we must remember the two sides of john mccain
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Last Updated : GMT 05:17:37
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We must remember the two sides of John McCain

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we must remember the two sides of john mccain

Ray Hanania

 John McCain was a complicated American politician. A celebrated war hero, McCain put a “happy face” on the drive to destroy Palestinian rights and wrapped his defense of Israel in warped reasoning and populist logic. But he was smart enough to avoid open displays of racism and bigotry, knowing it wouldn’t attract votes.

Americans had a love-hate relationship with McCain. He was ridiculed when he ran against Barack Obama in 2008, but was glorified by the same critics when he became the Republican Party’s most virulent critic of Donald Trump, and in death.

How could McCain not hate Trump, the “outsider” who easily won election as president, while McCain, a 31-year senator with political power and beltway prestige, never could?

McCain died on Aug. 25 of brain cancer and is being memorialized for his positive achievements in America and around the world. But is that enough? He had two sides: One as a heroic soldier who was captured and tortured during the Vietnam War; and the other as a member of America’s political elite defending Israel at the expense of principals, morality and the international rights of Palestinian civilians.

As an Arab American, I see both. I had hoped McCain would have made amends for his many misjudgments. He didn’t. Just bringing it up has drawn the ire of other Americans who, because of ignorance or racism, feel criticism of McCain is wrong, immoral and contemptible.

I can sympathize with his suffering as a human being but I can’t forgive McCain for his actions that enabled Israel’s continued abuses against the Palestinians. His history is replete with facts that most Americans either don’t know or have chosen to ignore.

There are many events in McCain’s life spotlighted in the endless remembrances and memorials this week. The most notable was his service as a US Navy pilot who flew bombing missions over Hanoi during the Vietnam War. His plane was shot down and he spent five-and-a-half years as a prisoner of war.

His capture came at the same time as his father, John McCain II, was promoted to commander of all US forces in Vietnam. A Vietnam era veteran myself, honorably discharged in 1975, I too served my country with pride. But I have always been disgusted by the hundreds of stories the media and military tried to squelch about the intentional killing of civilians during the war. Vietnamese women and children were shot in their heads for sport, as Palestinians are today, killed by Israeli sniper fire across the Gaza-Israel border.


Ray Hanania

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we must remember the two sides of john mccain we must remember the two sides of john mccain


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