A riveting piece worth your time: Veteran journalist Robert Richter lets us in on a little secret. Sen. John “POW” McCain may not be as heroic as he wants us to believe.
I will never forget how stunned I was when Gen. Telford Taylor, a chief U.S. prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials after World War Two, told me that he strongly supported the idea of trying the U.S. pilots captured in North Vietnam as war criminals – and that he would be proud to lead in their prosecution.
An ardent opponent of the Vietnam conflict, Taylor spoke with me in the fall of 1966 when I was looking into producing a documentary on this controversy for CBS News, where I was their National Political Editor. While he did not mention any pilot’s name, then U.S. Navy Lieut. Commander John McCain who was captured a year later, would have been among the group Taylor wanted to prosecute.
Why would anyone have wanted to prosecute McCain and the other captured pilots? Taylor’s argument was that their actions were in violation of the Geneva conventions that specifically forbid indiscriminate bombing that could cause incidental loss of civilian life or damage to civilian objects. Adding to the Geneva code, he noted, was the decision at the Nuremberg trials after World War Two: military personnel cannot defend themselves against such a charge with a claim that they were simply following orders.
… Anti-war critics at the time claimed that despite the Pentagon’s assertion that only military targets were bombed, U.S. pilots also had bombed hospitals and other civilian targets, a charge that turned out to be correct and was confirmed by the New York Times’ chief foreign correspondent, Harrison Salisbury.
… In one of his autobiographies McCain wrote that he was going to bomb a power station in “a heavily populated part of Hanoi” when he was shot down.
… The targets McCain and his fellow pilots actually bombed in Vietnam and his justification then or now for the actions that led to his capture, are no longer simply old news. They are part of what must be taken into account today, as voters weigh support for him or Obama to be the next President of the United States.
This is not about the hugely unpopular war in Vietnam. It is about the character of a man who seeks to be U.S. President, who perhaps was not simply a brave warrior, but a warrior who by his own admission, bombed and was ready to bomb targets in violation of the Geneva conventions and Nuremberg principles.
via Counterpunch: John McCain: War Hero or War Criminal?