Is McCain a war Hero?

  • News
  • Thread starter sketchtrack
  • Start date
  • #326
Seriously, this is an opinion thread. You've given your opinion, I've given mine. You bringing up chinese freedom fighters a thousand times isn't going to change anyone's opinion of McCain, unless McCain is a chinese freedom fighter, in which case, that might have some meaning.
Ah, sorry, I mistook it for also being a reasoning thread. Sorry to intrude.
⚛
 
Last edited:
  • #327
Evo
Mentor
23,153
2,796
Ah, sorry, I mistook it for also being a reasoning thread too. Sorry to intrude.
Your reasoning is that you consider McCain and a Chinese human rights activist the same?
 
  • #328
turbo
Gold Member
3,077
46
My father quit HS to volunteer for the Airborne. He broke his ankle in a drop and spent the remainder of the war in a motor pool attached to an artillery unit in Belgium. He is not a hero, but I am proud of him anyway, just as I am proud of the many other vets of his age. My wife's uncle died recently, and he was at Anzio - a battle with heavy US losses. Lots of these guys saw harrowing duty and acted bravely. They do not (did not) consider themselves heroes, but we all honor their duty. Seeing self-aggrandizement by politicians tossing around "hero" is pretty tacky.
 
  • #329
Evo
Mentor
23,153
2,796
My father quit HS to volunteer for the Airborne. He broke his ankle in a drop and spent the remainder of the war in a motor pool attached to an artillery unit in Belgium. He is not a hero, but I am proud of him anyway, just as I am proud of the many other vets of his age. My wife's uncle died recently, and he was at Anzio - a battle with heavy US losses. Lots of these guys saw harrowing duty and acted bravely. They do not (did not) consider themselves heroes, but we all honor their duty. Seeing self-aggrandizement by politicians tossing around "hero" is pretty tacky.
Absolutely agree. My dad never talked about what happened. I knew from my mother and the medals my dad had. He felt he was just doing what anyone would do in that circumstance, you forget about your own safety and just try to pull your buddies out of harm when you're being bombed. He was on board a ship. Oh, McCain ran for safety, well I guess not everyone feels the same way about helping.
 
  • #330
Your reasoning is that you consider McCain and a Chinese human rights activist the same?
You've avoided responding to more than that. But yes, I regard analogical reasoning as valid as the ways you or others have been arguing.

If you regard analogical reasoning as valid, we could search for a different analogy that parallels the situation acceptable to both you and I. You don't have to pretend that my entire point rests upon that single comparison. I mostly pursued it because people seemed to consider it another example of heroism (or so I inferred from an apparent resistance to respond to it.)
My father quit HS to volunteer for the Airborne. He broke his ankle in a drop and spent the remainder of the war in a motor pool attached to an artillery unit in Belgium. He is not a hero, but I am proud of him anyway, just as I am proud of the many other vets of his age. My wife's uncle died recently, and he was at Anzio - a battle with heavy US losses. Lots of these guys saw harrowing duty and acted bravely. They do not (did not) consider themselves heroes, but we all honor their duty. Seeing self-aggrandizement by politicians tossing around "hero" is pretty tacky.
I would count your wife's uncle as a hero myself and as for your father, like I said I think just being willing to stick your neck out that way is pretty good hero cred.

I do agree that, genuine hero or not, for someone to ostentatiously talk about themselves as a hero (or pay other people to, in the case of a campaign) is arrogant and unseemly. It's certainly possible for someone to tarnish their heroism or cast it into doubt by making their own motivations look bad.
⚛
 
Last edited:
  • #331
Evo
Mentor
23,153
2,796
They didn't consider themselves "war heroes" and we don't consider them "war heroes", they did the right thing.

If McCain wants to call himself a hero, pffft. Let him. Don't expect others to think the same.
 
  • #332
Just as trivia, since everyone else is offering their family histories, my grandfather flew on a bomber in WWII and my great-grandfather fought as an infantryman in WWI and died of his wounds.
⚛
 
  • #333
Evo
Mentor
23,153
2,796
Just as trivia, since everyone else is offering their family histories, my grandfather flew on a bomber in WWII and my great-grandfather fought as an infantryman in WWI and died of his wounds.
My Grandfather was a Captain in the Navy in WWII. He's not a war hero either.

My brother enlisted in the army during the Vietnam war, not drafted, enlisted. My first husband was in Naval Intelligence during the Vietnam war. My 'adopted son", actually he adopted me as his mother, just recently finished his tour of duty with the marines in Iraq. None of them are heroes.

Oh, and all seven of my uncles served in WWII.

Heh, I think I have everyone beat in shear numbers going back to WWII.

Can we stop the nonsense now?
 
Last edited:
  • #334
Heh, I think I have everyone beat in shear numbers going back to WWII.

Can we stop the nonsense now?
I wasn't competing, I was really just mentioning it in passing as I thought everyone else was, to show that my point of view isn't from lack of contact with the military or veterans or something. I don't think it's nonsense, I found it interesting to hear everyone's stories (though I don't think it makes any of us authoritative). Come to think of it, my grandfather also earned an engineering degree to make his way and raise his kids after WWII, though he didn't have the problem of war injuries like you mentioned your father facing.
⚛
 
  • #335
Evo
Mentor
23,153
2,796
I wasn't competing, I was really just mentioning it in passing as I thought everyone else was, to show that my point of view isn't from lack of contact with the military or veterans or something. I don't think it's nonsense, I found it interesting to hear everyone's stories (though I don't think it makes any of us authoritative). Come to think of it, my grandfather also earned an engineering degree to make his way and raise his kids after WWII, though he didn't have the problem of war injuries like you mentioned your father facing
Then can we agree that everyone is entitled to their own opinion?
 
  • #336
Then can we agree that everyone is entitled to their own opinion?
Oh, sure. I'm sorry if I somehow gave the impression I don't think people are entitled to their own opinions. I didn't think I was being any rougher in advocating for my own position than you were for yours.

In fact, you stated that holding an opinion like mine belittles "true" heroism, which seems to lean a bit harder on the entitlement to one's own opinion than I feel I have been. And come to think of it, I have explicitly said a couple of times that you could be correct that McCain's motivations may have been such that he wasn't heroic... this seems a bit rhetorical. But whatever, no need for the discussion to continue; we've certainly both had our say.
⚛
 
Last edited:
  • #337
Evo
Mentor
23,153
2,796
As I said back in post 317, you are entitled to your opinion, but it is not my opinion. :smile:
 
  • #338
Art
This is the same misleading characterization of my argument that Art made above, as though I've claimed that all prisoners must be heroes.
Your argument as I understand it is; McCain is a hero because he put himself in harm's way by joining the military and all members of the military are heroes but all US POWs are members of the military ergo all POWs are heroes.

Where's the mischaracterization you accuse me of?

If I misunderstood you and if simply joining the military is not the reason why you see McCain as a hero then would you explain what action he performed which, in your mind, is heroic. :confused:
 
  • #339
As I said back in post 317, you are entitled to your opinion, but it is not my opinion. :smile:
Well, as I said in post 318, it sounds as if our opinions on what the definition of a hero is are similar. But that's simply an opinion itself; I apologize if in explaining why I thought so I made you feel like I was pressuring you. :smile:
⚛
 
  • #340
2,985
15
http://www.vietnamveteransagainstjohnmccain.com/mccain_post_card_word[1].pdf

Interesting read.

In August 1968, a program of severe torture began on McCain.[44] He was subjected to rope bindings and repeated beatings every two hours, at the same time as he was suffering from dysentery.[33][44] Further injuries led to the beginning of a suicide attempt, stopped by guards.[33] After four days, McCain made an anti-American propaganda "confession".[33] He has always felt that his statement was dishonorable, but as he later wrote, "I had learned what we all learned over there: Every man has his breaking point. I had reached mine."[45][46] Many American POWs were tortured and maltreated in order to extract "confessions" and propaganda statements;[47] virtually all of them eventually yielded something to their captors.[48] His wartime injuries left McCain permanently incapable of raising his arms above his head.[49] He subsequently received two to three beatings weekly because of his continued refusal to sign additional statements.[50]


Interview with McCain on April 24, 1973, after his return homeMcCain refused to meet with various anti-war groups seeking peace in Hanoi, wanting to give neither them nor the North Vietnamese a propaganda victory.[51] From late 1969 onward, treatment of McCain and many of the other POWs became more tolerable,[52] while McCain continued actively to resist the camp authorities.[53] McCain and other prisoners cheered the U.S. "Christmas Bombing" campaign of December 1972, viewing it as a forceful measure to push North Vietnam to terms.[46][54]

Altogether, McCain was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for five and a half years. He was released on March 14, 1973.[55]
From wikipedia.
 
  • #342
Your argument as I understand it is; McCain is a hero because he put himself in harm's way by joining the military and all members of the military are heroes but all US POWs are members of the military ergo all POWs are heroes.

Where's the mischaracterization you accuse me of?

If I misunderstood you and if simply joining the military is not the reason why you see McCain as a hero then would you explain what action he performed which, in your mind, is heroic. :confused:
I thought I'd already said these things but I may have been unclear, I apologize: I do not think that all prisoners are heroes and I do not think that all members of the military are heroes.

I think that someone who intentionally places themselves at risk of a certain level of harm (I haven't specified a particular level of risk or harm yet... that might be tricky to quantify) for the sake of a cause they believe to be primarily of benefit to other people can be called a hero. So I think that not all members of the military, but those who take part out of an honest sense of duty, solidarity with their countrymen, or otherwise the "someone has to do it" principle (while genuinely believing the war is a necessary effort) and willingly enter a situation like combat, field medical corps, spying, or blockade running for example, would qualify. On both sides of the conflict.

It's probably even less easy to quantify but I should think that firemen and police officers are often in an equivalent situation. Certainly when they're directly rescuing someone while putting themselves in harm's way, at least.

And I'm sure there are many other occupations and situations that fit the bill too.

In general, we're really just saying that someone has been selfless and valorous in an admirable way, right? At a certain level of self-risk. Like I said above, the case of Charles Lindbergh has always confounded me a bit. They definitely call him a hero all over the place but the trans-Atlantic flight doesn't seem quite selfless enough. Perhaps the definition has changed over the years.

(Or, perhaps my definition is incorrect or inadequate; that's certainly a possibility too.)

Oh, and another thing is it seems to me that the definition of what a hero is would need to be a matter of intrinsic factors - the qualities of the person, the qualities of the action, and the reasons they took the action, rather than extrinsic or contextual things.
⚛
 
Last edited:
  • #343
Evo
Mentor
23,153
2,796
Charles Lindburgh isn't a hero in my book either. Just like Timothy Leary is not my hero, but he is to some.

Let's go to one vote person, no one is right and no one is wrong.

The end.
 
  • #344
mathwonk
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
11,041
1,231
talk about heroes. did you hear the npr story corps episode from the woman in alabama who recalled going to register to vote decades ago and was asked by the registrar how many black jelly beans were in a jar? she never wanted to go back after his other insults and dismissive behavior, but her pastor said they needed to go back every week until the building fell down, and never accept being denied the right to vote. they went for two years, and finally the registrar asked her to recite the preamble to the constitution which she did, and he gave her a ballot, saying something rude and offensive to her. she said she got to vote, but she could not believe it should have been that hard, in fact she was sure it should not have been that hard.

now that is a hero. and john mccain is now encouraging the same kind of racism that denied that woman the vote 40-60 years ago. to me john mccain is not a hero today, even if he showed some courage in prison 40 years ago. he is exploiting his miltary experience to try to take power and protect the privileges of other rich people, like himself. There is no heroism in anything he has done lately, just the opposite.


It is difficult to be objective however on any such questions. I say this not knowing mccain personally, while others here who have military ties defend him because of that connection. In the same vein, I met Timothy Leary and he was nice to me, and I was friends with some of Charles Lindbergh's family, so it is more difficult for me to be hard on them for their faults.

perhaps if we draw an analogy or comparison between lindbergh and mccain, we might say some people have heroic episodes in their life, and then later do things which are less heroic, even harmful. people are complicated and life is long, but if a man runs in his 60's or 70's for president, we cannot afford to elect him based on his behavior as a 30 year old pilot. by then that is largely irrelevant, and it may even dull his ability to perceive the error of a given conflict.
 
Last edited:

Related Threads on Is McCain a war Hero?

Replies
2
Views
1K
Replies
137
Views
10K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
44
Views
5K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
1K
Replies
45
Views
4K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
44
Views
5K
Replies
10
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
19
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
20
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
3K
Top