John McCain Gets Some Military Advice He Probably Didn’t Want to Hear

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John McCain, who never met a war he didn’t like, got into a heated exchange last week with Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. McCain, who was unhappy because Dempsey declined to tell him what private advice he had given President Obama about intervention in Syria, subsequently threatened to put a hold on Dempsey’s nomination for a second term.

Today McCain got his answer in a letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee. After laying out five options for military intervention in Syria, Dempsey made his feelings clear:

All of these options would likely further the narrow military objective of helping the opposition and placing more pressure on the regime. We have learned from the past 10 years; however, that it is not enough to simply alter the balance of military power without careful consideration of what is necessary in order to preserve a functioning state. We must anticipate and be prepared for the unintended consequences of our action. Should the regime’ s institutions collapse in the absence of a viable opposition, we could inadvertently empower extremists or unleash the very chemical weapons we seek to control.

I know that the decision to use force is not one that any of us takes lightly. It is no less than an act of war. As we weigh our options, we should be able to conclude with some confidence that the use of force will move us toward the intended outcome….Deeper involvement is hard to avoid.

Translation: You guys thought Afghanistan and Iraq were both brilliant ideas, didn’t you? Cakewalk city. Maybe this time you should think a little harder. Something tells me this wasn’t the private advice McCain was hoping to hear.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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