Okay, here's my theory about John McCain. People have wondered what effect(s) his 5 years in Hanoi had on him. He (amazingly) claims its had no negative effect, but his approach to challenges suggests otherwise. I think McCain, for all intents and purposes, missed the Vietnam War. Through no fault of his own, he didn't get a chance to fight in the way that he wanted. He wanted to be a hero. One might argue that he needed to be a hero to stand toe-to-toe with the legends of his father and grandfather. And while he certainly embraces the hero mantel placed upon him for surviving torture, I don't believe that McCain feels its genuine enough, because it wasn't done in battle. The only person he saved was himself.
So what does he do? After he fails to advance further in the military due to injuries from captivity, he eventually gets elected to the Senate, and goes about pissing people off on a regular basis because he really loves the fight. He calls himself "maverick" but one could just as easily call him a "contrarian". He wants to see himself as a warrior and creates situations where that will be his role. So here we are now, in the 11th hour of the presidential campaign, and McCain is reprising his earlier mantra "I choose to fight!". In a way, its all he knows. When he talks about winning in Iraq, we all know what he's really talking about. He's still fighting another war in another time. Only this time he wants us to give him the power to play this out on the grandest scale of all. For me, that's a bit too much to ask to assuage one man's battered ego. We've seen that play the last eight years. We know how it ends---badly.