Archive for November 5th, 2008

Post-mortem 1: McCain no war hero

November 5, 2008

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There was the CBC in its election coverage consistently referring to John McCain as a war hero. Peter Mansbridge, Alison Smith and Rex Murphy were particularly effusive in their praise of McCain. Let it be said that McCain’s concession speech was first rate, classy and conciliatory. Let it also be said that John McCain is no war hero.

John McCain was shot down on his 23rd bombing mission over Vietnam, a country which had never attacked the USA, he was part of an imperial invasion of a neutral country. civilian casualties range from 1-2 million. In 1995 the North Vietnamese estimated the number at 2 million. 

McCain who referred to the Vietnamese in racist terms(”gooks”) in a 1973 article, landed in Truc Boc lake in Hanoi, was saved from drowning by a citizen.He claimed he was tortured but always has refused the release of his government debriefing.

A war hero? Hardly. Bombing innocent civilians in a foreign country which did not threaten you makes you complicit in war crimes. Only in a country where militarism runs rampant could such a character be deemed a war hero, virtually beyond criticism.

McCain has been dining out freely on this spurious claim for over 40 years.

Now it is “received wisdom” beyond dispute,

Is it any wonder why the media is losing respect?

A little more hope in America

November 5, 2008

newsThe most overpowering symbol of Barack’s historic night was the sight on CBC  of Jesse Jackson weeping. One can only imagine what was going through his mind as the realization that an off white brother had become president.

Jackson on April 4 1968 had stood next to to the great liberator Martin Luther King Jr. as he was gunned down by a white cracker. He had seen and experienced the continuous  vilification of black people in the “land of the free and home of the brave.”Earlier Jackson had warned CBC Washington correspondent Neil McDonald  that GW BUsh was still  putting things in place to make it harder for the common good to triumph and the average person to benefit from the American dream. Nevertheless, it had to be a moment of redemption and partial hope for one who has been in the struggle for so long.

Months ago the film maker Michael Moore had steadfastly refused to criticize Obama’s former pastor Jeremiah Wright for the remarks he had made—most of which were dead on and understanding of America’s ugly imperial history, its consistent suborning of democracy from Chile to Iran to Most of Latin America. Moore’s deeply sensitive remarks were to the point: no white man could possibly understand the deeply humiliating experience of the African-American community. He for one would not condemn Jeremiah Wright. Others were howling for his blood.

Jackson’s tears were beautiful to watch,cleansing and a moment of grace, a small reward for a journey well travelled.

One other photograph needs commenting on—the almost total white make up  of the crowd in Phoenix who came to hear John McCain’s remarkably gracious concession speech.America is still a divided country—but there is a little more hope to go around after November 4, 2008.

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