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Michael Moore Dares to Ask: What's So Heroic About Being Shot Down While Bombing Innocent Civilians?

Like Iraq, Vietnam was not a noble cause. It's time we stopped letting politicians and the press perpetuate the McCain War Hero myth.
 
 
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This post originally appeared in PEEK's blog.

Confession: I have not yet read all six (short, illustrated, large type) chapters of Mike's Election Guide 2008 , Michael Moore's, latest work of jaunty political opinion. Am I supposed to discuss it with him on "Meet the Bloggers" tomorrow? Yes. But I'm not worried. It's a breezy read, has already made me laugh out loud, and besides, I may have already found the best part in Chapter One.

The title is "Ask Mike!" and, in it, ordinary voters, old and young, pose questions about politics and current events. Some are more serious than others ("If Iran has weapons of mass destruction, we should invade, right?"), which does not make Moore's answers any more subtle. ("Excuuuuuse me? Did you say the words, 'weapons of mass destruction?' Take it back. I SAID TAKE IT BACK!") Of course, the "questions" are really satirical jabs at the media -- "When a Republican wears a little American flag lapel pin, what is he trying to say?" "If Obama can't bowl, can he govern?" -- but there's one in particular that is worth paying attention to -- especially if you happen to be a member of the press and have been utterly unwilling to take McCain's supporters and opponents alike to task for perpetuating a narrative that would be central to a McCain victory, and which has already become a dominant theme in this election: The McCain as War Hero canard.

The "question" is posted thusly:

"Why did the Vietnamese shoot down John McCain and put him in prison for five years? He seems like such a nice guy."

ANSWER: I'm guessing, in spite of his anger management issues, he is a nice guy. He has devoted his life to this country. He was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of our nation. And for that, he was tortured and then imprisoned in a North Vietnamese POW camp for nearly five-and-a-half years.

That's the set-up. It gets better. Moore proceeds, not to question, as Wesley Clark recently did to so many shrieks of criticism, whether McCain's capture really makes him qualified to be president of the United States -- the answer, any thinking person realizes, is "no" -- but whether the Vietnam war was a conflict that can really be said to have produced the breed of "American hero" McCain is so often celebrated as.

Liliana Segura is a staff writer and editor of AlterNet's Rights and Liberties and War on Iraq Special Coverage.

 
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