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Sunday, October 05, 2008


McCain: A worse war criminal than I thought

I've written before (and I think I'm actually the primary source on the web) how John McCain was shot down over Vietnam while bombing a civilian target, a lightbulb factory. And I've also written, and commented, how there were of course more serious war criminals than pilots obeying illegal orders, from the colonels and generals who gave the orders to the Presidents and Secretaries of State and Congresses who sent them there in the first place.

Today I was browsing in a bookstore and picked up a copy of Micheael Moore's Guide to the Elections, and, I swear I am not making this up, the book opened to the page where McCain's wartime history was being recounted, and specifically the larger context of that lightbulb factory bombing:

John McCain flew 23 bombing missions over North Vietnam in a campaign called Operation Rolling Thunder. During the bombing campaign, which lasted for almost 44 months, U.S. forces flew 307,000 attack sorties, dropping 643,000 tons of bombs on North Vietnam. Though the stated targets were factories, bridges, and power plants, thousands of bombs also fell on homes, schools, and hospitals [Left I note: Moore writes as if factories and power plants are not also civilian targets]. In the midst of the campaign, Defense [sic] Secretary Robert McNamara estimated that we [sic] were killing 1,000 civilians a week. That's more than one 9/11 every single month - for 44 months.
Ah, but McCain was still just a pilot following orders, right? Well, not quite:
In his book, Faith of Our Fathers, McCain writes that he had been upset that he had been limited to bombing military installations, roads, and power plants. He said such restrictions were "illogical" and "senseless."

"I do believe," McCain wrote, "that had we taken the war to the North and made full, consistent use of air power in the North, we ultimately would have prevailed."
So McCain was not just a war criminal. He was, and is, a vocal proponent of war crimes.

By the way, I don't know if it's significant, but Moore's book claims McCain was shot down bombing a power plant. I've seen that claim before, but I don't know where it comes from. If you take a look at the link above, which is a 2000 newspaper article based on an interview with the man who rescued McCain from the lake in which he landed, it is clear the target was a lightbulb factory, not a power plant. Has the power plant story been invented to make the target seem slightly more legitimate? I don't know, but I'm sticking with the original source material and the claim of a lightbulb factory unless someone can provide another, equally definitive, source.

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