The mother is saying that Mr. McCain can't have her son Alex for this war, the Iraq war. She is not talking about the general defense of the United States.
It does not seem to me selfish to refuse to participate in an unjust war. This war was foisted on the American people by a President who selfishly lied about the causi belli so he could attain an important place in history. This war has been a pig trough for many contractors who selfishly placed their employees on the payroll of overseas subsidiaries so that they would not have to pay US taxes.
This was has been, until recently, a disaster in its execution because the generals of the high command refused to speak truth to the President about the troop levels needed so they could selfishly retain their positions; none wanted to follow the example of General Shinseki, a true patriot who paid the price of a curtailed career for telling us the truth.
Finally, all of us have selfishly carried on with business as usual, refusing to pay higher taxes to cover the costs of the war. Alex, our children and our grandchildren will have to pay the price.
Sent to New York Times