We’re not supposed to speak ill of the dead but that only applies to normal people like you and I. Politicians like John McCain who’ve spent their entire lives advocating for war while palling around with terrorists and Nazi’s don’t get that curtesy.
The reaction to McCain’s death, with his deification as a “straight talking, bi-partisan, maverick,” says a lot about the political/economy of the corporate media, with its fixation on American exceptionalism, where the senator from Arizona was the poster-child for the most exalted type of bi-partisanship that exists in Washington: military interventionism and regime change.
Here’s how The Washington Post’s, Jennifer Rubin described McCain. “The nation continues to absorb the loss of its greatest contemporary political figure–a senator who will rank up there among Daniel Webster, Henry Clay and Everett Dirksen.”
The fact that we can read endless stories about McCain’s bi-partisan political persona and human rights advocacy, despite McCain’s unforgivable record of facilitating death and destruction in Vietnam, Iraq, Syria, Libya and elsewhere, shows just how much neocon Kool-Aide the corporate press has drank.
Ironically, it’s neocons like McCain who’ve helped squander all the goodwill the world extended to the US in the wake of 9/11 by spending every waking moment advocating for wars and regime changes.
In doing so, McCain had no compunctions about using Al Qaeda and ISIS terrorists. For example, during Barack Obama’s presidency, McCain slipped into northern Syria to cheer Sunni-Jihadists rebels who had arisen to overthrow President Bashar Assad, an insurgency that led to a seven-year civil war and savage ethnic cleansing.
And it wasn’t just Sunni terrorists that McCain hearted. When protesters led by Ukrainian Nazi’s gathered in Maidan Square in Kiev to overthrow an elected pro-Russian president, McCain was there, cheering them on. He also strongly supported sending arms to the neo-Nazi, Azov Battalion, fighting pro-Russian rebels in the Donbass.
Here he is posing with Oleh Tyahnybok, leader of the anti-Semitic Ukrainian ultra-nationalist, neo-Nazi Svoboda party.
McCain gained his initial status as a naval aviator and is held up by the corporate media as a war hero because of his time as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War.
However, according to the explosive account by investigative journalist Sydney Schanberg, McCain’s actions were anything but honorable. “John McCain, who has risen to political prominence on his image as a Vietnam POW war hero, has, inexplicably, worked very hard to hide from the public stunning information about American prisoners in Vietnam who, unlike him, didn’t return home. Throughout his Senate career, McCain has quietly sponsored and pushed into federal law a set of prohibitions that keep the most revealing information about these men buried as classified documents. Thus the war hero who people would logically imagine as a determined crusader for the interests of POWs and their families became instead the strange champion of hiding the evidence and closing the books. Almost as striking is the manner in which the mainstream press has shied from reporting the POW story and McCain’s role in it, even as the Republican Party has made McCain’s military service the focus of his 2008 presidential campaign.”
Can’t have the embodiment of Washington’s always-war bipartisanship caught lying about his heroic backstory, it might raise questions about the agenda of the always-war corporate media. Hence the shrieks of alarm when Trump questioned McCains POW heroism.
As part of the ongoing deep state Russia-gate campaign, McCain has been credited as a hero of the Resistance and described as Trump’s greatest nemesis. However, Trump’s real crime for neocons like McCain and the always-war corporate media is his calls for better relations with Russia and an end to US interventionists foreign policies.
I’m not a psychiatrist. I don’t even play one on TV, but my diagnosis of McCain actions while alive would blame his extreme bellicosity on his feelings of guilt from his abandonment of US POW’s and the cover-up.
And, this brings us to the real danger of how we view McCain and his legacy.
We can have a constitutional republic or an empire, we can’t have both. Presently, we are well down the path of empire thanks to the actions of John McCain with his foreign policies of endless war and regime change.
Right now the US is bombing and fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, partly John McCain’s legacy. At various times McCain lobbied for bombing: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Georgia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Russia, China, North Korea, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Sudan & in one of his final acts, voted to continue the US-backed genocide in Yemen.
Presently, the United States is far and away the world’s largest producer of weapons. Stoking death and mass destruction is just about the only source of profitable exports the US economy can now boast of. Once the world’s largest creditor nation, the US is today the world’s largest debtor nation and yet it insanely continues to spend more for military purposes than any other nation in all of human history. And nothing is reinvested in the US itself. Not in its infrastructure and certainly not in the lives and the future of its citizens.
Meanwhile, 72,000 Americans died of opioid overdose last year.
And, we’re not supposed to speak ill of the dead.
Update: Someone else noticed how fucked-up the Washington Post headline was.