B12 Solipsism

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Archive for the ‘Vietnam’ tag

Gordon Lightfoot Sounds Like A Jerk

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War Memories
War Memories

Uncut editor Allan Jones recounts interviewing Canadian curmudgeon Gordon Lightfoot sometime in the mid-70s…

How we come to be talking about it, I can’t remember, but the next thing you know, Gordon’s lambasting the young American draft dodgers who made lives for themselves in exile in Canada rather than get shipped off to Vietnam. As far as he’s concerned, Canada should have booted them all out, sent them packing back to the States or banged them up in prison.

A man, he says, is nothing without a sense of duty. If he’d been an American, he would have volunteered to fight in Southeast Asia.

“Only Americans know the anguish of that war, but what kind of leniency can you extend to a guy who skips out of his country when 50,000 men get killed in a war?”

I may in some circumstances have let this pass. But during the long wait for Gordon, I appear to have grown somewhat cantankerous. So I launch into a patently ridiculous speech about America and Vietnam and the peace movement, generally coming on here like a veteran of the Weather Underground or the SLA, a history of random bombings on an FBI rap sheet, guns stashed in every cupboard of a South Compton safe-house, Patty Hearst trussed up in a closet close-by, peeing on the carpet and going out of her mind.

“Why didn’t I write about the war?” he says, in answer to that very question. “It was none of my goddamn business,” he says. “The United States at that time was a target for every loose tongue around. I didn’t think it was my place to say anything. I have,” he goes on, “a lot of sympathy for America. I also make a lot of money there. And if you don’t mind me saying so, some of the nicest people on earth are Americans and I wish you wouldn’t dwell on this particular subject. I suggest we talk about something else.”

(click here to continue reading ‘Even worse than Lou Reed. . .’ – Uncut.co.uk.)

Yeah, screw you Gordon Lightfoot. I never liked your schmaltzy songs in the first place. 

Written by Seth Anderson

June 12th, 2013 at 9:32 am

Posted in Music,politics

Tagged with , , ,

The Lyndon Johnson tapes: Richard Nixon’s treason

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US Saigon Rift
US Saigon Rift.PNG

The BBC has disclosed troubling history of Richard Nixon’s actions during the 1968 election, news I’ve not seen reported elsewhere. I just searched again, and for instance, The New York Times hasn’t mentioned this revelation, nor has The Washington Post, nor The Wall Street Journal. I wonder why? I’m not a conspiracy minded person, but it is a bit ironic that a British paper scooped the American press on a bit of American history.

Anyway, the BBC reports that Richard Nixon definitively sabotaged the peace talks between North and South Vietnam on the eve of the 1968 election by promising the government of Nguyen Van Thieu they would get a better deal if they waited until Nixon won the election. Foolishly, the South Vietnamese took this advice, and the Paris peace talks ended. Of course, the Vietnam War didn’t end for another 5 years, with thousands of U.S. casualties and thousands more Vietnamese casualties needlessly incurred.

There is no two ways about this: Richard Nixon deemed his own election chances more important than his country. Treasonous fuck.

Richard Nixon Waves

Traitor Richard Nixon Waves

The idea that Johnson might have been the candidate, and not Hubert Humphrey, is just one of the many secrets contained on the White House tapes.

They also shed light on a scandal that, if it had been known at the time, would have sunk the candidacy of Republican presidential nominee, Richard Nixon.

By the time of the election in November 1968, LBJ had evidence Nixon had sabotaged the Vietnam war peace talks – or, as he put it, that Nixon was guilty of treason and had “blood on his hands”.

It begins in the summer of 1968. Nixon feared a breakthrough at the Paris Peace talks designed to find a negotiated settlement to the Vietnam war, and he knew this would derail his campaign.

He therefore set up a clandestine back-channel involving Anna Chennault (born Chen Xiangmei – Chinese: 陳香梅), a senior campaign adviser.

At a July meeting in Nixon’s New York apartment, the South Vietnamese ambassador was told Chennault represented Nixon and spoke for the campaign. If any message needed to be passed to the South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, it would come via Chennault.

In late October 1968 there were major concessions from Hanoi which promised to allow meaningful talks to get underway in Paris – concessions that would justify Johnson calling for a complete bombing halt of North Vietnam. This was exactly what Nixon feared.

Chennault was despatched to the South Vietnamese embassy with a clear message: the South Vietnamese government should withdraw from the talks, refuse to deal with Johnson, and if Nixon was elected, they would get a much better deal.

So on the eve of his planned announcement of a halt to the bombing, Johnson learned the South Vietnamese were pulling out.

He was also told why. The FBI had bugged the ambassador’s phone and a transcripts of Anna Chennault’s calls were sent to the White House. In one conversation she tells the ambassador to “just hang on through election”.

Johnson was told by Defence Secretary Clifford that the interference was illegal and threatened the chance for peace.

In a series of remarkable White House recordings we can hear Johnson’s reaction to the news.

In one call to Senator Richard Russell he says: “We have found that our friend, the Republican nominee, our California friend, has been playing on the outskirts with our enemies and our friends both, he has been doing it through rather subterranean sources. Mrs Chennault is warning the South Vietnamese not to get pulled into this Johnson move.”

 

(click here to continue reading BBC News – The Lyndon Johnson tapes: Richard Nixon’s ‘treason’.)

And yet, Johnson never went public with Nixon’s treasonous behavior. I wonder if LBJ had, and the country became understandably outraged, would Nixon have won the election? Probably not as it was so close. Also, would Regan’s team been bold enough to rig the end of the Iranian Hostage Crisis in 1980? Also, probably not.

War Memories
War Memories

——

Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon, Traitor

Update, at least one major news outlet has covered the story: Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. She compares Richard Nixon’s treason with the intentional misinformation in the run-up to the Operation for Iraqi Liberation, as the Iraq War was originally called before they realized the joke (O.I.L.) was a bit too obvious.

Written by Seth Anderson

March 19th, 2013 at 9:30 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with , , ,

Draft Dodger Republicans

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War Memories

There aren’t many Republicans who actually served in VIetnam, despite being gung-ho for that war, and any other. George Bush the Stupider served, half-heartedly at best, in the Texas National Guard, but Dick Cheney and other Chickenhawks just evaded military service.

Like Donald Trump:

The suggestion that Trump, the son of a wealthy and well-connected developer, might have cut corners to avoid military service could conceivably hurt his standing with the Republican Party’s base — where reverence for the military tends to be particularly pronounced. In that sense, it’s notable that the issue is being flagged by someone at the National Review — another sign, perhaps, that elite, opinion-shaping conservatives are eager to marginalize Trump.

Whether Trump’s lack of service actually turns into a big story remains to be seen. But that it’s come up at all provides an excuse to point out that the 2012 campaign cycle might be the last one in which candidates have to worry at all about being tagged as “draft-dodgers.”

Besides Trump (if you want to count him as a serious candidate, which we are not inclined to), the prospective GOP field contains three men who would have been old enough to serve during Vietnam: Mitt Romney (who was born in 1947), Newt Gingrich (1943), and Mitch Daniels (1949). None of them actually served — and each has faced his share of questions on the subject over the years.

Romney, for instance, received a two-year draft deferment because of his stint as a Mormon missionary in France; when he returned to the United States, he then received a high lottery number and was never called to serve. When he was a first-time political candidate in Massachusetts back in 1994, Romney explained that “I was not planning on signing up for the military. It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam.” This story seemed perfectly suited for the electorate of the only state that voted for George McGovern in 1972. But when he set out to run for the GOP presidential nomination more than a decade later, Romney changed his tune, claiming that not serving was “one of the two great regrets of my life…I’d love to have.”

Gingrich, meanwhile, received student and family deferments (he married his first wife in 1962, at the age of 19), and Daniels got a student deferment and then — like Romney — caught a break with his lottery number and was never compelled to serve. Mike Huckabee, who was born in 1955, was technically old enough to serve toward the very end of the war, but no one from his birth year was drafted and forced to serve.

(click here to continue reading The last hurrah for the “draft dodger!” charge – War Room – Salon.com.)

Memorials

There’s a database of a few listed here (they haven’t updated to include Trump)

When an American male (or an especially belligerent female) makes the challenging transition from late adolescence into early adulthood, he is faced with many decisions. One certain, specific combination of choices will result in his becoming a chickenhawk: choosing to “support” war, while also choosing not to serve in the military. His motto becomes: “Let’s you and him go fight; I’ll hold your coat.”

Depending on external circumstances, such an individual may become one of three varieties of chickenhawk: • If there is no draft, and the nation is at peace, the individual becomes a Common Chickenhawk; • If there is a draft, and the nation is at peace, the individual becomes a Chickenhawk First Class; • If the there is a draft, and the nation is at war, the individual becomes a Chickenhawk First Class with Distinguished Fleeing Cross.

We currently have 154 Chickenhawks listed in our database.

(click here to continue reading The New Hampshire Gazette » Chickenhawk Hall of Shame.)

For the record, I would have been a draft dodger too, but also an opponent of the war in general, in contrast to Chickenhawks like Donald Trump.

Written by Seth Anderson

April 29th, 2011 at 11:36 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with , ,

Is the Vietnam War an echo of the Afghanistan War?

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Bill Moyers wonders, as we all do, if Obama’s escalation of the Afghanistan War is a repetition of LBJ’s escalation of the Vietnam War in 1964.

War Memories

Our country wonders this weekend what is on President Obama’s mind. He is apparently, about to bring months of deliberation to a close and answer General Stanley McChrystal’s request for more troops in Afghanistan. When he finally announces how many, why, and at what cost, he will most likely have defined his presidency, for the consequences will be far-reaching and unpredictable. As I read and listen and wait with all of you for answers, I have been thinking about the mind of another president, Lyndon B. Johnson.

I was 30 years old, a White House Assistant, working on politics and domestic policy. I watched and listened as LBJ made his fateful decisions about Vietnam. He had been thrust into office by the murder of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963– 46 years ago this weekend. And within hours of taking the oath of office was told that the situation in South Vietnam was far worse than he knew.

Less than four weeks before Kennedy’s death, the South Vietnamese president had himself been assassinated in a coup by his generals, a coup the Kennedy Administration had encouraged.

South Vietnam was in chaos, and even as President Johnson tried to calm our own grieving country, in those first weeks in office, he received one briefing after another about the deteriorating situation in Southeast Asia.

Lyndon Johnson secretly recorded many of the phone calls and conversations he had in the White House. In this broadcast, you’re going to hear excerpts that reveal how he wrestled over what to do in Vietnam. There are hours of tapes and the audio quality is not the best, but I’ve chosen a few to give you an insight into the mind of one president facing the choice of whether or not to send more and more American soldiers to fight in a far-away and strange place.

Granted, Barack Obama is not Lyndon Johnson, Afghanistan is not Vietnam and this is now, not then. But listen and you will hear echoes and refrains that resonate today.

[Click to continue reading Bill Moyers Journal . Watch & Listen | PBS]

Transcript here, and video here

The exact circumstances are different, but what the fuck is Obama doing? What’s the end game of escalation of the war? Will the Taliban ever throw their hands up and walk away? No, they will not, and even if they do, there is a thousand other offshoots of fundamentalists willing to step into the breach and fight The Great Satan. Are we as a country committed to staying permanently in Afghanistan? In Iraq? In Pakistan? At what cost? Can we afford to piss away trillions of dollars of our national budget protecting the interests of a few? What benefit to our nation does continuing the Afghanistan conflict actually accomplish?

As LBJ repeatedly says, sometimes you have to let the dominoes fall.

Written by Seth Anderson

November 26th, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Reading Around on November 15th through November 18th

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A few interesting links collected November 15th through November 18th:

  • Apocalypse Now /Redux :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews – In a note released with the film, Coppola emphasizes that this new material was not simply shoehorned into the original version of the film, but that “Redux” is “a new rendition of the movie from scratch.” He and his longtime editor Walter Murch “re-edited the film from the original unedited raw footage — the dailies,” he says, and so possibly even some of the shots that look familiar to us are different takes than the ones we saw before.
  • Smithsonian: Making Sense of Sustainable Seafood | Food & Think – Chilean seabass from Whole Foods, courtesy Flickr user swanksalot
  • Patagonia Toothfish

  • I’m Belle de Jour – Times Online – Revealed: the woman behind the Belle de Jour blog

    She’s real, all right, and I’m sitting on the bed next to her. Her name is Dr Brooke Magnanti. Her specialist areas are developmental neurotoxicology and cancer epidemiology. She has a PhD in informatics, epidemiology and forensic science and is now working at the Bristol Initiative for Research of Child Health. She is part of a team researching the effects of exposure to the pesticide chlorpyrifos on foetuses and infants.

    From 2003 to late 2004, Brooke worked as a prostitute via a London escort agency; she started blogging as Belle de Jour — after the Buñuel film starring Catherine Deneuve as a well-to-do housewife who has sex for money because she’s bored — shortly into her career as a call girl, after an incident she thought funny enough to write down.

Written by swanksalot

November 18th, 2009 at 7:00 am

Robert McNamara Was a Cold Blooded Killer

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Bob Herbert1 avoids hagiography when writing an obituary for Vietnam War architect and unindicted war criminal, Robert McNamara.

War Memories
[A Navy Vet pondering the names of the dead, Vietnam War Memorial, Chicago]

The hardest lesson for people in power to accept is that wars are unrelentingly hideous enterprises, that they butcher people without mercy and therefore should be undertaken only when absolutely necessary.

Kids who are sent off to war are forced to grow up too fast. They soon learn what real toughness is, and it has nothing to do with lousy bureaucrats and armchair warriors sacrificing the lives of the young for political considerations and hollow, flag-waving, risk-free expressions of patriotic fervor.

McNamara, it turns out, had realized early on that Vietnam was a lost cause, but he kept that crucial information close to his chest, like a gambler trying to bluff his way through a bad hand, as America continued to send tens of thousands to their doom. How in God’s name did he ever look at himself in a mirror?

[Click to continue reading Bob Herbert - After the War Was Over - NYTimes.com]

I assume the first draft of Bob Herbert’s article contained curse words, and stronger language than the New York Times editors would allow published. His rage at McNamara is still palpable however, and appropriate. Read between the lines for yourself.

Graphotype
[Graphotype at the Vietnam Vet Museum, South Loop. Some sort of teletype machine, apparently used to print dog-tags]

More than 58,000 Americans died in Vietnam and some 2 million to 3 million Vietnamese. More than 4,000 Americans have died in Iraq, and no one knows how many hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Even as I was writing this, reports were coming in of seven more American G.I.’s killed in Afghanistan — a war that made sense in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, but makes very little sense now.

None of these wars had clearly articulated goals or endgames. None were pursued with the kind of intensity and sense of common purpose and shared sacrifice that marked World War II. Wars are now mostly background noise, distant events overshadowed by celebrity deaths and the antics of Sarah Palin, Mark Sanford and the like.

The obscenity of war is lost on most Americans, and that drains the death of Robert McNamara of any real significance.

Footnotes:
  1. a Vietnam-era veteran, apparently, drafted, though sent to Korea instead []

Written by Seth Anderson

July 8th, 2009 at 8:40 am

Richard Nixon Taught Karl Rove Well

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In spirit, if not directly

More than 35 years after he left office in disgrace, a stash of recordings has been made public confirming the popular view of Richard Nixon as a lying, venal, foul-mouthed, paranoid conspirator.

In the 198 hours of recordings and 90,000 pages of documents released by the Nixon Presidential Library, the late president discusses his 1972 election landslide, the Vietnam peace talks and “Christmas bombing” campaign. But mostly he urges staff to use all means necessary to discredit opponents.

“Never forget,” he tells national security advisers Henry Kissinger, above, and Alexander Haig in a conversation on December 14 1972, “the press is the enemy, the press is the enemy. The establishment is the enemy, the professors are the enemy, the professors are the enemy. Write that on a blackboard 100 times.”

[Click to read more of Recordings reveal Richard Nixon's obsession with predecessors guardian.co.uk ]

Unaccounted For

and I wonder if Still-President Bush defaced the photographs of Clinton? Nixon was a lot more insecure than GWB though, despite being a much more intelligent and accomplished man.

Nixon was also obsessed with his predecessors, instructing his chief of staff Bob Haldeman in July 1971 to organise a covert raid of a Washington thinktank to uncover information it might have about John F Kennedy.

“I want a son-of-a-bitch. I want someone just as tough as I am [to carry out the raid] … I want it done. I want the Brookings Institution cleaned out and have it cleaned out in a way that has somebody else take the blame.”

Documents released alongside the recordings detail the progress made by his staff in carrying out a presidential order to remove all pictures of past presidents from the White House.

An office belonging to a junior civil servant in which he had seen two photographs of Kennedy, one bearing a personal inscription, particularly offended Nixon. “On January 14,” wrote White House staffer Alexander Butterfield in a 1970 memo, “the project was completed and all 35 offices displayed only your photograph.”

Written by Seth Anderson

December 3rd, 2008 at 8:59 pm

Posted in News-esque

Tagged with , ,

Make-Believe Maverick

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Reckless and dishonest, that about sums the man up. Also, if McCain hadn’t been Navy royalty, he would have never flown, nor kept his wings after destroying two planes in questionable circumstances.

Tim Dickinson of Rolling Stone has a long, good article about the life and career of John McCain. A few excerpts:

This is the story of the real John McCain, the one who has been hiding in plain sight. It is the story of a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather.

In its broad strokes, McCain’s life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House. John Sidney McCain III and George Walker Bush both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. Both struggled with booze and loutish behavior. At each step, with the aid of their fathers’ powerful friends, both failed upward. And both shed their skins as Episcopalian members of the Washington elite to build political careers as self-styled, ranch-inhabiting Westerners who pray to Jesus in their wives’ evangelical churches.

In one vital respect, however, the comparison is deeply unfair to the current president: George W. Bush was a much better pilot.

[Keep reading Make-Believe Maverick : Rolling Stone]

Incompetent, reckless, and dishonest: not characteristics of good presidents.

But the subsequent tale of McCain’s mistreatment — and the transformation it is alleged to have produced — are both deeply flawed. The Code of Conduct that governed POWs was incredibly rigid; few soldiers lived up to its dictate that they “give no information . . . which might be harmful to my comrades.” Under the code, POWs are bound to give only their name, rank, date of birth and service number — and to make no “statements disloyal to my country.”

Soon after McCain hit the ground in Hanoi, the code went out the window. “I’ll give you military information if you will take me to the hospital,” he later admitted pleading with his captors. McCain now insists the offer was a bluff, designed to fool the enemy into giving him medical treatment. In fact, his wounds were attended to only after the North Vietnamese discovered that his father was a Navy admiral. What has never been disclosed is the manner in which they found out: McCain told them. According to Dramesi, one of the few POWs who remained silent under years of torture, McCain tried to justify his behavior while they were still prisoners. “I had to tell them,” he insisted to Dramesi, “or I would have died in bed.”

Dramesi says he has no desire to dishonor McCain’s service, but he believes that celebrating the downed pilot’s behavior as heroic — “he wasn’t exceptional one way or the other” — has a corrosive effect on military discipline. “This business of my country before my life?” Dramesi says. “Well, he had that opportunity and failed miserably. If it really were country first, John McCain would probably be walking around without one or two arms or legs — or he’d be dead.”

Once the Vietnamese realized they had captured the man they called the “crown prince,” they had every motivation to keep McCain alive. His value as a propaganda tool and bargaining chip was far greater than any military intelligence he could provide, and McCain knew it. “It was hard not to see how pleased the Vietnamese were to have captured an admiral’s son,” he writes, “and I knew that my father’s identity was directly related to my survival.” But during the course of his medical treatment, McCain followed through on his offer of military information. Only two weeks after his capture, the North Vietnamese press issued a report — picked up by The New York Times — in which McCain was quoted as saying that the war was “moving to the advantage of North Vietnam and the United States appears to be isolated.” He also provided the name of his ship, the number of raids he had flown, his squadron number and the target of his final raid.

and the confession: McCain was1 the only one of his group of 600 POWs to confess to war crimes. I can’t criticize someone breaking down under torture – that is what torture is designed to accomplish – break down the resistance of weak willed men, but is this really John McCain’s main qualification for running the country?

In the company of his fellow POWs, and later in isolation, McCain slowly and miserably recovered from his wounds. In June 1968, after three months in solitary, he was offered what he calls early release. In the official McCain narrative, this was the ultimate test of mettle. He could have come home, but keeping faith with his fellow POWs, he chose to remain imprisoned in Hanoi.

What McCain glosses over is that accepting early release would have required him to make disloyal statements that would have violated the military’s Code of Conduct. If he had done so, he could have risked court-martial and an ignominious end to his military career. “Many of us were given this offer,” according to Butler, McCain’s classmate who was also taken prisoner. “It meant speaking out against your country and lying about your treatment to the press. You had to ‘admit’ that the U.S. was criminal and that our treatment was ‘lenient and humane.’ So I, like numerous others, refused the offer.”

“He makes it sound like it was a great thing to have accomplished,” says Dramesi. “A great act of discipline or strength. That simply was not the case.” …

The brutal interrogations that followed produced results. In August 1968, over the course of four days, McCain was tortured into signing a confession that he was a “black criminal” and an “air pirate.” “

“John allows the media to make him out to be the hero POW, which he knows is absolutely not true, to further his political goals,” says Butler. “John was just one of about 600 guys. He was nothing unusual. He was just another POW.”

McCain has also allowed the media to believe that his torture lasted for the entire time he was in Hanoi. At the Republican convention, Fred Thompson said of McCain’s torture, “For five and a half years this went on.” In fact, McCain’s torture ended after two years, when the death of Ho Chi Minh in September 1969 caused the Vietnamese to change the way they treated POWs. “They decided it would be better to treat us better and keep us alive so they could trade us in for real estate,” Butler recalls.

By that point, McCain had become the most valuable prisoner of all: His father was now directing the war effort as commander in chief of all U.S. forces in the Pacific. McCain spent the next three and a half years in Hanoi biding his time, trying to put on weight and regain his strength, as the bombing ordered by his father escalated. By the time he and other POWs were freed in March 1973 as a result of the Paris Peace Accords, McCain was able to leave the prison camp in Hanoi on his own feet.

Even those in the military who celebrate McCain’s patriotism and sacrifice question why his POW experience has been elevated as his top qualification to be commander in chief. “It took guts to go through that and to come out reasonably intact and able to pick up the pieces of your life and move on,” says Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, who has known McCain since the 1980s. “It is unquestionably a demonstration of the character of the man. But I don’t think that it is a special qualification for being president of the United States. In some respects, I’m not sure that’s the kind of character I want sitting in the Oval Office. I’m not sure that much time in a prisoner-of-war status doesn’t do something to you. Doesn’t do something to you psychologically, doesn’t do something to you that might make you a little more volatile, a little less apt to listen to reason, a little more inclined to be volcanic in your temperament.”

John McCain has never been interested in consistency, another aspect of his dice-throwing personality.

In June of this year, McCain reversed his decades-long opposition to coastal drilling — shortly before cashing $28,500 from 13 donors linked to Hess Oil. And the senator, who only a decade ago tried to ban registered lobbyists from working on political campaigns, now deploys 170 lobbyists in key positions as fundraisers and advisers.

Then there’s torture — the issue most related to McCain’s own experience as a POW. In 2005, in a highly public fight, McCain battled the president to stop the torture of enemy combatants, winning a victory to require military personnel to abide by the Army Field Manual when interrogating prisoners. But barely a year later, as he prepared to launch his presidential campaign, McCain cut a deal with the White House that allows the Bush administration to imprison detainees indefinitely and to flout the Geneva Conventions’ prohibitions against torture.

What his former allies in the anti-torture fight found most troubling was that McCain would not admit to his betrayal. Shortly after cutting the deal, McCain spoke to a group of retired military brass who had been working to ban torture. According to Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former deputy, McCain feigned outrage at Bush and Cheney, as though he too had had the rug pulled out from under him. “We all knew the opposite was the truth,” recalls Wilkerson. “That’s when I began to lose a little bit of my respect for the man and his bona fides as a straight shooter.”

But perhaps the most revealing of McCain’s flip-flops was his promise, made at the beginning of the year, that he would “raise the level of political dialogue in America.” McCain pledged he would “treat my opponents with respect and demand that they treat me with respect.” Instead, with Rove protégé Steve Schmidt at the helm, McCain has turned the campaign into a torrent of debasing negativity, misrepresenting Barack Obama’s positions on everything from sex education for kindergarteners to middle-class taxes. In September, in one of his most blatant embraces of Rove-like tactics, McCain hired Tucker Eskew — one of Rove’s campaign operatives who smeared the senator and his family during the 2000 campaign in South Carolina.

“I’m sure John McCain loves his country,” says Richard Clarke, the former counterterrorism czar under Bush. “But loving your country and lying to the American people are apparently not inconsistent in his view.”

Footnotes:
  1. as far as I know []

Written by Seth Anderson

October 2nd, 2008 at 9:57 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with , ,

McCain and the POW POW POW coverup

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I will reserve judgement until I’ve read this more thoroughly, but quite an intriguing bit of journalism from Sydney Schanberg. Could John POW POW POW McCain be a war hero like George AWOL Bush is a war hero1? What exactly happened in Vietnam?

Unaccounted For

John McCain, who has risen to political prominence on his image as a Vietnam POW war hero, has, inexplicably, worked very hard to hide from the public stunning information about American prisoners in Vietnam who, unlike him, didn’t return home. Throughout his Senate career, McCain has quietly sponsored and pushed into federal law a set of prohibitions that keep the most revealing information about these men buried as classified documents. Thus the war hero who people would logically imagine as a determined crusader for the interests of POWs and their families became instead the strange champion of hiding the evidence and closing the books.

Almost as striking is the manner in which the mainstream press has shied from reporting the POW story and McCain’s role in it, even as the Republican Party has made McCain’s military service the focus of his presidential campaign. Reporters who had covered the Vietnam War turned their heads and walked in other directions. McCain doesn’t talk about the missing men, and the press never asks him about them.

The sum of the secrets McCain has sought to hide is not small. There exists a telling mass of official documents, radio intercepts, witness depositions, satellite photos of rescue symbols that pilots were trained to use, electronic messages from the ground containing the individual code numbers given to airmen, a rescue mission by a special forces unit that was aborted twice by Washington—and even sworn testimony by two Defense secretaries that “men were left behind.” This imposing body of evidence suggests that a large number—the documents indicate probably hundreds—of the US prisoners held by Vietnam were not returned when the peace treaty was signed in January 1973 and Hanoi released 591 men, among them Navy combat pilot John S. McCain.

[Click to read more of Nation Institute's McCain and the POW Cover-up The "war hero" candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam]

War Memories

I would be very surprised to read of this perspective anywhere in the corporate media. Most remember the TANG Rove kerfuffle and would be hesitant to wade into those fetid waters again, especially since Karl Rove is advising McCain.

Graphotype

Footnotes:
  1. in other words, a fake hero []

Written by swanksalot

September 19th, 2008 at 1:19 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with ,