John McCain is a war hero. That is all most people say. I want to tell more of his story than that.
John McCain was a bomber pilot. There is no honor in that. It is indiscriminate mass murder from above and most of his victims are civilians who can only bring harm to him in the most unlikely of circumstances. He was more at risk from in-flight accidents than he was from enemy fire. That said, enemy fire brought his plane down and God willed it that he suffer at the hands of his victims. A mob found him and beat him, broke his shoulder and bayoneted him.
Let me be clear. The mob was right to do so. Their only crime was being born in North Vietnam, and this privileged prick from across the sea would have happily killed any and all of them without a moment's thought and be back on the carrier in time for happy hour.
McCain's father was named commander of all forces in Vietnam. Finding out that they had a propaganda bonanza, the North Vietnamese offered him early release. Here, John McCain does the honorable thing. He refuses release unless everyone captured before him is released as well.
This concludes the honorable portion of the story of John McCain.
He was tortured and he confessed to war crimes. He recants those confessions now, of course. I do not consider his confessions dishonorable. As he himself has said "Every man has a breaking point. I reached mine." Truer words were never spoken.
The true dishonor comes later. He is willing to have others sit in the torture chair. Of course, they are "the bad guys" and they deserve it. He says he is against torture but knows we are still practicing it. That is dishonor twice over.
The greater dishonor is his willingness to put other Americans in the comfy and now much safer chair of the indiscriminate mass murderer. The way we control the skies in Iraq and Afghanistan, bomber pilots are no more "at war" than the guys who fill the Coke machines in bases in Kuwait.
There are those who say that "Thou shall not kill" is actually "Thou shall not murder", and what soldiers do in war doesn't count. Maybe that was true five thousand years ago or even five hundred, but modern warfare is most certainly mass murder and theft on an unimaginable scale. We overthrew Saddam Hussein because he had stuff we wanted to steal. We haven't overthrown Kim Jong Il not because he is less a monster than Saddam, but because he doesn't have anything we want.
This is not just the view of dreamy eyed liberals singing Kumbaya. General William Tecumseh Sherman, who waged war more viciously than any man before him other than Napoleon, is famous for saying war is hell. Half a century later, American General Smedley Butler said war was a racket. Thirty years after him, General Eisenhower warned us that war and preparation for war were a money making machine he called the military industrial complex.
Some men who see war hate it. Some men who never see war feel the same. Some jackasses think it builds character and is noble. Sadly, John McCain is such a jackass. We need to make sure that he is not president, else thousands of more Americans and millions of more people will die needlessly.