The Fallacy of Calling McCain or Anyone Else a War Hero

Hits: 99

Obit scribblers are calling John McCain a war “hero.” Well, I have to concede that unlike so many warmongering chickenhawks such as Karl Rove, Paul Wolfowitz, Robert Kagan and most other neocons, McCain did actually serve in the military.  But the same could be said for nearly all top Nazis including Hitler and Goering; they fought in a war and they loved war. They were destructive persons who learned nothing positive from their military experience.

Of course, few of the pundits and politicians who are eulogizing McCain would wish to include Nazis in their hall of fame, nor would most of them care to designate most neocons as anything less than patriots.  So what is it that might qualify someone as a hero, or as a war criminal?  Having been in the military, I sometimes think about that.  These are some thoughts that come to mind.

Heroism is sort of like morality, it’s usually defined by the powers that be.  And a lot of it has to do with being in the right place at the right time.  An example of that would be the five Marines in the famous photo of the flag-raising on Iwo Jima.  What made them more heroic than the many thousands of other GIs who fought on that and other islands in the Pacific, you might ask.  And the answer is: time and place, plus a photographer to take their picture.  So they were in a dramatic photo, and that was at a time when the government needed heroes to sell war bonds.

Military discipline is such that soldiers tend to do as told, even under fire.  It’s a military axiom that soldiers fear their sergeants more then they fear the enemy’s bullets, and I think there’s a huge amount of truth in that.  Even though a sergeant may not be particularly fearsome, there’s a huge power structure behind him.  Individual soldiers become part of the military machine.

My friend Van Dale Todd was in Vietnam and came back with medals.  He didn’t seem to consider himself a “hero.”  What he emphasized was that he’d been through an experience.  “You don’t know what it’s like to see your buddies die!” he often said, and then one night he killed himself in front of me.  That was in San Francisco, in 1972.  In his diary he’d written, “How could killing humans have been fun?  Can God forgive me?”

Many Vietnam veterans suffered from PTSD.  Many died before their time, some shortly after coming home, others years or even decades later, in their 30s or even in their 50s, not necessarily from physical injuries, but often from invisible damage they’d incurred during the war.  I never met any who considered themselves “heroes.”

War criminals?  Van never spoke of himself as being a “war criminal,” but he’d been trained to enjoy killing “the enemy,” and I think it bothered him immensely that he had enjoyed it.  That, I think, was a major factor in his suicide.  Certainly not the only factor.  He took part in antiwar actions, and it shocked him to find nobody representing the power structure (news reporters or judges) would hear what he had to say.  Of  course, the corporate media makes a big show of honoring military personnel and veterans — but only as long as we go along with the bullshit, buy into their narrative and regurgitate propaganda.  During the Vietnam War, media pundits used to tell us that the U.S. was there to defend democracy, and to back it up they’d say, “Ask a GI!” implying that people who’d been in the military believed in the war and would speak in support of it.  Well, you probably know the rest of that story.

I often think of the characters in the Iliad and the Odyssey, wondering how those guys could be considered heroes.  Socrates apparently thought they were; he held Achilles up as an inspiring example of a man who stood by his principles. That strikes me as really strange. In my view, Achilles was the archetypal spoiled brat who just wanted to have his own way.  Then there was Odysseus, a notorious liar, who got tangled up in his own lies, and that’s basically what brought about the loss of his ships and the deaths of his crews on the way back to Ithaca.  The leader of it all was King Agamemnon, a rather poor general, also a poor father who sacrificed his own daughter, and on returning to his home at the end of the war he was killed by his wife, which is about what he deserved.  Those “heroes” were made of rather poor stuff, and a couple of their gods, Zeus and Athena, both of them deceitful schemers, weren’t too great either.  The only person in the Iliad who comes off as genuinely heroic is Hector.  It’s interesting that Homer, presumably a Greek himself, would present their enemy’s champion and other Trojans as being about the only decent persons in the whole story.

Achilles, Odysseus, Agamemnon and all the rest of them.  Those were the men who fought the Trojan War, the elite officer class, that is.  Homer called them heroes and sang their praises, but tongue in cheek, while carefully letting us know who those guys really were.


Originally published on 2018-08-29

About the author: Daniel Borgstrom is a child of the 1950s who joined the US Marine Corps (1959-1963), naively believing he was helping to defend our freedoms. Today he’s an antiwar activist and also a fan of film noir.

Source: Dissident Voice

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

READ MORE!
Srebrenica: 19-Year-Blueprint for US Intervention
On July 11, 1995, two NATO warplanes bombed Serbian forces, advancing on Srebrenica. But due to the bad weather and the fact that Serbian forces were holding French and Dutch prisoners of war, NATO called off what was to be a massive bombing campaign. Late in the afternoon, Serbian general Mladic and other commanders entered into Srebrenica. They had won, for the moment. This loss by NATO could not accept and through indirect manipulation and false representation of the facts, US and NATO slandered the Serbs and successfully changed the presentation of a legal military operation. Radio Voice of Russia ...
READ MORE
What Results When the U.S. Invades a Country: “Bring Them Democracy”
The U.S. Government certainly leads the world in invasions and coups. In recent years, it has invaded and occupied — either by military assault or by coup, but in either case followed by installing (or trying to install) a new regime there — a number of countries, especially Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen.  U.S. propaganda says that its invasions and military occupations (and it denies its coups) are to benefit the people in the invaded and militarily occupied countries, or to bring them ‘democracy’, and are not done merely to benefit the people who control the U.S. Government (which itself is not a ...
READ MORE
Washington’s Wars
The New York Times reported on October 22 that the United States has “just over 240,000 active-duty and reserve troops in at least 172 countries and territories,” which is a staggering total. But in an intriguing revelation the Times reported that there are a further 37,813 troops deployed “on presumably secret assignment in places listed simply as ‘unknown.’ The Pentagon provided no further explanation.” It is not surprising that Washington’s war-spreaders do not supply information to the American public concerning the location of soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen involved in clandestine operations around the globe, because this might bring to light the lack of justification for ...
READ MORE
The Problem is Washington, not North Korea
Washington has never made any effort to conceal its contempt for North Korea. In the 64 years since the war ended, the US has done everything in its power to punish, humiliate and inflict pain on the Communist country. Washington has subjected the DPRK to starvation,  prevented its government from accessing foreign capital and markets, strangled its economy with crippling economic sanctions, and installed lethal missile systems and military bases on their doorstep. Negotiations aren’t possible because Washington refuses to sit down with a country which it sees as its inferior.  Instead, the US has strong-armed China to do its bidding by using their diplomats as interlocutors who are expected to convey Washington’s ultimatums as threateningly as possible.  The ...
READ MORE
The 2014 Ukraine Coup was as Much about China as Russia
The events which led to the 2014 coup in Ukraine are generally blamed on anti-Russia actors, including the United States and EU.Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was recently in the EU where he said the following,“The largely-provoked-from-the-outside Ukrainian crisis has become the direct consequence of such short-sighted policy of Washington and Brussels”.He continued,“We hope that Germany and France, as partners within the Normandy format, as well as the US who have a special influence on the Kiev establishment, will use their means to change the situation”.Lavrov went on to define his hopes for Ukraine stating,“We want to see Ukraine a ...
READ MORE
U.S. Presidential Lying is Nothing New
After escalated provocations with Mexico, until he obtained the necessary pretext in 1846, President James Polk announced, “War exists,” thus explaining away how it really happened. After defeating Spain, William McKinley said he wanted to “uplift and civilize and Christianize” the Filipinos, and “by God’s grace do the very best we could by them.” But they’d already declared independence, so doing the “best” actually meant allowing the worst — killing and burning villages during a 12-year war of resistance.In 1947, Harry Truman (image right) wanted to “assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way.” But ...
READ MORE
Hearts Beat in Kosovo for Islamist Warriors
As Kosovo tries to stop its sons from going off to fight in Iraq and Syria, sympathy for their cause remains strong among some hardline Muslims.The calls stopped coming more than three months ago.Even while fighting in Iraq and Syria for the militants of Islamic State, Musli Musliu still checked in with his family regularly. He used to post photos on Facebook, showing a beaming young man posing with his comrades. One even shows him in a sweet shop.It was during one of those calls, in April, that he broke the news that his brother, Valon, had been killed. The ...
READ MORE
How the United States Bombed the USSR on October 8, 1950
Few people know that, in fact, in those years, overseas aircraft inflicted an unpunished blow on the Soviet territory. It happened in the Far East in October 1950.On October 8, 1950, at 4.17 p.m. local time, two Lockheed F-80C Lockheed "Schutting Star (Meteor)" violated the state border of the USSR and, having deepening into the territory for almost a hundred kilometers, attacked the Soviet military airfield Suhaya Rechka 165 kilometers from Vladivostok, in the Hasan district. As a result of firing by the US Air Force seven Soviet squadron aircraft were damaged, one completely burnt  in the parking lot.That autumn ...
READ MORE
Donald the Animal Stays in Syria
Another chemical weapons at the hands (supposedly) of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The public was bombarded with images of victims of the attack. Where have been the images of Donald Trump’s victims? If the liberal media really is opposed to Trump as they say, why haven’t they been as outraged about Trump’s crimes? Donald Trump went on to call Assad an animal. But what has been Donald Trump’s record in the region? Historically awful. He now is responsible for over three-quarters of the civilian’s deaths in the U.S. war against ISIS. What seemed unspeakable under Barack Obama has proved to be ...
READ MORE
Clash of Imperialists: 21st Century Competition and Confrontation by the Great Powers
Led by the US and NATO, the clash of imperialist powers accounts for the absence of stability not just in the Middle East and Africa, but also the Ukraine and parts of Asia. Behind the rhetoric of democracy, national security, and anti-terrorism there are direct diplomatic and indirect diplomatic efforts through government-financed and pro-business NGO’s. There are overt and covert military operations carried out by the US, EU, China, Russia and their less powerful allies motivated by aggressive intentions for spheres of influence and markets. Behind the “war on terror” and regional conflicts around the world rests the reality of ...
READ MORE
Criticism of Israeli Policy is not Anti-Semitic
I was provoked to write this discussion of what is and what isn’t anti-Semitism by an article in Ha’aretz on the “controversy” created by the awarding of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to George P. Smith. According to the reporting, Smith is not only a brilliant scientist whose work has helped lead to the creation of new drugs that can treat cancer and a range of autoimmune diseases, he is also an outspoken supporter of Palestinian rights and a critic of Israeli policies. The Ha’aretz piece notes that Smith has long been “a target of pro-Israel groups” and is listed ...
READ MORE
Croatian Schooling ‘Leaves Pupils Ill-Informed’ About WWII Regime
Many Croatian schoolchildren know little about crimes committed under the country’s World War II-era fascist regime – but experts claim that the revisionist political environment is more to blame than the education system.The former Jasenovac concentration camp, one of the most important World War II historical sites in the former Yugoslavia, is around 110 kilometres from Croatia’s capital Zagreb - an hour and a half by bus.But no schools in Zagreb sent their pupils on trips to the Jasenovac Memorial Site last year.Out of a total of 909 primary schools in Croatia, only seven of them organised visits for pupils ...
READ MORE
The EU’s Architects: Nazis and Nazi Collaborators
There is an old adage that pertains to the founding of the European Union «If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again». And for the Nazis and Nazi collaborators of the Second World War, viewing the post-war European death and destruction brought about by Adolf Hitler and his «Third Reich» alliance of Italian fascists, French Vichy, and others, the immediate decision was to «try again» with a European Union that would establish the same European super-state envisaged by Hitler but with a decidedly «democratic» aura.What eventually became the EU, the European Coal and Steel Community, was formed by six Western European ...
READ MORE
“Beating the Drums of War”: How Obama and Clinton are Endangering All of Us
I am a lifelong FDR (Franklin Delano Roosevelt) Democrat and therefore am anything other than prejudiced against the Democratic Party. But, that Party died when Bill Clinton became President and undid FDR’s regulations on the megabanks and FDR’s AFDC income program for children in poor families, and when Clinton replaced that with restoration of Wall Street’s control over America (like before FDR, only a more convoluted form of it). However, the way in which both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton endanger all people’s lives and property and health and welfare, has to do with something else, something that’s even more ...
READ MORE
Russophobia and the Dark Art of Anti-Russian Magazine Covers
Chances are, if a story about Russia appears on the cover of a major Western magazine, it’s not good news. Most likely, there’s been an international scandal, a breakout of geopolitical tensions, the resumption of Cold War hostilities, or some nefarious Russian plot to bring the entire free world to its knees. Russophobia — or the unnatural fear of Russia — generally leads magazine editors to choose the most over-the-top images to convey Russia as a backwards, clumsy, non-Western and aggressively malevolent power. Unfortunately, that’s led to a few rules of thumb for anyone trying to create a magazine cover featuring ...
READ MORE
Democracy in America is Pure Fantasy
“I’ll never live to see 9/11 justice,” says Stephen Lendman. The 9/11 attacks have changed the course of humanity, even so for sixteen years have not been minimally clarified but turned the world in a place full of fear and hate as the United States spreads its military bases all over the world, having 737 and more than 2,500,000 U.S. personnel serving across the planet.Stephen Lendman, one of the world’s most respected analysts, speaks with Pravda Report on the consequences of those attacks, and President Trump’s denial of his promises during the presidential campaign to investigate the day that has killed more than one million people ...
READ MORE
America and the Great Abdication: Don’t Mistake Donald Trump’s Withdrawal from the World for Isolationism
When great powers fade, as they inevitably must, it’s normally for one of two reasons. Some powers exhaust themselves through overreach abroad, underinvestment at home, or a mixture of the two. This was the case for the Soviet Union. Other powers lose their privileged position with the emergence of new, stronger powers. This describes what happened with France and Great Britain in the case of Germany’s emergence after World War I and, more benignly, with the European powers and the rise of the United States during and after World War II. To some extent America is facing a version of this—amid ...
READ MORE
Global Warfare: “We’re Going to Take out 7 Countries in 5 Years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan & Iran”
It is worth noting that 6 out of these 7 countries (with the exception of Lebanon) identified by General Wesley Clark “to be taken out” are now the object of President Trump’s ban on Muslims’ entry to the US:  Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Libya, Sudan, Iran and Yemen. All of these countries are on the Pentagon’s drawing board. These countries have been directly or indirectly been the object of US aggression (Global Research Editor). General Wesley Clark. Retired 4-star U.S. Army general, Supreme Allied Commander of NATO during the 1999 War on Yugoslavia. Complete Transcript of Program, Democracy Now. Today we spend the hour with General ...
READ MORE
The World Order is Crumbling – “Pax Americana” is Dying
Six months into 2016 and the world looks decidedly nervous and edgy from a geo-political viewpoint. A dramatic oil price plunge has pushed producing nations into near crisis as the international scrap for market share follows a bid by a collapsing OPEC cartel to fight off American production. China’s economic woes continue to destabilise markets the world over. The USA is clearly becoming more hostile, even warlike towards Russia, who in turn appears to be gearing up to defend itself from increasingly belligerent and aggressive NATO commanders who are facilitating Europe’s encirclement of Russian borders. The latest weaponry pointed directly at Moscow does not help ...
READ MORE
Air Strikes against Syria: Who are the War Criminals?
America is coming to the rescue of Al Qaeda under a humanitarian mandate. The unspoken agenda is to undermine the Liberation of Aleppo.  The pretext and justification for these actions are based on America’s “responsibility to protect” (R2P) the “moderates” in Aleppo from Syrian and Russian attacks and bombing raids. On October 3, the US State Department announced the suspension of bilateral relations with Russia pertaining to Syria (see document below), in response to which, France’s foreign Minister Jean Marc Ayrault was called upon to intermediate at the diplomatic level.  Pointing his finger at Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Jean Marc Ayrault casually accused Moscow ...
READ MORE
Srebrenica: 19-Year-Blueprint for US Intervention
What Results When the U.S. Invades a Country: “Bring Them Democracy”
Washington’s Wars
The Problem is Washington, not North Korea
The 2014 Ukraine Coup was as Much about China as Russia
U.S. Presidential Lying is Nothing New
Hearts Beat in Kosovo for Islamist Warriors
How the United States Bombed the USSR on October 8, 1950
Donald the Animal Stays in Syria
Clash of Imperialists: 21st Century Competition and Confrontation by the Great Powers
Criticism of Israeli Policy is not Anti-Semitic
Croatian Schooling ‘Leaves Pupils Ill-Informed’ About WWII Regime
The EU’s Architects: Nazis and Nazi Collaborators
“Beating the Drums of War”: How Obama and Clinton are Endangering All of Us
Russophobia and the Dark Art of Anti-Russian Magazine Covers
Democracy in America is Pure Fantasy
America and the Great Abdication: Don’t Mistake Donald Trump’s Withdrawal from the World for Isolationism
Global Warfare: “We’re Going to Take out 7 Countries in 5 Years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan & Iran”
The World Order is Crumbling – “Pax Americana” is Dying
Air Strikes against Syria: Who are the War Criminals?
Policraticus

Written by Policraticus

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu

Website: http://www.global-politics.eu