The Fallacy of Calling McCain or Anyone Else a War Hero

Hits: 354

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!
Thank You, Edward S. Herman (1925-2017) – Tireless Champion of Peace
Edward S. Herman died on November 11, 2017, at the age of 92. Fortunately, it was a peaceful death for a supremely peaceful man. In all he did, Ed Herman was a tireless champion of peace.Ed Herman could be considered the godfather of antiwar media critique, both because of his own contributions and because of the many writers he encouraged to pursue that work. Thanks to his logical mind and sense of justice, he sharply grasped the crucial role and diverse techniques of media propaganda in promoting war. He immediately saw through lies, including those so insidious that few dare ...
READ MORE
Kosovo is Serbia
March 24 [2020] will mark the 21st anniversary of NATO’s occupation of Serbia’s Kosovo province, and so we reaffirm: Kosovo is Serbia. Serbia does not and will not ever recognize Kosovo’s claims of sovereignty. We call on NATO to end its occupation of Kosovo.NATO’s occupation of Kosovo and its increasing militarization of the province is a threat to the world’s common security. Albanian occupation authorities continue their assault on human rights and fundamental freedoms, brutally silencing critics in civil society and the media, and curtailing religious freedom. Hundreds of individuals from Kosovo, including members of the Serb community, have been ...
READ MORE
50 Shades of American Fascism
Hitler was a very good student. Those who read Mein Kampf will find therein many good words about America. More precisely, not about the whole of America, but about the numerous attempts of the American socialists to change the foundations of the American way of life.The ideas of forced sterilization and forced abortion were adopted by Hitler from the founder of feminism, American socialist Margaret Sanger. Madame Sanger even founded a special clinic to promote mass abortions of black people to reduce their number with the aim of completely eradicating blacks in America. This organization still exists–it is called Planned ...
READ MORE
Kosovo Albanian Muslims in the Nazi SS
Waffen SS troops in the Albanian Battalion of the Handzar Division, wearing SS-issued Albanian skullcaps, Bosnia, 1944 SS Reichsfuehrer Heinrich Himmler formed a Kosovo Albanian Muslim Nazi SS Division during World War II, the Skanderbeg SS Division, 21st Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Skanderbeg (1st Albanian), in 1944. He planned to form a second Kosovo Albanian Muslim SS Division but was not able to because the war ended before he could do so. The history of the Skanderbeg division has been documented and analyzed. What has rarely been analyzed, however, is the role of the Kosovo Albanian Muslim members in ...
READ MORE
Roots of Terror
I was sickened to hear and watch the events occurring in France. Part of that was for the immediate families, friends and neighbors of those so needlessly killed. Another part was the fear factor, not fear of terror or for myself but fear for how the powers that be would ratchet up the security control within their own societies by using their own biased racist fear factors in order to rationalize it to control their own populations. A wider perspective is the sick feeling of realizing that humanity in general is capable of producing such atrocities. The latter is where a ...
READ MORE
Zagreb, Independent State of Croatia, 1941
The consumption of history seems to be more widespread than ever: from general-interest history magazines and historical dramas and documentaries to historical fiction, popular history seems, well, unprecedentedly popular. The evolution of the TV historian reflects this trend: where once real working historians who had written serious books hosted television programmes, these days they are as likely to be photogenic media presenters with minimal, if any, actual history qualifications. The attraction of history and being a historian are not hard to work out. In the public imagination, historians are usually considered to be intelligent, objective people, if a little eccentric, who tell ...
READ MORE
Fascism’s Face-Lift
Last year, antifascists in Poland commemorated the country’s international brigades on the eightieth anniversary of the Spanish Civil War. Their gathering came under attack and a smoke grenade was thrown through the door. Inscribed on the projectile was the phrase “ha pasado,” “we have passed,” Franco’s retort to Dolores Ibárruri’s “no pasarán” on the day the Republic fell.Another iconic turn of phrase associated with the civil war owed much to Poland’s influence. “A las Barricadas,” the anthem of the anarcho-syndicalist CNT federation, became the war’s most famous song — but it wasn’t exactly an original. Its tune had been written by ...
READ MORE
Why the U.S. Must Be Prosecuted for Its War Crimes Against Iraq
The reason why the U.S. Government must be prosecuted for its war-crimes against Iraq is that they are so horrific and there are so many of them, and international law crumbles until they become prosecuted and severely punished for what they did. We therefore now have internationally a lawless world (or “World Order”) in which “Might makes right,” and in which there is really no effective international law, at all. This is merely gangster “law,” ruling on an international level. It is what Hitler and his Axis of fascist imperialists had imposed upon the world until the Allies — U.S. ...
READ MORE
Afghanistan: The Forgotten Proxy War
July 3, 2019 marks the 40th anniversary of when the United States’ first military assault against Afghanistan with the CIA-backed Mujahideen began. It would be a mistake to treat the present-day conflict as being separate from the U.S. intervention that began in 1979 against the then-government of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan. Afghanistan was not always known as the chaotic, ‘failed state’ overrun by warlords as it is now; this phenomenon is a product of that U.S.-led regime change operation. The article below, originally published on March 30, 2019, summarizes and analyzes the events that transpired during and after the Cold War ...
READ MORE
US-led Genocidal War and Destruction of Socialism: 20 Years after the NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia
The NATO war on Yugoslavia which culminated in the 78-days bombing of historic cities and infrastructures – as usual under atrocity propaganda and pretexts – is on its 20th anniversary.The grim anniversary is admirably recognized by Science for Peace members to remember and to prevent who-knows-what NATO war crime next as “humanitarian intervention”.From Yugoslavia to Iraq to Libya, where does it stop? Observe that Trump is now seeking a NATO alliance with Bolsonaro Brazil (see image below)  -to perhaps back the bombing of Venezuela, or any other society, including the Brazilian people, not bowing to US-led global corporate colonization. Socialist ...
READ MORE
NATO’s 1999 Attack on Serbia’s State TV Headquarters “Wiped from the Record”
On 23 April 1999, a NATO missile attack on Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) headquarters killed 16 employees of the state broadcaster. The forgotten war crime occurred during the Kosovo War (March 1998-June 1999), and was part of NATO’s aerial campaign alongside the US-backed Kosovo Liberation army, in opposition to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.In the aftermath of the attack there were no great public campaigns launched for the 16 murdered journalists and employees, no outpouring of emotion for those killed, no calls for solidarity and togetherness in the face of aggression. On the contrary the West justified this grievous ...
READ MORE
The Waffen SS Against the Serbian Chetniks: Heinrich Himmler’s Inspection Tour in Kraljevo, Serbia (October 1942)
Reichsfuehrer SS Heinrich Himmler arrived in Kraljevo, German-occupied Serbia on Thursday, October 15, 1942 to inspect the 7th Waffen SS Mountain Division “Prinz Eugen”. Himmler spent four days in Serbia, leaving on Sunday, October 18. The first offensive or operation of the Prinz Eugen division, the anti-guerrilla military operation against the Kopaonik region of central Serbia, was to attack the Chetnik guerrillas under Draza Mihailovich in the Kopaonik, Goc and Jastrebac mountains of central Serbia. Prinz Eugen attacked Chetnik troops under Chetnik Major Dragutin Keserovic. Himmler was photographed arriving in an air field in a German Junkers Ju 52 transport plane. Te ...
READ MORE
Implicit Meanings in Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Tomes
In his recent replies to Archbishop of Albania Anastasios and Archbishop of Antioch John X, Patriarch Bartholomew demonstrated once again that Constantinople envies Rome’s reputation and influence in Catholic Church. The Phanar refuses to take notice of the opinions of other Churches (even on the issues influencing the whole Orthodox world!) presuming itself as the one and only decision-maker and its verdict indisputable.However, justifying its decisions, the Phanar turns to arguments that aren’t really relevant – for example, comparing the recent situation in Ukraine to the Meletian schism in his letter to Anastasios, Bartholomew for some reason didn’t mention that ...
READ MORE
A Brief History of Fascism in the United States
“We could become the first country to go fascist through free elections.” — William Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third ReichGenerally, we avoid using the word “fascism” in polite company, and until recently, a person pointing out parallels between Nazi Germany and the current United States would invite elevated eyelids along with the outworn charge of sounding like a “conspiracy theorist“. The current electoral cycle seems to be changing that, so I will trust that now is the right time to convey some ideas I’ve been marinating regarding fascism in my US Homeland. The ruling plutocrats are clearly ferrying the ...
READ MORE
A New Islamic Occupation of Iberian Peninsula?
"Evicted five centuries ago by crusading Christians, the Arabs are back in Spain, using their oil dollars to buy land that was seized from their ancestors by the sword". — James M. Markham, The New York Times, 1981. The Madrid daily ABC wrote that 800 mosques in Spain are out of control. The Spanish daily La Razon charged that Gulf donors, such as Qatar, were a source of Spain's Islamization. The Saudis also launched a new Spanish television channel, Córdoba TV, as did Iran. They dream of, and work to, regain the "lost Caliphate" of Spain. Some Islamists do ...
READ MORE
The Obama Legacy: Genocide, Destruction, Chaos, Color Revolutions and Subservience to World Zionism
As of this moment, from the gentrified hipster hellholes in Brooklyn to the pedophile-infested devil-den of Hollywood to Satan-occupied Washington DC, liberals nationwide are wailing, howling, shrieking and blubbering over Barack Obama getting out of the White House. Their tears are gushing like rushing rivers breaking through weak dams in pusillanimous sadness, their little Judaized hearts are breaking into pieces of Gefilte fish because an end has come to the presidency of this man they repetitiously and affectionately refer to as “American’s First ‘Black’ President” who brought “hope and change” not only to the USA but the world at large. ...
READ MORE
The Bosnian Serb “Death Camp” Fabrication
Serbian emergency shelters for Bosnian refugees sold to the public as a concentration camp to win public support for international intervention.In August 1992, millions of people were shocked to see photographs of a supposed Bosnian Serb death camp. But the death camp story was a lie. The ITN crew had filmed from inside a fenced-in storage area. By shooting through the fence ITN created footage that gave the impression that the Bosnian men were imprisoned. With a little editing, this footage was turned into pictures that gave the impression of a death camp – media manipulation.The death camps were in ...
READ MORE
The Roots of the Current Crisis in the Middle East
It is now fully five years since the greatest upheavals in the modern history of the Arab World started in Tunis. Always impressed by the latest events, we tend to forget the deep roots of the current violent struggle. But unless we confront the causes, there is little chance that the symptoms will be healed.(A partial version of this article in Spanish was published earlier in Free Haifa)The wave of refugees that has reached Europe and the terror attacks in Paris reminded many people in Europe and beyond of the crisis in our region – but at the same time ...
READ MORE
Hating Russia is a Full-Time Job: Neocons Resurrect Tribal Memories to Fan the Flames
Having just returned from a trip to Russia, I am pleased to report that the Russian people and the officialdom that I encountered displayed none of the vitriol towards Americans that I half expected as a response to the vilifying of Moscow and all its works that pervades the U.S. media and Establishment. To be sure, many Russians I spoke with were quick to criticize the Trump Administration for its hot and cold performance vis-à-vis the bilateral ties to Moscow while also expressing mystification over why the relationship had gone south so quickly, but this anger over foreign policy did ...
READ MORE
The Unspoken War on Yemen
Is your money that good? Will it buy you forgiveness? Do you think that it could?” (Bob Dylan, b. 1941, Masters of War) On Tuesday 6th of September, twenty-four hour monitoring by Yemen’s Legal Centre for Rights and Development (LCRD) recorded the bombings by the Saudi led “coalition”, armed by the US and UK and advised by their military specialists, thus collusion and co-operation of both countries render them equally culpable for the carnage. Yemen has a population of just 24.41 million (2013 figure) and according to the Rural Poverty Portal: “ … is one of the driest, poorest and least developed countries in ...
READ MORE
Thank You, Edward S. Herman (1925-2017) – Tireless Champion of Peace
Kosovo is Serbia
50 Shades of American Fascism
Kosovo Albanian Muslims in the Nazi SS
Roots of Terror
How Holocaust Revisionists Remake History as Nationalist Sham
Fascism’s Face-Lift
Why the U.S. Must Be Prosecuted for Its War Crimes Against Iraq
Afghanistan: The Forgotten Proxy War
US-led Genocidal War and Destruction of Socialism: 20 Years after the NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia
NATO’s 1999 Attack on Serbia’s State TV Headquarters “Wiped from the Record”
The Waffen SS Against the Serbian Chetniks: Heinrich Himmler’s Inspection Tour in Kraljevo, Serbia (October 1942)
Implicit Meanings in Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Tomes
A Brief History of Fascism in the United States
A New Islamic Occupation of Iberian Peninsula?
The Obama Legacy: Genocide, Destruction, Chaos, Color Revolutions and Subservience to World Zionism
The Bosnian Serb “Death Camp” Fabrication
The Roots of the Current Crisis in the Middle East
Hating Russia is a Full-Time Job: Neocons Resurrect Tribal Memories to Fan the Flames
The Unspoken War on Yemen
FOLLOW US ON OUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS
Share

About White Nettle

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published on this website. The views of the authors presented on 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