Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Which One the War Hero, Which One the Criminal?

There's been a big flap over John McCain and his war record. It started when former U.S. general (and now Democrat) Wesley Clark stated that McCain's years in a prison camp in Vietnam after being shot down didn't automatically grant him the experience necessary for the office of president. While some people--mostly right-wingers--went on to suggest some duplicity in McCain's POW time, most everybody, including Democratic candidate Obama went on to laud McCain's service and say it should never be questioned or criticized. McCain's time as a POW and veteran makes him a hero, they said.

Well I for one would beg to differ.

What, exactly, was John McCain doing when he was shot down over North Vietnam during the U.S. war of aggression? Was he delivering humanitarian messages? Dropping toys and candies to babies? Perhaps enlightening Vietnamese with peace propaganda? I think not. John McCain was a military officer on a bombing mission aimed at killing innocent people and destroying Vietnam's civilian infrastructure. He owes the debt of his life, saved by Vietnamese rescuers who McCain continued to call "Go*ks" well into his post-war political life, to those he was mercilessly trying to murder.

In my opinion this does not qualify McCain for the role of hero. He was not some unfortunate draftee forced to serve thousands of miles from home. He was a career military man, an officer not an enlisted man, a member of military management, if you will, plotting and carrying out the near genocidal war the US waged against the Vietnamese using all manner of weapons including chemical weapons and weapons that had no possible intended function but the maxiumum extermination of civilian life. McCain belongs not in the white house but in prison.

Nguyen Van Troi (1947-1964) was a young South Vietnamese man who, acting for the National Liberation Front--the so-called Viet Cong--attempted to assassinate Robert McNamara, then Secretary of Defense, and Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, who were both visiting Vietnam scheming to increase US military commitments to the corrupt South Vietnamese dictatorship. Van Troi was executed at the age of 17.

Now THAT is a hero of the Vietnam war.

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