Shaft the Navy, Stiff the Nation, Start a War?

Dear Senator McCain, (perhaps soon to be Hail-To-The-Chief): I write this letter as a fellow US veteran and fellow Arizonan.

With only a few days to go until the big top, I imagine you are giddy with excitement. Like a kid in a candy store with an insatiable craving for sugar.

From where I sit, this contest could go either way. Not that I have a pony in this race, so to speak, but I have a vested interest, called my country.

I suppose you are awaiting the CFR to properly vet and handpick your Veep. No surprise there. As my Norwegian NATO friend, Annika, pointed out to me, all the ponies in this race are blueblood members of the CFR and so I'm certain your running mate will be a pedigreed pony too.

Now, I'm not going to chide you for all those houses you own. You and I both know those mansions mostly belong to Cindy. Besides, anyone with a quarter million bucks can buy ten houses in Michigan and outdo you by three.

Nor am I going to chide you for marrying an heiress. Let those fat fuckers who never served, like Rush Limbaugh, who laughed at fellow veteran John Kerry for marrying a wealthy woman, do the mudslinging. Lots of poor vets would like to have the same opportunity. The only difference was that you took it. As you know, some men are born great, some achieve greatness and others have greatness thrust upon them. Still others get great wealth thrust upon them and, together with all the blessings of the CFR and the mainstream media, get the presidency thrust upon them too. Be careful what you wish for.

Nor am I going to "swiftboat" you about what may or may not have happened long ago in the Hanoi Hilton. Lots of embittered vets, patriotic guys who have very different memories of the war, old servicemen like myself who somehow feel the Vietnam War wasn't really the noble struggle that you and Ron Reagan make it out to be, already have you squarely in their sights, so to speak, for personal reasons. But to most Americans, most of whom have never served, you are still a war hero and so we'll let it go at that.

You come across as a self-effacing guy. A likeable guy whenever we see you on the Jon Stewart Show. Even that bit of repartee with Reverend Rick was refreshing. But how in the world, I want to know, will you, defeat evil? Rick Warren asked you: "What about the issue of evil? Does evil exists and if so, should we ignore it, negotiate with it, contain it or defeat it?"

Senator, you replied: "Defeat it'we must totally defeat it and we're in a long struggle."

From where I sit, evil is like a vapor or a ghost, not only difficult to see but difficult to define. Even a powerful teacher like Jesus never directly attacked a physical manifestation of evil, except for that hapless moneychanger. Jesus knew that if one did start attacking evil everywhere, attacked what WE, in our sinfulness, perceived as the physical evil, a whole lot of collateral damage would be done in the process, thus causing even more evil. For example, slaughtering Afghani women and children in order to get to former CIA agent Osama Bin Laden would certainly qualify as spreading evil in the misguided intention of ridding the world of evil. Because, wouldn't it have been better to arrest OBL, or even David Koresh for that matter, when the opportunity arose, and try them openly in a court of law to determine whether they truly were evil? Seems the state always wants to smash evil while perpetuating evil, while making a boatload of money for a select few cronies in the process.

And how to explain "defeating evil" while allowing a fellow State Employee, Osama bin Laden, the opportunity to carry out the 911 attack? OBL could have been arrested while in the hospital a couple of months earlier. Somehow the state always manages to elevate evil to an art form. Somehow smashing civilians, whether in Waco or Iraq or Afghanistan'women and children-- is the sort of evil the state does best. The sort of evil Herod would have done. You remember King Herod, John?

Forgive me for this straight talk, John, just days before your big, televised lovefest. I know that, as a former Navy pilot, your excitement must be as high as when you had those Vietnamese targets squarely in your sight, trying to defeat evil by dropping bombs on it. Somehow I get the feeling that all the napalm and Agent Orange in the world would never eradicate evil once and for all, that is, as long as two men with differing opinions still exist.

But Why Shaft the Navy?

Recall that other US Navy men, your fellow veterans, had to actually resist physical evil--napalm, bombs, and machine gun bullets. Those average guys aboard the USS Liberty. Remember those guys? Most Americans haven't got a clue, since any reference to that perfidious attack rarely appears in the mainstream US media. But you, John, actually went out of your way to pen a preface to a book absolving good old Israel of attacking the US navy ship. Remember? You, a fellow Navy veteran. So those guys got killed, wounded or otherwise horribly scarred. No wealthy heiresses for them. Shafted by the Navy, and by you, John. Indeed, many of the survivors, for good reason, have lost any trust in you or the American justice system.

You say you would defeat evil, way over in distant Georgia, formerly of the USSR. Why not here, closer to home? Judging from a recent Op-Ed in The Wall St. Journal, you and your supporters clamor to get the US involved in a fight between two antagonists that have absolutely nothing to do with the problems'evils'here at home in the USA. Mostly a bunch of wealthy pundits who never served, and fellow US Senators with vested interests, want US servicemen to rush into some fight that would only lead to more bloodshed, more evil.

Seven years after the "War on Terror," (evil?) with no end in sight, with your poll numbers rising, with the US presidency in your grasp, you have to ask yourself: how can I best serve my country? Rick Warren asked you that too, John. Doesn't seem to me that you learned very much about war while a prisoner of war.

Would one of your first acts, as president, be to dispatch the US Navy to the Black Sea or the Persian Gulf? Suppose you get those ships involved in a shooting war? Suppose a US ship captain--or even an admiral--decides NOT to get involved in a shooting war? Suppose you lose a US Navy ship'or lose several ships? Suppose gas prices go sky high after you get us involved? Suppose people call for your impeachment? Suppose they call for your arrest? Suppose the Russians and Chinese ignore any blockade you order? Suppose the Israelis strike Iran and YOU have to decide whether to order assistance, thus involving America in another shooting war? Suppose Putin sends a naval task force into the Persian Gulf? Suppose shots are fired? Then what?

See John: tough talk, from you and your cronies, is easy NOW. But you better get used to the heat of the kitchen if you start fiddling with that already overheated stove.

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Douglas Herman's picture
Columns on STR: 149

Award winning artist, photographer and freelance journalist, Douglas Herman can be found wandering the back roads of America. Doug authored the political crime thriller, The Guns of Dallas  and wrote and directed the Independent feature film,Throwing Caution to the Windnaturally a "road movie," and credits STR for giving him the impetus to write well, both provocatively and entertainingly. A longtime gypsy, Doug completed a 10,000 mile circumnavigation of North America, by bicycle, at the age of 35, and still wanders between Bullhead City, Arizona and Kodiak, Alaska with forays frequently into the so-called civilized world of Greater LA. Write him at Roadmovie2 @