John McCain: War Criminal for U.S. Imperialism

July 26, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


You can tell what kind of system U. S. imperialism is by whom they put forward as “heroes.” Last week Republican senator John McCain was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, and everyone from the fascist Donald Trump to “liberals” like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to the major news networks hailed him as a “hero.”

On Tuesday of this week, McCain flew to Washington, DC, to record a decisive “yes” vote in order to continue with the efforts to repeal Obamacare and the ramming through of a fascist health care plan that means suffering and death for millions. As McCain entered the Senate, he received a standing ovation from Democrats and Republicans alike.

But John McCain is a war criminal. He was a Navy pilot in 1967 as part of a bombing campaign called “Rolling Thunder” that cowardly rained death and destruction on the tiny country of Vietnam that was fighting for its independence from U.S. imperialism. Operation “Rolling Thunder” lasted for almost four years.

As we wrote in a previous article, “Vietnam Legacy: Heroes and Criminals”:

It was the most intense air war in world history. Seven million tons of bombs were dropped on Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos—three times as many as had been dropped in all of World War 2. Huge parts of Indochina were "carpet bombed"—killing Vietnamese civilians and liberation fighters, ruining valuable farmland and leaving the countryside pockmarked with 21 million bomb craters.

The U.S. planes dropped anti-personnel bombs (containing thousands of flesh-shredding darts), white phosphorus incendiary bombs, huge "daisy cutter" bombs that turned jungle into flattened football fields, and jellied gasoline bombs called napalm. The notorious chemical Agent Orange was sprayed over tens of millions of acres—poisoning crops, forests and human beings in the strongholds of the Vietnamese National Liberation Front. In Washington, strategists of the air war came up with a slogan, "Bomb them back to the Stone Age." U.S. bomber pilots carried out 150,000 attacks on North Vietnam. In 1968, the C.I.A., in a secret report, acknowledged that 90,000 people were killed in these attacks, 72,000 of them civilians. McCain received the "Air Medal," the "Legion of Merit," and several other awards for his participation in mass murder….

In October 1967, John McCain was shot down during a bombing raid over the capital city of Hanoi. He had carried out 23 bombing missions. McCain was captured, his wounds were treated, and he was held in a Vietnamese prison with other captured pilots. Five years later, as the defeated U.S. withdrew from Vietnam, these prisoners were released.

What kind of system celebrates someone like this as a respected “hero and “wise man”? A system that needs to be overthrown at the soonest possible time. 


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