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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 8/15/08

The Shelf Life of John McCain's Honor

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My father was a career military officer, so pardon me if I don't genuflect at self-important, self-serving mentions of our "brave men and women in uniform," too often invoked by those who never served, or never knew anyone who did, or who fought like hell and worked every angle not to, and would riot in the streets if the US instituted a sensible draft that offered their rich, pampered little boys and girls the same opportunities to die and lose limbs with which we honor our all-volunteer force.

Being familiar with the military, I also feel no need to lionize everyone who's been in it. There are fools in uniform. The conduct of several of our recent wars proves that. There are also heroes, knaves, psychos, savants, mensches, thieves, rapists and every other type of man and woman you can name. Their motives for service can range from patriotism to political opportunism to desperation. Donning a uniform does not make them better people. It just makes them soldiers.

John McCain served in Vietnam. He was shot down, imprisoned and tortured. He endured a great deal, and a big hat-tip to him for coming out of it sane and strong enough to live a life. However, he does not get a pass on despicable hypocrisy, demented race-baiting, and outright lies because he served in Vietnam and suffered as a POW. To suggest that he should is to suggest that, likewise, Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson should get a pass on bribery and racketeering charges because he was raised black and poor in the racist south. Despicable behavior is just that. Your past does not excuse it.

I am violently sick of the media dancing around this increasingly dishonorable man's outrageous sense of entitlement with which he justifies his campaign's outright lies, half-truths and transparent obfuscations.

NPR's Renee Montagne began to ask McCain about his campaign tactics and he grouchily protested, "We're not sending any negative message in our campaign. We're drawing differences in positions between myself and Sen. Obama, which are significant."

Countering that statement, Montagne asked McCain about the TV ad blaming Obama for high gas prices. McCain stuck to his non-sensical talking points:

"I believe strongly that if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. And he voted for the energy bill that had all kind of tax breaks and giveaways for the oil companies. I believe if you're not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. And it's a big problem in America today."

On the same day that statement aired, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman lambasted McCain for failing to even to show up for a crucial vote on extending tax credits for solar and other energy efficient systems.

Friedman wrote:

"In fact, John McCain has a perfect record on this renewable energy legislation. He has missed all eight votes over the last year -- which effectively counts as a no vote each time. Once, he was even in the Senate and wouldn't leave his office to vote."

Yes, Senator Straight Talk, if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem--and bald-faced hypocrisy is a problem.

McCain stated that he is "not sending any negative message" in his campaign. This is the same man who all but accused Obama of treason by stating, "It seems to me that Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign."

If that's not negative, then I suppose it is equally "positive" to say that John McCain is willing to needlessly sacrifice American service men and women's lives in order to win the presidency.

"I am proud of the campaign I am running," McCain says.

Mitt Romney, official campaign surrogate and leading candidate for McCain's Vice President is heading the race-stained charge against Barack's patriotism and Americanness. He told Fox News that, "I think John McCain is going to make sure that America stays America."

McCain will ensure that America stays as white as Romney wants it to be. (He, of the church that has never actually repudiated the theological notion that black skin is the result of a curse from God; he who approached a black child wearing a necklace and said, "Oh, you've got some bling-bling here.")

Among McCain's most disgraceful line of attack is the suggestion that dark-skinned Obama" target="_blank">click here is somehow less American than the white-skinned. McCain savaged Michelle Obama for acknowledging the personal affects of America's racial history on black Americans. He trotted out his wife Cindy to mewl that she's always been proud of her country. Yes, and she's always been rich and white, too.

"I am not sending any negative message in this campaign," McCain says.

McCain has run the notorious "celebrity" ad linking Obama to two highly sexualized, blonde white women, conjuring the salacious historical distaste for black men who soil the purity of white American womanhood.
"I am proud of the campaign I am running," he says.

In response to Obama's suggestion that Americans should encourage children to learn more than one language, McCain surrogate Rudolph Guiliani stated, "this is why he's such a popular candidate in Europe; because there's such an anti-American feeling there... he's sort of capturing that."

There it is again: "Anti-American."

McCain adviser Charlie Black stated, "We don't want to talk about his [Obama's] patriotism and character. We concede that he's a patriot and a person of good character."

Note the wording. He doesn't "believe." He "concedes." You only "concede" a debatable point. Even in this statement, the McCain camp opens the door for a vicious campaign using Obama's race to tar him as too "exotic," or "different," or "un-American," or just too damned black to be President.

"I am not sending any negative message in this campaign," McCain says. "I am proud of the campaign I am running."

Over 30 years ago, McCain served with honor. He shed that honor like a snake's spent skin somewhere between then and now. What's left is a dishonorable shell of a man, willing to pick the scab of this nation's oldest and most traumatic wound in order to win the high office to which he seems to feel he has a God-given right--so much so that he is justified in resorting to repellent tactics in order to win it.

John McCain is a dishonorable liar who once honorably wore a uniform. To hide his lies behind his medals dishonors not only the service he claims to prize--the one my father served all of his life--but also the country he seeks to lead.
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Leonce Gaiter's literary thriller, "In the Company of Educated Men," was published by Astor + Blue Editions in 2014. His historical novel, "I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang" was published September 2011. His (more...)

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