If by "Hero" You Mean Traitor

As some of you may be aware, I've been writing about John McCain rather critically for some time now. As a result I've grown to expect each new piece to draw one or two e-mails along the lines of "Don't you know he's a HERO, you TRAITOROUS so-and-so!" To which I reply "Yes, but," etc.

But nothing really prepared me for the volume and tenor of outrage when I dared suggest in a family newspaper that published reports disputing McCain's POW heroism were, in my judgment, incorrect. I think the following selection of letters (a few of them edited for length) is illustrative of ... well, something.

---

John McCain went off to rain death on brown people in an earlier unjustified war.  He got caught.  In your scrubbed version of truth, that's what heroes do.  He smears his opponent with slime and half truths.  He baldly encourages the lie that Barack Obama is a terrorist, not a 'real' American, but a traitor.  He's reaping the whirlwind of racism and hate in the GOP 'base' he's helped to constuct over his years as amedmber of theat overtly elye and racist party.  That's what heros do, eh?  You're full of shit, pal.

*

McCain is a tratorous rat

*

IT WAS THE BUSH CAMPAIGN IN 2000 WHO REPEATED  CALLED MCCAIN A "FAKE HERO" A "TRAITOR" A "FAGGOT" AND MANY OTHER INCREDIBLY VILE THINGS.

WHY NOT WRITE ABOUT THAT?

*

Please send me the links of the articles you wrote 4 years ago when the Swift-boat assholes were reaming Kerry - who did behavior becoming of a "hero."   Please tell me you stood up for Kerry then. [...]

Does being a POW make you a war hero?  I think not - obviously it is hella-bad times, but that does not in itself make you a "hero." [...]

I pray you do not breed or vote. 

*

You conclusion does not include important, relevant points of view. From thousands of feet in the air, McCain was dropping bombs and nepalm on human beings who never attacked us. That was cowardly and violent promotion of imperialism, not heroism.

*

McC is no hero.  He lost three planes before getting shot down in Hanoi.  With all the practice ejecting, he still did it wrong.

Wrong enough to break both arms and a leg; his severest wounds were self inflicted.  If he weren't such a lousy pilot to begin with, he would not have been shot down by WWII era anti aircraft fire.  Very few of the 600 POWS were A4 pilots

He ignored sophisticated radar warnings and was shot down.  He has fought the release of records of his time in Hanoi and it instructive that none of the other prisoners have endorsed him for President; indeed, several have endorsed Obama and expressed real concern about a McC presidency.

As far as your opinion of his heroism?   Real heroes don't call their wives a c*nt (Rolling Stone magazine) a word no gentlemen will utter.

*

do you feel then that the  detainees iwho have been in  Guantanamo or rendered ("rendition') to countries more suitable for intense interrogation are heroric and worthy of being considered for the highest office in this land?

*

Your "rebuttal" did not refute a single criticism of Rolling Stone's accounts of John McCain's non-heroic behavior.  Instead you tried to mitigate the circumstances to suit your need to gloss over a real-life jerk.  McCain may be good at stand-up comedy, but hero he's not, and has never been.

Real heroes place the well being of others above themselves, and risk their lives in one exemplary manner after another.  That's so far removed from the spoiled and angry McCain that one must completely disregard the facts to get from there to your "reason."

*

In respect to the Vietnam war, history has placed the United States on the wrong side. I have to ask, how can anybody who fought for the United States in that war be deemed a hero?

*

You claim that McCain's actions, which I consider traitorous, to have been heroic and inspiring but you provide no source for this opinion. What soldiers did you interview who told you that they were inspired by his actions? [...]

One could form a better argument that McCain was not disgraced and dishonorably discharged due to the actions of Viet Nam war protesters such as William Ayers.

*

I am sure that many decades ago the young John McCain put up an extraordinary show of heroism; however, the McCain who came home ditched his real wife for a trophy girl and it's been downhill ever since. [...] He richly deserves every innuendo, insult and distortion that comes his way.  People say that Americans have short memories, but somehow everyone seems to remember the Great Hero McCain, a man who has never actually shown up in politics stateside.  I say, lay it on the bum, and with luck we'll be rid of him for good by November 4.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • 24AheadDotCom||

    I'll let MattW keep digging his own foxhole on this all by himself.

    Meanwhile, let's imagine what BHO would have done if he'd been in the same situation as McCain (this is a hypothetical, so him fleeing to Canada isn't an option).

    I'm going to guess he would pretended to give in, but in his confession he would have encoded a secret MorseCode: "please send me a teleprompter".

    You can do more funny, so have at it.

  • ||

    Perhaps the bevity of your apologics for McCain didn't allow you time to define what you mean by "hero".
    The nub of your article was simply that Mccain, like an "overwhelming majority of POWs" signed a confession.
    If you concede all the negative factual descriptions of McCain's service and performance in captivity, that's an odd definition of "hero".

  • Matt Welch||

    The nub of your article was simply that Mccain, like an "overwhelming majority of POWs" signed a confession.

    If you concede all the negative factual descriptions of McCain's service and performance in captivity, that's an odd definition of "hero".


    Oddly, that was neither my "nub" nor my "definition." It's a short article; I'm sure you can find it.

  • ||

    I do not like John McCain and do not wish him to become POTUS. (Nor, for that matter, do I particularly like Barrack Obama.)

    However, I give the man his due for fulfilling his duty to the limits of his abilities in circumstances that I do not think I could have endured.

    What is with these people that their political feelings about John McCain so color view that they must smear everything about him?

  • ||

    oops

    "...color their view

  • ||

    Real heroes don't call their wives a c*nt (Rolling Stone magazine) a word no gentlemen will utter.

    This person has either never been married or has not been married for very long.

  • Douglas Gray||

    Being a POW is not a conscious choice, like falling on a grenade to protect a fellow soldier. McCain behaved reasonably well as a POW, but to call him a hero is giving him too much credit.

    Possibly staying married to an older, uglier wife rather than going after a young foxy girl would have been more heroic.

  • ||

    I pray you do not breed or vote.

    How's the baby? And who are you voting for?

    For me, this is the Worst. Election. Ever. Bob Barr will be lucky to clear 1/2 million votes, and I'll probably cast mine for him since I'm in Obama country here in NY. The only reason I'm even considering McCain/Palin are Second Amendment issues. Obama/Biden is very scary on that front.

  • wingnutx||

    Why do you have to drag color into it?

  • ||

    What is with these people that their political feelings about John McCain so color view that they must smear everything about him?

    The same thing that compels people to call Barack Obama a Muslin terrorist. A lot of people in this country vote with their hearts instead of their brains.

  • ||

    Possibly staying married to an older, uglier wife rather than going after a young foxy girl would have been more heroic.

    Actually, doing what he did likely made him a hero to the 50+ male crowd.

  • Brownie||

    hella-bad times, indeed.

  • SIV||

    Damn, those people make me almost want to vote for McCain.Too bad it looks like "their guy" is going to win.

  • ||

    That is ... astonishing.

    Did some random Dailykos diary link to you? It's like a bizarro Freeper onslaught.

  • ||


    Hugh Akston | October 21, 2008, 11:55pm | #

    ...

    The same thing that compels people to call Barack Obama a Muslin terrorist. A lot of people in this country vote with their hearts instead of their brains.



    Abstractly, I know what you mean - I've seen their Red state mirror image. I just don't get the kind of mentality which must cast someone as a demon because they are on the opposite side.

  • ||

    John McCain's conduct toward his first wife and mother of three of his children was shameful. In his day, he appears to have been a horndog that would put Bill Clinton to shame.

    Moreover, in that he was still in active service at the time, his conduct violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

    BTW, do we really want a drug thief (even a diverted one) in the East Wing of the White House?

  • ||

    John in Nashville - In case you didn't know, consensual blowjobs between man and wife constitute violation of the UCMJ.

    As a matter of fact, there exists a "catch-all" article, so I'm not overwhelmed with this "violation of the UCMJ" stuff.

    Also, his conduct towards his wife was over 30 years ago. Let. It. Go.

  • alan||

    Whew, that was harsh reading. McCain is definitely not going to be getting the Elder Statesman Lie Down&Take It Dole Award from this crowd for going negative in the campaign.

  • alan||

    Not that they would even treat Bob Dole with one ounce of respect.

  • ||

    Disclaimer: I never considered voting for McCain. For a time after Ron Paul's campaign ground to a halt, I considered voting for Obama. Now, it's going to be Barr.

    That being said, it's really sad how so many Obama supporters get driven over the edge when something positive is said about McCain. Sad, too, how they wet their pants every time someone says something negative about Obama.

    I can't believe all of the comments are generated by the Daily Kos lunatic fringe. Seems like Obama has generated a personality cult in whose eyes he can do no wrong and his critics can do no right.

  • alan||

    BTW, do we really want a drug thief (even a diverted one) in the East Wing of the White House?

    She funded the emergency action and went with Doctors Without Borders to Rwanda during the genocide at personal risk to her own life. So, how does your shit smell? It doesn't, you say?

    And no, I'm not a McCain supporter, I actually despise the man but likely for entirely different reasons that you do I would hazard to guess.

  • Warmongering Lunatic||

    Being a POW is not a conscious choice, like falling on a grenade to protect a fellow soldier.

    Well, you know, except when it is, like when you've been offered a ticket home by your captors because your daddy is an important admiral. He knew what he'd get if he said no, and kept faith with the Code of Conduct and his fellows anyway.

    As far as the treatment of his first wife . . . his first wife doesn't seem to have any grudge. She's supporting his campaign for President. If she isn't complaining, on what basis is anybody else?

  • Syd||

    John McCain was injured in the service of his country and endured years of imprisonment, often showing leadership, so, sure he's a hero, and trying to deny it is tasteless. Although it's not really a qualification to be president. His long service in Congress is his primary qualification.

    Similarly, Bob Dole is a hero as well, as are Jessica Lynch and Tammy Duckworth. They're heroes with a small "h," which is not to diminish them because there are lots of veterans who served with honor and were injured in the service of their country.

    On the other hand, there are Heroes who are beyond belief, like Audie Murphy and Alvin York, where you look at what they did with awe. And you still don't elect them president.

  • nebby||

    On what basis? I am not dependent on McCain for my continuing health care so I can call him the piece of shit he is without fear. My basis is the actions he chose. Dumping the wife who waited for you while you were a POW for a newer model that can fund your political ambitions is scummy no matter what else you have done.

  • ||

    There's a big difference between trying to distort McCain's war record to try to make the case that he somehow unusually dishonorable (which has as much credibility as "Obama wasn't really born in Hawaii") and pointing out that there was nothing heroic about what he was doing when he got shot down. He was participating in an unjust war, and there's nothing heroic about that.

    At the same time, that doesn't mean that his actions while in captivity- resisting torture, helping fellow POWs, etc.- weren't heroic. Near as I can tell from what I've read they were, though obviously I wasn't there. To be honest I don't particularly care- the whole issue is completely irrelevant as to whether or not John McCain should be President.

  • ||

    nebby - post-heroic actions do not *magically* erase the actions taken in war.

    Take Andrew Jackson - he was a terrible, genocidal maniac. He still took a sword to the fucking face for basically flipping the bird to the British. Oh yeah and kind of beat their ass in New Orleans.

    War hero - yes. Douchebag and all around bad guy - yes. Heroes don't have to be saints, dude.

  • Orange Line Special||

    Could someone make me a graphic of this combined with this, but with Mikey's face replaced with BHO's face? Because, I think that would just be sweet. Call it, "decades of service".

  • alan||

    How young do you have to be to be that pollyanna about relationships?

    Would every action you have taken in regard to a significant other survive the scrutiny of outside observers? How young do you have to be for that to possibly be the case?

    This is an area that people where people tend to avoid imposing their own judgments for good reason, unless they just haven't been there themselves.

  • alan||

    strike 'that people' as McCain would no doubt like to withdraw the 'that one' remark.

  • ||

    "A lot of people in this country vote with their hearts instead of their brains."

    And that, folks, is the essence of the problem in our politics, our society, and ourselves. We live in a post-rational, post-reason world.

  • ||

    I'd also like to mention that the one article I've read (IIRC, it was from the Guardian) discussing McCain's post-war behavior WRT his first wife didn't take any kind of PTSD / post-war malaise / "people change" kind of thing into account.

    for anyone to malign McCain over the dynamics of a relationship where they weren't even freakin' there just speaks to the power of doucehbaggery.

  • alan||

    I knew an ex navy guy who got out of the service in his early fifties. He was fit, trim, great personality, an all around superior specimen. His wife, on the other hand, let herself go, hovered around two hundred pounds, she popped pills like a fiend and she always sounded slow, slurred and druggy (in the prescription since). Add to the mix a generally foul personality and a bad temper.

    Their daughter (grown) once asked me if i thought her dad cheated on her mom, and I forget what I told her, but I remember well what was in the back of my mind, 'it would be a damn miracle if he didn't'.

  • ||

    A pox on both their houses.
    This is why, despite my interest in politics, I cherish my days in a non-political job talking to normal people, who don't start acting like robotic missiles automatically set to deploy whenever a compliment/criticism (no matter the veracity of the statement) is uttered about their pre-determined Saviour/Satan.

  • ||

    It's sad that so many people are incapable of seeing the world except through the prism of unvarnished evildoers vs. untainted heroes.

  • ||

    I see the enlightened goodness of the liberals is out in full force. Imagine how warm and compassionate they might be if McCain wins the election.

  • ||

    ... not that I'm giving a pass to the cold hearted conservatives. But it gladdens me to see liberals living up to their vaunted reputation.

  • NoStar||

    McCain, Obama...

    Either way we get a Manchurian candidate.

  • jk||

    John McCain went off to rain death on brown people ...

    When did Asians become "brown people"?

  • ||

    Remember, it's impossible to disagree with someone's policies without also hating, with all your thundering heart, the person with whom you disagree.

  • herodotus||

    Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't joe saying that left-wing democratic types don't say the kind of things that are written in these letters?

    joe?

  • No True Scotsman||

    Did someone call "Author?"

  • Abdul||

    I like how some people say McCain's POW ordeal wasn't heoric, like rushing into a burning building or jumping on a grenade.

    It's funny, because if the latter is your definition of hero, McCain did that too.

  • ||

    In respect to the Vietnam war, history has placed the United States on the wrong side. I have to ask, how can anybody who fought for the United States in that war be deemed a hero?

    This seems to be a reasonable question. It's similar to the outrage expressed by many when Reagan paid a ceremonial visit to a German cemetary where members of the Waffen-SS were buried. No doubt some of them had served their country with bravery, but the cause they fought in prevented many from believing they should be treated as heroes.

    Can one become a hero in service to an unjust cause?

  • ||

    He was participating in an unjust war, and there's nothing heroic about that.

    n respect to the Vietnam war, history has placed the United States on the wrong side.

    That people still take the position that the US was wrong to oppose the Communists in Viet Nam after the utter catastrophe they wrought when we pulled out, continues to, well, bemuse.

    Can one become a hero in service to an unjust cause?

    Sure. Heroism is measured on the ground, not in the abstract.

    The first, longest step toward atrocity is dehumanizing your opponents because they are on the other side.

  • YoungLiberal||

    I see nothing untrue about what those people wrote.

  • Elemenope||

    We live in a post-rational, post-reason world.

    We live in a world where people compulsively repeat themselves.

  • ||

    When did Asians become "brown people"?

    Montagnards are fairly brown.

  • ||

    We live in a world where people compulsively repeat themselves.

    I noticed that too.

  • ||

    "When did Asians become "brown people"?"


    Well, they ain't white 'mericans, so they must be some kinda "brown." (brown=inferior)

  • ||

    It's sad that so many people are incapable of seeing the world except through the prism of unvarnished evildoers vs. untainted heroes.

    Especially with the prevalance of antiheroes in fiction for the past 100 years and that's not even counting the use of tragic heroes in Greek myths and even the Bible. Weird. Maybe the lack of a true "villain" in the scenario is troubling to people. Not a very good story, so I guess one of the candidates has to be a protagonist and the other the antagonist.

  • mnuez||

    Some of the quoted comments (and parts of some others) seem off-the-rail wacky but quite a few seem to have been written by pretty rational folk. Anyway, I just want to cheer on Brian24's comment, the best of the bunch. McCain may or may not be a "hero" (a word with ever changing definitions) with regard to the overall tenor of his service in Vietnam but that IS just one particular regarding his biography, his resume and his list of qualifications for the office that he's currently applying for. One can be a "hero" in enemy captivity and still be a serial rapist and neither aspect of one's autobiography negate the other. Heck, TR was a war-lover if ever there was one (a man who helped instigate a war of aggression and subsequently wrote proudly of a murder that he claims to have committed in that war) and he may still have been deservant of that Peace Prize on account of OTHER of his efforts.

    Anyhow Matt this is obviously a lesson that you hardly need to hear but it would seem that many of your LA Times readers ought to.

    mnuez

  • rhywun||

    When did Asians become "brown people"?



    Well, they ARE pretty dark down there. The sun imparts a brown-ish hue. I should know--I dated one for years.

    FWIW, a friend of mine wrote thusly of McCain's character:

    In the 2000 campaign, Rove spread propaganda about him implying that McCain's ADOPTED black daughter was actually the illegitimate product of adultery / and McCain did NOTHING to defend himself / took the shit with a smile / fuckin' pansy

  • ||

    Everything I have ever heard about McCain is that he is pretty pig headed, arrogant and kind of a jerk. When you think about it, it is no surprising at all that he did some heroic things in captivity. When you are locked in a cage and people are torturing you, being pig headed and arrogant is probably a pretty good thing to be. Considering his personality, I have no doubt he drove the Vietnamese nuts. I am sure the people who ran that prison rued the day they ever shot that subborn bastard out of the sky.

    Now, as someone pointed out above in regard to Andrew Jackson, that doesn't mean he is cut out to be President. Chief negotiator to North Korean probably, but President I am not sure. It is amazing how crazy and personal politics is. It is like anyone you disagree with must be all bad all the time and nothing postive about them can be true.

  • ||

    Dear Matt Welch,

    You kidnapped the Lindburgh baby.

    Prick.

    love,

    joe

  • ||

    Abstractly, I know what you mean - I've seen their Red state mirror image. I just don't get the kind of mentality which must cast someone as a demon because they are on the opposite side.

    Because discussing issues and the records of candidates would require people to actually think. Demonizing the opponent is a tactic employed by the intellectually shallow and lazy since at least the bronze age.

    Also, it works with some of the electorate. See "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth". [retch]

  • ||

    But seriously folks. I worked with a man that had done time for drug "selling." when pressed by a young dumbass about prison and the uglier aspects the man said, "I did what I had to to survive," McCain was no different. We like to think there are rules of conduct in captivity, but until I am faced with what McCain went through, I have no Idea if I could adhere to the rules.
    My dad served in that "unjust war." There were things he didn't agree with but it was his job and his duty as a member of the military. And he had a half dozen kids to feed.
    As far as McCain caling his wife a c*nt, maybe she was.
    I hope that if I ever become a public figure, that no one looks into what I was doing between the ages of 14 and about 22.

    There's a lot to dislike about McCain as president without dragging his private life from 35 years ago into it or questioning his honor as a naval officer.

  • ||

    A lot of people are saying they don't like either McCain or Obama. How about if we don't like them we don't vote for them? Who knows, maybe Barr would win. That would really shake things up.

  • ||

    He was participating in an unjust war, and there's nothing heroic about that.

    You read it here first. There were NO U.S. heroes in Vietnam, The War with Mexico, The Spanish-American war, the Philippines insurrection, any of the battles with the native Americans, ...

    Pure fucking genius analysis.

  • ||

    The way your dad looked at it, this watch was your birthright. He'd be damned if any of the slopes were gonna get their greasy yellow hands on his boy's birthright. So he hid it in the one place he knew he could hide something: his ass. Five long years, he wore this watch, up his ass. Then when he died of dysentery, he gave me the watch. I hid this uncomfortable piece of metal up my ass for two years. Then, after seven years, I was sent home to my family. And now, little man, I give the watch to you.

  • ||

    "He was participating in an unjust war, and there's nothing heroic about that."


    Yeah because the communists were such humane rulers. There is nothing just about trying to save people from re-education camps and the killing fields.

  • ||

    I find it interesting that so many wish to bring up the end of his first marriage after he had been gone for 6 years in a very traumatic environment as if that is a rarity and it makes him scum. Frankly, as a member of the armed services it is more common than most knwo to come home from 6 months or a year away from your spouse or significant other to find that your experiences in a wartime environment has fundamentally changed who you are and while you were gone your spouse has grown and changed as well. That is one of the reasons why the divorce rate within the armed services is high than the general public.

  • ||

    "He was participating in an unjust war, and there's nothing heroic about that."


    The hard left are unusually active on Reason these days.

  • ||

    Timmy O'Toole was a hero, and all he did was fall down a well.

  • ||

    "A lot of people are saying they don't like either McCain or Obama. How about if we don't like them we don't vote for them?"

    I think the average commenter here is doing just that.

  • ||

    "See "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth". [retch]"


    Their comments re Kerry were factually based. Calling your fellow soldiers war criminals is probably not the best way to win their support either.

  • bubba||

    Admiral Stockdale was shot down and captured while flying an A-4. Did he suck, too?

  • ||

    "In respect to the Vietnam war, history has placed the United States on the wrong side."


    I think this translates as "my aging hippe teacher told me that the Vietnam war was a war of imperialist aggression by the capitalist running dogs against the noble heros of the socialist revolution".

  • ||

    Matt, I'm surprised that you were not prepared for this. It is not at all unremarkable for leftists to reflexively attack anyone who violates their "approved" narrative that any Republican or conservative is inherently evil and stupid. You are one of the few liberal bloggers that I read on a regular basis, and I don't see that knee-jerk response from you, but I can't imagine that you haven't seen it in your comment section, not to mention other lefty blogs

  • ||

    Oh, cripes, here we go: if you think the Vietnam War was wrong, yoor a commie!

    T-minus 13 days until we don't have to listen to old people argue about Vietnam anymore.

  • jonolan||

    Do not be overly concerned about the vitriol spewed for by the Left. They are the enemy and must be expected to behave in such vile and subhuman ways.

    There should be no surprise experienced when people who hate America and all it was built upon spew filth at its heroes.

  • ||

    So long as you acknowledge that it is possible for a Japanese Zero pilot to rightly be considered a hero for participating and giving his life in the attack at Pearl Harbor, there should not be any issue with understanding how some could consider John McCain a hero.

    Or are we using a different definition of hero than "someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty after invading another country and killing some people"?

  • ||

    Matt: this is what happens when you dare to defend, however gently, the enemy of Christ.

    Go ahead - click the link - you know you want to. That's some delicious crazy, of the kind you only get at D-Kos.

    The following is a comment left here - when I click the link to the truthfirst blog I either get an error message or the IE goes boom, so avoid it.

    Make no mistake: It is Barack Obama's destiny to be President of the United States. Justice demands it. The Truth demands it. The World demands it.

    Oppressed peoples throughout the world are looking to Obama for hope. For Justice. For an to war. For America to stop attacking the world and for it to start being a just and peaceful member of the community of nations.

    If for some reason he is not elected then there will be a cry of outrage so great that America and all its racist institutions will shake and collapse. It will be the end of America and God will damn it for its final and most terrible sin.

    http://truthfirstnow.blogs


    Seriously Matt. It's time to get right with the Lord.

  • Elemenope||

    There is nothing just about trying to save people from re-education camps and the killing fields.

    Some were saved with jellied gasoline.

    Some were saved with shrapnel.

    Some were saved with 5.56.

    We used the tools available, and by God, we saved that whole country, right in the face, over and over again.

    I'm sure they appreciated that salvation.

  • ||

    They'll still be sittin on their porches muttering about "hate America" this and "fascist" that, but nobody's going to pay any attention.

    Two boomer presidents: two too many.

  • ||

    Elemenope,

    "I'm sure they appreciated that salvation."

    Yeah, and I bet on your planet the Khmer Rouge are just "community organizers."

  • ||

    There is nothing just about trying to save people from re-education camps and the killing fields.

    I agree; the NVA's war agains the Khmer Rouge was just.

  • ||

    Mark J,

    Who fought the Khmer Rouge again?

  • ||

    That's the standard, right?

    If the other side are murderous communists, then your side is just, right?

  • ||

    "If the other side are murderous communists, then your side is just, right?"

    Yes. So spare us all your moral equivalence games.

  • ||

    No hate like liberal hate.

    Daily Kos has the credibility of a flyer on a windshield in a parking lot somewhere.

  • ||

    Mark J,

    Who fought the Khmer Rouge?

  • ||

    You don't even know, do you?

  • bdog57||

    "The same thing that compels people to call Barack Obama a Muslin terrorist. A lot of people in this country vote with their hearts instead of their brains"

    Muslin? Oh, I don't know, but I'm pretty sure that he has deep ties to polyester!

  • ||

    I don't cotten to that line of attack.

    The whole thing is pretty chintzy.

  • Elemenope||

    Yeah, and I bet on your planet the Khmer Rouge are just "community organizers."

    No, they were genocidal douchebags.

    I'm just saying that by what force a guy was killed matters little to the guy. I imagine the guy that was napalmed is just as dead as the guy that was shot in the back of the head.

    And I'm sure he was about as grateful for one fate as for the other.

    "You think we waste Gooks for freedom? Flush your headgear."

  • ||

    It seems that many people are simply fixated on the word "hero" and what it means--and then react emotionally to one extreme or the other, when the name "McCain" and the word "hero" are uttered in the same sentence, depending upon whom you already support. Although I'm not voting for him--because I don't like his stance on many issues (as well as his lack of a stance)--I think that attacks on his service record and his marriage are no more valid (key word: valid) than attacking Obama's past using tactics of guilt-by-association and insinuation. I don't understand the attacks on either side at all. Aren't we adults? Do we have to reduce ourselves to the equivalent of righteous left or right temper tantrums?

    I guess we do . . .

  • ||

    Let me help you out, Mark J.

    The Khmer Rouge had several dozen members when we became involved in Southeast Asia.

    After we expanded the our bombing runs across the border into Cambodia, and worked to undermine the Cambodian government in the eyes of their public, the Khmer Rouge grew large enough to take over the country.

    We blocked efforts to sanction them in the UN when news of the crimes reached the world.

    They were eventually overthrown by the Vietnamese Army - the one we had been at war with - who brought the killing fields to an end.

    So spare us your moral superiority games. Your good intentions won't pay for one Buddhist monk's prayers for the dead.

  • ||


    You [,Matt ,] are one of the few liberal bloggers that I read on a regular basis...



    I thought libertarians were right-wing conservatives. ;-)

  • ||

    I've served 19 years in the Navy and am a Gulf War Veteran.

    All I have to say is that no one better utter any of the nonsense uttered in the comments in my presence. Ever.

    I don't want to be in jail and they don't want to be in critical condition.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Timmy O'Toole was a hero, and all he did was fall down a well.


    Hero is another word that has been completely neutered. It has relatively little actual meaning without five paragraphs of context to define it. But, like pictures of naked people without any redeeming social value, we know it when we see it.

  • ||

    To be clear, I meant the comments in the letters, not the comments to the article here.

  • ||

    I didn't see any of the emails add: "And the Angels suck." So... Not soooo over the top, perhaps...

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    So long as you acknowledge that it is possible for a Japanese Zero pilot to rightly be considered a hero for participating and giving his life in the attack at Pearl Harbor

    I think it's more along the lines of General Patton's theory of making the other bastard die for HIS country.

    And in that regard, I think that there was grudging admiration of the Japanese on Iwo Jima, who refused to surrender. Not sure the Marines called them heros, but they gave them their due. After they killed them, of course.

    When I was a vagrant yoot I took a field trip with the Boy Scouts to Las Alamitos Naval Air Station where they had a couple of captured Japanese suicide planes on display.

    I was shocked and deeply disturbed to learn that the canopies were bolted and locked down FROM THE OUTSIDE. That was to ensure that the pilots didn't abandon their thoughts of heroism.

    So, while you could argue that these men were brave heroes desperately fighting to the bitter end, they had a little help.

  • dhex||

    Could someone make me a graphic

    what the fuck is this? outsourcing? OUTSOURCING?

    LONEWACKO IS OUTSOURCING AMERICAN WORK.

    LONEWAKCO IS UNWILLING TO DO THE JOBS THAT LONEWACKO WON'T DO.

    seriously though, i understand, as photoshop was created by mexicans.

  • ||

    Joe,

    The North Vietnamese Communist were horrible people who subjugating and murdered millions. In fact all communists everywhere were murderous horrible people. We will stop arguing about Vietnam after we have a national communist atonement day. On that day every leftist everywhere will stand up and say that "communism is failed horrible ideology responsible for the deaths of millions and I sincerely apologize for ever excusing its excesses or engaging in any moral equivalence between the behavior of communists and the behavior of its enemies outside of the fascists." When the left finally comes clean admits their sins and complicity in the deaths of millions, we can stop arguing about such things. Even you today will find someway to say how the North Vietnamese just weren't that bad. Pathetic.

  • Elemenope||

    John --

    Not everything is game for moral equivalency, you know. There can be gradations of asshole.

    Both the Khmer Rouge and the NVA rank higher on this hypothetical scale than the US troops in Vietnam did. But that doesn't mean we aren't on it. If KR was a 10 and NVA an 8 (they get a two point pass because they were fighting an invading force), what does My Lai and Agent Orange buy you? Were we a 4 or a 5?

    Saying, in essence, we lit people on fire so they couldn't be re-educated in camps is approximately as vapid as the average leftist defense of communism, IMO.

  • ||

    Someone is passing brought up the subject of where Obama was born. I understand that someone has brought suit to force Obama to produce a proper birth certificate. Given the tenousness of his relationship with the United States: His mother's distaste for the country, her foreign husbands, and his whole youth and education outside mainland United States, what many of us perceiveis a man who is essentially an immigrant who came to America to make his fortune, and whose personal associations have all been with people who have a grievance with the country. That being said, most people do not share our concerns because he was "adopted" by the Chicago elites, who think nothing of his association with the likes of Ayers because they long ago forgave Ayers his youthful "indiscretions. Ayers sits on boards which dole out millions in charities in causes that he favors. He is perceived as one of "them,"
    as is Obama. The attitude is not much different from that which made Dean Acheson defend Alger Hiss and which made the liberal elite defend Hill to the day of his death.

  • ||

    Around 1979 Obama started college at Occidental in California . He is very open about his two years at Occidental, he tried all kinds of drugs and was wasting his time but, even though he had a brilliant mind, did
    not apply himself to his studies. 'Barry' (that was the name he used all his life) during this time had two roommates, Muhammad Hasan Chandoo and Wahid Hamid, both from Pakistan . During the summer of 1981, after his
    second year in college, he made a 'round the world' trip. Stopping to see his mother in Indonesia , next Hyderabad in India , three weeks in Karachi , Pakistan where he stayed with his roommate's family, then off to Africa to visit his father's family. My question - Where did he get the money for this trip? Nether I, nor any one of my children would have had money for a trip like this when they where in college. When he came back he started school at Columbia University in New York . It is at this time he wants everyone to call him Barack - not Barry. Do you know what the tuition is at Columbia ? It's not cheap to say the least! Where did he get money for tuition? Student Loans? Maybe. After Columbia , he went to Chicago to work as a Community Organizer for $12,000 a year. Why Chicago? Why not New York? He was already living in New York .

    By 'chance' he met Antoin 'Tony' Rezko, born in Aleppo Syria , and a real estate developer in Chicago . Rezko has been convicted of fraud and bribery this year. Rezko, was named 'Entrepreneur of the Decade' by the Arab-American Business and Professional Association'. About two years later, Obama entered Harvard Law School. Do you have any idea what tuition is for Harvard Law School? Where did he get the money for Law School? More student loans? After Law school, he went back to Chicago . Rezko offered him a job, which he turned down. But, he did take a job with Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland. Guess what? They represented 'Rezar' which is Rezko's firm. Rezko was one of Obama's first major financial contributors when he ran for office in Chicago.

    In 2003, Rezko threw an early fundraiser for Obama which Chicago Tribune reporter David Mendelland claims was instrumental in providing Obama with 'seed money' for his U.S. Senate race. In 2005, Obama purchased a new home in Kenwoood District of Chicago for $1.65 million (less than asking price). With ALL those Student Loans - Where did he get the money for the property? On the same day Rezko's wife, Rita, purchased the adjoining empty lot for full price. The London Times reported that Nadhmi Auchi, an Iraqi-born Billionaire loaned Rezko $3.5 million three weeks before Obama's new home was purchased. Obama met Nadhmi Auchi many times with Rezko

    Now, we have Obama running for President. Valerie Jarrett, was Michele Obama's boss. She is now Obama's chief advisor and he does not make any major decisions without talking to her first. Where was Jarrett born? Ready for this? Shiraz,Iran! Do we see a pattern here? Or am I going crazy?

    On May 10, 2008 The Times reported, Robert Malley, advisor to Obama, was 'sacked' after the press found out he was having regular contacts with 'Hamas', which controls Gaza and is connected with Iran. This past week, buried in the back part of the papers, Iraqi newspapers reported that during Obama's visit to Iraq, he asked their leaders to do nothing about the war until after he is elected, and he will 'Take care of things'.

    Oh, and by the way, remember the college roommates that where born in Pakistan ? They are in charge of all those 'small' Internet campaign contributions for Obama. Where is that money coming from? The poor and middle class in this country? Or could it be from the Middle East?

    And the final bit of news. On September 7, 2008, The Washington Times posted a verbal slip that was made on 'This Week' with George
    Stephanapoulos. Obama on talking about his religion said, 'My Muslim faith'. When questioned, 'he made a mistake'. Some mistake!

    All of the above information I got on line. If you would like to check it - Wikipedia, encyclopedia, Barack Obama; Tony Rezko; Valerie Jarrett:
    Daily Times - Obama visited Pakistan in 1981; The Washington Times -
    September 7, 2008; The Times May 10, 2008.

    Now the BIG question - If I found out all this information on my own, Why haven't all of our 'intelligent' members of the press been reporting this?

    A phrase that keeps ringing in my ear - 'Beware of the enemy from within'!!!

    Now factor in one last footnote: Obama was sworn in on the Quran for his current office, so will that happen if he is sworn in as president? He refuses to pledge allegiance to the United States or put his hand over his heart when the National Anthem is played with a pathetically lame explanations of his philosophy! Only recently he was badgered by public opinion to wear a flag lapel pin. So, so many coincidences!

    The Muslims have said they will destroy us from within. Hello! Will you trust this man with our national secrets?

  • ||

    The North Vietnamese Communist were horrible people who subjugating and murdered millions

    But John, they FOUGHT COMMUNISTS! They fought to save people in Cambodia from re-education camps and the killing fields..

    You know, like you wrote here, in response to somebody saying our cause in Vietnam wasn't just:

    Yeah because the communists were such humane rulers. There is nothing just about trying to save people from re-education camps and the killing fields.


    Nothing else matters. Nothing. If a military force FOUGHT COMMUNISTS, they are the good guys, and everyone in that army is a hero. There are no other criteria.

    Why, John? Why do you continue to defend the Khmer Rouge like this?

  • ||

    Elemenope,

    Saying, in essence, we lit people on fire so they couldn't be re-educated in camps is approximately as vapid as the average leftist defense of communism, IMO.

    Of course, only one of those sentiments has been expressed by anyone on this thread.

    John, why do you continue to defend the Khmer Rouge as good people?

  • ||

    The man takes three steps before he realizes his head's off.

  • ||

    somebody close the windows, the gnats are coming in.

  • ||

    Elemenope--

    When one engages in war, one will do terrible things. Civilians get caught up in the battle. In 1994, in order to "liberate" Normandy,
    we rained death on the area in a way that far exceeded what we did in Vietnam, except that the battle was for two months rather than years. I believe about 20,0000 French civilians were killed . What we did to the German civilian populations was much eorse than anything we did in Vietnam. YET people don't get upset because, somehow, the Nazis are regarded as so horrible that almost everythinbg done against Germans is given a pass. Yes, we hear about Hamburg and Dresden; No, people do not screem and holler how immoral we were to do this. And yes, we hear about the atomic bombing of Japan as racist--even though only the sudeen collapse of the Nazi regime preventedus from using the bomb on the Germans. Oppenheimer who had qualms about using the bomb on the japs, would have gladly used it to kill Hitler. BUT it is quite possible that some historian wriing a hundred years in the future will not that Hitler was no worse than many other men of his ilk, such as Stalin and Mao. To me it is odd that MAO, who probably killed more people than anyone else, his own coutrymen at that. Humans are natural partisans; one man's hero is another's villian.

  • Lenny Zimmermann||

    Anyone care to compare these emails to the ones Radley Balko seems to get from the folks that read Fox News? http://www.theagitator.com/2008/10/21/i-get-email-18/

    Radley stated he gets as many inane emails from the left as from the right, but of the sheer grammar of these is any kind of comparison (even if I don't agree with their conclusions)...

  • ||

    jk | October 22, 2008, 3:34am | #
    John McCain went off to rain death on brown people ...

    When did Asians become "brown people"?

    Jim Bob | October 22, 2008, 6:53am | #


    pakistanis, indians, and iraqis are all asians.
    They are all brownish.
    Some Afghans are brown too, they are Asians.

    Eastern Russians are Asians too, but they are white.

  • @ jk||

    Then McCain was a poor navigator.

  • so\'m I!||

    I meant kwais. You guys all look alike.

  • Kolohe||

    After Columbia , he went to Chicago to work as a Community Organizer for $12,000 a year. Why Chicago? Why not New York? He was already living in New York .

    'anne'-
    He worked for four years in New York after his Columbia graduation. (3 years at a PIRG branch)

  • Kolohe||


    Eastern Russians are Asians too, but they are white.


    Except the ones that are part of ethnic groups that are related to Mongols/Koreans/Inuit/Ainu

  • L.N. Smithee||

    The myopia of people who tend to hate McCain can be illustrated by the fact that raging in the comments are arguments about whether the people he bombed were "brown" or not. His sins of bombing would have been less egregious if native Vietnamese were blue-eyed and blonde, like, say, Germans?

  • alan||

    Lane Honda | October 22, 2008, 10:20am | #
    So long as you acknowledge that it is possible for a Japanese Zero pilot to rightly be considered a hero for participating and giving his life in the attack at Pearl Harbor, there should not be any issue with understanding how some could consider John McCain a hero.

    Or are we using a different definition of hero than "someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty after invading another country and killing some people"?


    Absolutely dead on right. Respecting your enemy is also the first step to take in defeating him.

  • ||

    McCain [insert politician here] is a tratorous rat

  • blackminorcapullets||

    Many here are still suffering from Duranty Induced Delirium.

    McCain went to Viet Nam to kill communists.

    What part of "The communists killed 100 million in the last century." do many here not understand?

  • ||

    Vietnam went to Cambodia to kill communists, too.

    All hail the NVA!

  • ||

    My only comment is to express amazement at the number of people who apparently don't equate USA being on the 'wrong side' of the Vietnam war with the murderous communists being on the 'right side.' It's not 'my country, right or wrong' but 'my country, always wrong' and that's a bloody shame.

  • ||

    McCain a hero hahahahaha ,he was never a hero.
    The rep... are famous for making things sound great... than they are.
    Everything McCain do he lie about it or he blame someone els for it

  • ||

    Since when did pointing out that the US involvement in Vietnam was wrong and unjust suddenly equal defending the Vietcong? Saddam was an evil bastard, too. That doesn't mean the war in Iraq is right.

    As for my original comment to that effect that got such brain-dead responses as how I must be part of the "hard left" (yay, false duality!), I notice that no one actually addressed the distinction I was making- that just because John McCain was a hero as a POW doesn't mean there was anything heroic about his pre-captivity participation in an unjust war. He was not "defending his country", nor was he "serving" it. The United States did not benefit in the slightest because John McCain was willing to go bomb a country that was absolutely no threat to us. The idea that any one who signs over several years of their lives to the government- regardless of the actual need to defend the country from any threat- is automatically a "hero" who's "serving his country" is nothing more than the same kind of irrational hero worship that says the cops can do wrong. That doesn't mean I have any personal animosity towards people in the military- I know and love several people who are or have been in the military- it just means that I see nothing ipso facto "heroic" about that fact. The idea that there is is pure emotionalism, without a single rational argument to back it up.

  • ||

    Dan-

    The US and the South Vietnamese was wrong.
    The Vietnamese Communists were wrong.

    There is absolutely nothing mutually exclusive about those two statements.

  • ||

    err, "were wrong".

  • ||



    Except the ones that are part of ethnic groups that are related to Mongols/Koreans/Inuit/Ainu


    Those aren't REAL Russians.


    (i keed)

  • ||

    I have never believe the WAR story of McCain
    it sounded to perfect to be tru,just to perfect.
    Eveytime i hear the War story of/from McCain ,
    I think by myself this story is Steven Spielberg story.
    Everybody know that the rep are famous for lying and make good story with lies.
    McCain was the worst soldier in the war,he can not holt a plane in the air.
    McCain is NOT A WAR HERO

  • ||

    YOU CAN SAY ONE THING ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO ARE AGAINST McCain they are not calling for hate or
    for his(McCain death) DEATH like the people who are at the McCain /Palin raly>They are CALLING FOR HATE AND OBAMA DEATH and more.
    AND I AGREE WITH EVERYBODY WHO IS ANTI-McCain and ANTI-Palin.

  • ||

    I probably should have predicted that subtle irony wouldn't get through to the black-and-white set. Let me make it a little more explicit:

    IF "they were fighting communists" is all you need to know to declare a cause just and an army good guys, and

    IF the Vietnamese Army fought communists when it invaded Cambodia,

    THEN the Vietnamese Army were good guys.


    Of course, that's all bunk.

  • Billy Beck||

    From Matt's selected correspondence: "If he weren't such a lousy pilot to begin with, he would not have been shot down by WWII era anti aircraft fire. Very few of the 600 POWS were A4 pilots."

    It always appalls me to see ignoramuses blabbing about this stuff. To describe the North Vietnamese air-defense environment so blandly as 'WWII era anti aircraft fire" is an outrage. It stoutly ignores the integration of those defenses, of which AAA ("anti-aircraft artillery") was one element. This is a person who doesn't know enough to conceive and evaluate the facts of how it all worked together: please consider that the MiGs (of which there were never more than about ninety in service at any given time) scored a mission-win if they were able to get F-105's to dump their bomb loads for evasion before the strike reached the target. If they were able to force a strike down into gun range or up into the heart of the SAM envelope, then they were headed for a very good day and our guys weren't.

    As for his A-4 rubbish:

    See Appendix B of Cdr. John B. Nichols' and Barrett Tillman's "On Yankee Station" (1987). You will find that A-4's comprised 257 of the total 711 Marine and Navy aircraft lost in flight during the war. (The very first U.S. POW of the war -- Cdr. Everett Alvarez, Aug. 5, 1964 -- was shot down in an A-4.) That's the biggest loss of any type in naval service, and second only to the USAF F-105's.

    The reason why there were relatively few A-4 drivers as POWs is because they were almost always killed in the shootdown. Breaking both arms and a leg in the ejection is -- believe it or not -- probably the single biggest stroke of luck in McCain's whole life.

  • Kolohe||

    Except the ones that are part of ethnic groups that are related to Mongols/Koreans/Inuit/Ainu

    Those aren't REAL Russians.


    (i keed)


    Funny enough, the 'real' russians do not keed. Never I had encountered so much white supremacy as when I dated a russian girl and mingled with the russian expat community in the Eastern Pacific. Ironically(?), she herself had a (north) Korean father who had moved to Moscow before she was born.

  • Matt Welch||

    Thanks, Billy Beck!

  • Billy Beck||

    Happy to help when I can, Matt.

    You know me: I think John McCain should go home and get a real job, like everybody else.

    What I cannot stand is ignorance and lies.

  • Matt Welch||

    ... and acoustic guitars.

  • Billy Beck||

    {hah!} And the Rolling Stones.

    I wasn't going to mention it.

  • ||

    I grew up an Army brat surrounded by men who shared the sterling caliber and character of John McCain and not one of them, especially those who served in combat in Viet Nam would ever say of themselves they were "heroes", but those of us who stayed behind and anxiously waited for them to come home safe knows that that is exactly what they were.

    None of you outsiders will EVER know the true cost in terms of pain and suffering that military families go through and you will never know the incredible strain on those families even in peacetime.

    What happened to John McCain, his wife and children during his captivity is something that hundreds of families had to endure and in many cases marriages that might have survived fell apart when the POW came home.

    Regardless, none of you judging the McCain's has ANY right to do so and you are a shame and a blot on this country.

  • anyway, I doesn\'t do ironing||

    I probably should have predicted that subtle irony wouldn't get through to the black-and-white set.


    joe, why do you always have to bring race into it?

    Or are you dissing our vintage teevees?

  • Billy Beck||

    Jesus H. Christ. I can't believe that I let this get past me. That correspondent of Matt's wrote: "If he weren't such a lousy pilot to begin with, he would not have been shot down by WWII era anti aircraft fire."

    John McCain got tapped by an SA-2 surface-to-air missile. This is a device about thirty feet long, designed to hunt you down in the air under radar control at three times the speed of sound, with a four hundred-pound high-explosive fragmentation warhead.

    There were ways to deal with this threat but the conditions had to be just about exactly perfect. If you could see the launch, then the thing called for ice-cold nerve in timing a maneuver more violent than the missile could manage. (This was usually a break straight down, if you had the altitude for that.) You had to watch it coming. (A B-52 pilot once described this. He said that if the missile held its station in your windscreen no matter how you were maneuvering, then you knew that it was guiding on you. Think about that.)

    Vietnam pilots have written about the "Dr. Pepper Setup": SAM launches at 10, 2, and 4 o'clock. That sort of thing was just about in God's hands, exclusively. It could happen to anyone. Randy Cunningham had a superb day on May 10, 1972, burning three MiGs (including one fight that will always be studied for as long as people fly in combat), and he took an SA-2 straight down the throat on his way home to the carrier.

    Very few people know what they're talking about when it comes to this stuff.

  • ||

    Joe,
    funny enough, I think that the NVA, when it comes to their fight against the Khemer Rouge, they probably WERE the good guys in that fight.

  • Xanthippas||

    This person has either never been married or has not been married for very long.

    I didn't realize that it was only a matter of time before a husband calls his wife that. I can tell you that if I used that word to my wife, she'd cut my balls off...as she should.

    McCain went to Viet Nam to kill communists.

    What part of "The communists killed 100 million in the last century." do many here not understand?


    Oversimplification has been the hallmark of the "debate" about Vietnam. Anyone who doesn't realize that the Vietnamese communists were nationalists before they were communists, and were not really part of the great communist conspiracy to rule the world, is not qualified to discuss the cold war or communism.

    In fact all communists everywhere were murderous horrible people.

    Anyone who can type this with a straight face is similarly disqualified. I find myself doubting that you've read even one comprehensive book on the Vietnam war, or you could never possibly think such a thing.

  • ||

    I am kind of curious as to why the comments I posted earlier today, dealing with the issue of John McCain's naval aviation career, never showed up here. However, if you are interested, the bulk of my comments were included in my article at the Daily Standard.

  • JamesB||

    "He has fought the release of records of his time in Hanoi and it instructive that none of the other prisoners have endorsed him for President; indeed, several have endorsed Obama and expressed real concern about a McC presidency."

    Not at all true. Colonel Bud Day, a recipient of the Medal of Honor, and the highest decorated officer in the history of the Air Force, has not only endorsed McCain but actively supported him, including appearing at the convention.

    As well as numerous other POWs.

    http://veterans.johnmccain.com/content/sitecontentmain.aspx?guid=a2889de1-4361-4945-a185-d58537034a5d

  • MlR||

    "Let me help you out, Mark J.

    The Khmer Rouge had several dozen members when we became involved in Southeast Asia.

    After we expanded the our bombing runs across the border into Cambodia, and worked to undermine the Cambodian government in the eyes of their public, the Khmer Rouge grew large enough to take over the country.

    We blocked efforts to sanction them in the UN when news of the crimes reached the world.

    They were eventually overthrown by the Vietnamese Army - the one we had been at war with - who brought the killing fields to an end.

    So spare us your moral superiority games. Your good intentions won't pay for one Buddhist monk's prayers for the dead."


    We blocked attempts to sanction them, unjustly, as a matter of real politik because we were worried that North Vietnam was going to attempt to take over the whole of Indochina, having already turned Laos into a colony. The North Vietnamese leadership clique had long expressed the view that the goal of their party was to unify Indochina in total, not just Vietnam.

    Which brings us to the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge came out of the Indochinese Communist Party - the same Indochinese Communist led by Ho Chi Minhn. They were hooked at the hip with the North Vietnamese leadership. They simply fell out with the North Vietnamese Communists over the post-war spoils.

    It is not surprising, however, that in your bizarro world the people who tried the hardest to prevent the North Vietnamese use of Cambodian territorian and subsequent Red Cambodian takover of the country, in spite of plenty of useful idiots at home and abroad who did everything possible and eventually succeeded in sabotaging it, become the one responsible for their attrocities.

    The first argument at the time was the Khmer Rouge were simply, like the North Vietnamese Army, grass roots peasant heroes. The second attempt was that they would not take over the country. The third was that they were not carrying out attrocities and it was a figment of right-wing imaginations. Chomsky's probably still regretting that one. The fourth argument was that the attrocities were the result of U.S. air bombing that forced the removal of people from the cities - until it was proven that it was part of a deliberate social engineering scheme to reduce the country back to hour zero. The fifth argument, now the current one, is that - oh yeah, there were goddawful attrocities, but it's all the U.S.'s fault due to the complex series of actions and events that led to them getting control of the country.

    And people like you actually think they're clever and edgy that they rationalize this rote nonsense. When at first you don't succeed in blaming America, try, try again.

  • ||

    Headline: U.S. fought Hitler, responsible for Soviet occupation of half of Europe and innumerable other events and attrocities since the end of World War II. World outcomes occur in complicated and unpredictable ways. Film at 10.

    Brought to you by our friends at Chaos Theory is Us.

  • ||

    FU!!!!!
    Since all of you liberal Aholes claim that we on the right are bitter, racist, etc., Let me vent a moment.
    As a retired 20 year Navy Vet I am positive that John McCain is a hero. I would use him as a role model for my children any day, unlike Prez wannabe BO.
    Anyone who defends his country in the military has my vote as a hero, especially all of those Viet Nam vets who all of you left-wing pussies spat on and called baby killers.
    I am thoughly disgusted in all of you and would challenge any of you to go somewhere like Iran or Cuba or Venezuela and say the same things about their leaders and see what would happen.
    But since you live in the USA and people like John McCain and myself have fought for your freedoms, you can say all of the crap you want without fear of retribution, even if you don't deserve it.
    I hope on Nov 5th all of you will sit down, shutup and refrain from crying "You stole the election", after your candidate gets his ass whupped.

  • Wilkes&Freedom||

    McCain himself did not declare war (it was an undeclared war) on VietNam. He served there.

    Discussions about the morality, validity and prudence of this undeclared war are generally considered negative on behalf of Libertarians.

    The McCain campaign for POTUS, not to be unexpected uses John's honorable service in said affair as heroic, especially in light of his capture and POW status for many years.

    Matt Welch points out that while he has criticized Mr McCain for many years based on the latter's political record, he cannot sink so low as to reduce every action of McCain's pre-political career as worthy of unequivocal disdain.

    In the process of writing a rare (and fair) defense of a man he mostly vilifies based on voting record, he is flabbergasted by the demonization of every aspect of his life by political furies.

    Honestly, Matt, good on you; but really I wouldn't have expected less than what was presented by RS or the negative commentary streaming from your rebuttal.

    Most people are incapable of rationally reviewing politics; most have to reduce it (and its policy-makers) to their personal judgements of the character of policy-makers which unfortunately are handed to them through innuendo, urban legend, or rock-god groupie-ism.

    Even this thread illustrates that. It eventually devolved into who was more righteous: the US or VietCong. Good God I thought Libertarians were anti-War! None of us glorifies war (I hope) or US involvement in VietNam; but we also don't praise Russian involvement or VietCong despotism. And we certainly don't fault the actions of those who honorably fought on the frontlines. That for the most part wasn't their choice!

  • Gaunilon||

    Why does their response surprise you? It's the left! Get in their way and they floor the accelerator.

  • Billy Beck||

    "And we certainly don't fault the actions of those who honorably fought on the frontlines. That for the most part wasn't their choice!"

    That is barely true, if at all.

    I know of one fighter group vice-commander who is persona non grata among survivors of the most lethal mission in the whole air war, because he cheezed out on his choice. What he did actually ended up on the table between Lyndon Johnson and Aleksei Kosygin in 1967, and Johnson was the one with egg on his face. The man I'm talking about was roasted on a slow-turning spit and his former brother warriors will have nothing to do with him now, because he had the choice to wear the uniform and do his job or step out and have his say.

    This example could be dismissed on the conditioner, "honorable". There is a considerable ambiguity in the case, because this person was fighting for his troops, who were fighting for their lives. That would qualify as "honorable" to many, but the case involves his inability to live up to his responsibility to execute orders. To his former mates who did that with grim determination, it puts him beyond the pale. In the words of one of them, "He could have been a somebody, but he went out a whiner."

    These people have standards that very few could live up to, and when they're violated, it makes no difference whether the perp has seen the elephant. He's out of the club.

  • Wilkes&Freedom||

    Honestly Billy Beck,

    I am defering to veterans such as yourself as to who was honorable when I say honorable. I am NOT inferring that every participant was a baby-killer, that lame post-facto condemnation, nor am I ascribing heroism to every participant in the war.

    I was merely pointing out that nearly every fighting troop is not involved immediately in War decisions and therefore cannot be held culpable for actions considered honorable. Not saying dishonorable actions by Us forces weren't perpetrated; but also saying that most did not engage in such activity and furthermore stating that the highest moral hazard is applied to those who perpetrated the War in the first place.

  • Wilkes&Freedom||

    Billy Beck,

    At the same time I deserve respect for insuring that my gov't enter in foreign conflict for worthy cause without calling me out as treasonous. Just as I don't disrespect those who serve in worthy service in the defense of my country. In fact, I go beyond that by recognizing and respecting those who have served in our many undeclared wars. I only wish they would stop.

    I think that is fair.

  • Billy Beck||

    "I am defering to veterans such as yourself..."

    Excuse me, sir: I have never served in the military. I am a lifelong student of military aviation.

    "I am NOT inferring that every participant was a baby-killer,..."

    I did not ever believe that you were. And, I would point out that the case I referred to was nothing of the sort. It involved grown-up combat that Washington had put off-limits. This incident occurred precisely because the rules were ridiculous. Where it got out of hand was when the man I'm talking about decided to attempt covering it up because he didn't like the rules. Nobody liked the rules, but he was the one who tried to sneak around them instead of standing up straight -- on the outside -- and pointing out the essential problem.

    Consider this: these people made it a positive point of honor to saddle-up every day and go to war even on ridiculous rules. "Yes: we'll do it even though it's bullshit. We'll tie one hand behind our backs and still go fight these bastards because that's what we do. We are not pundits."

    That's where he goofed.

  • Billy Beck||

    "At the same time I deserve respect for insuring that my gov't enter in foreign conflict for worthy cause without calling me out as treasonous."

    Emphatically agreed.

  • ||

    Good morning America
    Good morning Americans

    As you seen two comments from Barbara and Ruth Griffin as following that cited From CNN Chief National Correspondent John King:

    Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC
    October 20th, 2008 6:49 pm ET
    I voted early to avoid the long lines.
    Obama/Biden '08

    Ruth Griffin
    October 20th, 2008 6:47 pm ET
    Go get COLORADO, Obama!!
    Obama/Biden in '08!

    Please forgive my mind because I scan the line:

    "Obama/Biden '08"
    like
    "Osama/Binladen '08"

    I am not a prophet for this issue, but I am suddenly wondering...
    Wishing America and other countries around the world a brighter future.

  • ||

    Wilkes: Why would you think "libertarians are anti-war"?

    Nothing in basic libertarian principles requires opposition to war; it requires only opposition to aggressive war for Imperial conquest.

    It does not, of course, oppose defensive war in the slightest. Nor does it in itself oppose war in the defense of others from oppression.

    Rand, who I generally disagree with (being more in sympathy with Hayek or even Nozick, though not Rothbard), had a great insight when she pointed out that a tyrannical state has no right to exist at all*. War to overthrow such a state is not prohibited by libertarian theory as such, any more (contra the LP's ridiculous beliefs) than isolationist disengagement is required by it.

    (* At least, that's attributed to her, and sounds plausible as a Rand quote. I haven't been able to find the original statement, but it doesn't much matter, since I'm not arguing by authority anyway.)

    States are not individuals is an important thing to remember. States have no rights; the individuals composing them do.

  • nfl premier jerseys||

    What you had mentioned is quite reasonable! Beautifully written article sir. Choose your premier jerseys here with the lowest price and the best quality.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    nfl premier jerseys
    Dallas Cowboys premier jerseys

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement