Journalist Caitlin Johnstone has been castigated this week for her July 17th article, Please Just Fucking Die Already. In that article she wrote: "Defenses of McCain tend to include the phrase war hero, which is a nonsensical concept invented long ago by ruling elites to glorify the act of shedding blood for them. There is no such thing as a war hero. There are only war victims. For a time in Vietnam, John McCain was a war victim, a victim of a war that should never have happened. He then spent the rest of his life finding ways to victimize others, from Iraq to Afghanistan to Syria to Libya to Kosovo to his cartoonishly virulent NATO expansionism to his attempts to escalate tensions with Russia."
I couldn't agree with Caitlin more. Last month my friend Vietnam veteran and anti-war activist Bill Distler died from the same aggressive brain tumor. And while I'm sure John McCain never met Bill, he would have hated him and everything he worked for in the peace movement since returning home from the charnel of Vietnam. Neither of us met a hero while we were there, just stupid cowards for ending up there in the first place.
McCain would have actually hated Bill Distler for doing whatever he could to impede the gears of an indiscriminate war machine to end the slaughter of innocents, especially the children. Their views couldn't have been more antithetical, but Veteran For Peace activist Bill Distler would still have been uncomfortable with the tenor of Caitlin Johnstone's piece. He would have even squirmed at this post. He was a good guy and certain that war-mongers like John McCain had moral cores and that they could be reached, somehow. Bill and I never saw eye to eye on that issue.
Unlike McCain, peacemakers like the Bill Distlers of the world will be missed, and for the children's sake should be emulated.
From Caitlin Johnstone's follow-up piece today:
"John McCain has spent his political career pushing for the deaths of hundreds of thousands if not millions of people. I simply hope that stops. Why would anyone pray for that to continue? Why would you wish health and recovery for that? Why would you offer your lifeforce for this agent of death to continue his grisly work?"
Thank you, Caitlin.
The author of this post is Gene Marx from Bellingham, Washington. Gene is a Vietnam veteran and former Naval Flight Officer with VAQ-135 aboard the USS Coral Sea in 1971-72. Past Secretary of the VFP National Board of Directors, Gene is currently a member of VFP-111.