Fake Patriots Like McCain vs Muhammad Ali

A reader asked: "What's your military record?" Here's my answer.

Mish's Military Record

I have no military record. If drafted, I would have refused to go. I am damn proud of my record of not killing innocent people simply because my government demanded it.

I admire anyone brave enough and smart enough to go to prison rather than kill innocent people for no reason.

Unlike Ali, I was never put to the test. My number never came up. But I assure you, I would not have gone to Vietnam.

Had enough people had the same moral conviction, the Vietnam War would have ended sooner. The war finally did end when enough people realized how stupid it was and demanded change.

Wikipedia offers this reflection on Muhammad Ali.

> In 1966, two years after winning the heavyweight title, Ali further antagonized the white establishment by refusing to be drafted into the U.S. military, citing his religious beliefs and opposition to American involvement in the Vietnam War. He was eventually arrested, found guilty of draft evasion charges, and stripped of his boxing titles. He successfully appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned his conviction in 1971, by which time he had not fought for nearly four years and thereby lost a period of peak performance as an athlete. Ali's actions as a conscientious objector to the war made him an icon for the larger counterculture generation.

America Needs the Muhammad Ali Doctrine

Foreign Policy Magazine writes America Needs the Muhammad Ali Doctrine.

> Has any country ever spent as much money, time, and effort fighting to control places as irrelevant to the long-term balance of power as Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, or Yemen, not to mention its recent actions in Libya and in various parts of sub-Saharan Africa? The United States has little to show for these effortsin some cases, indeed, things have gotten worseeven as infrastructure back home keeps decaying, social problems multiply, and political divisions inside the country deepen. Its worth remembering that this sort of response is precisely what Osama bin Laden hoped to provoke by attacking the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. He probably underestimated Americas fragility, but theres little doubt that the reaction to 9/11 did more harm to the United States than the attacks themselves.

> Meanwhile, while the United States has been squandering wealth and attention in distant lands, China has been following the playbook that America used in its earlier rise to world power: stay out of trouble abroad and build a world-class economy at home. Beijing still faces many challengesas Michael Beckley makes clear in a terrific new bookbut it has maximized its prospects by not trying to run the world and by not trying to do nation-building in places that are far from China both geographically and politically.

> The lesson, in short, is that great powers can often advance their own interests and long-term power position by letting rivals take on high-cost, low-benefit projects that distract and divert them and drain their resources. In short, they do the rope-a-dope, or what John Mearsheimer calls a bait and bleed strategy, trying to lure rivals into costly and unwinnable conflicts while they remain aloof.

Rope-a-Dope

Foreign Policy is correct, of course. But it does not go far enough in its criticisms of McCain.

Fake Patriots

Patriotism is not about fighting stupid wars and killing innocent men, women, and children simply because a government asks you to do so.

Please recall the Nuremberg Trials.

It was as "patriotic" to kill Vietnamese as it was "patriotic" to kill Jews simply because you were ordered to do so.

Chamberlain

Warmonger advocates will inaccurately compare me to Chamberlain.

But where was "Hitler" in Vietnam, in Iraq, in Libya, in Syria?

The answer is nowhere. Hussein killed political opponents. He had no desire to conquer the world.

Hussein was no saint, but he led a secular government. There was freedom of religion in Iraq. There isn't today.

Idiotic US policy, that McCain supported, directly led to the creation of Isis.

It's the Oil, Stupid

If there was no oil in the Mideast, we would not be there at all. Many countries in Africa have worse things going on.

Heck, the US even gave Hussein his chemical weapons. There are images and videos of former secretary of defense Rumsfeld shaking hands with Hussein.

In a declassified document Rumsfeld 'offered help to Saddam'.

> On November 1 1983, the secretary of state, George Shultz, was passed intelligence reports of "almost daily use of CW [chemical weapons]" by Iraq.

> However, 25 days later, Ronald Reagan signed a secret order instructing the administration to do "whatever was necessary and legal" to prevent Iraq losing the war.

> Howard Teicher, an Iraq specialist in the Reagan White House, testified in a 1995 affidavit that the then CIA director, William Casey, used a Chilean firm, Cardoen, to send cluster bombs to use against Iran's "human wave" attacks.

> A 1994 congressional inquiry also found that dozens of biological agents, including various strains of anthrax, had been shipped to Iraq by US companies, under licence from the commerce department.

> Furthermore, in 1988, the Dow Chemical company sold $1.5m-worth (£930,000) of pesticides to Iraq despite suspicions they would be used for chemical warfare.

Other Side of McCain

Consortium News offers what I view as a "must read" take on The Other Side of John McCain by Max Blumenthal.

> In Libya and Syria, McCain cultivated affiliates of Al Qaeda as allies, and in Ukraine, McCain courted actual, sig-heiling neo-Nazis.

> While McCains Senate office functioned as a clubhouse for arms industry lobbyists and neocon operatives, his fascistic allies waged a campaign of human devastation that will continue until long after the flowers dry up on his grave.

> American media may have sought to bury this legacy with the senators body, but it is what much of the outside world will remember him for.

McCain With Al Qaeda

McCain with FSA

McCain in Ukraine

Coddling the Neo-Nazis of Ukraine

> On December 14, 2013, McCain materialized in Kiev for a meeting with Oleh Tyanhbok, an unreconstructed fascist who had emerged as a top opposition leader. Tyanhbok had co-founded the fascist Social-National Party, a far-right political outfit that touted itself as the last hope of the white race, of humankind as such. No fan of Jews, he had complained that a Muscovite-Jewish mafia had taken control of his country, and had been photographed throwing up a sieg heil Nazi salute during a speech.

> McCain was so committed to replacing an independent-minded government with a NATO vassal that he even mulled a military assault on Kiev. I do not see a military option and that is tragic, McCain lamented in an interview about the crisis.

Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of books including best-selling Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, The Fifty One Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza, and The Management of Savagery, which will be published later this year by Verso. He has also produced numerous print articles for an array of publications, many video reports and several documentaries including Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie and the forthcoming Killing Gaza.

Running and Screaming

Patriotism? Where?

You can support torture, drones, Iraq, Vietnam, and anything else on grounds of patriotism.

On the same grounds, you may as well support killing Jews or "Gooks" as McCain called the North Vietnamese.

But I won't.

I praise Muhammad Ali, a man of conviction, integrity, and a man willing to tell his government to go to hell, on that basis of higher principles.

That's true patriotism.

Killing innocent people simply because your government orders you to do so, isn't.

But McCain went well beyond following orders. He openly sought ties with neo-Nazis and Al Qaeda groups.

Piss vs Praise

If you seek someone worthy of praise, try Ali. McCain was a despicable human being deserving ridicule and scorn.

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Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (33)
No. 1-14
SANE12
SANE12

My thoughts precisely.

JohnH
JohnH

Excellent!

Schaap60
Schaap60

I pay my taxes and have obeyed all laws, although I have been fortunate that I have not been asked to obey ones I would deem morally dubious. I think that is all the "service" that should be expected of a citizen. I respect anyone who has served in the military and their obvious commitment to our country, but putting them in harms way for little or no purpose hardly brings glory to their service. Do we need more wars to provide more people with opportunities for this type of service? I certainly don't think so. I also detest the idea that not having served in the military precludes you from expressing an opinion about the use of America's military in other countries.

mharris240
mharris240

Awesome post Mish!!

pi314
pi314

"I have no military record. If drafted, I would have refused to go. I am damn proud of my record of not killing innocent people simply because my government demanded it."

You are too intelligent to make such a broad statement. The US military protects American interests all the time (e.g. WWII, Cuban crisis.) We would have been under the Nazi today had everyone acted selfishly/foolishly in WWII.