Texas Liberal

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John McCain—Sick With Violence In His Heart

The following is from a Nation Magazine article in 2001 written after the disclosure that former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey had taken part in the massacre of civilians during the Vietnam War. ( Here is the full article.)

….. Senator John McCain, …writes with the authority of a former POW who was tortured during a long period of captivity in Vietnam. For McCain, despite the disclosure of the deliberate killing of civilians in the village hamlet of Thanh Phong back in February 1969, Kerrey remains “a war hero” who should be understood as having done what needed to be done in the sort of war being fought in Vietnam. Most disturbing, McCain argues that Vietnam was the kind of war that required its participants to hate the enemy, and he unabashedly makes a combat virtue out of hate. In his words: “I hated my enemies even before they held me captive because hate sustained me in my devotion to their complete destruction and helped me overcome the virtuous human impulse to recoil in disgust from what had to be done by my hand.” It is bad enough when a pilot holds such views, but when hatred informs the spirit of a ground war carried on in the midst of a densely inhabited civilian society, it is worse. It should not be surprising that atrocities became indistinguishable from normal battlefield practice, and not some anomaly that occurred on a single occasion at My Lai, or perhaps twice, counting Thanh Phong.

Here is an excerpt from a Smirking Chimp post (Here is the full post) about Senator McCain’s service in Vietnam written by author Ted Rall

An impolite question: If a war is immoral, can those who fight in it-even those who demonstrate courage-be heroes? If the answer is yes, was Reagan wrong to honor the SS buried at Bitburg? No less than Iraq, Vietnam was an undeclared, illegal war of aggression that did nothing to keep America safe. Tens of millions of Americans felt that way. Millions marched against the war; tens of thousands of young men fled the country to avoid the draft. McCain, on the other hand, volunteered.

McCain knew that what he was doing was wrong. Three months before he fell into that Hanoi lake, he barely survived when his fellow sailors accidentally fired a missile at his plane while it was getting ready to take off from his ship. The blast set off bombs and ordnance across the deck of the aircraft carrier. The conflagration, which took 24 hours to bring under control, killed 132 sailors. A few days later, a shaken McCain told a New York Times reporter in Saigon: “Now that I’ve seen what the bombs and the napalm did to the people on our ship, I’m not so sure that I want to drop any more of that stuff on North Vietnam.”

Yet he did.

“I am a war criminal,” McCain said on “60 Minutes” in 1997. “I bombed innocent women and children.” Although it came too late to save the Vietnamese he’d killed 30 years earlier, it was a brave statement. Nevertheless, he smiles agreeably as he hears himself described as a “war hero” as he arrives at rallies in a bus marked “No Surrender.”

Democrats can’t allow themselves to be pushed around by this bully McCain as he talks about war and violence and terror for the next nine months.

The choice is clear no matter who wins the Democratic nomination–Is it going to be more war and endless violence or are we going to live our lives as full human beings who react to something other than hate and fear.    

February 16, 2008 - Posted by | Campaign 2008, History, Politics | , , , , , , ,


  1. So instead of voting for a man who served his country, did what he was ordered, has a long strong history and the ability to run our nation. We are supposed to vote for people who have no backbone? No strength of character, very little leadership experience, no concept of the violent world we live in today and how to deal with it (role over and play dead)? No respect for our soldiers, military, their families, and their sacrifices? You have got to be out of your mind…or stuck it in sand…

    Comment by Lee Hsmith | March 23, 2008

  2. McCain’s statement where he admits to being a war criminal is taken out of context. When properly recounted, that statement does not say he was a war criminal, but that he had to admit to being one in order to stop being tortured.

    That said, it is clear that McCain is indeed a war criminal and not an ordinary one at that. McCain not only does not experience any regrets about his criminal acts in Vietnam but appears to be at peace with and proud of what he did.

    Unlike Bush, who as a toy soldier is aware that his militaristic impersonations are just posturing (the comical carrier landing), McCain truly believes in the intrinsic goodness of he likes to do – be that raining napalm on the Vietnamese or a nuclear attack on Iran.

    A criminal like McCain in the White House may open up new dimensions in aggression at a time when energy should be focused on stopping the US slide into secondary world status.

    While the Dollar becomes a second (third?) rate currency and Europe reaches levels of social development unthinkable in the US, McCain’s mindset of aggression without-a-purpose will only accelerate the day when China and India leave the US economy in the dust. A wasted opportunity if there ever was one.

    Comment by Domingo Tavella | May 1, 2008

  3. After reading this article I am concerned that Sen. McCain is willing to stoke fires like “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Iran” and even that we must not attempt to have a dialog with “Our Enemies”. How will his Foreign Policy” be any
    different from G. W. Bush’s? I am afraid of this man. He
    sounds like he enjoys War. We now know the Horrors of getting it wrong and not being willing to admit the mistakes. Can we afford another day of the Bush War Fanatics? He sounds almost derranged.

    Comment by CPD | June 2, 2008

  4. CPD—Nothing I can say to improve upon your comment. Thanks for reading the blog.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | June 2, 2008

  5. […] teenagers (stop and think about that).  587,000 innocent Vietnamese civilians were killed.  And by his own admission, John McCain killed more than his fair share of these civilians. (Source: A Vietnam War […]

    Pingback by Ayers, Obama, and Palin/McCain Attacks « Politics of a New Paradigm | October 9, 2008

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