Associated Press photo
An ambitious John “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran” McCain shakes the hand of President Richard Nixon in 1973, not too long after his having been held as a POW in Vietnam. The warhawk McCain shamelessly has used his POW status for political and personal gain ever since, and there probably isn’t a nation on the globe he thinks the U.S. military shouldn’t bomb.
Repugnican U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona indeed is no war hero, but not for the reason that Repugnican presidential aspirant Donald “The Mouth” Trump infamously recently cited.
At an event in Iowa yesterday, Trump declared of McCain: “”He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.”
The left-leaning Margaret Cho similarly quipped in 2008, when McCain was running for the White House: “I am not voting for McCain. I hope that is obvious. I am sick of everyone saying, ‘He was a good soldier. He was a good soldier.’ Um, yeah. He was captured. So he was not that good!”
(I don’t recall Cho’s comment as having created a shit storm then. Of course, she wasn’t running for president…)
To me, if the war was unjust, as the Vietnam War was, it’s difficult to call anyone who participated in it on the American side a “war hero.” How does something just and heroic emerge from something that was inherently unjust and unheroic?
Only perhaps if someone was drafted — forced into — fighting in an unjust war that he or she had recognized as unjust (which was not the case with McCain in the Vietnam War) might we be able to call his or her brave actions during that war “heroic,” but the war itself still remains unjust.
But with John McCain, it goes further than that. I lived in Arizona from my birth in 1968 to my overdue departure from the state in 1998, and I recall McCain’s television ads for his U.S. Senate bids. It was POW, POW, POW, POW, POW, POW. It was POW 24/7, all POW, all the time. (McCain, whose U.S. Navy plane was shot down over Vietnam in 1967, was captured and kept as a POW for five years.)
Clearly, the message was that you were to vote for McCain — or you hate POWs. (You hate freedom! You love Commies!)
I was shocked that McCain didn’t exploit the POW thing much, much more than he did when he ran for the White House in 2008. Maybe he wanted to and his advisers advised him to cool it, since it is unseemly to exploit one’s POW status for political and personal gain.
Those who are rushing to defend McCain against Trump right now are simply sheeple who can’t worship the U.S. military enough, despite the fact that the bloated-bey0nd-belief military-corporate complex has sucked up our national resources and is killing us like stage-four cancer and has caused untold suffering to millions and millions of innocent people abroad.
(Um, yeah, the U.S. military exists primarily to enforce the existing global socioeconomic status quo, in which Americans continue to enjoy a quality of life that is crazy-better than the quality of life of the planet’s average human inhabitant, and that comes at the average human inhabitants’ expense. “Spreading democracy” — riiiiggghhhht!)
That said, of course baby boomer Trump, who, like his fellow Repugnican baby-boomer chickenhawks George W. Bush and Dick Cheney (and many others of that demographic), avoided the Vietnam War, so for him to be criticizing McCain’s performance in the Vietnam War is beyond hypocritical.
But I still say that McCain is no war hero, as not only was the war he voluntarily fought in unjust — Vietnam never had posed a real threat to the United States, and estimates of the number of people who died because of the war (the vast majority of them Vietnamese, of course) range from 1.5 million to 3.6 million, of which the hundreds of Vietnamese civilians slaughtered by mass-murderous U.S. troops in the My Lai Massacre of 1968 were only a tiny fraction — but also as that true war heroes don’t boast about their (supposed) war heroism for personal and political gain.
John McCain, whose almost-30-year Senate record has been unremarkable, for years has benefited from the fact that it’s taboo to openly disagree with or to show anything other than worshipfulness for a former POW. Had McCain never been a POW (which obviously was no accomplishment) and then shamelessly exploited it, I seriously doubt that he’d be where he is now. That’s some sick shit.
Still, it’s great to watch the infighting within the Repugnican Tea Party. “Clown car” is overused but it’s quite an apt description.