October 24, 2001.

Ten days later, the 53rd Primetime Emmy Awards convened at the Shubert Theatre after being postponed twice due to events surrounding the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Ellen DeGeneres hosted the event. HBO’s The Sopranos led the Awards with nominations but NBC’s The West Wing took home five awards: Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Bradley Whitford), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Allison Janney), Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series (Oliver Platt), and Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series (Thomas Schlamme). The event ended with Barbara Streisand, who performed “You’ll Never Walk Alone” in honor of the victims of the attacks.

As the nation recovered from the 9/11 attacks, President McCain faced his own personal tribulation. In 2000, after the Republican National Convention in 2000, McCain had a surgery to remove cancer that had more deeply penetrated the left side of his face. While he appeared on the campaign trail with scars shortly after the surgery, he and the campaign insisted he was in fine health, and his doctors agreed that with the cancer removed, he was able to perform the duties as president. In November of 2001, more cancer was found on the president’s face, forcing another operation. White House Press Secretary Howard Opinsky explained that the cancer was “superficial” and was only being removed out of an abundance of caution. During the surgery, presidential powers were temporarily reassigned to Vice President Bill Frist. The day passed without incident, and McCain quickly returned to the White House and reassumed his duties.

Later that month, McCain traveled to Arlington National Cemetery, where he spoke on Veterans’ Day. A few days after that, he signed the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, which created the Transportation Security Administration. He also participated in a renaming of the Department of Justice Building in honor of Robert F. Kennedy, the late senator and Attorney General. With the attacks on America retreating from view, Americans were continuing to heal and go about their regular business, but the economy had noticeably slowed. The president met with Congressional leaders in hopes of passing a stimulus bill to jolt the economy into further action. Conservatives were stonewalling but quickly relented to the president. It became clear who had all of the leverage in Washington as McCain’s approvals still hovered around 80%.
 
Bush Leaving Political Scene


BUSH LEAVING POLITICAL SCENE
BY NORIE WHITEHEAD || NOVEMBER 2001


(AUSTIN, TX) -- Texas Governor George W. Bush, who ran a failed campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, announced today that he will not seek a third term as Governor of Texas. He also announced he would not be a candidate for the United States Senate in 2002. Bush's announcement ends months of speculation about his political future. He had previously indicated that he would pursue a Senate bid in 2002, with some hoping it would pave the way for a second try for the Republican nomination in 2008. Bush has said that he doesn't see another presidential run in his future, but he refused to completely rule it out. "I'm not ruling anything out down the line, but I can tell you this: John McCain's doing a fine job. What happens after that, I don't know," the Texas governor said.

Bush's announcement throws Texas politics into a flurry. With Bill Archer well on his way to victory in the November 2001 special election, Republicans had expected that Bush encouraged Archer to run so he could have more time to prepare for his own campaign. Archer has repeatedly said he will not stand as a candidate for reelection in 2002. The likely nominee is Lt. Governor Rick Perry, who has increasingly been interested in going to Washington as opposed to succeeding Bush as governor in Austin. Sources at the NRSC say they prefer that John Cornyn, the Texas Attorney General, run for the seat in 2002, but Cornyn is not interested in primarying Perry. If Perry wants the Senate seat, Cornyn will simply run for governor, sources say.

It is not immediately clear what is next for Bush, who is now faced with the prospect of finding a new career at the relatively young age of 54. Some say the governor is looking at purchasing the Texas Rangers again. Others say he is planning to publish a book about his father and otherwise live a private life. As for the Bush family's political prospects, all eyes turn to Jeb Bush, the Florida governor, who is up for reelection in 2002. Assuming he wins, he will be the only Bush in public office. Many expect him to gear up for a presidential campaign in 2008. He will be term-limited and prevented from seeking reelection in 2006, giving him an easy exit from the Governor's Mansion just in time to mount a White House campaign.

President McCain issued a brief statement in support of Bush's decision, encouraging him to spend time with his family. "George W. Bush is one of many Bushes who has served his nation with distinction. Cindy and I wish him the best possible future, and I will continue to rely on him for his wisdom and guidance in the months and years ahead," the statement read. McCain has reportedly reached out to Bush several times since taking office in an attempt to mend their relationship after a particularly nasty battle for the Republican nomination. They have had several conversations but the relationship remains on ice.
 
Brilliant writing. I love the format and character building, along with some formidable cross-party appointments in the McCain administration! Subbed, keep going :)
 
Trump Out of 9/11 Rebuilding Effort

Trump Out of 9/11 Rebuilding Effort
BY MICHAELA REINS || NOVEMBER 22, 2001


(New York, NY) -- In the wake of the tragic attacks on New York on September 11th, Mayor Rudy Giuliani has been working on a public-private partnership to help with rebuilding the World Trade Center and the Empire State Building (and surrounding areas) that were damaged during the attacks. Giuliani called the rebuilding of New York a top priority for his administration and vowed to have the city on track to rebuild by the time he leaves office in 2005. To help with the rebuilding effort, Giuliani brought in millionaire real estate developer Donald Trump who has a reputation that precedes him. The selection of Trump was panned by some but lauded by others who felt Trump's grandiose personality would help bring needed attention to just how severe the rebuilding effort will be.

Today, however, the Times has learned that Trump is out of the project after disagreements over the project around the Empire State Building. Sources close to the internal disputes claim that Trump wanted his name in the branding of the building. Trump himself confirmed that the naming of the building was one of the reasons for the falling out. Giuliani has repeatedly said publicly and privately that the new Empire State Building will be named as the Liberty Tower. Trump wanted it named the "Trump Freedom Tower" and has since left the project. The mayor said that Trump's departure was "unfortunate," believing that he could have been an asset to the rebuilding efforts. Other members of the commission, who asked to speak on the condition of anonymity because they need to work with Trump in the future, said they believed that Trump's actions were selfish, his temper explosive, and his comments unhelpful. One member said his leaving was a "blessing" for the project.

Senator Hillary Clinton commented on the story by saying she hopes "all New Yorkers" would come together and support the city's efforts to rebuild. She did not explicitly call out Trump but said it was important that the project "reflect the totality of the city" and not one particular individual. Senator Schumer's office declined to comment for this article.

After news broke that Trump would be leaving the project, he held a press conference at Trump Tower where he criticized Giuliani's leadership, calling him "weak." "People look at Rudy and they say oh what a great guy, oh what a leader - he isn't. He's weak. Let me tell ya, if I were mayor this attack would not have happened. New York would have been safe. I like mayors who keep us safe, alright?" Trump then admitted he was no longer involved in the project but argued it wasn't his fault. "Look, I was not doing this to help me. Frankly, it doesn't help me. I didn't need to be involved in this project, okay? But I did it cuz I wanted to be a nice guy. I didn't lose anyone, but I know people who did. It's tough. It's sad. I wanted to help - they didn't want me to help. Right now, I have the tallest building in lower Manhattan. That's just a fact. I'm hearing that, okay? A lot of people are talking about that. I wanted to be involved in the rebuilding, but if they didn't want me - fine. I don't care. It wasn't going to help me anyway."

Since the press conference, Trump's remarks have been criticized by many for unfairly blaming the attacks on Giuliani and for his apparent disregard for helping the city rebuild. Governor George Pataki called the remarks "disgraceful" and said that it was unfair to blame the attacks on anyone but Al Qaeda. "I am thankful for the real leaders in New York and around the country who are stepping up to help us move on," Pataki said.
 
7. To the Mountains
Chapter 7

To the Mountains


John McCain seemed particularly suited to lead the nation after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Historians would later note how perfectly suited John McCain seemed for the moment in which he was elected. He hailed from one of the nation’s preeminent military families, and he was elected to serve as Commander-in-Chief during one of the most unstable times in American foreign policy. He was a soldier, and he was ready to lead the country into battle. Surrounded by the top military minds, McCain chartered a course for Afghanistan that was focused on rooting out Al Qaeda and the Taliban. He wanted the operation to be heavy and swift with the goal of transitioning to a rebuilding phase by the start of McCain’s second term. He foresaw the war ending by 2008. As operations in Afghanistan began, McCain informed the Defense Department he wanted a withdrawal plan created. What conditions on the ground would it take to safely return American troops home? How long would a withdrawal need to last? How many troops would remain to keep the peace and for how long?

The operation in Afghanistan began with a sustained bombing campaign, targeting suspected training camps for Al Qaeda as well as Taliban troops and air defenses. It was quickly followed with a ground invasion. McCain was afraid that waiting too long to get troops on the ground would give time for many Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders to escape into Pakistan. In November 2001, just over 2,000 American troops landed on the ground in Afghanistan. Earlier, American troops teamed up with the Northern Alliance who were already on the ground and helped take several major cities from the Taliban. Those efforts were now supported by sustained a military presence. In December 2001, at the Bonn Conference, leaders convened and elected Hamid Karzai as the interim leader of the Afghani government.

McCain was adamant that the American intelligence community work to locate Osama bin Laden, arguing that finding him and bringing him to justice had to be a top priority of any sustained military presence in the Middle East. It prompted an intense bombing effort in the Tora Bora region, where many expected bin Laden was located. Yet, the McCain administration received no evidence that they had hit bin Laden.

In January of 2002, McCain attended a joint session of Congress to deliver his State of the Union address. The event was again held at the Eisenhower Theater of the Kennedy Center. The address centered on the president’s foreign policy and gave birth to the heart of the McCain Doctrine. Ahead of the speech, McCain consulted with various leaders in his cabinet and the intelligence community. Often, these voices conflicted – as did McCain’s mind. The president was torn in two directions. First, he wanted to respond to 9/11 in the most appropriate manner possible, that meant a concentrated effort on Afghanistan and rooting out Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations from the Middle East. However, the president also felt pulled to use the groundswell of support to take on other perceived threats against the nation – North Korea and Iraq, for example.



McCain knew Elizabeth Dole well from the 1996 and 2000 campaigns but didn't expect to rely on her advice as much as he did post-9/11.

Within the administration, Secretary of Defense Colin Powell was the most definitive cautionary voice. He stressed that the country could not adequately fight two wars of such a size and win both. Hussein, he argued, was a bad man but did not pose any immediate threat to the United States. His view was supported by UN Ambassador Elizabeth Dole who argued that gaining an international coalition or even international tolerance of an Iraqi invasion was going to be difficult at best and, in all likelihood, impossible. They found themselves opposed by Secretary of State Joe Lieberman, who himself was heavily influenced by Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Liz Cheney. National Security Adviser William Ball threaded these competing ideologies.

With the help of Powell, McCain crafted a litmus test for whether or not American response was warranted. In his 2002 State of the Union address, the president announced a “total” and “global” War on Terror, but he explained that military strikes and troop deployment would necessitate “clear and immediate risk” to the United States. “We are entering a new world,” McCain explained, “and I cannot promise the American people that I can predict exactly how sustained military efforts will go, but I can promise a steady hand a clear mind. I can promise that we will not needlessly entangle American lives in wars we cannot win, and I can, at the same time, assure every American that this administration will take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of our people.” He also committed to conducting the American operations with “dignity.” It was a delicate line but a clear one – and one that would be tested quickly after its announcement.

White House officials gathered in the Situation Room shortly after the president’s address for a full briefing on the situation in Iraq. Cheney led the briefing herself with Secretaries Powell and Lieberman, White House Chief of Staff Mike Murphy, William Ball, the national security adviser, and Elizabeth Dole, the UN Ambassador in attendance – among others. Cheney argued that Hussein was an unstable force in Iraq, that he could come to harbor Al Qaeda terrorists as they were driven from Iraq, and she cited the Iraq Liberation Act, which called for regime change in the nation. McCain was, at first, persuaded.



Secretary of Defense Colin Powell joined Elizabeth Dole as one of the preeminent skeptics of Liz Cheney's proposed Iraqi invasion.

Dole was the first to raise objections. A former rival for the Republican nomination, Dole had formerly served as the President of the American Red Cross during one of the organization’s most transformative periods. Her leadership at the organization was universally praised and it resulted in goodwill between Dole and other nations. At the UN, Dole had quickly gained a positive reputation. The American press heralded her for working with other nations to promote human rights and women’s education, and she was received well by the international press as well. These factors combined to give her added credibility within the McCain White House, even if she did not originally have it when appointed. McCain found her to be intelligent and clear in her convictions.

Dole did not directly contradict any of Cheney’s points. Instead, she argued that fighting two separate wars would deplete America’s ability to fight, adding that she deferred to Powell to speak more to that. Dole primarily centered her objections on the lack of international support for an invasion. When Secretary Lieberman disagreed with her, saying the support could be built, she challenged him. “With all due respect, Mr. Secretary, I’m in New York or on the phone with ambassadors on the security council every day. There is not a single one of them who is ready to jump on board. Even the United Kingdom is pushing back on me when I float the idea. We have to tread carefully, or at the very least be prepared to go this alone,” she argued.

Powell made absolutely clear what it would take to bring the military up to capacity for two wars of the needed scale. He refused to rule out that a draft would become necessary. “We have been supporting organizations in Iraq that want to democratize for many years,” he explained, “and there’s a reason they have not yet been successful – there is not an appetite for regime change within Iraq. If you don’t have that, you can’t successfully invade the nation and oust Saddam without a prolonged presence there.” Cheney fought back, arguing that the entire mission could be completed in “months,” saying that support for Saddam was, to borrow from the cliché, a mile wide and an inch deep.

“He’ll topple before we know it,” she concluded. Powell argued her position was dangerous, saying that she was overestimating military capability. He also argued that saturating the military too much would be a problem for Afghanistan. The pace in Afghanistan needed to be hastened, not slowed. If troops were removed so that the military could focus on Iraq, it would be disastrous.

“Afghanistan is a massive and important undergoing,” he argued, “and we can’t spread ourselves thin. It deserves – it needs – our full attention in order to be successful.”



President McCain was adamant about leading a military operation focused on rooting out Osama bin Laden.

It was not lost on McCain that the person with the best understanding of the military – both as a former soldier and as a leader of the Defense Department – was arguing that the United States was not in a position to fight the two wars. Dole also reminded the president of his own standard. “Iraq does not pose an immediate threat to the United States,” she argued. Without a threat, it was best not to invade.

McCain ultimately agreed but came away from the meeting further impressed with Cheney. He met with Lieberman, who also believed Cheney was a necessary voice within the administration going forward. They arranged to move the Deputy Secretary of State and move Cheney into that position. She was ultimately confirmed by the Senate with 73 votes. Seventeen Democrats, including Beau Biden, Russ Feingold, Patrick Leahy, and Paul Wellstone voted against Cheney’s confirmation, expressing concerns that she was “too eager” to move the United States to an “all-out” war footing.

Other advances were made in the War on Terror around this time. With the Battle of Tora Bora behind them, American military forces prepped for Operation Anaconda, which was to be a sustained military effort along the border with Pakistan to root out Al Qaeda cells. The president also announced the opening of Guantanamo Bay, which would hold prisoners of war, some of whom were classified as enemy combatants, indefinitely in an effort to gain intelligence and a greater understanding of how Al Qaeda operated. Internally, the Commander-in-Chief, a former prisoner of war himself, maintained that military personnel there was to strictly adhere to the Geneva conventions and there was to be absolutely zero use of torture to extract information from suspected terrorists.

In late-February, the United States launched Operation Anaconda. American forces moved in on the Shahi-Kot Valley and Arma Mountains in an effort to root out the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. While the operation resulted in the death of key Taliban leaders, it further proved how complicate the mission in Afghanistan would be while respecting the nation’s border with Afghanistan. Pakistan had been the opposite of a willing partner during the American invasion and made clear that it was willing to go after American troops that attacked its sovereignty. McCain, however, was growing increasingly convinced that there was no way to adequately attack Al Qaeda without crossing into Pakistan. He demanded that the intelligence community find proof that Pakistan was supporting the Taliban. The president was considering expanding the scope of the effort.
 
I must say, this is where this narrative seems to go against the grain of who McCain is. McCain was a neoconservative who agreed with the likes of Wolfowitz on the pressing need for intervention in Iraq.
 
I must say, this is where this narrative seems to go against the grain of who McCain is. McCain was a neoconservative who agreed with the likes of Wolfowitz on the pressing need for intervention in Iraq.
I agree but I don't think it's impossible to say that McCain might be swayed against it.
 
I must say, this is where this narrative seems to go against the grain of who McCain is. McCain was a neoconservative who agreed with the likes of Wolfowitz on the pressing need for intervention in Iraq.
I would actually challenge you a bit. I think this is a situation where Senator McCain is different than President McCain. As a follower, it was easy for McCain to drift and agree with a rationale that was being presented to him that confirmed biases and preconceived notions he had. As President, he’s getting more intelligence and is responsible for the decision.

In this article, McCain believes he would’ve been able to see through Iraq and while I agree completely that this is the advantage of hindsight, I think his explanation of why holds weight and can be useful to showing his thinking: https://time.com/3003299/john-mccain-iraq/.

I would also say that it’s worth considering what removing Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney from the equation means to the argument around Iraq. McCain is hearing different voices than Bush did. That said, conversation about Iraq is far from over. Regime change was in the 2000 platform OTL and was the stated policy under Clinton as well.

Watch this space, but I think McCain would have a different leadership style from Bush...
 
I would actually challenge you a bit. I think this is a situation where Senator McCain is different than President McCain. As a follower, it was easy for McCain to drift and agree with a rationale that was being presented to him that confirmed biases and preconceived notions he had. As President, he’s getting more intelligence and is responsible for the decision.

In this article, McCain believes he would’ve been able to see through Iraq and while I agree completely that this is the advantage of hindsight, I think his explanation of why holds weight and can be useful to showing his thinking: https://time.com/3003299/john-mccain-iraq/.

I would also say that it’s worth considering what removing Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney from the equation means to the argument around Iraq. McCain is hearing different voices than Bush did. That said, conversation about Iraq is far from over. Regime change was in the 2000 platform OTL and was the stated policy under Clinton as well.

Watch this space, but I think McCain would have a different leadership style from Bush...
I suspect that, while he’s going to be more committed to Afghanistan, he’s going to be bombing Iraq in a way that makes Clinton seem tame. He’s just not declaring war, but it’s everything-but when it comes to Saddam.
 
I would actually challenge you a bit. I think this is a situation where Senator McCain is different than President McCain. As a follower, it was easy for McCain to drift and agree with a rationale that was being presented to him that confirmed biases and preconceived notions he had. As President, he’s getting more intelligence and is responsible for the decision.

In this article, McCain believes he would’ve been able to see through Iraq and while I agree completely that this is the advantage of hindsight, I think his explanation of why holds weight and can be useful to showing his thinking: https://time.com/3003299/john-mccain-iraq/.

I would also say that it’s worth considering what removing Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney from the equation means to the argument around Iraq. McCain is hearing different voices than Bush did. That said, conversation about Iraq is far from over. Regime change was in the 2000 platform OTL and was the stated policy under Clinton as well.

Watch this space, but I think McCain would have a different leadership style from Bush...
I just don’t think that’s the case, as a senator he often led the charge (with just Lindsey Graham by his side) for war even when unpopular. Nonetheless, I do buy the argument that he would’ve put it off until enough troops could be committed to it.

It’s interesting to see though what no Iraq War does for Tony Blair’s reputation
 
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