Different Wars?
by James Glaser
September 16, 2008

Some guys fought their war in the rice paddies and mud, others were thousands of feet in the air. If you were one of those guys on the ground, you got dirty and sometimes bloody. If you were up in the air, you kept your cool with the A/C on, and you came back maybe drenched with sweat, but otherwise clean.

John McCain was one of the troops up in the air where, until he was shot down, he looked at war from a different perspective than the one I got. It is hard for any of us to imagine what his time as a POW was like, but the more I read about the man, the more I have to ask, why was he even over Hanoi when he was shot down.

I can understand some pilot dropping bombs, even napalm on an assigned target if he or she had no prior idea of what that ordinance really did, but McCain saw first hand what those things did when his plane blew up on an aircraft carrier.

In February of 2008, Ted Rall, wrote a column titled "Puffing Up John McCain POW," and the following paragraphs are from that column.

McCain knew that what he was doing was wrong. Three months before he fell into that Hanoi lake, he barely survived when his fellow sailors accidentally fired a missile at his plane while it was getting ready to take off from his ship. The blast set off bombs and ordnance across the deck of the aircraft carrier. The conflagration, which took 24 hours to bring under control, killed 132 sailors. A few days later, a shaken McCain told a New York Times reporter in Saigon: "Now that I've seen what the bombs and the napalm did to the people on our ship, I'm not so sure that I want to drop any more of that stuff on North Vietnam."

Yet he did.

"I am a war criminal," McCain said on "60 Minutes" in 1997. "I bombed innocent women and children." Although it came too late to save the Vietnamese he'd killed 30 years earlier, it was a brave statement. Nevertheless, he smiles agreeably as he hears himself described as a "war hero" as he arrives at rallies in a bus marked "No Surrender."

McCain was talking about dropping napalm and bombs on North Vietnam. When he was shot down, he was bombing a power plant in the Hanoi, the Capitol City of North Vietnam. Using napalm and bombing civilian infrastructure are both war crimes, to which John McCain admits, makes him a war criminal. He admits that he bombed women and children.

The words hero, honor, character, and integrity are used often to describe John McCain. Somehow, if those words really did fit the man, he would have refused to continue bombing women and children, after he realized what his bombs were doing, and if he had refused, he would have never been in that POW camp.

Today, John McCain is running for the job of President of the United States, and while out campaigning for that job, he has made a joke out of a threat to bomb Iran. The man actually sang a bit of a Beach Boys' song using his own words "Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran."

Maybe it has been too long, and John McCain has forgotten what the horrors of napalm are when it is used on women and children. Just maybe, like so many of my fellow Vietnam veterans, McCain still wants to win a war. Either way, it scares the heck out of me to think that an admitted war criminal could be our next Commander-in-Chief.

Any man, who can put the killing of children out of his mind, and talk about doing the same thing all over again, is not fit to be our President.

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