McCain is a bloodthirsty right wing warmonger. But he's not an outright sadist. That is the range of what passes for morality among the GOP candidates.
And by the way, he's losing because of it.
... No one seems to notice that, as with everything else in Iraq, the Iraqis are going to do what they want, when they want. When al-Sadr lays down his arms, there will be relative peace. When he takes them up, Americans will die in dozens.
Regardless, the fortunes of Iraq will turn on Iraqi decisions made in Baghdad and Najaf, not in Washington, D.C. and the halls of Congress. As this situation shows, peace in Iraq lies in the hands of Iraqis. It cannot—and will not—be forced by Americans at the point of a gun.