A reader writes:
In your endorsement, you outline your case against continuing military action in Iraq, which you now say you were wrong to so strenuously favor in the first place. But your reasons for now opposing the war, namely that WMDs were not found, that the Bush administration was incompetent in its prosecution of the war, and so on, are fundamentally different than Paul's. His view of the war is that it is, and always was, fundamentally illegitimate and unconstitutional. As he puts it on his campaign website, "no war should ever be fought without a declaration of war voted upon by the Congress, as required by the Constitution." That position is not reconcilable with your views on the war, either in 2002 or now. Indeed, Paul's broad foreign-policy isolationism is so incompatible with your general foreign policy views that I can only conclude that your endorsement of Paul is an emotional one, and not a serious one.
Another reader writes:
...your choice seems to turn on the Iraq issue and I must share why I disagree here. The nature of America's future involvement in the country can no longer be evaluated against the original aims of the invasion, all of which are (and probably were in March 2003) out of reach. But McCain recognizes this as much as anyone else. He is not under the illusion that we will live a thriving democracy behind us, or find caches of weapons of mass destruction, or catalyze the growth of liberal democracy throughout the Middle East. His goal is to leave Iraq with a functioning government and the ability to defend itself after the departure of American troops. Any prudent statesman must choose between those limited goals and a withdrawal that assures a humanitarian crisis and instability at the heart of a geopolitically crucial region. I am not too certain that your importuning for a prudent withdrawal is any different that Sen. McCain's definition of victory. But I am certain that a hasty and dangerous withdrawal is more likely under an Obama or a Paul presidency than a McCain one. And so I must back the senior Senator from Arizona.
Do you really think Paul has the gravitas of a McCain?
Do you think Paul has the weight to change the system? Do you see Paul dealing with the future prime minister of Russia? You wrote your latest book about renewing the conservative movement. Who better to do that than McCain. You want balance budgets: You'll get it with McCain. You want a sane environmental policy: You'll get it with McCain. You want someone who will unite the county under moderate-conservatism (which would be better than Obama uniting the country under liberalism): You'll get it with McCain. At the very least, you should've done a dual endorsement. You could at least say that McCain would an acceptable choice in the GOP primary.
Another reader writes:
I think you have overlooked (or at least given insufficient weight) to one point. McCain is far more likely to be able proceed with War Crimes trials against those guilty of torture. And alone among the candidates from either party, he can do so without the distraction of charges of doing so for political reasons. Even if he goes all the way to the top.
The United States has long contented that we do not need to belong to the International Court because our own laws are sufficient to deal with war criminals. We really, really need to demonstrate the truth of that position. McCain at least gives us a shot at doing so. I just can't see it happening under any of the other candidates. Including Paul.