Is It Reasonable To Keep Referring To McCain's Spotty Military Record As "Heroic"-- Or Even Honorable?
Congressional Quarterly's daily publication, CQPolitics is one of the most nonpartisan sources of political information you can find. I've long wondered why the mainstream media has refused-- steadfastly refused-- to take a serious look at the disgraceful military record McCain has dolled up and ridden to national prominence. I know it's a lazy Saturday, but CQPolitics has finally dragged the one-eyed old aunt in the attic down into the livingroom-- with her rocking chair. They link to the phenomenal Rolling Stone feature by Tim Dickinson, Make-Believe Maverick that spills the beans on McCain's real military record, the one you never hear about from his pals in the media. I suspect that many CQPolitics readers will get into their offices on Monday, look at the story and flip out. Re: Rolling Stone:
It portrays him running from his burning jet on the Forrestal’s deck and virtually hiding in the carrier’s ward room while others died fighting the ferocious fire and exploding ordnance. In all, 133 sailors died in the tragedy.
Publicly, McCain’s campaign has ignored the story. It also declined to respond to my requests by phone and e-mail for a comment on the story’s accuracy.
Likewise, it has not responded to slashing blogs circulating intensely on the Web that offer an even darker view of the Forrestal incident.
According to these accounts, McCain, whose A4-E Skyhawk was queued up in a line of jets waiting to take off, “wet started” his engine, a prank designed to startle a trailing pilot with a flame of exploding kerosene.
Normally, it’s a harmless, common stunt by “cowboy pilots.” But on this occasion the exploding kerosene caused a six-foot long Zuni rocket under the trailing pilot’s wing to launch across the flight deck.
“[It] ripped through the fuel tank of McCain’s aircraft,” Dickinson writes. “Hundreds of gallons of fuel splashed onto the deck and came ablaze. Then: Clank. Clank. Two 1,000-pound bombs dropped from under the belly of McCain’s stubby A-4 . . . into the fire.”
McCain rolled out of his cockpit onto the deck and ran for his life, Dickinson writes.
“Just then, one of his bombs ‘cooked off,’ blowing a crater in the deck and incinerating the sailors who had rushed past McCain with hoses and fire extinguishers.”
But according to historian Mary Hershberger, writing on the liberal Truthdig.com site, McCain panicked.
“Some of those who were on the Forrestal and other persons familiar with the ordnance told me that because the rocket did not hit McCain’s craft, only actions by the pilot could have caused any bomb to fall from McCain’s Skyhawk,” wrote Hershberger...
It has always been clear that McCain caused the accident on the Forrestal but it was even more thoroughly whitewashed and covered up than his role in the Keating Five Scandal. Sailors have been saying that he would have been killed on the spot by survivors if the Navy hadn't gotten him off the burning ship immediately. Mainstream media refuses, adamantly refuses, to cover the story. And the Democrats are afraid to push it. I mentioned it in passing on a major mainstream website a few days ago and my piece was immediately taken down and they sent me a nice note asking me to edit it out of the story and resubmit it. McCain's main self-professed qualification for the presidency is his military record. But the media won't touch the real record and allows him to continue to describe it in heroic terms. If he wants to talk about his record, there should at least be a real discussion of it. Funny how the media had no problem echoing the lies and distortions Republicans smeared John Kerry with 4 years ago but won't even look at evidence that McCain has deliberately misled the country about his own actvities during the Vietnam War era.