The Fallacy of Calling McCain or Anyone Else a War Hero

Hits: 330

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.

[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]

READ MORE!
The Failure of US Democracy
I am now convinced that the Oligarchy that rules America intends to steal the presidential election. In the past, the oligarchs have not cared which candidate won as the oligarchs owned both. But they do not own Trump.Most likely you are unaware of what Trump is telling people as the media does not report it. A person who speaks like this:- is not endeared to the oligarchs.Who are the oligarchs?— Wall Street and the mega-banks too big to fail and their agent the Federal Reserve, a federal agency that put 5 banks ahead of millions of troubled American homeowners who ...
READ MORE
For 68 Years NATO Failing to Create a Peaceful World
It is unreasonable to ask taxpayers to pay billions more dollars for NATO’s budget because they get less and less peace, security and stability, says Jan Oberg, director of Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the bloc’s security spending would see its biggest increase since 2014, by 4.3 per cent in 2017. This is a response to US President Donald Trump‘s criticism of NATO countries failing to increase military budgets. Stoltenberg also said the alliance has combat-ready forces along Russia’s border. “NATO’s four multinational battle groups in the Baltic countries and Poland are now fully operational, ...
READ MORE
Turkey’s Political Agenda in the Balkans: Erdogan’s Islamic Influence in Bosnia
As Turkey’s President Erdogan runs out of money, he is now, more than any time before, using religion to exploit the Balkans, especially the states that are more susceptible to Islamic influence. Bosnia is at the fore of Erdogan’s ambitious Islamic agenda, where he is sparing no political capital or financial resources, even under his current economic hardship, to assert his influence and distance the country away from the EU’s reach. Obviously, the Bosnians cannot survive simply on being devout Muslims, with the youth unemployment rate at almost 60 percent. Turkey is unlikely to economically recover anytime soon, and Erdogan’s ...
READ MORE
Ethnic Cleansing in Palestine
Ilan Pappé is a historian, socialist activist, professor at the University of Exeter, and supporter of the Campaign for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). Of Israeli origin, he is a world-renowned scholar on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and has written numerous books on the subject, including The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine and The Idea of Israel: A History of Power and Knowledge.Pappé was interviewed by Alejandra Ríos for Left Voice, where this article first appeared.Alejandra Ríos (AR): You’ve talked and written about the concept of homeland as justification for destroying the native population. What is the meaning of this concept and ...
READ MORE
The West vs Russia: Towards the End of a Pax Americana?
A peaceful dissolution of the USSR according to the agreement between Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan in 1988 in Reykjavik brought a new dimension of global geopolitics in which up to 2008 Russia, as a legal successor state of the USSR, was playing an inferior role in global politics when an American Neocon concept of Pax Americana became the fundamental framework in international relations. Therefore, for instance, Boris Yeltsin’s Russia capitulated in 1995 to the American design regarding a final outcome of the USA/EU policy of the destruction of ex-Yugoslavia in November 1995 (the Dayton Agreement) followed by even worse ...
READ MORE
Mosul, Iraq and Obama’s Legacy of War
Barack Obama is the first two-term American president to have presided over war every day of his tenure in office. He bequeaths to a Trump administration ongoing operations in Afghanistan, continuing drone strikes in northwest Pakistan, the consequences of the 2011 destruction of Libya, the instigation of civil war in Syria, US sponsorship of the brutal Saudi interventions in Yemen, and the civil conflicts in Ukraine, the Caucuses and across Africa. Obama’s blood-soaked legacy, however, is most graphic in Iraq. There is a bitter irony in this, given the fact that he was elected in 2008 largely on the basis of ...
READ MORE
Who will Secure Lithuania?
The term “security” is a very multifaceted one. But today’s geopolitical situation forces us to think about its military aspect above all.Our attention is completely absorbed by news about wars, conflicts, military exercises and increasing defence capabilities. An average European reader has no chances to skip this kind of news while looking through news feeds of popular media.Even planned further militarization of the European region and Russia pose the real threat today. A whole generation of European children is growing in the firm belief that the war is approaching. We destroy ourselves by our fears. We notice everything concerning military ...
READ MORE
100 Years of Using War to Try to End All War
This April 4th will be 100 years since the U.S. Senate voted to declare war on Germany and 50 since Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out against the war on Vietnam (49 since he was killed on that speech’s first anniversary). Events are being planned to help us try to finally learn some lessons, to move beyond, not just Vietnam, but war. That declaration of war on Germany was not for the war that makes up the single most common theme of U.S. entertainment and history. It was for the war that came before that one. This was the Great War, ...
READ MORE
75 Years of Pearl Harbor Lies
The facts do not support the mythology. The United States government did not need to make Japan a junior partner in imperialism, did not need to fuel an arms race, did not need to support Nazism and fascism (as some of the biggest U.S. corporations did right through the war), did not need to provoke Japan, did not need to join the war in Asia or Europe, and was not surprised by the attack on Pearl Harbor. For support of each of these statements, keep reading. This week I’m testifying at an Iraq Tribunal about the Downing Street Minutes. In U.S. thinking the ...
READ MORE
Gavrilo Princip’s Grave: The Interwar Years, 1920-1939
Gavrilo Princip was first buried in secret in an unmarked grave at the Theresienstadt or Terezin prison following his death on April 28, 1918. His remains were exhumed and transferred to Sarajevo on July 7, 1920. This was Gavrilo Princip’s grave until 1939 when a Chapel was built to replace the grave. The other conspirators were also interred in this grave. Bogdan Zerajic’s remains were also reburied here. The assassination occurred on the Orthodox holiday, Vidovdan or St. Vitus’ Day, Sunday, on June 28, 1914. For this reason the conspirators were called the “Vidovdan Heroes” and the Chapel memorial was named “The ...
READ MORE
What is the Obama Regime?
Obama has announced new sanctions on Russia based on unsubstantiated charges by the CIA that the Russian government influenced the outcome of the US presidential election with “malicious cyber-enabled activities.” The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a report “related to the declaration of 35 Russian officials persona non grata for malicious cyber activity and harassment.” The report is a description of “tools and infrastructure used by Russian intelligence services to compromise and exploit networks and infrastructure associated with the recent U.S. election, as well as a range of U.S. government, political and private sector entities.” The report does not provide ...
READ MORE
Terrorist al-Nusra Front is blamed for massacre and abduction of Syrian civilians.
As explosions from detonated mines continued in the background a Syrian general confirmed in some detail an ugly truth: Washington and its close allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel backed the ISIS takeover and destruction of Palmyra. Most of the weapons ISIS used were from the US , with some ammunition from Israel . ISIS had US Hummers, spinning explosive projectiles and military rations from the US , Turkey and Saudi Arabia . That should not have been a surprise. US officials admitted in 2014 that their allies Turkey , the Saudis and Qatar were backing every single armed group in ...
READ MORE
A Constant Reminder to a Constant War: Militarism in American Society
The wars in the Middle East continue to rage unabated. Over the weekend a Russian war plane was struck down by an Al Qaeda affiliated group, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, and once again stoked fears of widening the struggle in Syria between US and Russian proxy forces. It is yet another reminder of the ongoing and seemingly endless wars being waged in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere around the globe.Our transition into this never-ending war paradigm, fashioned out of the events of the post 9/11 era, seeks only to benefit and further cement the pre-existing alliance between the US military ...
READ MORE
Why NATO/US’s “Collateral Damage” and “Errors” are not a War Crime?
Many innocent civilians were killed in American military interventions around the world – from Vietnam and Serbia to Iran and Afghanistan, because of the alleged “errors” or “collateral damage” – without consequences for civil and military leadership. In addition to political, military and every other power, Americans secured itself with legal mechanisms. Twenty-two civilians, wounded and doctors, among them three children, were killed in the American bombing of a hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz. Americans acknowledged the error and apologized. The President of the United States expressed his condolences, the military leadership announced three independent investigations. “Doctors without borders” ...
READ MORE
The Colonial Politics Appropriating Mount Rushmore
As colonial monuments are being destroyed in the U.S. and Europe, Mount Rushmore so far remains untouched and a news item since U.S. President Donald Trump visited the site on July 4 to commemorate Independence Day. Fireworks and fighter jets dominated a territorial space that is laden with the memory of colonial violence against the indigenous American Indians.A treaty signed in 1868 between the U.S. government and the Sioux people recognised the Black Hills in South Dakota as exclusive to the indigenous. The agreement was toppled in 1874 when gold was discovered in the Black Hills in a mining expedition ...
READ MORE
Declassified Documents Reveal Pentagon’s 1950s Planned Nuclear Holocaust
GR Editor’s Note Publicly available military documents confirm that pre-emptive nuclear war is still on the drawing board  of the Pentagon. Compared to the 1950s, the nuclear weapons are more advanced. The delivery system is more precise. In addition to China and Russia, Iran, Syria and North Korea are targets for pre-emptive nuclear war.   Let us be under no illusions, the Pentagon’s plan to blow up the planet using advanced nuclear weapons is still on the books. Should we be concerned?  Blowing up the planet through the use of nuclear weapons is fully endorsed by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who believes that nuclear weapons ...
READ MORE
Democratizing the US Constitution: An Idea Worth Considering
The grandees of the Republican Party are on the ropes. Donald Trump has them by the balls, but, even without Trump, they would be in what Bush the Father would call deep “do-do.” Any Republican candidate for President whom two-thirds of the electorate could abide would be anathema to the one-third that Republicans have recruited into their rank and file. Mitt Romney was the final straw. The establishment’s situation is so pitiful that even Chris Christie is starting to look good to them. If his candidacy survives into the Spring, late night TV comedians will rejoice; others, not so much. Ted Cruz remains ...
READ MORE
The entrance-gate to the death camp of Jasenovac in Croatia
1. Catholic extermination campsSurprisingly few know that Nazi extermination camps in World War II were by no means the only ones in Europe at the time. In the years 1942-1943 also in Croatia existed numerous extermination camps, run by Catholic Ustasha under their dictator Ante Pavelic, a practicing Catholic and regular visitor to the then pope. There were even concentration camps exclusively for children!In these camps – the most notorious was Jasenovac, headed by a Franciscan friar – orthodox-Christian Serbians (and a substantial number of Jews) were murdered. Like the Nazis the Catholic Ustasha burned their victims in kilns, alive ...
READ MORE
“Independent” State of the Republic of Kosovo(stan)
Kosovo(stan) Parliament announced "independent" state of the "Republic of Kosovo" on February 17th, 2008 as a democratic and multicultural political community.Here we present two photos from November 2015 on which you can see heavily damaged Serbian Orthodox church and totally destroyed Serbian Orthodox tombstones in the southern part of the town of Kosovska Mitrovica inhabited by the Muslim Albanians. Kosovo(stan) ISIS is doing its job profoundly.Enjoy Kosovo(stan) "independence"!P.S. Today (February 17th, 2018) on the 10-years anniversary of Kosovo(stan) "independence", Burundi canceled its previous recognition of it. Just guess why?Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you ...
READ MORE
Kosovo and Crimea: What’s the Difference?
The only discussion of principle emerging from the debates over Kosovar and Crimean independence is that initiated by Woodrow Wilson towards the end of World War One, about whether national minorities have the right to self-determination. Can a smaller group be compelled to be part of a larger state, or should they be permitted to secede? To what extent do minority rights amount to a freedom to determine one’s own sovereignty? In June 1999 an international military force led by the United States annexed Kosovo, then a province in southern Serbia with a population of perhaps 1.6 million people. Virtually all ...
READ MORE
The Failure of US Democracy
For 68 Years NATO Failing to Create a Peaceful World
Turkey’s Political Agenda in the Balkans: Erdogan’s Islamic Influence in Bosnia
Ethnic Cleansing in Palestine
The West vs Russia: Towards the End of a Pax Americana?
Mosul, Iraq and Obama’s Legacy of War
Who will Secure Lithuania?
100 Years of Using War to Try to End All War
75 Years of Pearl Harbor Lies
Gavrilo Princip’s Grave: The Interwar Years, 1920-1939
What is the Obama Regime?
How the US Backed the ISIS Takeover and Destruction of Palmyra
A Constant Reminder to a Constant War: Militarism in American Society
Why NATO/US’s “Collateral Damage” and “Errors” are not a War Crime?
The Colonial Politics Appropriating Mount Rushmore
Declassified Documents Reveal Pentagon’s 1950s Planned Nuclear Holocaust
Democratizing the US Constitution: An Idea Worth Considering
(Only) Three Examples of the 20th Century the Roman Catholic Church Atrocities of Genocide
“Independent” State of the Republic of Kosovo(stan)
Kosovo and Crimea: What’s the Difference?

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