Monday, April 7, 2008

John McCain, War Hero

John McCain, War Hero
By Jerome Grossman

Up to this point in the race for president of the United States, the uncrowned but virtually certain nominee of the Republican Party, Senator John McCain, is doing remarkably well in the public opinion polls. McCain is holding his own against both Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton. According to all the polls, if the election were held today, he would have an even chance of victory.

This is surprising because of the political difficulties of the Republican Party; short of money, besieged by factional quarrels, a support base with less than customary enthusiasm, an unpopular president presiding over an economy in recession and two unresolved wars.

Yet, McCain is competitive in spite of these overwhelming negatives. One explanation offered is his life history, especially his military service in the Vietnam War. As squadron leader in combat flying, he was shot down, gravely wounded, captured by the enemy, held prisoner for five years, and tortured by his Vietnamese captors. Obama and Clinton have no military experience.

Could this heroic experience be the basis for his political popularity? The American voters have often rewarded their military heroes with the presidency, among them George Washington, Andrew Jackson, William Harrison, Ulysses Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and George H. W. Bush (the father).

However, in the last four elections, authentic war heroes were defeated by rivals who not only did not serve but appeared to have made special efforts not to serve. In 1992, war hero George H. W. Bush (the father) lost to Bill Clinton. In 1996 war hero Bob Dole lost to Bill Clinton. In 2000, war hero Al Gore lost to George W. Bush (the son). In 2004, war hero John Kerry lost to George W. Bush. It is difficult to explain the political rejection of these war heroes, while most Americans intensely “support the troops,” wherever they are, whatever they do.

On Election Day, 2008, the United States will be engaged in at least two wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the same time it will have the largest military budget in the history of the world plus 737 military bases in 130 countries on every continent. McCain is gung-ho for the two wars and very supportive of the military program. Will the election of war hero John McCain be regarded as another ratification of US military policy by the American public, a policy which includes the entire planet as its sphere of influence and operation? Will President McCain rely on his military experience and U.S. military dominance to solve the inevitable problems posed by American hegemony?

3 comments:

an average patriot said...

Jerome
First I have to tell you that it ter of spin! I thought I sent this before but maybe not.A serious fraud is being perpetuated on the American Public; the fraud of John McCain.
The Senator casts himself in the light of a patriot, someone who is ‘duty-bound’ and ‘honor-bound’ to serve America. But a close look at McCain’s life reveals quite the opposite.

John McCain is a self-serving glory hound who only cares about obtaining honor for his own satisfaction. His Grandfather was a Navy Admiral as was his Father. No doubt John felt a strong need to distinguish himself from the shadows cast by their long careers. John needed glory and honor early and often to help prove himself to his family.

Reality is John was a problem child with a horrible temper. In school they called him ‘McNasty’. He never would have made it into the Naval Academy or graduated without the help of his father.

Yes, McCain served in the Vietnam War which is more than we can say about George W Bush. Yes he was a POW and by most accounts was tortured. But at the same time he collaborated with the North Vietnamese in hopes of obtaining better treatment. He gave up military secrets and made pro-North Vietnamese broadcasts. When McCain was released from the Hanoi Hilton he would have been court-martialed for violating the UCMJ if his father had not intervened.

McCain returned to military service after rehabilitation. His hope was to become an Admiral. By 1979 his military career had stalled. He wasn't going to get promoted any further thus he turned his ambition to politics.

McCain cheated on his first wife with his current wife Cindy, who happens to be a wealthy heiress. With her money and connections McCain had enough backing to enter the political arena. She introduced him to Charles Keating. McCain’s mind turned to money and how to use his political office to benefit his own ambition.

In 1993 McCain blocked the release of classified documents relating to MIA/POW’s of the Vietnam War. Once again McCain’s concern was for himself. He feared that records of his own POW experience, including documents relating to his collaboration with the North, would jeopardize his political career.

By 1999 McCain had survived the S&L scandal as a member of the Keating Five and was able to tamp down protests by fellow Vietnam Vets and POW’s over his blocking of classified documents. McCain recast himself as ‘The Maverick’ and the ‘Straight Talker’ who was going to take Republicans and Democrats to task. He wasn’t going to bow down to special interests or the rabid evangelical right. He claimed to be more Independent than Republican and gained broad public appeal as well as love from an adoring media.

In 2000 Bush and Rove tore McCain to shreds effectively stopping the straight talk express in its tracks. Disheveled and defeated McCain retreated. He did what no one thought he would ever do; he kissed Bush’s ring. He then went on to apologize to the evangelical right-wing Christian community. He gave speeches at Pat Robertson’s university hoping to make amends.

Once again McCain put his own political career before his integrity. McCain put himself before country. That, my friends, is not a patriot but a traitor.

Perhaps the worst transgressions committed by McCain would come during the Bush Presidency. McCain continued to support Bush lock-step on nearly ever issue. After fighting in the Vietnam War and seeing what a tragedy it was for the country, many expected McCain to come out against the invasion of Iraq. He had the experience, wisdom, and knowledge to know better. He had the political experience and public exposure to make a difference.

Instead McCain sided with Bush. McCain became a cheerleader for the occupation of Iraq. McCain supported torture. McCain went on to support nearly everything Bush/Cheney said and did.

If McCain were a true patriot he would have put America before his own political ambition. He didn’t. Instead he sold America out for his own chance to become President. McCain wants to be President not to ‘serve’ America. McCain wants to be President so he can finally climb out of the long shadows cast by his father and grandfather. McCain is still trying to prove himself. McCain still wants to obtain honor from war not for America but for himself to prove to his ancestors that he is worthy.

McCain is still that ill-tempered nasty little boy trying to obtain the approval and affection of his father. Except now he substitutes the American People for his father. As usual when he doesn’t get the approval he so desires he lashes out and flashes that McNasty temper.

McCain is no patriot. The pattern of his life is clear; McCain does what McCain thinks will help McCain. That’s not patriotic, that’s egomania cal.

Safety Valve: Letters from readers

No hero

After reading the letter from William Miller (The Safety Valve, March 26), I feel compelled to make a few observations.

As a Vietnam veteran, I have taken some time to acquaint myself with the history of John McCain. My interest peaked during the Senate POW/MIA hearings during the early 1990s. The senator's outrageous behavior during those hearings convinced me that he was a despicable and dishonest character.

In the senator's book, "Faith of My Fathers," McCain admitted that he had dishonored himself by giving military information to his interrogators. He was NOT, however, at all honest about what he actually did. John McCain was NOT tortured before he expressed a willingness to trade military information for medical treatment. At that point, his actions were motivated solely by self-interest. And while I can sympathize with McCain's situation at the time, his actions were clearly a violation of the Military Code of Conduct, actions which can hardly be considered "heroic."

My main beef with the senator is his willingness to be portrayed as a heroic figure. He is not.

Nowhere will you read anything about his collaboration with the North Vietnamese. And, make no mistake about it, more than 30 anti-war, anti-American propaganda broadcasts certainly qualify as collaboration. Had McCain not been the son and grandson of Navy admirals, it is likely he would have faced a court-martial upon his release.

Readers should consider that McCain knew, full well, that he was being treated more leniently than the other prisoners in his compound. He states so, directly, in his book.

Do not mistake my position. I certainly applaud John McCain for surviving his ordeal. As a Marine who served two tours in Vietnam, I often wondered how I would handle captivity. Fortunately, I never had to find out. I have no illusions concerning my ability to withstand prolonged, intense physical pain. However, I would never parade myself as a hero nor would I allow others to make that claim on my behalf.

Richard Montgomery

Palm Bay, Fla

Resources:

Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain

THE U.S. VETERAN DISPATCH - Information on the REAL McCain

John McCain Is No "Hero POW"

Luck Of The Admiral's Son Not For "Grunts"

Call to distribute film, Expose Traitor McCain

an average patriot said...

Jerome
I don't know what happened but I see the beginning of my comment is gone.I included a link because you were on target with Condi and she is courting McCain to be his Veep!
Then I wanted to say McCain is not a war hero hero but like all good underhanded Politicians has learned to be a master of spin.

SteveMDFP said...

New scholarship documents McCain's betrayal of his fellow Vietnam POWs and their families:

McCain and the POW Cover-up http://www.nationinstitute.org/p/schanberg09182008pt1

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