John McCain: A Life Wasted?

Authored by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth blog,

What’s happening to John McCain is tragic. It’s not something one should ever wish upon another human being. Nor is it decent, let alone useful, to wish that he would die. Wishing bad things upon someone because they did bad things is too close for comfort to what he himself did. But it’s good to remember that his brain tumor is not the most tragic part of McCain’s life on earth. And no, neither is his time as prisoner of war in Vietnam.

McCain’s main tragedy is that he didn’t learn the one lesson he should have learned about his time in Vietnam, and didn’t turn his back on warfare. Instead, he turned into the biggest and loudest pro-war campaigner in Washington for decades. Talk about a missed opportunity, a life wasted. If there was one person who was presented with the first-hand experience needed to turn against bloodshed, it was John McCain.

What’s more, during his time in the House and later the Senate, McCain completely missed out on a development that might yet have changed his mind. That is, wars became unwinnable. Something even that the US losing their war in Vietnam might have taught him. It entirely passed him by. McCain still never saw an opportunity to wage battle somewhere, anywhere on the planet, that he didn’t like.

That makes him a dinosaur and a fossil who should never have been allowed to remain in the Senate for as long as he did. At the age of 81, and after ‘serving’ for 35 years in Washington, it apparently becomes too difficult to see how the world outside changes, let alone to adapt to those changes. If you limit the time a president can serve, why not do the same for senators? Is it because those same senators would have to vote on that?

Moreover, if wars are unwinnable, but you incessantly call for new wars anyway, then regardless of moral issues about going to war in the first place, you have de facto become a threat to your own people and your own country that you purport to serve. Especially, and first of all, to the American soldiers you desire to send out there to fight those wars. But also a threat to the image of America around the globe.

When wars are unwinnable, there is no reason to fight them. Again, even apart from morals and ethics. You will have to find other ways to deal with ‘elements’ that feel and act less than friendly towards you. To find out what, it helps to realize that they understand it’s just as futile for them to attack you militarily as it is for you to attack them. It also helps to figure out why they are unfriendly.

What doesn’t help is to take yet another stab at Putin and say “Vladimir Putin is an evil man, and he is intent on evil deeds”, as McCain does in a forthcoming book. If that’s the best you can do, your best-by date has long since passed. That’s language fit for a 4-year old. And George W.

McCain’s father and grandfather were both 4-star US Navy admirals. Perhaps that partly explains his blindness to the evils of war, and the role the US has played in many conflicts, including -but certainly not limited to- Vietnam. It’s hard to imagine Apocalypse Now, Platoon or Full Metal Jacket being McCain’s favorite Hollywood classics.

And that is a bigger problem than it may seem. Because America has indeed been able to paint a vivid portrait for itself of why Vietnam was such an insane venture that should never have happened, and certainly not repeated. If your culture has the ability to put that in words and images, and as a nation you still don’t learn the lesson embedded in them, you’re pretty much lost.

Oh, and besides, you lost too, remember? You lost the war and the lives and limbs of tens of thousands of young Americans and over a million Vietnamese. To have been part of that and then turn around and strive to be Washington’s premier warmonger, that’s just totally bonkers. Or worse. Has McCain been promoting war all this time because he subconsciously wanted to redo Vietnam but this time not lose?

Unwinnable wars are bad news for the weapons industry. They will deny the existence of even such a concept as long and as strongly as they can. Because if you can’t win a war, why wage them? There will continue to be technological developments, but there’s no “throughput”. You can fire some missiles into some desert somewhere from time to time, and that’s it.

The military-industrial complex is happy only -because most profitable- if and when guns and missiles and jets constantly need to be replaced because they’ve been lost in a theater of war, along with young Americans. McCain knows this better than most. And he knows the captains of this complex, both the military side and the weapons producers. Far too well.

Being as beholden as it is to the arms makers and dealers, has made America lose whatever edge it once had militarily. In the US weapons are developed and sold to generate the largest profits possible; in Russia, they are developed to protect the country. This is largely why the American defense budget is 10 times larger than its Russian counterpart. All this happened on John McCain’s watch.

The entire narrative of “protecting and sharing our values” has become hollow propaganda. Because the US has engaged its military in more theaters of war and invasion than we can even keep track of anymore. The US armed forces don’t protect democracy or human rights around the world, they protect the financial interests of America’s elites, including the military-industrial complex. Does anyone believe John McCain doesn’t know this?

Unbeknownst to John McCain, the world has entered a whole new era. And this didn’t happen yesterday. Russia and China may have only recently announced new hypersonic missile technology, but it didn’t fall out of the sky. It does profoundly change things though. It ends all notions and dreams of American exceptionalism and unilateralism.

And America needs to learn that lesson. It will have to do it without John McCain. And it might as well, because McCain was incapable of changing, and of seeing the changes around him. But the American view of the world will have to change, because the world itself has.

Still, you’re right: the real tragedy is not that John McCain wasted his own life. It’s that he helped destroy so many others.



Croesus TheRedScourge Mon, 05/14/2018 - 20:16 Permalink

@ Raul:

"What’s happening to John McCain is tragic."

Oh Really?

I'd say what his actions have done to millions of people, is TRAGIC. Keating 5 alone, should have kept that weasel out of office, and in jail...but as a protected person, he was allowed to run roughshod all over the place with his warmongering bullshit, because the asshole voters in Arizona kept voting him in.

What's happening to him, is a glimpse of what his future holds.

There are probably few pits in Hell, as deep as the one McShitstain belongs in.

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

As a rule, I don't generally wish ill on others, but McShitstain falls under my "special exceptions" clause.

In reply to by TheRedScourge

Clashfan Anarchyteez Tue, 05/15/2018 - 11:41 Permalink

Let's not forget, please, that he and Skerry also worked together to hide the truth about POW/MIA victims kept by VN as a result of Nixon reneging on the post-war deal. Don't forget the families here that they flat out shut down. It was as evil as anything else he did?

Pick yer source. There are plenty.


In reply to by Anarchyteez

Zerogenous_Zone Clashfan Tue, 05/15/2018 - 13:12 Permalink



kept getting voted in because "that's all that was on the ticket" for 'conservative' retirees...right?!


what everyone forgets...we GET the GOVERNMENT we DESERVE...period!


and voting for the lessor of two evils is still evil, right?!


voting for ANYONE else, although 'scary', is the ONLY thing to do...add a little chaos-lagniappe to the old political stew...and watch it bubble over...



In reply to by Clashfan

fleur de lis Croesus Mon, 05/14/2018 - 20:56 Permalink

Aside from the deep seated nastiness of Arizonans to continually inflict McCain on the rest of us for decades, what did he ever do for them?

He must have been giving them something very nice to keep our punishment going.

Did he keep their taxes overly low, did he give them more bennies than other states, what did he give them in exchange for allowing him to use their state to drag us all down into the Swamp?

In reply to by Croesus

cesar Croesus Mon, 05/14/2018 - 23:24 Permalink

The truth about John McCain is contained in the numerous zero hedge comments posted here as opposed to the Fake News Media who revere him simply because he promotes the interests of the Military Industrial Complex by pushing their war agenda.  McCain is NO war hero! If you have forgotten what a war hero is then look at the war record of Audie Murphy.  Now that man was a hero!


What is wrong with Arizona for re-electing this creep endlessly?

In reply to by Croesus

Zero Point TheRedScourge Mon, 05/14/2018 - 20:47 Permalink

Granted, but there really is no better way to expend armaments than to drop millions of dollars a day, on people that can largely not fight back. And no, I don't count killing a few meaningless pawns with roadside bombs "fighting back". That in fact is even more helpful to the true cause of war (profits) in that you then have to replace a vehicle, and get to have the public clamoring to send more idiots to avenge the poor clod.

In reply to by TheRedScourge

Last of the Mi… TheRedScourge Tue, 05/15/2018 - 08:52 Permalink

Mc Cain just needs one. .  more. . . hate. . . . filled. . . . tweet. . . .before . . .  he goes. . . .


What a sad ending for someone harboring all that hate. What is even sadder is the time he should never have been allowed to spend in the US government. The Obamacare debacle alone will take trillions and decades to correct, just for his little 2nd grade school yard little bitch resentment at Trump.

Disgusting, really.

In reply to by TheRedScourge

Withdrawn Sanction Supafly Mon, 05/14/2018 - 21:31 Permalink

After his "accident" on the Forrestal (where he flooded the engines on his jet, which can produce a pretty cool backfire/flame--unfortunately, the flames ignited some ordinance and ended up killing over a hundred sailors), I suspect (((they))) made a deal w/him and his Admiral dad:  Play ball w/us Johnny and we'll make this go away. 

He made a deal w/the devil in his 20s and he (and we) have been living w/the consequences ever since.  Sadly, a lot of additional people are dead because of it and I suspect deep down he knows he's irredeemably evil, he knows where he's headed, and he's angry and bitter about it.  Sucks to be him.  

In reply to by Supafly

VoteSmarts johngaltfla Mon, 05/14/2018 - 22:47 Permalink

As well, 20-20 vision from someone presumably on the outside of the strategery planning deciding or declaring the Viet Nam war/ conflict was 'unwinnabble' is most essentially unjustified. Much in US/ global politics had been modified since the Korean war, and the five eyes were apparently granted the *liberty to both think and act outside the box. Hegemony used to be much easier, as per history of societies, cultures, warfare, and technology to Attempt to accomplish the objectives. IMO, it's Always about what someone wants from someone else. Ergo, our #2A.

In reply to by johngaltfla

Harry Lightning robertsgt40 Mon, 05/14/2018 - 20:23 Permalink

Welcome home brother, where and when did you serve ?

I was with MACV-SOG, 5th Spec Forces, 1964-68, spent much of my time chasing Charlie through the A Shau. Last mission was the defense of Khe Sanh, after that I had enough. 

Had to be the four most miserable years of my life even if I didn't know it at the time. Except for the R&R in Seoul and Tokyo, which was really fun. Its amazing how much you treasure the feeling of a real mattress after sleeping in the bush, wrapped in a poncho, with greasepaint camo all over your face. I became very appreciative of the simple pleasures in life after that.

This author is full of shit with all his anti-American crap. We never lost a major battle in that war, and the ARVN defended their country quite well, knuckleheads that they were, until the US Congress cut off their military assistance to get back at Nixon for Watergate. This nonsense about unwinnable war is typical of a jack off who never served in a shooting war, because if he had he would realize that if Washington had taken the handcuffs off us and allowed us to pursue Charlie where ever he ran to, we would have won that war in two years tops. Its a damn shame what happened there. They were good people in the South, the ones who were not VC gooks, and they deserved better than they got.

I have a buddy from SOG who went back to Saigon a few years ago, and he says the US won the war when you see what the place looks like now. Even more bourgeois than in the '60s, with French designer boutiques and champagne cafes lining the streets. Villages have rebuilt and people live a quiet life now, but definitely under Western and especially French influence. Who knew that we damn near died just to spread European culture to SE Asia ?


In reply to by robertsgt40

Harry Lightning Jack Oliver Tue, 05/15/2018 - 02:00 Permalink

What were your birth defects caused by ?

If you didn't talk out your ass so much you would know that the deforestation did not occur in places where people lived in Vietnam. It was done in the jungle so Charlie could not hide his weapons movements under tree cover down the trail.

Thalidamide did far worse to American children, and you are living proof of it.

In reply to by Jack Oliver

dbznd1 ???ö? Mon, 05/14/2018 - 20:47 Permalink

Hell, Sen McCain is demanding that he gets to write his own epithet. And if you question it, it’s disrespectful. 

Kelli Ward should have replaced Sen McCain on the 2016 Ballot

I’m wondering what the Hell a US Senator was doing in the middle of passing around the Dossier?  Boggling 

A very sad ending, bug ehfnbyou spend 35 years pijnting at your War “record”, not surprised 

In reply to by ???ö?

dbznd1 ???ö? Mon, 05/14/2018 - 20:47 Permalink

Hell, Sen McCain is demanding that he gets to write his own epithet. And if you question it, it’s disrespectful. 

Kelli Ward should have replaced Sen McCain on the 2016 Ballot

I’m wondering what the Hell a US Senator was doing in the middle of passing around the Dossier?  Boggling 

A very sad ending, bug ehfnbyou spend 35 years pijnting at your War “record”, not surprised 

In reply to by ???ö?