John McCain: An American Hero My Ass!
A Hero In What Way Exactly?
Is it just me or is all this constant talk of John McCain as "The Great American Hero" more than just a little bit ridiculous? Not only did he do nothing to earn the title, he actually did things most people would consider to be the antithesis of heroic. I mean, seriously, since when did slaughtering civilians make you a great hero?
The fact of the matter is McCain dropped bombs on Vietnamese towns and villages full of civilians with the intent of wiping them out. There were no military targets. Well, other than the civilians themselves. The American military may have considered the entire population of North Vietnam to be legitimate military targets - much like al Qaeda sees every American citizen as a legitimate target - but that doesn't change the fact that the intentional killing of civilians is, obviously, a war crime.
Yet, in America today, the idea that John McCain is a hero seems to be an indisputable fact. It's an article of faith, repeated ad nauseam in article after article, news piece after news piece. I mean, it's like holy script or a bad '80's song or something: "A hero, hero hero, oh he's such a hero to me".
Myself, I've always thought of heroes as people who helped others or did great things, often involving self-sacrifice or great risk to themselves. I'm talking about people like MLK, Gandhi, Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi or the guy who jumps in the river or runs into the burning house to save somebody else. Maybe it's just me, but slaughtering innocent villagers in their hundreds has just never struck me as something to praise and celebrate.
Yeah, it's true, McCain was most definitely captured and tortured by the North Vietnamese, but that doesn't by any means make him a hero. A victim, yes, like anyone else subjected to torture, but certainly not a hero.
You could also argue that McCain was a victim in that he was a young man brainwashed into going off to fight in a meaningless war on the other side of the world. However, being brainwashed doesn't make you a hero either. And, besides, the man was 30 years old when he started flying bombing raids... and he requested to fly them... and he was on his 23rd bombing mission when his plane went down ... and 23 bombing missions equals one hell of a lot of dead civilians.
So, the funny thing is, any way you look at it, the guy's a lot closer to being a war criminal than a hero.
And, the not-so-funny thing is, America is currently prosecuting people held in the gulag at Guantanamo Bay and plans to execute them for the crime of, you guessed it, killing innocent civilians. Unlike McCain's, however, their intentional killing of large numbers of innocent civilians is, for some reason, not considered all that heroic in America. Funny how that works, isn't it? Seems to have something to do with who's doing the mass slaughter... or torture, for that matter.
I mean, why is it that if a soldier on the ground executes a handful of civilians then it's a war crime, but if hundreds, or even thousands, are intentionally slaughtered from the air then it's somehow acceptable, even heroic?
Even in a country like America, with its obsession with military power and its pseudo-religious belief in military solutions to problems (some real, some imagined, some invented), not even in a country like this can the slaughter of innocent civilians be seen as heroic. Can it?
And let's remember that three million Vietnamese died in the Vietnam War. Three million! Mainly civilians.
As for those who say that the killing of civilians is just a sad part of war; well, yes, I agree... if it's accidental. But the mass slaughter of North Vietnamese, as America attempted to "bomb North Vietnam back into the Stone Age", can hardly be classified as accidental killing of civilians. It was the whole point. The civilians were the target.
Now, as for those who say the intentional killing of civilians is simply part of war; well, I've got nothing to say to such sad, amoral, cynical people. Of course, they would also, I'm sure, find little to condemn in the ways the Nazis conducted war. Nor, I suppose, would they have any qualms with the mass slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians at the hands of the Japanese army in Nanking (Nanjing) in 1937-38. But, forgetting for the moment all such apologists for civilian slaughter, let's just get back to the question at hand: How can a man who dropped bombs on civilian targets be considered a hero?
I should mention that this has nothing to do with presidential politics. I've been thinking this exact same thing for years now. Whenever an article or newscast referred to John McCain as a hero I would just shake my head. Obviously, however, we hear a lot more about "The Hero McCain" these days than we did before he was the Republican's nominee for president.
This isn't really an attack on the character of John McCain so much as it is an attack on anyone who claims that it is heroic to slaughter civilians "for your country". Either on the ground or from the air.
And, in fact, this isn't so much about John McCain, character or otherwise, than it is about the American notion of what it means to be a hero. It would seem that in some ways McCain is just another in a long line of American killers glorified for being really good at mass slaughter. Just another modern-day Custer (or any of the other butchers of large numbers of innocent Native Americans, babies and all).
Speaking of which, I wonder, do you think anyone still actually considers Custer to be a hero?
Mike Cowie (Oredakedo)
Monday, July 7th, 2008
And for another recent piece on American Politics read this: The Obama Rave or The Audacity Of Hoping For The Obvious Choice
And for another check this out: The Wright Stuff: The Jeremiah Wright Rave
Or try this: History Has Spoken: Bush Finally Seals The Deal
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