John McCain: Chickenhawk* no more

John McCain is not one of my favorite people. And that’s besides the fact that he’s a Republican and strong supporter of the Debacle in the Desert™. However, a recent TIME Magazine interview shows that McCain can no longer be called a Chickenhawk by those of us on the left. His youngest son, Jimmy, has enlisted in the Marine Corps.


I don’t care much for the politics of John McCain, but I give him due respect for his service and for the years he spent as a POW. I also respect the guy for his stance on torture and some of the interrogation techniques put into practice at the Guantanomo Bay Detention Facility and elsewhere. I also have a little sympathy for what he’s about to go through when his youngest son, Jimmy, ships to MCRD San Diego with hopes of becoming one of the World’s Finest, a US Marine.

The article doesn’t mention what Jimmy’s MOS will be, but it’s almost a given that he will ship to either Iraq or Afghanistan. One would think that knowing his son could potentially get deployed to a combat theater that he (McCain) would change his position on the war. Unfortunately for a hawk like McCain that just isn’t in the cards.

In the way that happens more frequently in fiction than in life, a McCain family drama is replaying itself here. As a prisoner of war, Senator McCain voluntarily declined an offer of early release by his Vietnamese captors, extending his stay at the Hanoi Hilton by almost four years and nine months. During that time, his father continued to approve air strikes against Hanoi, knowing his son was there. Now comes Jimmy McCain, putting himself in the line of fire even as his father calls for more troops to be sent to war.

Let’s hope that McCain, as a politician, will take steps to protect not just his son, but the many sons and daughters that are currently in harm’s way by backing away from his staunch support of the war in Iraq.

*[Author’s note: BadTux correctly called me out for calling McCain a chickenhawk. Since he did serve in the Navy and was a POW for years, he doesn’t deserve that title. However, he now has, or will have a personal connection to the illegal war in Iraq. I hope that serves to change his mind over his support of it.]

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