John McCain may have done some heroic things, but he is a hero no more.
Imagine how you’d feel.
A knock on your door.
Through the deadlights around your front door, you see a car with government stencils on the side. When you get close enough, you look out and see a man in uniform. An officer. You know. You know why he’s here. Your throat tightens. You want to turn around and walk away. You can’t. You must open the door. You must let this officer recite his grim script.
“The Secretary of the Navy has asked me to inform you that your son was killed in action . . .”
You can imagine that parents of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines pray every day that they never hear those words. Yet we never forget that we might.
If it happens to you, your greatest hope is that your son or daughter gave his or her life for the highest purposes. That your child’s death will lead to some greater good. That they did not die in vain.
The gravest sin one can commit against the fallen fighter and the fighter’s family is to denigrate the nature of their child’s service and death. Shooting a grieving parent would be more merciful and holy than telling them their child’s death was meaningless and useless.
John McCain told Ryan Owens’s family that Senior Chief Owens died in vain. McCain repeatedly called the Yemen mission a “failure.” He refused to apologize to Owens’s family. And he clumsily attempted to cover his tracks with an absurd assertion that any military operation that results in a loss of life is a failure.
By implication, McCain called D-Day a failure. By his logic, every American fighting man and fighting woman who died in combat died in vain.
The press, of course, celebrated McCain’s idiotic assertions. Yet, we know now that the “failed” raid resulted in actionable intelligence:
- Al Qaeda has operatives working in the United States, and we now have their email addresses
- Multiple US military attacks since the raid were successful because of data gleaned from the “failed” raid
I hope Senior Chief Owens’s family now realizes that Senator McCain was wrong. Ryan Owens is a hero whose life and death gave material, measurable assistance to a better world and a higher purpose. He did not die in vain.
I hope all Americans now realize that Senator McCain is an emotionally crippled man who believes he betrayed his comrades in Vietnam. McCain acts out of the immense guilt his personal weakness instilled in him.
You feel no duty to treat Senator McCain as a hero. His heroic actions in the 1960s cannot excuse his many grave acts of evil since.
Also published on Medium.