July 21st, 2017

Heroes, military and otherwise: the case of John McCain

Commenter “Frog” has a question about what makes a hero:

What makes a military hero? What defines heroism? Was McCain in ‘Nam a Sgt. York equivalent? York risked life and limb many times in accomplishing victories in combat and saving lives of his fellow soldiers. Was York an equal to those that suffered in the trenches, getting gassed or getting trench foot or both, never being able to ‘take it to the enemy’?

Those are interesting questions, because there are indeed many kinds of heroism as well as many kinds of courage for those who serve in the military. I would say that strictly military heroism involves heroism (bravery and acceptance of risk) in the accomplishment of military exploits—that is, fighting the enemy. It is usually defined actively—not just by slogging it out in a trench but by engaging the enemy more directly—although even those in the trenches could be called “heroic” in terms of endurance.

Then there’s heroism in terms of saving fellow military members (or civilians). That’s a sort of heroism that is sometimes performed by those in combat but can also be shown by medical personnel or chaplains, who have received medals for such exploits.

Then, of course, there’s the sort of heroism—or courage, or character, or all of the above—shown by McCain and others as a military member while a prisoner of war. This can involve not just endurance of a truly exceptional nature, but defiance and self-sacrifice.

I maintain that John McCain showed all three types of heroism during his military service, although to differing degrees. The part of his story that is most well-known is the prisoner-of-war part, but it’s not the only part. McCain didn’t have all that much of a chance to be a hero in the strictly conventional sense of a military (combat) hero because he saw so little service outside of his prisoner of war status. But he made the most of the short time available to him.

McCain volunteered for combat duty. He was sent to Vietnam to serve as a pilot on the carrier Forrestal in May of 1967. The ship got to Vietnam on around July 25, 1967. McCain flew five successful missions. On July 29, 1967, the following disaster occurred:

McCain was almost killed on board Forrestal on July 29, 1967. While the air wing was preparing to launch attacks, a Zuni rocket from an F-4 Phantom accidentally fired across the carrier’s deck. The rocket struck either McCain’s A-4E Skyhawk or one near it. The impact ruptured the Skyhawk’s fuel tank, which ignited the fuel and knocked two bombs loose. McCain later said, “I thought my aircraft exploded. Flames were everywhere.” McCain escaped from his jet by climbing out of the cockpit, working himself to the nose of the jet, and jumping off its refueling probe onto the burning deck. His flight suit caught on fire as he rolled through the flames, but he was able to put it out. He went to help another pilot trying to escape the fire when the first bomb exploded; McCain was thrown backwards ten feet (three meters) and suffered minor wounds when struck in the legs and chest by fragments. McCain helped crewmen throw unexploded bombs overboard off the hangar deck elevator, then went to Forrestal’s ready room and with other pilots watched the ensuing fire and the fire-fighting efforts on the room’s closed-circuit television. The fire killed 134 sailors, injured scores of others, destroyed at least 20 aircraft, and took 24 hours to control.

That may not be Sergeant York territory, but it sounds pretty heroic to me, especially in the second sense (attempting to save other people).

Not to mention the next assignment for which McCain also volunteered:

As Forrestal headed to port for repairs, McCain volunteered to join the undermanned VA-163 “Saints” squadron on board the USS Oriskany. This carrier had earlier endured its own deck fire disaster and its squadrons had suffered some of the heaviest losses during Rolling Thunder. The Saints had a reputation for aggressive, daring attacks, but paid the price: in 1967, one-third of their pilots were killed or captured, and all of their original fifteen A-4s had been destroyed.

I would argue that it takes a certain amount of bravery to volunteer for that kind of mission. It may not be heroism, but it’s not too far behind.

In his short stint of service with that group, McCain’s record wasn’t heroic enough to draw exceptional attention, but it certainly was heroic enough for me. Remember when you read this that he didn’t join Oriskany until September 30 of 1967, so the time frame of all this activity is very compressed:

He volunteered to fly the squadron’s most dangerous missions right away, rather than work his way up to them. During October 1967, the pilots operated in constant twelve-hour on, twelve-hour off shifts. McCain would be awarded a Navy Commendation Medal for leading his air section through heavy enemy fire during an October 18 raid on the Lac Trai shipyard in Haiphong. On October 25, McCain successfully attacked the Phúc Yên Air Base north of Hanoi through a barrage of anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missile fire; credited with destroying one aircraft on the ground and damaging two, the raid would garner him the Bronze Star. Air defenses around Hanoi were at this point the strongest they would be during the entire war.

McCain was shot down less than one month after arriving for his Oriskany tour. Here are the circumstances:

On October 26, 1967, McCain was flying his twenty-third mission, part of a twenty-plane strike force against the Yen Phu thermal power plant in central Hanoi that previously had almost always been off-limits to U.S. raids due to the possibility of collateral damage. Arriving just before noon, McCain dove from 9,000 to 4,000 feet on his approach;[105] as he neared the target, warning systems in McCain’s A-4E Skyhawk alerted him that he was being tracked by enemy fire-control radar. Like other U.S. pilots in similar situations, he did not break off the bombing run, and he held his dive until he released his bombs at about 3,500 feet (1,000 m). As he started to pull up, the Skyhawk’s wing was blown off by a Soviet-made SA-2 anti-aircraft missile fired by the North Vietnamese Air Defense Command’s 61st Battalion…

I have no problem assigning the word “hero” and/or “heroic” to John McCain.

Someone might have pointed out some of these facts to armchair critic Donald J. Trump, the man who joked that he fought his own personal Vietnam by fending off the perils of venereal disease while boffing a variety of models.

[NOTE: I figure I don’t need to describe McCain’s heroism as a prisoner of war. The story is quite well-known, but you can find a short summary here.]

72 Responses to “Heroes, military and otherwise: the case of John McCain”

  1. Tom Murin Says:

    The Oriskany fire started below decks and was started by a mishandled flare. We were required to watch a film about that fire and the Forrestal fire (nicknamed “Zippo”) a number of times when I was in the navy.

  2. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    There is no question in my mind that McCain is a war hero and deserves our respect for the sacrifices he’s made both during his time in the Hanoi Hilton and in having to live the rest of his life with his disabilities.

    His time in the Senate however is an entirely different matter. He would have served this nation far better had he retired long ago. It’s been downhill since at least 2008. He’s become a caricature of a ‘maverick’. Indeed he acts more like a democrat than a republican.

  3. Richard Aubrey Says:

    My father, a decorated Infantry platoon leader, said anybody who took one step forward deserved a medal.

  4. parker Says:

    Everyone who died during their service is a hero. McCain is a hero. His ‘service’ in the political realm was as GB noted a horse of a different color.

  5. J.J. Says:

    Interesting that some people don’t give much credit for merely flying into the teeth of anti-aircraft and missile defenses in North Vietnam. Those defense were as fierce as those faced by Allied flight crews over Germany in WWII.

    As we approached the coast on night missions, we could see the lights suddenly turned off in the villages and cities. Prima facie evidence that they knew we were coming. We knew the anti-aircraft batteries were at the ready and the fire control radars were searching for us. Your pulse quickened, your a**h*** puckered, the adrenaline kicked in, but you flew to the target and did your job no matter what. The daylight raids were better because you could imagine (denial is a useful trait in combat) they weren’t on the alert.

    If you did a tour and came home unscathed, you got a few medals and spit on by some of your fellow citizens.

    If you died, your widow got a letter of condolences, a $10,000 check from the government, and the services of a CACO for as long as needed.

    If you survived a shoot down too far inland to make it b back over the South China Sea, you ended up as a POW. Being a POW in North Vietnam was not a pleasant experience. We knew from POWs during the Korean War what to expect. The North Koreans and Vietnamese didn’t want intelligence. They knew who we were, our ships, our squadrons, and our families. What they wanted was to break our loyalty and use that as propaganda to show how weak capitalist running dogs were. We were trained to resist during SERE training. Except for a small number of POWs that died while being tortured every POW at the Hanoi Hilton was broken at one point or another. But they resisted as best they could without dying or giving in to despair. They suffered from real torture, solitary confinement, filthy living conditions, minimal food rations, dysentery, malaria, other tropical maladies, minimal news from the outside (they were constantly told that the country had forsaken them), and more. Through it all, they tried to maintain cohesion and a semblance of a military organization. Some of them did better than others, just like in any random group of humans. However, their courage and character were tested more thoroughly than most any humans ever will be.

    Two of my friends spent seven years in captivity. Both lived out the remainders of their lives in quiet stoicism, their lives shortened by their POW years. I’m older than McCain and they were both older than me. That McCain has survived as well as he has is amazing, IMO.

    It’s easy to criticize and make claims about heroism or lack thereof. Unless you were there, I don’t want to hear it. Okay?

  6. Steve Skubinna Says:

    Over the past forty years I’ve seen the Navy film Trial By Fire (USS Forrestal) more times than I can count. Even today, in grainy black and white footage, it is sobering.

    Your ship catches fire at sea, you don’t call the fire department. You fight the fire or die (sometimes both). All the while remembering that you’re sitting on top of ordnance and fuel.

  7. Frog Says:

    The question is whether enduring prolonged suffering under torture is heroic. I believe it is if one does not spill the beans on one’s fellow combatants, one’s nation, one’s righteous cause. It takes mighty fortitude. See Jeanne d’Arc, burned at the stake because she recanted her ‘confession’.

    In the normal course of human events, suffering becomes of “heroic” proportion in the event of enduring prolonged agonizing misery without hope of survival, the refusal to accept defeat though it looms every minute.

    As to McCain’s work in the Forrestal disaster, and his volunteering for the Oriskany, I do not regard those as heroic in the conventional manly sense. “McCain helped [sic] crewmen throw unexploded bombs overboard off the hangar deck elevator, then went to Forrestal’s ready room and with other pilots watched the ensuing fire and the fire-fighting efforts on the room’s closed-circuit television.”

    Going to an understaffed unit (Oriskany) is pretty routine, and is usually ordered by superior officers. It is not the same as volunteering to parachute into Dien Bien Phu.

    McCain’s dive on his bombing run despite the enemy radar lock-on warning comes much closer to heroism (duty of mission over regard for self), just like ‘other pilots in similar situations’ did.

    In short, as a hero in the Vietnam war, McCain was one of thousands, his prolonged and gruesome POW ordeal elevating him above most of the others.

  8. Oldflyer Says:

    Things are a little out of focus with some of the comments. McCain went to the Oriskany following the fire which ended the Forrestal’s deployment; so, he was not new to combat at the time. Oriskany was heavily involved in operations over North Vietnam and had suffered heavy losses; no one had to volunteer for the dangerous missions, because they were all dangerous. (I don’t know how many other pilots transferred from Forrestal squadrons to the Oriskany Air Wing.)

    As far as I know, no one can fault McCain’s performance while a POW (former POWs never say anything negative about their fellows); but, it should not overshadow others. Commander (later Vice Admiral) Stockdale was awarded the Medal of Honor for his leadership of the POW community under extreme duress. As the Senior American Officer, every effort was made to break his will, but he never wavered. Few outside of the Navy seemed to really be were aware of his heroism-he was not the son and grandson of Admirals–until Ross Perot selected him as his VP nominee. Then the Dims and the Media treated this wonderful man as a joke. There were others who suffered greatly because of their leadership roles, and served with great distinction; among them Air Force Colonel Bud Day, who also was award the MOH.

    Two amazing stories that received little public notice included that of Everett Alvarez, the first Navy pilot taken prisoner, who endured one of the longest captivities in American history through the worst of the times in North Vietnam. Another great story was that of Navy pilot Dieter Dengler (born in Germany during WWII) who actually escaped from captivity in Laos, along with six other Americans (mostly CIA), by shooting their way out of the Viet Cong prison camp with stolen weapons. The escapees split up after leaving the camp and he evaded capture for 23 days before he was rescued. He was the only one of the seven to survive.

    So, John McCain’s story is impressive; but, it is not unique. (By the way, while much is made of his refusal of repatriation, my understanding is that there was a standing offer to any prisoner–with conditions.)

    I have said before that I hope John McCain heals quickly and completely; and that he retires now–immediately.

  9. Matt_SE Says:

    McCain got where he is by a conflation (intentionally stoked by McCain) of the patriotic emotions stirred by his military service and his candidacy for Senate.

    We see the same phenomenon when discussing his illness, as gauzy emotions come to replace sober analysis. This is how the electorate keeps getting fooled into voting for bad candidates.

  10. OldTexan Says:

    Agreed McCain was a hero x 3 during his service time. He was also a good enough Senator to be re-elected over and over in Arizona and a good enough candidate in 2008 to get the Republican nomination.

    After the incessant beating he received from the press which really accelerated when he picked my choice for a running mate I don’t think he ever really recovered as a conservative, I think he was dedicated to being a nice guy and being liked by a lot of people.

    And now we know why he has seemed disoriented recently and we will see how this part of his life plays out. McCain goes down in my book as a real Nam hero and at this time I just wish him the best as things turn real interesting and one vote in the Senate might make a difference.

  11. Ann Says:

    Good to know that no one here seems to agree with Trump, who said of McCain: “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

    How anyone could support a man who said something like that is beyond me.

  12. Steve Skubinna Says:

    Oldflyer, when I was stationed at NAS Lemoore family housing was named Alvarez Village. It probably still is, unless the Navy’s found a disabled transwoman of color aviator to name it after.

  13. Dan Says:

    As others have said, I have no beef with McCain being regarded as a hero for holding out in his captivity, helping others, etc. But as others have ALSO pointed out, he has NOT, in my view, shown any political heroism. Tell me this: when a political question has arisen during his political career, when has he EVER said “no” to military engagement? Never, that I can tell.

    We have hundreds of military installations overseas, maybe thousands counting the ones they never count. Why? Why must we be the “empire”? 38 in Germany alone? We last warred there over 70 years ago.

    And all the while, our deficits/debt grows into a bigger morass, at least over the last half-century I have been alive. When has McCain (or any of these other creatures) EVER insisted NO, we will NOT take the easy way out and just print more money? Gingrich came close, and he has been tarred for it ever since. The other weasel politicians (like McCain) took a good look at that and decided they didn’t have THAT particular species of courage, and nobody has tried honestly to resolve our debt problem ever since.

    As Instapundit often says, what can’t continue forever, won’t. So either we cut spending on everything INCLUDING the military, or the spending will be cut for us. Our choice. It will be interesting to see if anybody has any “courage” in DC when people stop lending us money and/or inflation really kicks in.

    I do wish McCain had quit public life after his 2008 run. FWIW I think he was truly robbed by a cheating bastard in plain sight and nobody seemed to care…but since then he has been a bitter man looking for redemption and that is not what we needed.

    I hope he gets better and, failing that, I hope he doesn’t have as much pain as usually goes with such things. I wouldn’t wish my uncle’s death on anybody.

  14. David Starr Says:

    I served a one year tour as an Air Force officer in South East Asia, about the same time as John McCain was shot down. Our F105 wing at Korat Thailand flew missions into North Viet Nam every day. We lost one plane every day. Far as I am concerned, any man who will climb into a jet warplane and fly the mission is a hero. John McCain flew a lot of combat missions which makes him a hero in my book.

  15. Oldflyer Says:

    Steve Skubinna, you may not be in sync with the “new” Navy.

    I presume you speak of the new base housing at Lemoore being named after Alvarez; since no one would want the earlier ghetto to carry their name.

    I met Dieter Dengler at Lemoore after he returned. A real treat. He marched to his own drum beat; and it was that of a warrior.

  16. Steve Skubinna Says:

    Oldflyer, this was the early Eighties. Haven’t been to Lemoore since then. I think the housing was original to the base.

    Some times I get wistful about Harris Ranch, though. First place I ever had mountain oysters.

  17. Tom Says:

    Interesting that the word “Keating” does not appear on this page.

  18. neo-neocon Says:

    Tom:

    I am discussing military heroism, not McCain ‘s post-military life. I have many quarrels with his performance in the latter.

  19. Mike K Says:

    There has been serious criticism, never really addressed, of McCain’s role in dismissing the remaining claims of MIAs. I have no idea if these were meritorious but McCain’s association with John Kerry probably didn’t help.

    I would add I was a volunteer for his presidential campaign in 2000, as I was not a fan of Bush. In 2008, he was too old although I voted for him. The Keating matter was simply a matter of naivete’ as two older Democrat Senators entangled him in their influence peddling.

  20. roo_ster Says:

    I used to be a McCain fan, but it has been a long time since my regard for him has withered. As for his service in uniform, I think it is to his credit, up to a point. That point being nepotism used to further his career while in uniform. Not impressive. And, of course, the nature of his service is not unquestioned:
    http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-when-tokyo-rose-ran-for-president/

    Also, Sydney Schanberg wrote quite a bit on McCain’s not-enviable actions during the MIA POW controversies:
    http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-the-legacy-of-sydney-schanberg/

    So, yeah, not a fan for some time of McCain in any capacity.

  21. Matt_SE Says:

    OldTexan Says:

    Agreed McCain was a hero x 3 during his service time. He was also a good enough Senator to be re-elected over and over in Arizona and a good enough candidate in 2008 to get the Republican nomination.

    You’re forgetting something: McCain was censured by his own state party at least once, maybe twice. That doesn’t usually happen to beloved public figures.

    From personal experience, I can say that he keeps getting elected through a combination of tricks, circumstances, graft, and voter ignorance. Party locals know the score, and the AZ GOP is divided about 50/50 between establishment shills and normal citizens.

  22. grnberet Says:

    NOT a hero. McCain had a unique POW experience. Initially, he was taken to the infamous Hanoi Hilton prison camp, where he was interrogated. By McCain’s own account, after three or four days, he cracked. He promised his Vietnamese captors, “I’ll give you military information if you will take me to the hospital.”His Vietnamese capturers soon realized their POW, John Sidney McCain III, came from a well-bred line of American military elites. McCain’s father, John Jr., and grandfather, John Sr., were both full Admirals. A destroyer, the USS John S. McCain, is named after both of them. While his son was held captive in Hanoi, John McCain Jr., from 1968 to 1972, was the Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Pacific Command; Admiral McCain was in charge of all US forces in the Pacific including those fighting in Vietnam. ..The Admiral’s bad boy was used to special treatment and his captors knew that. They were working him.For his part, McCain acknowledges that the Vietnamese rushed him to a hospital, but denies he was given any “special medical treatment.” However….two weeks into his stay at the Vietnamese hospital, the Hanoi press began quoting him. It was not “name rank and serial number, or kill me,” as specified by the military code of conduct. McCain divulged specific military information: he gave the name of the aircraft carrier on which he was based, the number of US pilots that had been lost, the number of aircraft in his flight formation, as well as information about the location of rescue ships…
    On the other hand, according to one source, McCain’s collaboration may have had very real consequences. Retired Army Colonel Earl Hopper, a veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, contends that the information that McCain divulged classified information North Vietnam used to hone their air defense system…McCain told his North Vietnamese captors, “highly classified information, the most important of which was the package routes, which were routes used to bomb North Vietnam. He gave in detail the altitude they were flying, the direction, if they made a turn… he gave them what primary targets the United States was interested in.” Hopper contends that the information McCain provided allowed the North Vietnamese to adjust their air-defenses. As result, Hopper claims, the US lost sixty percent more aircraft and in 1968, “called off the bombing of North Vietnam, because of the information McCain had given to them.”

  23. John Moore Says:

    When I went through SERE school, John McCain was already in the Hanoi Hilton. SERE school gave us just a hint of what he endured.

    When I got off active duty, John McCain was still in Hanoi being tortured.

    When I went back to college, John McCain was still being tortured.

    When I went to my first job, John McCain was still being tortured.

    When I met my wife to be, John McCain was still being tortured.

    He was a hero, plain and simple. Oh, and he was offered an early release by the commies because his Dad was CINCPAC (Navy Commander of the Pacific Fleet), and it would have been propaganda. McCain suffered torture for turning it down.

    Now he’s my senator. He used to be a good one, and has served the military and national defense well. On other issues, well, I’m not so fond of him.

    But nothing will take away his heroism and what he did for his country.

  24. Sam McGowan Says:

    John McCain was a POW and that does not make him a hero. Neither does undergoing torture. By military policy at the time, a man who became a POW was no longer under military control. Were his actions as a POW heroic? Maybe. No one can really say because they weren’t witnessed. McCain made a lot of veterans mad because of his attitude toward the POW/MIA issue.

  25. Bill Befort Says:

    Let’s not confuse the question. Benedict Arnold was a genuine military hero. Bedford Forrest was a genuine military hero. Pappy Boyington was a genuine military hero. Personal and political failings may tarnish the glory but they don’t change the facts.

  26. J.W. Lee Says:

    His military service not withstanding…it does not give him a “pass” for subsequent misbehavior.

    The “hero” McCain was no innocent bystander in the “Keating Five Affair”…as alluded to by others here. One of those who deposed him and investigated the Lincoln S&L (>$3B) failure (and subsequent reelection campaign donations to the 4 D’s and 1 R) found his actions before, during, and after the investigation despicable (if not felonious).

    As for his “work” on the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs…in ignoring and obfuscating on evidence of “Live Sightings”; much has been documented and written.

    No man’s character is defined by one (or a limited series) of events…it is a balance of all actions/behavior in a sum equation.

    Regarding President Trump’s remarks…every man has a right to his own opinion…and the freedom of speech afforded by The Constitution. I do not hold a high opinion of Mr. John McCain…but if you want to label him a hero…that’s your prerogative.

  27. J.J. Says:

    Trump’s assertion about McCain not being a hero. Here’s the whole conversation.

    Frank Luntz – QUESTION: “John McCain, a war hero, five and a half years as a prisoner of war and you called him a “dummy.”

    Is that appropriate in running for president?”

    DONALD TRUMP: “I know him too well, that is the problem. Let’s take John McCain. I’m in Phoenix, we have a meeting that is going to have 500 people at the Biltmore Hotel. We get a call from the hotel, it is turmoil, thousands and thousands of people are showing up, four days before they’re pitching tents.

    The hotel says we can’t handle this it is going to destroy the hotel, we move it to the convention center, we have 15,000 people. The biggest one ever. Bigger than anybody Bernie Sanders, bigger than anybody and everyone knows it… Wonderful, great Americans…

    John McCain goes, oh boy, Trump makes my life difficult, he had fifteen thousand crazies show up, he called them all crazy.

    I said, they weren’t crazy, they were great Americans…

    I know what a crazy is, I know all about crazy, These weren’t crazy.

    So he insulted me, and he insulted everyone in that room. So I said, somebody should run against John McCain — and I supported him for president, I raised a million dollars for the guy, that’s a lot of money.

    I supported him, he lost, he let us down. He lost, so I never liked him as much after that. I don’t like losers.”

    Luntz – QUESTION: “But he is a war hero, five and a half years as a prisoner of war.”

    TRUMP: “He is not a ‘war hero.’

    He is a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured, let me tell you. He’s a war hero. Because he was captured, and I believe perhaps he is a war hero, but right now he’s said a lot of very bad things about a lot of people.

    So what I said, is: John McCain, I disagree with him, these people aren’t crazy, and, very importantly, I speak the truth,…………”

    President (at that time candidate) Trump, like a lot of other Americans, could not separate McCain’s military career from his political career. Frank Luntz was saying you can’t criticize a war hero for political positions or statements. What Trump should have said was that McCain was a war hero, but that doesn’t insulate him from political criticism. They are two different things, but many people conflate a war hero as being a sort of unassailable special human who cannot be criticized. War heroes who go into politics should not be immune to criticism.

    Trump is not a buttoned up, careful speaker. He never will be. A lot of people hate that. I get that. I prefer polished, well thought out ideas that don’t create misunderstandings myself. He’s President now and I’m willing to accept that, warts and all.

  28. neo-neocon Says:

    Sam McGowan:

    Apparently you didn’t read the post. I didn’t write about McCain’s POW years. I wrote about his service prior to that, and listed a number of things that arguably were heroic.

  29. neo-neocon Says:

    grnberet:

    First of all, he was not at the Hanoi Hilton initially. He was moved there after more than 2 years in captivity, in December of 1969. See this.

    Secondly, his “cracking” was temporary and occurred this way (at that link I just gave). He’d been in the hospital for a while, then in prison several months, but beginning in March of 1968 he was put in solitary for two years. The beatings and torture didn’t start until some time that summer, and lasted off and on for a year and a half.

    Here is how he described what happened next:

    When I said that, the guards, who were all in the room—about 10 of them—really laid into me. They bounced me from pillar to post, kicking and laughing and scratching. After a few hours of that, ropes were put on me and I sat that night bound with ropes. Then I was taken to a small room. For punishment they would almost always take you to another room where you didn’t have a mosquito net or a bed or any clothes. For the next four days, I was beaten every two to three hours by different guards. My left arm was broken again and my ribs were cracked.

    They wanted a statement saying that I was sorry for the crimes that I had committed against North Vietnamese people and that I was grateful for the treatment that I had received from them. This was the paradox—so many guys were so mistreated to get them to say they were grateful. But this is the Communist way.

    I held out for four days. Finally, I reached the lowest point of my 5½ years in North Vietnam. I was at the point of suicide, because I saw that I was reaching the end of my rope.

    I said, O.K., I’ll write for them.

    They took me up into one of the interrogation rooms, and for the next 12 hours we wrote and rewrote. The North Vietnamese interrogator, who was pretty stupid, wrote the final confession, and I signed it. It was in their language, and spoke about black crimes, and other generalities. It was unacceptable to them. But I felt just terrible about it. I kept saying to myself, “Oh, God, I really didn’t have any choice.” I had learned what we all learned over there: Every man has his breaking point. I had reached mine.

    Then the “gooks” made a very serious mistake, because they let me go back and rest for a couple of weeks. They usually didn’t do that with guys when they had them really busted. I think it concerned them that my arm was broken, and they had messed up my leg. I had been reduced to an animal during this period of beating and torture. My arm was so painful I couldn’t get up off the floor. With the dysentery, it was a very unpleasant time.

    Thank God they let me rest for a couple of weeks. Then they called me up again and wanted something else. I don’t remember what it was now—it was some kind of statement. This time I was able to resist. I was able to carry on. They couldn’t “bust” me again.

    There’s a lot of garbage that’s been peddled about McCain for years by people with a motivation to lie about him. He’s not been a great senator, in my opinion, but I’m sick and tired of people who don’t like him lying about his POW experience.

    See also this.

  30. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Kill a human, and you are a murderer. Kill a thousand, and you become a hero to your people. Kill a million, and you will be treated as the conquering general and leader, an Alexander or Genghis Khan. Kill everyone, and you achieve divine level.

  31. The Other Chuck Says:

    Neo, thank you for the decency of this article.
    And J.J., thank you. And thank you for sharing.

  32. Dave Says:

    Has the story grnberet posted been verified?

  33. Dave Says:

    Sorry I posted the above comment before reading neo’ reply

  34. Dave Says:

    Not a fan of McCain, I voted for the other guy in 08. Common sense tells me that story about Maccain selling out his country is total bs. Very simple, the military wouldn’t have sent someone knowing that much secret to the frontline fighting risking having those classified vital strategic secrets exposed to enemy if this someone gets captured.

  35. tullamore92 Says:

    Came across the linked info. recently, first I’d heard of the “wet start” angle. No idea if there’s anything to it, but having known a few of these pilot types, and based on McCain’s own demeanor over the years, it wouldn’t shock me to learn it was true. Still wouldn’t address the hero/no hero question, of course, but it would add another dimesion to the discussion (ie, did he volunteer for the Saints because he was brave, or because he was feeling guilty, etc.): http://rockcreekfreepress.tumblr.com/post/35321150/navy-releases-mccains-records

  36. DNW Says:

    Perhaps we need to give some serious thought as to what constitutes a “hero”.

    Heroes of course, are not always admirable.

    No one doubts Achilles was the very definition of a hero, and primus inter pares at the very least in the pantheon of them. But although he had some human qualities, and some enviable attributes, he was not an admirable human. He excelled all others in some things, and most others in many; but who would say their their son, “Be thou like Achilles”?

    John McCain has lived many years following his period in combat and his captivity in Vietnam.

    His record in the service before Vietnam, including his hotdogging activities, probably gives some glimpse into his core character; one which features a certain confidence and self-esteem and strength of will, but not necessarily what we would normally call virtue. Virtue’ maybe … but not virtue.

    Of course McCain is also a patriot of sorts; I am just not sure his patriotism and mine, insofar as I have any, are directed to the same Patria, political ideals and moral system.

    McCain undoubtedly has courage. Many of the men you might find yourself in a fist-fight with, have that. It does not stop you from wanting to knock them down and kicking the shit out of their heads, if they are at a very fundamental level, and enemy of your life way and values.

    McCain may be a hero of sorts.

    I can admit that.

    As to friend or fellow …

  37. DNW Says:

    As to his heroism, again. The less I knew about McCain, the more I admired him.

    When he first returned from war, and had his image in the paper, he looked for all the world to me like the older Irish guy who lived down the block and went to Annapolis. Or his younger brother who went Air Force and wound up I believe a general.

    But as I read over the years about John McCain’s pattern of “maverick” press pandering, and his contempt for the productive middle of the country, it became clear that if he was a “hero” he was a hero in a very different sense than a hero like Sgt. York, and more like Admiral Byrd, or some other fellow whose deeds of derring do and iron will brought him fame.

    Men face death for different reasons. My Vietnam vet older cousin whose almost insane physical courage and history of tempting fate may be one kind.

    McCain may be another.

    Whether they deserve admiration rather than human respect, is something I will leave to God to figure out.

  38. DNW Says:

    ” Or his younger brother who went Air Force and wound up I believe a general.”

    Oops. Trouble tying to remember “what Mom said”. LOL

    USMC Maj Gen.

  39. Donald Mansell Says:

    I met McCain in a dinner in Alabama. He was with Jeff Sessions. I did not recognize McCain, I did not know he was going to be there. I had a small CIB on my coat and he asked who I had served with. He thanked me for going and remarked that I could Hav avoided going if I had tried. Next day his photo was on the front page of the local paper. He became a clear hero by never telling me his name or anything about his service.

  40. tim johnson Says:

    from Karl Malantes: A war hero himself:
    “Acts of heroism are different from acts of bravery. People who are heroes go beyond what is expected of them, risking life and limb to benefit others. There is an altruistic aspect to heroism. All acts of heroism require bravery, but many acts of bravery are not acts of heroism because they are done for self-serving reasons. An excessively ambitious commander can exhibit bravery, and even be awarded a medal, but he often does so at the expense of his troops, rather than for their benefit. Those who serve under him would probably never denigrate his bravery. They might, however, denigrate his character and secretly wish that his next act of bravery would be his last. Any grunt who does his duty in a firefight is acting bravely, but he won’t be considered a hero until he does something exceptionally brave to benefit his whole group.

    It has become popular to call everyone who serves in the military a hero. This trivializes the word in the same way we trivialize the word champion by issuing everyone a trophy at the end of the season. Most people who serve in the military feel embarrassed being called heroes. This is because most people in the military are not heroes. They are, however, warriors.

    Warrior is a word that conjures images of Conan and Cochise, although few serving in today’s military will ever be warriors like Conan and Cochise. A warrior is a person who is willing to risk his life, who is willing to inflict violence on others and who chooses a side in a fight, but that person may never have to perform an act of bravery. For example, someone who pushes the button to fire a cruise missile from a ship hundreds of miles from the front lines is as much of a warrior as the grunt who is in the thick of the fight.

    Perhaps some people can’t imagine that the button pusher would be called a warrior, but the history of warfare shows an increasing distance between a fighter and the enemy. Medieval knights thought crossbowmen were cowards and criminals who should be hanged because they shot from beyond the range of swords and lances. Imagine what those knights would think of the Marine grunt, a quintessential warrior in our eyes today, who attacks with modern rifles or even airstrikes.

    To be sure, the grunt endures harsher conditions and greater risks in actions that require grit and bravery far above what the button pusher experiences. But the button pusher is no less a warrior. Definitions need to change with changing technology. When the crew of an Air Force C-47 gunship, nicknamed Puff the Magic Dragon, saved our asses in Vietnam, I never begrudged them their distance from the enemy or their warm showers.

    Everyone who serves in the military is a warrior, and that should be accolade enough. But an honorable word has been corrupted with overuse: road warriors, warriors for peace, environmental warriors, warrior power gym equipment and the like.

    Now, to Trump’s comment about McCain, a Navy aviator who spent almost 5½ years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. During a July 18 forum in Ames, Iowa, the Republican presidential candidate said this about McCain: “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.”

    Nearly all acts of heroism arise from situations caused by stupidity or bad luck. Medals of Honor result when a group has the bad luck of a grenade landing in their hole and someone sacrifices his life to save the others. McCain had the bad luck of being shot down and taken prisoner. That is not what made him a hero. How one is thrown into his or her “hero’s journey” is beside the point; how one behaves on the journey is what’s relevant.

    Lieutenant Commander John S. McCain, (center) being captured by Vietnamese civilians in Truc Bach Lake near Hanoi, Vietnam. (Everett Collection/Alamy Stock Photo)

  41. Tom Brackett Says:

    I salute anyone who has fought in foreign war. John McCain is a warrior and worthy of respect. But I think the praise is a little overboard. The Republicans in Congress have joined the Democrats to become “ground zero of The Swamp”. @elephant address.com

  42. Frog Says:

    Neo@12:10AM

    I did my best in addressing your claims and praise of McCain’s stature before becoming a POW.
    We disagree.
    Helping others -repeat for emphasis: helping others- throw unexploded bombs over the side and then retiring to the Ready Room to watch the ship’s fire being fought by others of the crew on closed circuit TV (!!) ain’t being no hero. Not even brave.
    Just being safe is what that was.

    “The fire killed 134 sailors, injured scores of others, destroyed at least 20 aircraft, and took 24 hours to control.”

    I know pilots are not swab monkeys, but to watch the fire on TV from safety is a bit much. There were after all 20+ destroyed aircraft that no longer needed a pilot, including McCain’s.

  43. neo-neocon Says:

    Frog:

    You seem to have ignored [emphasis imine]:

    McCain escaped from his jet by climbing out of the cockpit, working himself to the nose of the jet, and jumping off its refueling probe onto the burning deck. His flight suit caught on fire as he rolled through the flames, but he was able to put it out. He went to help another pilot trying to escape the fire when the first bomb exploded; McCain was thrown backwards ten feet (three meters) and suffered minor wounds when struck in the legs and chest by fragments. McCain helped crewmen throw unexploded bombs overboard off the hangar deck elevator…

    I never said he deserved the Medal of Honor. But it was still courageous and heroic and involved attempts to save others, not just running to safety. Those unexploded bombs were not only heavy, they were extraordinarily dangerous and were recognized to have been defective to begin with. See this article, which is not about McCain, but where a survivor says:

    “There were guys that weighed 150 pounds that were throwing 250 pound bombs over the side,” said Hander. “The heroes on that ship were just untold. So many people did so much to save guys.”

    McCain is 5’9″, by the way, and at that point he probably didn’t weigh much more than that.

    He wasn’t in combat long before he was captured, but he had volunteered for combat, and than he volunteered for more hazardous combat.

    Perhaps this section could use a rereading. Note also that all of this occurred in the space of about one month:

    He volunteered to fly the squadron’s most dangerous missions right away, rather than work his way up to them. During October 1967, the pilots operated in constant twelve-hour on, twelve-hour off shifts. McCain would be awarded a Navy Commendation Medal for leading his air section through heavy enemy fire during an October 18 raid on the Lac Trai shipyard in Haiphong. On October 25, McCain successfully attacked the Phúc Yên Air Base north of Hanoi through a barrage of anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missile fire; credited with destroying one aircraft on the ground and damaging two, the raid would garner him the Bronze Star. Air defenses around Hanoi were at this point the strongest they would be during the entire war.

    Again, I’m not saying this is extraordinary, unbelievable, heroism. But it’s heroism nonetheless.

  44. neo-neocon Says:

    Frog:

    Take a look:

  45. Brooklyn Boy Says:

    In a sane world Trump’s moronic comments about McCain s capture, Carly Fiorina’s face, and Ted Cruz’s father, would have sank his candidacy but as he himself said he could shoot someone to death on Fifth Avenue and his fans (think Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson) would still vote for him.

  46. Bocat Says:

    Never Trusted McCain didn’t vote for him in 2008 because of his history of selling us out and him being the first to run to the cameras. I’m a Reagan kid, Reagan would’ve never approved of what McCain and the other Neocons have been up too. I know Navy insiders stories about the McCains’ plus my USC connections. His oversight in defense in major programs has been hopeless. 150 billion waste in DOD in that report, and you’re crying about the size of the defense budget. Start managing these programs.

  47. pete Says:

    I had to stop reading because my ribs were aching from laughing at all these pathetic armchair warriors discussing heroism as if they had the slightest idea what they were talking about. All you keyboard heroes and touchscreen soldiers might want to begin your posts by listing the wars you’ve served in (I’m at three and counting), the number of combat missions you’ve flown or the number of convoys you’ve rolled (a few of both) and the number of enemy you’ve killed. (A lot.) That would help the reader to know if you’re a loudmouth coward who has never shot anything off except his mouth, or a person who can make an informed comment about another’s service. What a bunch of pathetic douches you are. For the record, I deeply regret voting for John McCain, and think he’s a disgusting human being on just about every level, but he’s a braver man than 99% of the manbabys posting on this thread, and those whining wimps are delusional if they think they can judge his service.

  48. Frog Says:

    Neo:
    I suggest you re-read the comment of “tim johnson”, which rightly distinguishes warrior from hero. I agree McCain was a warrior, both militarily and later politically. Warriors are for combat, regardless of whether the cause is just or not.
    In my book, heroism is not limited to the military and combat. The essence of heroism may be the willing risk of mortal sacrifice of self on behalf of others, and that can occur in multiple settings and endeavors, such as the priest who told the SS, “Take me instead of that little (Jewish) girl”. Which they did. Or EMTs or physicians who expose themselves to save a bleeding injured person’s life without knowing whether that person is Hep B, HIV negative or not.
    So perhaps heroism is a (lesser) form of sainthood.

    But perhaps this thread is overlong. It is beginning to draw comments from those with limited abstract reasoning abilities, like “pete”, who, if his claims are true, is a warrior but cannot distinguish warrior from hero.

  49. MachiasPrivateer Says:

    I would offer two thoughts for further reflection…

    1) Many MOH recipients say that the real heroes were those who died. With regard to the Forrestal fire, I was slightly acquainted with McCain’s plane captain. He was two grades ahead of me in high school. He was standing there, in the open, when “The rocket struck either McCain’s A-4E Skyhawk or one near it. The impact ruptured the Skyhawk’s fuel tank, which ignited the fuel and knocked two bombs loose.”

    McCain was protected inside his cockpit and got away. Someone else helped his plane captain, who later died after being medivaced off the Forrestal to another ship for treatment of his burns. By the standards of those MOH recipients, he was the among the heroes that day.

    2) McCain went into politics after his military career. So did Duke Cunningham. Should Cunningham’s Navy Cross have insulated him from criminal prosecution?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duke_Cunningham

  50. neo-neocon Says:

    MachiasPrivateer:

    I have read at least 7 accounts of the Forrestal fire, and I’ve never heard anything about McCain’s plane captain being rescued (or even, actually, about the identity of such a person). Nor does “McCain was protected inside his cockpit and got away” even begin to describe the situation he faced.

    You also provide no links.

    Here is what happened to McCain:

    At about 10:50 (local time) on 29 July, while preparing for the second strike of the day, an unguided 5.0 in (127.0 mm) Mk-32 “Zuni” rocket, one of four contained in an LAU-10 underwing rocket pod mounted on an F-4B Phantom II (believed to be aircraft No. 110 from VF-11), accidentally fired due to an electrical power surge during the switch from external to internal power…

    The rocket flew across the flight deck, striking a wing-mounted external fuel tank on an A-4E Skyhawk awaiting launch, aircraft No. 405 from VA-46, piloted by Lieutenant Commander Fred D. White…

    Within seconds, other external fuel tanks on White’s aircraft overheated and ruptured, releasing more jet fuel to feed the flames, which began spreading along the flight deck.

    The impact of the rocket had also dislodged two of the 1000-lb AN-M65 bombs, which fell to the deck, and lay in the pool of burning fuel between White’s aircraft and that of Lieutenant Commander John McCain. Damage Control Team No. 8 swung into action immediately, and Chief Gerald Farrier, recognizing the risk, and without the benefit of protective clothing, immediately smothered the bombs with a PKP fire extinguisher in an effort to knock down the fuel fire long enough to allow the pilots to escape. The pilots, still strapped into their aircraft, were immediately aware that a disaster was unfolding, but only some were able to escape in time. McCain, pilot of A-4 Skyhawk side No. 416, next to White’s, was among the first to notice the flames, and escaped by scrambling down the nose of his A-4 and jumping off the refueling probe shortly before the explosions began.

    Damage Control Team No. 8 had been assured of a 10-minute window in which to extinguish the fire and prevent the bombs from detonating, but the Composition B bombs proved to be just as unstable as the ordnance crews had initially feared; after only slightly more than one minute, despite Chief Farrier’s constant efforts to cool the bombs, the casing of one suddenly split open and began to glow a bright red. The Chief, recognizing that a lethal cook-off was imminent, shouted for his team to withdraw, but the bomb detonated seconds later — one minute and 36 seconds after the start of the fire.

    The detonation destroyed White’s and McCain’s aircraft, along with their remaining fuel and ordnance, blew a crater in the armored flight deck, and sprayed the deck and crew with bomb fragments and burning fuel. Damage Control Team No. 8 took the brunt of the initial blast; Chief Farrier and all but three of his men were killed instantly; the survivors were critically injured. Lieutenant Commander White had managed to escape his burning aircraft, but was unable to get far enough away in time; White was killed along with the firefighters in the first bomb explosion. In the tightly packed formation on the deck, the two nearest A-4s to White’s and McCain’s (both fully fueled and bomb-laden) were heavily damaged and began to burn, causing the fire to spread and more bombs to quickly cook off.

    Your narrative doesn’t conform to the facts. The Navy has studied this in great detail, and there are films of the entire thing, one of which I posted in my comment on July 22 at 11:28 PM.

    I understand that lots of people don’t like McCain politically. I have been annoyed with him for many years now. But distorting his war record isn’t the way to go.

  51. Frog Says:

    MachiasPrivateer:
    As to your 2nd point, about Cunningham, the answer clearly then and now is NO.
    I think you are seeking to make the same point on McCain, that whether or not he was a warrior plus/minus hero, his military time, duties and experience should not have insulated him from judgment of his subsequent acts, including politics. He was a small Cunningham in the Keating Five matter, took more money than any of the other four, was chastised but not punished.
    I agree with you.
    Remember McCain-Feingold.
    Overall, McCain has possibly harmed the country as much as he has helped it. A 50% score usually yields an F grade.

  52. neo-neocon Says:

    Frog:

    In my book, McCain’s wartime service (and bravery) and his peacetime service are two different things and can be evaluated separately. I’m not giving him a grade on his life’s work here. I admire the first and don’t think much of the second, but to me they are separate issues and separate arenas. People don’t have to like the second to fairly evaluate the first.

  53. The Other Chuck Says:

    It is so, so interesting watching this hero narrative about McCain play out. Here is a man that is without question a war hero. Captured and tortured for years by the communists, the son and grandson of naval officers, a Republican Senator with a 34 year voting record that gives him an 82% conservative score from the ACU, the standard bearer of his party who chose the Tea Party darling Sarah Palin as his running mate, and yet in comment after comment his bravery is belittled, his character maligned, and the focus is centered on his 18% imperfect voting record.

    This is coming from some of the very same people who are willing to overlook the glaring flaws of Donald J. Trump, a man who was a Democrat most of his life, who can’t distinguish truth from fantasy, and who was a draft dodger. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so pathetic.

    What’s being spewed out here is mild compared to some other so-called conservative websites, which will be unnamed. Even in the 300 plus comments at Instapundit there is the wish that McCain either resigns or dies soon.

    It seems much of the right is wallowing in bitterness and resentment. They can’t even let a war hero die in dignity.

  54. Ymar Sakar Says:

    O plenty of Demoncrats distort their war record, sometimes non existent ones, even Trum does so.

  55. Ymar Sakar Says:

    1) Many MOH recipients say that the real heroes were those who died.

    Part of that has to do with survivor guilt. They couldn’t live with themselves if they didn’t put the honor of the glory into the hands of those comrades that died. It is similar to that story behind the Iwo Jima flag. The US admin ran them as war heroes, but this cracked them up psychologically because they knew there were other people involved first. Being feted like Roman triumphs, didn’t sit well with them, especially when you see their behavior afterwards.

    The other part is that it is an accurate eye witness testimony of those who worked together for the Work of victory. They know which part of the team was the MVP.

  56. Ymar Sakar Says:

    pete Says:
    July 23rd, 2017 at 11:52 am
    I had to stop reading because my ribs were aching from laughing at all these pathetic armchair warriors discussing heroism as if they had the slightest idea what they were talking about. All you keyboard heroes and touchscreen soldiers might want to begin your posts by listing the wars you’ve served in (I’m at three and counting), the number of combat missions you’ve flown or the number of convoys you’ve rolled (a few of both) and the number of enemy you’ve killed.

    Says the guy that is merely a weapon in the hands of his nation. It is the Divine Counsel that decrees whether humanity lives or dies in this war that has been ongoing for more than 6000 years. You’re not even a grunt at that level.

    Unless you were the Destroyer that killed 100k+ humans in a single field of battle, the angel that destroyed Soddom/Gomorrah, or part of the Divine Counsel, you don’t get to talk down to the rest of us, human livestock sheep.

  57. Big Maq Says:

    @Other Chuck – well said.

    I don’t agree with Sen McCain on several things, but he seems to have far more integrity and heroism about him than our current potus.

    The contrast in attitudes expressed about the two IS pathetic (and not just in recent threads responding to his cancer), more sheeple like than independent thought, as it seems to be parroting someone else’s talking points.
    .

    Also, nowadays 82% rating seems irrelevant, as many have dropped all pretense of supporting conservative issues, with trump at the helm – prior to his announcement, would he have measured even 50%?

    “Winning!!!” for its own sake seems more important.

  58. Tim Turner Says:

    Blowhard fools aside, I’m with Pete.

    I’ve you’ve never served, or experienced this kind of thing, you probably should be more reserved in your opinions.

    Has your fighter jet ever caught fire while you’re in it? Ship on fire? Shot out of the sky? Imprisoned by thinking, rational human beings who are smarter than you, stronger than you, better trained than you, with unlimited resources, who intend to their utmost to make you suffer, who do not need to worry about the U.S. Constitution, don’t care about how loudly you type on the internet, and will literally take your body apart piece by piece while you’re still in it in order to break you?

    I don’t like John McCain’s politics. I may not even like him personally. For what it’s worth, Hitler was a “war hero”. But I don’t wish brain cancer on anyone.

    What makes a hero:
    1. You volunteer to serve others. Your cause may be wrong, your efforts unused, but you volunteer the best that is within you.
    2. You do your duty. You don’t desert your post, you don’t avoid drudgery in order to go off and win glory.
    3. If disaster strikes, you do your best, risking yourself to save others. But you do not court disaster.
    Many heroic men and women have never been in the spotlight of heroism. They were simply never in the wrong place at the wrong time. They did their duty, but disaster didn’t strike. They are still heroic. Some are the cause of their own disaster, and they are heros to the extent that they repaired the damage and learned their lesson. Some heros give more than others, and to that extent they are greater heros, but a man isn’t a coward because he didn’t complete all of the heroic feats that the next man did.

    You can judge for yourself whether John McCain is a hero.

    As for myself:
    Veteran – Check.
    Ship on fire – Check.
    Ship almost sank – Check.

  59. Frog Says:

    Neo: I said what you said, basically. My words were, in part: I think you are seeking to make the same point on McCain, that whether or not he was a warrior plus/minus hero, his military time, duties and experience should not have insulated him from judgment of his subsequent acts, including politics. He was a small Cunningham in the Keating Five matter, took more money than any of the other four, was chastised but not punished.

  60. Ymar Sakar Says:

    I’ve you’ve never served, or experienced this kind of thing, you probably should be more reserved in your opinions.

    The military is not allowed nor given the freedom to criticize their chain of command. That includes the Commander in Chief, and for non legal reasons, the Senate elite boys and House critters.

    You are a servant, thus your mouth should be shut instead of opening it whenever a foolish maid or guest makes a foolish joke or mistake.

    The servant that becomes the Ruler, is no longer the servant, as in the case of McCain. He gets to mouth off, because not only is he your superior now, but he is also your civilian leader, the one that determines who gets funding, when, and how much. That is true even for those not on defense sub committees, due to DC patronage and favor systems. Something else you servants in the military don’t get to partake in, intentionally.

    The leaders lead, and those in the military, follow, obey, and serve. That is the Hierarchy written in your Law.

    The idea that a person has all the virtues of being a leader and servant, but none of the vices, doesn’t pass the bulsh detector.

    Civilians and citizens are not in the military, thus they can mouth off. That is precisely what people had to tolerate about anti war activists in 2001-2008. Now after 8 years of Hussein, I suppose that no longer applies to Demoncrats or those military “servants” that think they have “served”.

    The status and limits of a servant, what “serving” even means, gets lost in the war hero glory bullsh of the John Kerries and other wannabes.

  61. Ymar Sakar Says:

    The Left had that Cindy Sheehan raise the water level deification bullsh as well, concerning Gold Star moms being able to criticize the US President Bush II, but everybody else was morally inferior.

    A bunch of “exceptionally” arrogant Westerners that think they built this civilization with no help.

  62. Ymar Sakar Says:

    his fans (think Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson) would still vote for him.

    Think VoxDay, his followers, Red Pill, PUA, T, and Tatter and Sean and Dave, etc.

  63. Ymar Sakar Says:

    grnberet Says:
    July 21st, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    That’s an interesting accusation and prosecution case, and stunning if true.

    The other side of his story might indeed be falsified as is the case for many politicians and other US “history” events.

    The point the military in not questioning their leaders is to maintain the chain of command. The point of telling civilians and citizens not to question the military or their political leaders, is because the “servants” think they run DC and thus the country now.

  64. DNW Says:

    Heroes and “warriors”.

    When did the American psyche degenerate to this point? We are now talking like every other dysfunctional self-stroking, moral trash culture, on the planet.

    When did a reasonable esteem for the citizen soldier blossom into warrior worship? Probably in direct proportion to the withering of freedom and the advance of collective identities.

    Find that special place in the termite heap or gene pool that distinguishes you. “I hung on the world ash tree for nine days” … or something

    The hero and the “warrior” have again taken on almost metaphysical values … just as in pagan days.

    As someone mentioned earlier, Hitler was a hero; he was sacrifice and collective minded … earnestly serving his cause though it was objectively unjust.

    Hell, is no doubt filled with “heroes”.

    ‘General Nathaniel Lyon, meet Herr Hitler … Generals Patton and Emperor Napoleon are over there with some tens of thousands of others frying like maggots on Hades’ skillet. John Kerry will be joining us soon. Fortunately there is plenty of room … always plenty of room.’

  65. Ymar Sakar Says:

    are over there with some tens of thousands of others frying like maggots on Hades’ skillet.

    The hell sold to you by Christian pastors is a deception.

    Hell/Hades/Tarterus, as in the lake of fire, is quoted in the New Testament, vs the Old, specifically because it came from the Book of Enoch. In the BoE, the lake of fire is set apart for the angels and Lucifer, not for humans to punish them. Of course, if a human really wants in, they’ll be bundled along. If a human commits the same offense as the angels under Divine Law, no reason why they won’t be going to the same place, but that isn’t happening after they die.

    When did the American psyche degenerate to this point?

    You just notice that now…. look up Sumer’s Caning incident that led to Civil War 1.

  66. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Welcome to the Age of Trum, which is merely the Age of Aquarius and Novus ordo seclorum

  67. Tim Turner Says:

    This is literally what I’d expect if the Taliban tried to make a spambot to influence U.S. opinion.

  68. Ymar Sakar Says:

    America already has the Taliban, they call it BLM and the Alt Right vs Ctrl Left war.

    It’s something the military will be used to suppress, which is the entire point of why the military is encouraged, along with the military police, to question the civilians. Not the civilian authorities, just the civilians questioning the Authority, as they will become the new “right wing militia” of “new Taliban” the military and SWAT train to neutralize.

    Thanks for leaking what you should have shut your mouth up about Tim.

  69. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Oh, but Trum would never become a tyrant, the media and Republicans would stop them.

    Are they stopping him now or are people getting tired of the disinformation yet.

    When that doesn’t work, Trum will gain de facto public authority to use the Tims to suppress the “Taliban”, otherwise also known as American civilians that should have Obeyed Authority without question.

  70. Ymar Sakar Says:

    There’s a lot of garbage that’s been peddled about McCain for years by people with a motivation to lie about him. He’s not been a great senator, in my opinion, but I’m sick and tired of people who don’t like him lying about his POW experience.

    What’s interesting is how McCain reacted to it by blaming Bush II and holding a personal vendetta against him, to the point of undermining OIF and the Iraq War by working with Democrats.

    It all ties in together.

    This was the infamous “incident” that McCain blamed Bush II for in the primaries, most certainly.

  71. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Unfortunately for the US and McCain, even if everything in the story was designed to wreck McCain’s primary option, that still wouldn’t justify what McCain did later in the War against Terror or other American defense projects.

  72. Tim Turner Says:

    Now, I’m a curious guy. Would you answer a few of my questions?

    You seem to be against everyone and everything. Trump, never-Trumpers, military, civilians, religious people, atheists. I’ve looked through most of your posts and have yet to discover what it is you’re posting about. Can you say in one sentence, who it is you’re opposed to, and in one sentence who it is you support?

    For example:
    “I’m opposed to the use of _____ to enact _____. I support _____ to achieve ______.”

    All I understand is that you’re angry at me for doing I don’t know what. supporting McCain? Not supporting McCain? Apparently I’m some kind of puppet for a new world order (of the 20 or so dystopian futures out there, I don’t know which) which will bring in the apocalypse (of all the possible ends of the world, which one? I vaguely get that it’s religious somehow, but like Jehovah’s Witness Apocalypse, Catholic Apocalypse, Jewish Apocalypse)?

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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