Saturday, August 23, 2008

Why I Despise John McShame

Yes, McShame tries to hide behind his P.O.W. past as refuge from any criticism, as witness the silly "five years in one house" TV commercial, put out in a desperate attempt to justify John and Cindy's score or so of houses, condominiums, and other digs. But even Obama praises his "heroism" and "patriotic" service during Vietnam. What is lost upon both candidates is the fact that some of us thought Vietnam an immoral conflict America had no business getting involved in, and one that gave our generation a clear choice: to serve or not to serve. McShame chose to do so. I, and many others, chose not.

It really didn't matter that we had a draft then. Those of us who objected to the war on pacifistic and moral grounds found ways to stay home. McShame did not. Not even waiting to be drafted, McShame blindly followed his family tradition of signing up: he volunteered to fight a war that was odious to many of his generation. While some of us were participating in protests and sit-in's, Mr. Flyboy eagerly joined the fray. For all I know, he dropped napalm indiscriminately on the Vietnamese people, a latter day Arnaud-Amaury, the papal legate chosen to head the Albigensian Crusade, who, being asked how his troops would recognize a Cathar from an ordinary citizen, said: "Kill them all, the Lord will recognize his own."

Given his willing participation in an immoral war, McShame deserves no respect for his service, nor for his imprisonment. We know that many of our captured troops in that conflict were subjected to far greater deprivations and torture yet refused to cooperate with their captors. McShame was not one of them. He did a few cutesy things like telling his tormentors the names of professional football players when requested to list fellow "imperialists," but so what? He caved. Worse, he learned nothing by the experience. Not only did he support Bush's illegal, imperialist invasion of Iraq, he flip-flopped on the waterboarding issue, which made a mockery of his own captivity.

McShame is a dangerous man who wants to attack Iran, get tough with Russia (although we now know, clearly, the Georgians provoked their invasion of South Ossetia). The last person we need in the White House today is a militaristic, jingoistic, slavering warmonger like John McShame. As for all of his dwellings, I'm surprised he hasn't gone whole hog and, in response to queries some Iraqi vets are homeless, sleeping in underpasses, and going hungry, said: "Let them eat cake."

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