Monday 27 August 2018

Senator John McCain was a great American politician     

It is ironic when you think about it. This incredible politician was one of the most brightest politicians in the history of the United States government and yet President Trump is one of the most stupidest politicians in the history of the American government. Of course, you could always count on what the senator said whereas, anything that Trump says is what he later claimed about the news media—fake news.   

As a Arizona senator since 1987, McCain gained a reputation as a political maverick, frequently co-signing bipartisan legislation and breaking away from many in his Republican Party on issues of military engagement, treatment of war prisoners, climate change, campaign finance and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.                           
He said, "I am older than dirt and have more scars than Frankenstein," McCain said in his 2008 bid to become, at 72, the country's oldest president of the United States.

Alas, he didn’t reach that highpoint in his life since another Democratic candidate was chosen to be the Democrat’s nominee and that man lost the race to the presidency. This was his second attempt for the role of president.

With reference to McCain’s scars, he got many of them when he was captured by the Viet Nam soldiers during the Vietnam War and tortured by his captors.

Trump sparked a real political controversy when  this stupid president had the temerity to publically question whether or not John McCain could be described as a "war hero," despite the fact that the senator spent more than five  years as a prisoner of war in a Hanoi  prison and even let other American prisoners be released ahead of him.

That stupid president (Trump) even said, and I quote when he was speaking at the  Family Leadership Council summit in Iowa, "I like people who weren't captured.” That stupid statement  sparked a swift rebuke, including from McCain himself, who broke his silence by, calling on Trump to apologize to military families, especially those of POWs. Obviously, Trump didn’t do it.

McCain’s bomber had previously been hit by a surface-to-air missile on October 26, 1967, destroying the aircraft’s right wing. The plane entered an “inverted, almost straight-down spin,” and he ejected.

But the sheer force of the ejection broke his right leg and both arms, knocking him unconscious, the report said. McCain came to as he landed in a lake, but burdened by heavy equipment, he sank straight to the bottom. Able to kick to the surface momentarily for air, he somehow managed to activate his life preserver with his teeth. Once he reached the surface, he was pulled ashore by some North Vietnamese.

As his captors tore at his clothes in the wake of the crash, McCain recalls realizing the extent of his injuries. When he noticed the injuries to his right leg which he says had fractured at the knee. One of his captors had slammed a rifle butt into his right shoulder, shattering it.  He was then bayoneted in the abdomen and foot.

Over the next few days, he “lapsed from conscious to unconsciousness” while the North Vietnamese interrogated him. He said,” McCain said in the U.S. News report. “I refused to give them anything except my name, rank, serial number and date of birth. He added.  “I was in such a bad shape that when they hit me it would knock me unconscious,”

Though initially refusing to give McCain medical treatment, the North Vietnamese, upon discovering that McCain’s father was an admiral in the Navy, decided to give him medical care, according to U.S. News. As word got around of McCain’s imprisonment and his father’s high military rank, several high ranking North Vietnamese officers came to the prison to observe McCain. Vietnamese surgeons operated on McCain’s broken leg, damaging several ligaments in the process. To the day before he was hospitalized for cancer, there is a noticeable limp in McCain’s step.

After receiving less than adequate treatment, McCain says he was moved to a prison camp known as “The Plantation” and locked in a cell with George “Bud” Day and Norris Overly, two Air Force majors. Day, who survived the ordeal, said of McCain: “He was in this great big white case, and his hair was snow white. He just looked like he was absolutely on the verge of death,” the report quoted him as saying.

When he was moved into solitary confinement in March 1968 and when his father was named commander-in-chief of all US Pacific forces several months later, McCain’s troubles were just beginning. The North Vietnamese hoped to score a propaganda victory by offering McCain an early release. McCain has said he refused the offer on the condition that he would only accept if every man captured before him was released as well. When McCain was brought to the senior North Vietnamese officer, a man he refers to as The Cat.  He refused the offer of an early release yet again.

McCain refused the opportunity to return home because he maintained the PoW code of conduct that held that the earliest captured prisoner must be the first to leave. After he refused amnesty a final time, he recounted, his interrogator said: "Now, McCain, it will be very bad for you."

McCain says his torture began in August of 1968. “For the next four days, I was beaten every two or three hours by different guards. My left arm was broken again and my ribs were cracked,” he said according to U.S. News. The North Vietnamese wanted a confession for crimes committed against the North Vietnamese people. After holding out for four days, McCain, at the point of suicide, agreed to write a confession. Looking back on his decision, McCain reflected “I felt just terrible about it. Every man has his breaking point. I had reached mine,” he said, according to the report

McCain notes that toward the end of 1969, the treatment which he and his fellow POWs received became more tolerable. He reports of the torture ending around October of 1969 and his solitary confinement concluded in March 1970. “Aside from bad situations now and then, 1971 and 1972 was a sort of coasting period,” McCain told U.S. News. After the signing of the Paris Peace Accords on Jan. 27, 1973, putting an end to the Vietnam War, McCain was released on March 14, 1973 along with the other American prisoners.

Though he made a recovery, many of McCain's injuries have remained with him—the combination of a hazardous ejection from his jet, torture and inadequate medical treatment have left him incapable of raising either arm above his shoulders.

McCain described himself at the beginning of his naval career as an "arrogant, insolent midshipman," and he graduated 894th out of 899 in his class at Annapolis, Maryland in 1958.

But upon his return from Vietnam, he studied at the National War College in Washington D.C. and then served as a navy liaison to the U.S. Senate.

McCain's marriage dissolved in the 1970s. He attributed its demise to his "selfishness and immaturity" rather than the trauma of Vietnam as written in his 2002 book Worth the Fighting For.

He remarried in 1980 to Cindy Hensley who was nearly 19 years his junior and the daughter of a wealthy beer distribution magnate. They settled in her native Arizona and had four children. As an aside, my Japanese-born wife is 18 years younger than me. We have been married 43 years with two daughters and five grandchildren. Age really doesn’t matter when you are in love.

Elected to U.S. Congress in 1982, four years later, he gained the Senate seat vacated by Barry Goldwater.

He was one of the most press-friendly modern politicians in Washington, winning over reporters with self-deprecation and what the late David Foster Wallace called McCain's "piss-and-vinegar candour."

McCain had been diagnosed with a brain tumour in July 2017 after surgery to remove a blood clot above his eye. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix said he had glioblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer. Unfortunately, it was getting worse as time moved on. On August 24th 2018,  his family announced that he would stop seeking further cancer treatment.

He died the next day.  The United States lost a great warrior and politician.

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