Friday, July 24, 2015

Benedict Arnold was a War Hero Too

The American General Benedict Arnold was a war hero, who fought bravely and effectively on the side of the American revolutionaries – until he changed sides and plotted to betray his forces to the British.  Now, in the United States, his name is synonymous with betrayal. Nobody in this country would call Benedict Arnold a hero, or allow his previous service to immunize him from any criticism.

Consider then John McCain.  Certainly his joining to fight in Vietnam showed bravery and patriotism, although unlike Benedict Arnold, he displayed a remarkable lack of skill as a warrior.  He had great trouble keeping his planes in the air – which is a bad thing for a pilot – and the reports are that his incompetence very nearly destroyed an entire aircraft carrier.  ‘War Hero’ or not, criticizing this is surely fair game?  Shall he be immunized from all criticism because of his ‘War Hero’ record?

I note that the noncombatant George W. Bush and his supporters had no trouble making fun of John Kerry’s alleged lack of skill in commanding patrol boats in Vietnam.  How did Bush get away with that?  Does the simple act of volunteering for dangerous duty automatically makes one a ‘hero’ – regardless of how incompetent in battle one is?  Should anyone who criticizes John Kerry (or any other soldier) be widely declared to be politically finished, and forced to apologize not just to John Kerry, but to all military veterans and active duty personnel?  Rubbish, right?

The entire episode of Trump insulting McCain is yet more political theater.  It’s how the establishment beats down anyone that might oppose them in anything other than empty rhetoric.  If Trump had been on the side of his fellow oligarchs, and McCain someone like Ralph Nader or Pat Buchanan, it would likely not even had made the news.  It certainly would not have been pounded on like it is.

Consider Hillary Clinton.  She has committed Gaffe after gaffe, at least as many as Trump, but she’s a proven servant of the oligarchy, so she gets away with it.  Consider her astonishingly bad record as Secretary of State: she spent a lot of time in office finding new ways to sell out the national interest for cash (with her husband’s speaking tours serving to launder much of her winnings).  When she could be bothered to do anything other than cash in, she was the primary driving force bethind the invasion of Libya.  Now Muammar Gaddafi was not a saint, but lately he had made nice with the US, helping to fight Islamic extremism.  Under his rule, Libya had the highest standard of living in Africa.  So of course Hillary orchestrated an invasion, and now Libya is a failed state and a breeding ground for Islamic terrorists.

When Gaddafi was captured by the rebels, he was tortured (apparently sodomized with a knife) and then killed.  So what was Hillary’s reaction to this brutal death, and to her trashing of a nation with which we had no quarrel?  “We came, we saw, he died” was her giggling epitaph.  And people say that Trump is toxic?  Excuse me?  How many nations has Trump destroyed?

After McCain came back from Vietnam, the betrayals began.  It started with him abandoning his crippled wife for a rich floozy, but from there it has included doing everything possible to prevent the enforcement of the laws against illegal immigration.  The single most important thing that any government can do is protect the populace from foreign invasion: in selling out the national interest to the cheap labor lobby, this is treason at least as great as that of Benedict Arnold.  And it goes on.  Giving trillions of dollars of public money to Wall Street.  Signing off on trade agreements – NAFTA, MFN for China, Obamatrade, etc. – that have hollowed out the nation’s industrial base, and that soon look to destroy America’s sovereignty as unaccountable corporate lawyers meeting in secret are allowed to over-rule our laws.  Squandering our military assets in endless pointless wars, and then shafting the veterans by cutting VA funding.  And so on.

During his 2008 campaign John McCain starting singing “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran” – I mean, whatever one thinks of Iran, at the time we were not at war with them.  For a US senator and presidential candidate to start singing this in public is, dare I say it? Crazy.  And yet, while his opponents did use it against him, McCain nevertheless was not ‘finished’ and continues to be treated as a serious person.

OK Trump didn’t choose his words well, but I don’t think that he owes McCain any apologies.  I think that McCain owes the entire nation an apology for having sold us out over the years.

There is one ray of hope here.  The media pile-on over a single gaffe is supposed to destroy a candidate.  However, Trump is not backing down, and a substantial fraction of the population isn’t buying the whole ‘Trump is finished’ meme.  A common reaction seems to be something like ‘hey I don’t care what Trump said about McCain I want the border sealed and the illegal immigrants arrested and sent back to their own countries’. 

The American people not thinking the way that the corporate press is telling them to think!  The American people keeping their eyes on the prize and refusing to be distracted by ephemera!  I still think that we are probably doomed, but whatever happens to the Trump campaign, this is a refreshing development.

Do not care about minor gaffes blown out of proportion.  Do not let traitors to the republic like John McCain get away with their treason just because they are ‘war heros.’  Focus on the issues.  Focus on the important.  And when evaluating a politician, always always look at the record.

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