John McCain was a chronic warmonger, not a war hero

Yonden Lhatoo sets the record straight about the US war veteran and elder statesman, who is being deified by even his lifelong political foes as a ‘true American hero’ following his death from brain cancer

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 September, 2018, 4:46pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 September, 2018, 5:57pm

“Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran,” John McCain once “jokingly” sang on the campaign trail in 2007 for the 2008 US presidential election.

The purported “war hero” and elder statesman was parodying the old Beach Boys anthem, Barbara Ann, when responding to a bloodthirsty potential voter demanding to know when the United States would send an “airmail message” to punish Iran for its nuclear ambitions.

I don’t know about the Beach Boys, but the lyrics of the Black Sabbath classic, War Pigs, spring to mind whenever I think of McCain: Generals gathered in their masses / Just like witches at black masses / Evil minds bent on destruction / Sorcerers of death’s construction.

You get the picture. Now hold that thought while you’re assaulted by saturation media coverage as what appears to be about half of America mourns the death of the Vietnam war veteran and six-term Arizona senator, who lost his final battle against brain cancer at the age of 81.

The eulogies are piling up, each trying to outdo the other in deifying him as a “true American hero”. But was he anything of that sort, really?

One man’s war hero is another’s war criminal. As a US Navy pilot in America’s totally unjustified war in Vietnam, McCain was part of the killing machine that conducted the indiscriminate slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children. Nothing heroic about that.

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He broke under torture during nearly six years of imprisonment after he was shot down in North Vietnam, but there are conflicting claims as to whether he was a “Hanoi Hilton Songbird” – one of those Americans who became collaborators during their incarceration at the notorious prison they nicknamed after the famous hotel.

Maybe US President Donald Trump wasn’t too far off the mark about McCain when he said in 2015: “He’s not a war hero. He’s a hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

Of course, that’s rich coming from a five-time draft dodger who avoided fighting for his country on the pretext of bone spurs, but you have to wonder what’s up with all the liberals and progressives lining up to sing McCain’s praises now, when they once used to despise him. His feud with Trump must be a factor because Trump haters will put anyone who confronts the US president on a pedestal.

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McCain’s rap sheet as a warmonger is so long, I don’t have enough column space to display it. He was by far the most homicidal advocate of American military intervention throughout his political career, out to bomb, bomb, bomb everyone and their mum, from the Serbians in 1999 to the Iraqis during both the first Gulf war in the 1990s and the invasion of 2003. Afghanistan, Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen – you name it, McCain wanted to nuke it.

So you can understand why there’s no shortage of grim jokes like this on the internet: why was John McCain far more knowledgeable and experienced than any US president in dealing with the Middle East? Because he fought there during the Crusades!

Oh, and his voting record in the US Congress will show you how much of a misogynist he was as well. Being a “true American hero” must be measured by complex metrics that outsiders can’t understand.

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Am I being insensitive and disrespectful at a time when his family is in mourning? Guilty as charged, but McCain was guilty of far, far worse. Sorry, his death does not suddenly wipe his slate clean.

Certainly, in this part of the world, we don’t have to pay our last respects at all. To McCain, we were just a bunch of people to be dismissed using the equivalent of the N-word for Asians.

“I hate the gooks,” he once declared. “I will hate them as long as I live.”

Well, he doesn’t have to any more. Yonden Lhatoo is the chief news editor at the Post