By Jay Janson
08 September, 2008
How many Vietnamese citizens, men, women and children, did McCain's
bombs kill or maim during his twenty-three runs?
Given all the praise heaped upon McCain, the bomber of Hanoi, this is
a natural question - especially for the millions of us who remember
the inexpressible shamefulness of this genocidal war on the agrarian
Asian population of a brutal French colony that suffered Japanese
occupation and fought both the Japanese and Vichy French as a U.S. ally.
This is a poignant question that comes to mind painfully for a
teacher who has known a hundred Vietnamese students in Hanoi, all of
whom lost family members, "killed by the Americans" they would say
unaccusingly with Buddhist equanimity. Surely the Vietnamese
government, which America now happily trades with and recommended for
WTO membership, has on file the answer to how many of its citizens
perished during those twenty-three bombing runs. If any American was
interested to know.
In his acceptance speech McCain, referring to his participation in
the U.S. war on Vietnam bragged,
"I have that record and the scars to prove it, and Obama doesn't." "A
lot of prisoners had it worst than me," McCain told the rapt
convention audience and went on to confesses that he broke under
interrogation - but did not bother to give the detail of his famous
"I am a war criminal."
But hold on. Wait just a decent moment. What of the Vietnamese McCain
was bombing? How good did they have it? Do not the Vietnamese victims
and their grieving families deserve honorable mention at least?
Is it that the "The Greatest country on earth," as McCain cried out,
has no compassion for the people bombed in their very own beautiful
home city of Hanoi, so humble be it by comparison to great America?
Okay skip any body count, just give us a round number of the
Vietnamese who the possible future president can be credited with
assisting into the next world earlier than they expected while hoping
to survived alive - as did their executioner.
And why doesn't the Republican Party thank the family of the
Vietnamese man who saved McCain from drowning and then protected him
from the wrath of the people he had been bombing just before being
shot out of the sky? John McCain failed to even mention the guy in
his speech describing only how he parachuted "into a small lake in
Hanoi to an angry crowd."
Below is a relevant article from Mail On Line of the Daily Mail
Company of the United Kingdom, additional reporting: William Lowther,
"How war hero John McCain betrayed the Vietnamese peasant who saved
his life" (again by not even mentioning him last night in describing
how he parachuted "into a small lake in Hanoi to an angry crowd.")
'In all the tales of wartime courage peppering John McCain's
presidential campaign trail; perhaps the most outstanding example of
selfless heroism involves not the candidate but a humble Vietnamese peasant.
On October 26, 1967, Mai Van On ran from the safety of a bomb shelter
at the height of an air raid and swam out into the lake where
Lieutenant Commander McCain was drowning, tangled in his parachute
cord after ejecting when his Skyhawk bomber was hit by a missile.
In an extraordinary act of compassion at a time when Vietnamese
citizens were being killed by US aerial bombardments, he pulled a
barely conscious McCain to the lake surface and, with the help of a
neighbour, dragged him towards the shore."
Media misleads the public on McCain's participation in a merciless
and illegal war that remains a blot on America's history that is
pointed to by both America's enemies and friends alike. It
misrepresents McCain to be able to better promote continuing today's
horrific wars of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan (and by proxy, Somalia).
Heaven only knows what Vietnamese in Vietnam watching on satellite
connection were thinking as they noticed their inconsequential
existence or non-existence for presidential candidate John McCain and
the Republican delegates at the convention in St. Paul.
Jay Janson : Musician and writer, who has lived and worked on all the
continents and whose articles on media have been published in China,
Italy, England and the US, and now resides in New York City.