See thru the propaganda. See the manufactured McCain.

Summary: At moments like the death of McCain we can see the propaganda that maintains our political regime. If we look. Our rulers overreach themselves, and the false words flow freely. In these moments we can learn much, if we wish to do so.

“Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness – and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe.”
— Arundhati Roy in “Confronting Empire”, 27 January 2003.

Remembering John McCain

The Manufactured McCain:
Lifting Up A Bloodstained, Lying, Venal Servant of Capitalist Empire

By Bruce A. Dixon. From the Black Agenda Report.
Reposted with their generous permission.
Graphics added.

The Manufactured McCain and the Real McCain.

There’s a real John Sidney McCain III and there’s a fake one, manufactured for the public relations of US empire. Imperial PR needs to justify, even sanctify the ecocidal and genocidal rule of the rich by portraying its servants not as the venal and bloodthirsty thieves they are, but as the brightest, the best, the most noble and deserving among us. The Manufactured McCain whom the corporate media will spend another week on top of the previous one lifting up to the heavens bears only passing resemblance to the real John McCain. The real McCain was no hero. He was a lying, bribe taking, neo-nazi sympathizing politician and war criminal, who served the US empire and himself for all of his long life. …

The real John McCain was born in 1936 in US occupied Panama, which the empire’s law at the time considered an “unincorporated territory of the US.” That’s why McCain never took part in the Republican birther craze, which falsely claims that Barack Obama was born in Kenya, and why the Manufactured McCain never talked much about his birthplace.

Shadows of John McCain

The real John McCain spent many childhood summers at Teoc, the 2,000 acre Carroll County Mississippi plantation which belonged to his great great grandfather Dr. William Alexander McCain. The antebellum McCains once owned at least 52 slaves who made their masters quite wealthy raising corn and cotton. There are still black McCains in Carroll County whose ancestors were owned by white McCains with whom they neither claim nor deny any blood kinship. The black McCains hold a family reunion every other year, and though they did invite Senator McCain he never attended.

One of William Alexander McCain’s grandsons made brigadier general in the US Army, and another, Henry Pinkney McCain was a US Army major general. A third of Dr. McCain’s grandsons was Senator McCain’s grandfather, a 4 star US Navy Admiral. His son, Senator McCain’s father was also a 4 star US Navy admiral. Their ancestors include officers in the American Revolutions related to the family of George Washington.

Despite the real McCain’s military-aristocratic lineage and those childhood summers on the plantation, the Manufactured McCain campaigning for president in 2000 ridiculously claimed he didn’t think his family had ever owned any slaves. Reporters had to produce with the names and descriptions of 52 McCain plantation slaves before the Manufactured McCain acknowledged his family had been slaveholders. “It makes sense… I didn’t know that,” he reportedly said.

John McCain - Warmonger

The manufactured war hero
……. vs. the real accident-prone pilot.

The Manufactured McCain sometimes called himself a “fighter pilot.” That’s not what the US Navy called the Real McCain. In navy language, fighter pilots are the elite of the elite, the ones who fight other planes in the air. The Real McCain flew ground attack aircraft, which in Vietnam meant bombing mostly undefended civilian ground targets.

The real McCain was a slipshod and reckless pilot who totaled 3 aircraft in incidents where navy investigators pinned the cause of the crash upon lapses in pilot’s judgment, in each and every case contradicting the Real McCain’s official reports of those accidents. A 2008 Los Angeles Times article titled “McCain’s Mishaps in the Cockpit” by Ralph Vartabedian and Richard A. Serrano examines the Real McCain’s 3 plane crashes in some detail. Aircraft are not cheap, and it’s hard to believe any military on earth allows pilots with three at-fault plane crashes to keep his wings. That is, unless you’re US Navy royalty, the son and the grandson of admirals.

Decades later, as a politician writing one or another version of his autobiography the Manufactured McCain was more truthful, describing a 1961 incident in which he flew into power lines in southern Spain causing a local blackout, as “daredevil clowning.” He managed to bring the plane back to the carrier that time, trailing ten feet of power line, so that didn’t count among the Real McCain’s at-fault plane crashes.

McCain was assigned to Yankee station off the coast of North Vietnam where he took part in Operation Rolling Thunder, the US code name for 31 months of the bombing of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and killed tens of thousands of civilians at the very least. McCain flew 27 ground attack missions before being shot down in October 1967 trying to bomb a Hanoi power plant. Many have argued that bombing undefended civilian targets is a war crime. That’s certainly the way the Vietnamese viewed the matter, and they subjected the already seriously injured McCain and other downed US pilots to close confinement and torture. His own mistreatment during 5 years as a prisoner of war was the reason why Senator John McCain would later publicly disagree with 21st century US policy that publicly embraced the idea of torture.

When the Vietnamese discovered that McCain was US Navy royalty, they sensibly offered him early release ahead of pilots captured before him. Just as sensibly, he refused the offer, and the manufactured narrative of John McCain as the heroic prisoner of war began to be established, and since has been added to many times by his own writing and speeches and by others connected to actual events and not. Released after five and a half years imprisonment, he was already a kind of celebrity. McCain remained in the Navy several years after his release. His final Navy assignment was US Navy liaison to the Senate. During this time he divorced his first wife and married Cindy Hensley, daughter of one of the biggest beer distributors in the country. Hobnobbing with politicians and military contractors seemed to suit him, so he left the navy in 1981, as Jeff Gates put, cashing in his war hero chits to start a political career.

The Manufactured McCain:
….. the straight talking war hero as venal bribe taking politician.

John McCain goes to war

While still in the Navy McCain had campaigned for Ronald Reagan vigorously enough to earn warnings from his superiors, and to be a frequent guest of honor at Reagan dinners. He moved to Arizona to campaign for Congress. According to Jeff Gates’ book Guilt by Association: How Deception and Self-Deceit Took America to War, his wife received a gift of $689,000 from her wealthy family just before or at the beginning of his congressional run, which probably enabled him to lend his own campaign $167,000. McCain’s prenuptial agreement allowed him to omit his wife’s multimillion dollar income and holdings from public financial disclosures.

Fresh from his insider stint as Reagan’s favorite dinner guest Navy liaison to the Senate he campaigned as the straight talking political outsider and war hero, winning election in 1982. and again 1984. As expected, Arizona senator Barry Goldwater, who’d been the 1968 Republican presidential candidate retired in 1986 and McCain won the seat. Among the early investors in McCain’s political career was a Phoenix millionaire Charles Keating who got in on the ground floor. According to Gates in the aforementioned book:

“Keating family members and employees made 40 donations to his first congressional campaign, at least 32 to his second… no less than 45 when ran for the Senate in 1986…

“The McCains made 9 vacation trips on a jet owned by Keating’s company including… trips to Keating’s posh resort in the Bahamas. Only after the S&L scandal years later did McCain reimburse Keating…

“McCain’s wife and father in law invested $359,000 in a Keating shopping mall deal. Their profit remains unknown.”

In 1984 Keating bought a California savings and loan with 26 branches. Under Presidents Carter and Reagan restrictions on how and what savings and loan institutions could invest had been repeatedly loosened. Keating was one who pushed even these limits and purchased legislators by the pocketful to sometimes meet directly with federal regulators to argue his case. The so-called Keating Five were a handful of senators receiving $1.3 million in contributions, of which McCain got $112,000. They met with federal regulators on a number of occasions, and according to one regulator, argued Keating’s case like defense lawyers. Republican John McCain was one of these, along with Democrats John Glenn and Alan Cranston and two others.

A few years later, 1,038 Savings and Loan institutions went belly-up, causing the savings of hundreds of thousand to vanish overnight, and the fund which supposedly insured them unable to cover the losses. The $150 billion savings and loan scandal was the biggest financial crisis in recent history till the crash of 2007-2008 and bribes paid to the real McCain were directly instrumental to making it happen.

McCain was to spend 32 years in the Senate, and became the go-to guy for a galaxy of military contractors, telecoms, Big Ag, Big Real Estate, Big Pharma, Big Energy and more, and the Manufactured McCain ran for president in 2000 and 2008.

From 1992 till weeks before his death John McCain served as chairman of the International Republican Institute, a US government-funded organization that interferes in the political processes of scores of other countries, training rebel groups to overthrow inconvenient elected governments, like that of John Bertrand Aristide in Haiti, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and many others. McCain and the IRI were prominent backers of neo-nazi politicians and armed militia groups in Ukraine who are now part of that country’s army and civilian government.

To be fair, the Obama administration and Democrat Hillary Clinton were big backers and enablers of the same forces. After all this is the US, where we do have two government parties to choose from, not just one as in some backward and benighted places. Democrats and many in the so-called resistance are throwing flowers at the grave of John McCain. It’s a bipartisan thing.

During his 32 years in the US Senate, the real John McCain was a consistent warmonger, advocating US military intervention in Africa, South America, Korea, and almost everywhere. He sang “bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran” before a veterans group, and called demonstrators against Henry Kissinger “despicable scum.” The record of his public calls for coups, invasions, blockades, bombings and assassinations to advance US military and economic domination of the planet is far too long to list.

All this explains why corporate media are lifting up their whitewashed and manufactured version of John McCain. He’s one of their own, a genuine war criminal and loyal servant of capital. Lifting him up, creating and embellishing his heroic story lifts up and legitimizes the rule of the rich. Now they’ll be looking for parks, schools and airports to name after him. Just as the elementary school in Aaron McGruder’s “Boondocks” was named after J. Edgar Hoover, we’ll soon see John McCain’s name staring back at us from what little public property is left. Get ready for it.

———————–

Another perspective on the late John McCain

Do NOT Let Them Make A Saint Of This Asshole” by Caitlin Johnstone. Excerpt…

“One of the most aggressively protected narratives in corporate liberal circles is that John McCain is a hero whose very name should be uttered with the greatest reverence. It gets traction with rank-and-file Democrats because supporting McCain for his opposition to Trump allows them to feel as though they are non-partisan free thinkers, in exactly the same way Trump supporters believe their hatred of McCain makes them non-partisan free thinkers. In reality, McCain is just one of the many bloodthirsty neocons like Bill Kristol and Max Boot who have aligned themselves with the Democratic party in recent years in order to better advance their warmongering agendas.”

She states this more broadly and even more clearly in “STOP. HUMANIZING. WAR CRIMINALS.” She’s over-the-top hysterical (never let people like her near the controls), but makes some good points. Her conclusion …

“The first step in this direction is to cease normalizing the monsters who facilitate human butchery around the world. Stop believing they need to be regarded as ‘heroes’ just because they wore a uniform at some point. Stop believing that it’s ever okay to push for needless wars which butcher innocent men, women and children. Stop believing a man can facilitate the slaughter of a million people and not have that clearly be his single defining legacy. Stop believing that it’s worse to criticize a warmonger than it is to be a warmonger. …

“Stop letting them normalize and elevate people who embody the very essence of the imperial oppression machine. Stop letting them humanize psychopathic war whores. Stop letting them twist this into a conversation about respecting those with different political opinions and make it about what it is: the mass murder of innocents for power and profit. Refuse to be reprimanded into polite silence. Refuse to die of politeness. Seize control of the narrative and force sanity into our imperiled world.”

Bruce A, Dixon

About Bruce A. Dixon

“A habitual troublemaker and incorrigible activist, Bruce Dixon has been comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable since 1968.

“As a rank and file member of the Black Panther Party in 1969-1970, a 1970s rank-and-file union activist in a string of factories, plants and workplaces, a 1980s community organizer in what were then some of the nation’s poorest neighborhoods, to organizing and consulting through the 1990s Dixon has built an impressive record of service in and to the cause of human liberation.

“In 2002 he began writing articles for Black Commentator, the predecessor of this publication, and broke the first accurate analyses of the phenomena around the election of Denise Majette over Cynthia McKinney in Georgia that year.” {From the BAR’s About Page.}

In 2006, Dixon co-founded Black Agenda Report, and now serves as a managing editor. He currently resides in Marietta GA, and is a member of the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. See his Twitter feed. See his articles at the BAR, especially these …

Black Agenda Report

About the Black Agenda Report

Founded in 2006, Black Agenda Report is your source for news, commentary and analysis from the black left since 2006. Find their weekly Black Agenda Radio program on Soundcloud, iTunes, or Stitcher.

Their “About” page gives (impressive) bios of their key staff. Also see their Twitter feed. Google suppresses Black Agenda Report in search results. Subscribing to their email updates is the only guaranteed way to see them.

For More Information

Ideas! For shopping ideas see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about the Democratic Party, about the Left in American politics, about ways to reform America’s politics, and especially these…

  1. Know our warmongers and American will change.
  2. In America, both Left and Right love the long war.
  3. Our geopolitical experts, like Max Boot, lead America into the dark.
  4. Why we fight.
  5. America’s hawks sing a song of national decline.
  6. After 13 years of failed wars, do we know our warmongers?
  7. Will our geopolitical “experts “lead us to ruin?

Books about our mad wars

Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa by Nick Turse (2015).

Anatomy of Failure: Why America Loses Every War It Starts by Harlan Ullman (2017).

Tomorrow's Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa
Available at Amazon.
"Anatomy Of Failure" by Harlan Ullman.
Available at Amazon.

23 thoughts on “See thru the propaganda. See the manufactured McCain.

  1. He can’t be blamed for what his ancestors did in the way of slavery, though integrity would have favored public acknowledgement and regret, which seems to have been conspicuously absent.

    But he certainly can and should be blamed for his advocacy of the forever war. He seems not to have had any sense that America should carefully and selectively pick where to get involved based on a clear analysis of its interests.

    The most interesting thing in the piece is the admission that this particular phenomenon is not a partisan issue. Dixon says:

    To be fair, the Obama administration and Democrat Hillary Clinton were big backers and enablers of the same forces.

    Quite so. Go back further, and you encounter Lyndon Johnson building up the useless Vietnam intervention.

    America seems to find it very hard to accept that the opposition, eg the North, could be terrible. But that does not mean its right or useful to fight them.

    1. George,

      “He can’t be blamed for what his ancestors did in the way of slavery”

      You are ignoring the point. Let’s replay what the author says.

      “The black McCains hold a family reunion every other year, and though they did invite Senator McCain he never attended. …Despite the real McCain’s military-aristocratic lineage and those childhood summers on the plantation, the Manufactured McCain campaigning for president in 2000 ridiculously claimed he didn’t think his family had ever owned any slaves. Reporters had to produce with the names and descriptions of 52 McCain plantation slaves before the Manufactured McCain acknowledged his family had been slaveholders. “It makes sense… I didn’t know that,” he reportedly said.”

  2. McCain did kind of a Jedi mind trick. He could mouth whatever the consensus of the ruling class happened to be at the time and pass himself off as a maverick for doing it. I’m trying to think of a time when the Maverick ever bucked the conventional wisdom but can’t. He wanted Joe Lieberman on the ticket in 2008, but that wasn’t bucking the conventional wisdom so much as admitting the truth in public, which was why they wouldn’t let him do it. Putting a Democrat on the ticket might have tipped off the rubes that the two parties weren’t really very apart on any issue that mattered. When that fell through, he gave us Sarah Palin, which, whether he intended it or not served as a warning shot across the Establishment’s bow that got ignored.

    A lot of Presidential campaigning revolves around some version of “I’m not the other guy.” But increasingly, there were Americans looking for a candidate who could stand up and say “I’m not them” If the right person ever showed up the voters might not care if he or she had a conventional Presidential resume.

    That’s what I’ll probably always remember about McCain.

    1. The Man,

      McCain’s undeserved reputation as a “mavrick” is imo the most amazing aspect of his career. It ranks with the best work done by the image-makers of the long-gone Hollywood studios. No matter how often debunked, journalists still repeated it.

      Which goes to the important point: journalists are the major vector for the spread of fake news (broadly defined). Like rats are for plague.

  3. I’m not a fan of McCain and his lover come out of the closet Lindsey Graham, but neo Nazi sympathizing and war criminal is retarded. He received the good press because the press could count on him to screw his own party. When he ran as prez the press turned on him as expected. The biggest mistake McCain made was dropping Meghan McCain off at McDonalds and not picking her back up.

    1. Gute,

      “neo Nazi sympathizing and war criminal is retarded.”

      Can you express that rebuttal in a form more suitable for those over 12?

    2. Obviously you understood Larry but want me to explain to the rest of the readers who are older than you. Why don’t you explain to me how he’s a neo-Nazi? And a war criminal? Go outside the box with the usual explanations. Calling people Nazis, fascists, racists, etc is just plain lazy.

    3. Gute,

      “Why don’t you explain to me how he’s a neo-Nazi? And a war criminal?”

      No need to guess, or for me to explain. First, ithe author does not say McCain is a “neo-Nazi.” Let’s replay what the article says. It’s quite clear, despite your misquoting.

      “He was a lying, bribe taking, neo-nazi sympathizing. …McCain and the IRI were prominent backers of neo-nazi politicians and armed militia groups in Ukraine who are now part of that country’s army and civilian government.”

      As for war criminal — since the Treaties of Westphalia in 1648, the “law of nations” (from the Constitution) have prohibited war except as a defensive measure. The US is a signatory to the UN Charter — which has the force of Law in the US — which expressly forbids use of force except in self-defense. The article says:

      “During his 32 years in the US Senate, the real John McCain was a consistent warmonger, advocating US military intervention in Africa, South America, Korea, and almost everywhere. He sang “bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran” before a veterans group …The record of his public calls for coups, invasions, blockades, bombings and assassinations to advance US military and economic domination of the planet is far too long to list.”

  4. I don’t know about that. Dropping bombs on unarmed women and children from a cushioned seat in his A-4 sure sounds like a war crime to me. Also, the US has been funding fascist militias in Ukraine for several years now. Of course, a classic russophobe and war hawk like McCain supported that strategy.

  5. “The real McCain was a slipshod and reckless pilot who totaled 3 aircraft in incidents where navy investigators pinned the cause of the crash upon lapses in pilot’s judgment, in each and every case contradicting the Real McCain’s official reports of those accidents.”

    Factually incorrect according to the link provided. The second (wirestrike) aircraft was damaged but if he flew it back to the carrier it was unlikely to have been unrepairable, or “totalled” in the writer’s parlance. The third incident was eventually ascribed to engine failure, not McCain’s judgement.

    I hope the rest of the article is more accurate: it reads like a hatchet job to me, and I say that as a disinterested foreigner.

    1. Paul,

      (1) “Factually incorrect according to the link provided. The second (wirestrike) aircraft was damaged but if he flew it back to the carrier it was unlikely to have been unrepairable, or “totalled” in the writer’s parlance.”

      As you correctly note, the article says the following — showing that the aircraft was not “totalled.” The author is either exaggerating or misreading the LAT article he links to.

      “McCain was on a training mission when he flew low and ran into electrical wires. He brought his crippled Skyraider back to the Intrepid, dragging 10 feet of wire, sailors and aviators recalled …When he struck the wires, McCain severed an oil line in his plane, said Carl Russ, a pilot in McCain’s squadron. McCain’s flight suit and the cockpit were soaked in oil … The next day, McCain went to the flight deck with his superior officers and some of the crew to inspect the damage. A gaggle of sailors surrounded the plane. Clark Sherwood, an enlistee responsible for hanging ordnance on the squadron’s planes, recalled standing on the deck with McCain. “I said, ‘You’re lucky to be alive.’ McCain said, ‘You bet your ass I am,’ Sherwood said. ‘He almost bought the farm.'”

      (2) “The third incident was eventually ascribed to engine failure, not McCain’s judgement.”

      That is a misread by you. Just like the author’s that you found. It’s easy to do. Here’s what the LAT article says about the incident. No mention of “engine failure.”

      “In his 1999 autobiography, Faith of My Fathers, McCain briefly recounts the incident, calling it the result of ‘daredevil clowning’ and ‘flying too low.’ …Calvin Shoemaker, a retired test pilot for the Skyraider’s manufacturer, Douglas Aircraft, said extended low-level flights are difficult in any aircraft and for that reason Skyraiders were seldom flown at altitudes below 500 feet.” …Shoemaker said the aviator appeared to be a ‘flat-hatter,’ an old aviation term for a showoff.

    2. Paul,

      Whoops. That was my misread of what you said! You clearly referred to the third incident, not the second.

      As you note, “About two weeks after issuing its report, the safety center revised its findings and said the accident resulted from the failure or malfunction of an “undetermined component of the engine.” Since no further details of this odd revision have been released, we can only guess what prompted it.

      As with so much of McCain’s service history — promotions despite his flying mishaps — people will speculate about the influence of his Admiral father. Certainly few others have done so well with such a record.

    3. Paul,

      Follow-up: thank you for clicking through and closely reading the LAT article. Few do so (obviously not even the author of this), and it’s very helpful!

  6. The other end of it is that McCain calls to mind something that John Boyd said. There was a speech he would give to young subordinates that he wanted to inspire. It’s given in his biography by Robert Coram. It’s the one where he says something like “You will come to a fork in the road, and you will be asked to either be someone important or to do something important. To be or to do. Which will you choose?’ McCain was offered that choice, and he chose to be. I don’t think he ever did anything really important after he entered politics. They say he was a warmonger, but we would have probably fought those wars anyway. That campaign finance bill reflected the consensus of the People In Charge, and someone else would have helped to pass it.

    Not long after the ’08 election, I was walking my dog in the City Park, and Dad drove by, because he lived on the edge of the Park and was on the way home, and the dog walk became a Dad visit, which was not uncommon back then. And we talked about the election, and I remember saying to him “If you put a gun to my head, I don;t think I could tell you what McCain was planning to do about the economy if he won. I’m not even sure he knew himself.” And Dad’s reply was “He didn’t”

    I also have a vivid memory of telling Dad, back around 2010 or 2011 , that Obama would have two terms, and that the 2016 election would be Clinton Bush. He expressed skepticism and I said “Stick around”, and he said “Don’t worry, I ain’t going anywhere.” Well, I was half right, but the stroke took him in 2011 a few weeks shy of his 86th birthday. So both of us got it wrong, really.

  7. Another view from the UK:

    In other words, he wasn’t an evil man. But he wasn’t a truly great man either. I don’t kid myself that McCain would have stood up for my rights as a woman; I know that he would not. Yes, there is much to admire in the way in which he conducted himself. He was flawed, right-wing, anti-women’s rights, personally principled, often well-meaning, sometimes prejudiced, diplomatic, thoughtful, hot-headed – and he probably wouldn’t have attracted so many plaudits if he hadn’t died in the age of Donald Trump.

    It is possible to be all of those things at once. Claiming that he was an evil-hearted xenophobe is just as dishonest as immortalising him as a “true American hero”.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/john-mccain-death-legacy-trump-us-senator-vietnam-war-a8511441.html

    1. Goerge,

      You are totally missing the point of this post. It isn’t about people running balance sheets on McCain the man. Who cares for such hubris? God does it for himself, and doesn’t care about the evaluation of the bugs on Earth.

      This post is about the propaganda building esteem for a man who loyally served a system that did so much damage. And how the systems’ advocates tirelessly work to suppress those that point these things out.

  8. I agree that McCain is no saint and the Keating S&L was somewhat telling. But I think this statement alone is sufficient to discredit this author — “The Real McCain flew ground attack aircraft, which in Vietnam meant bombing mostly undefended civilian ground targets”

    1. R.

      Was the author’s statement false? It was true sometimes in WWII, and by most reports became business as usual in Vietnam (and was still so by our troops in Iraq).

      “Enemy troops are fair game: A driver in a jeep – zap him. A soldier running through the snow – zap him. But we weren’t always scrupulous about our targets. Atrocities were committed by both sides. That fall our fighter group received orders from the Eighth Air Force to stage a maximum effort. Our seventy-five Mustangs were assigned an area of fifty miles by fifty miles inside Germany and ordered to strafe anything that moved. The objective was to demoralize the German population.

      Nobody asked our opinion about whether we were actually demoralizing the survivors or maybe enraging them to stage their own maximum effort in behalf of the Nazi war effort. We weren’t asked how we felt zapping people. It was a miserable, dirty mission, but we all took off on time and did it. If it occurred to anyone to refuse to participate (nobody refused, I recall) that person would have probably been court-martialed. I remember sitting next to B[..] at a briefing and whispered to him: ‘If we’re gonna do things like this, we sure as hell better make sure we’re on the winning side.” That’s still my view'”

      — From Yeager – An Autobiography” by Chuck & Janos Yeager (1985), pp. 62-63)

      The deliberate targeting of civilians by the strategic bombing program was much worse, of course.

    2. Well if he was doing ground attack on the ‘VC’ and, for example, civilians forced to pack supplies for VC combatants or harbor them and their supplies, then the picture isn’t quite so clear.

  9. He died to quite an extent a marginal man in his own party. The sort of Republican voters I know hated him as a ‘social liberal’. I strongly dislike him for his constant pro-war discourse and influences on policies, including the disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq (although he hardly monopolized that, and that means I dislike most US politicians). The worst ‘info.’ circulated about him stems from the stuff pro-Bush people dug up or concocted on him and circulated during the SC primary. I don’t think he was a very good Naval officer–I have read far too much about his constant gambling, drinking, and womanizing in DC after his captivity. I have to wonder if he was really physically tortured. Perhaps he wasn’t given the best medical care because that was all the Vietnamese could give him–and they did save his life. His injuries were pretty horrific.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/oct/14/uselections2008-johnmccain
    Tran, now 75, said McCain reached Hanoi with the worst injuries he had seen in a downed pilot. But he denied torturing him, saying it was his mission to ensure that McCain survived. As the son of the US naval commander in Vietnam, he offered a potential valuable propaganda weapon.

    However, recommending McCain for a medal after the war, his former cellmate, the much-decorated Colonel George Day, said the admiral’s son had forced his interrogators to “drug him and torture him to get any cooperation”, according to a letter in the US National Archives cited earlier this year by the Washington Post. Day said McCain suffered “torturous abuse”.

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