Sep 3, 2018
Senator John McCain, who died August 25, became the voice of criticism against President Trump within the Republican Party. In their falling out, Trump had said McCain’s five years imprisoned in Viet Nam didn’t amount to much, gaining McCain a lot of sympathy among politicians and media who despise Trump. The eulogies for him from both political parties presented McCain as a hero, a clear-sighted politician who was a humanist, willing to look at “both sides” of an issue.
This son and grandson of U.S. navy admirals was hired as a jet pilot, participating in the U.S. bombing of North Vietnam, which between 1965 and 1968 killed some 182,000 civilians and dropped as many bombs as were dropped in Western Europe during World War II. He was shot down over North Vietnam in his 23rd bombing run, and made a prisoner.
After his return to the U.S., McCain began a political career in the Republican Party, in Reagan’s time. He was re-elected over and over up to the present, helped by the fortune of his wife’s family, who made their money distributing Anheuser-Busch beer.
During his time in Washington, McCain voted against making Martin Luther King’s birthday into a national holiday. In his work on the Senate’s military affairs committee, he favored U.S. interventions overseas, like the bombing of Serbia in 1999 and the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. He has opposed even a partial withdrawal of U.S. troops in recent years.
McCain voted to invade Iraq in 2003. He favored sending more troops, supporting the generals’ requests. Perhaps his experience in a Vietnamese prison camp was the reason he took his distance from torture practiced by the CIA in the name of the war against terror. He supported the right to due process of prisoners held without trial at Guantanamo.
In 2008, running for president, he chose the very reactionary governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, as his vice president. He lost to Obama, without using the racism that riddled the Republican Party in that campaign, simply telling the conservative voters that his adversary was a “socialist.”
Despite the current reactionary direction of the Republican Party, McCain was able to work with the Democratic Party to defend the interests of U.S. capitalists. And in 2008, McCain voted to pass hundreds of billions of dollars to the big banks in order to get out of the financial crisis that was engulfing the world’s economies. So it is hardly surprising that he has gained the homage of the entire capitalist world, which he served all his life.