Duty Honor Country

I was born at and spent a fair bit of my childhood at the United States Military Academy where my father taught engineering.

It’s a magnificent and beautiful place, full of history and meaning.

The motto of the academy, enshrined in its coat of arms, is “Duty Honor Country”.

In 1962, when I was less than a year old, General Douglas MacArthur came to West Point to accept the Sylvanus Thayer Award and gave the famous Duty Honor Country speech, in which he said:

“Duty, Honor, Country” — those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. 

I am reminded of those words upon the passing of John McCain, a man who embodied them in the world of politics that is mostly bereft of them.

Though I did not vote for John McCain when he ran against Barack Obama in 2008, I always appreciated the way he conducted himself in a political system that mostly seems to bring out the worst in people.

He was a sharp contrast with our current President, who exhibits none of these values.

Rest In Peace John McCain. You were a great American.


Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    My feelings echo yours on this Fred.

  2. David C. Baker

    My two memories of him in this regard (his graciousness) were his defense of Obama during those birther attacks…and his concession speech. I loved his fire and his humor and his honesty about where he wishes he’d acted differently. A great man indeed, warts and all.

    1. Rob Underwood

      Here’s a clip of Sen. McCain during the 2008. What stark contrast to see a leader tamping down early birtherism rather than pouring on the gasolinehttps://www.youtube.com/wat…

      1. JamesHRH

        Spent some time on twitter with someone who found this offensive to ‘Arab’ people, including a person of Arab descent.We have to get people to realize that their duty to society is to contribute enough thought and goodwill to help things scale.McCain, of whom I am not a huge fan, gets 10 out of 10 for his handling of this granny nutball curve.

  3. Yb927

    He was an honorable man who managed to survive the worst face of war, mature and learn from his horrific experience, an experience the pain of which none of us can even begin to imagine (least of all the man in the White House who so deeply disrespected McCain’s sacrifice and who himself has done nothing for this country. Nothing). And through it all, McCain still maintained his humanity. Sad for us: one less sane voice in this world who understands suffering. A great American indeed and a great human being.

  4. William Mougayar

    His voice will be missed. American politics need more McCains.

  5. PhilipSugar

    Trump’s worst offense during his campaign was belittling John McCain. I have met him and know Senator Carper well who also served as a pilot during Vietnam, they strongly disagreed on many positions but had mutual respect. I actually was stood up when President Obama called a surprise visit to Vietnam and they both went.I have lost many people to cancer. I know that Jimmy V said it can never take your mind and soul but imagine the amount of pain it takes for a man that did what he did to say: I am done.God rest his soul.

    1. Rob Larson

      John McCain’s story about fellow POW Mike Christian is still the most poignant example of patriotism I’ve heard. He told that story in my elementary school children’s library many years ago – when he was a congressman before joining the senate. (And my family voted for him ever since – interesting how an emotional connection like that makes such an impact in how you see a person.)Here is the video: https://www.youtube.com/wat…here it is in print form: http://www.citizensflagalli

      1. PhilipSugar

        That is exactly my point. Where is your mind after five years of that? Who am I to judge? I just need to say thank you. And you are willing to spearhead normalizing relations and not just saying I want to kill everyone of you? Hard to wrap your mind around that.God rest his soul.

        1. Rob Larson

          Yes, agreed.

  6. scottythebody

    Nicely said, Fred. I agree.

  7. iggyfanlo

    FredThanks for taking this post to honor John McCainHis speech during the 2008 campaign about changing from the privileged son of a US general and a hot shot pilot into a POW during Vietnam and realizing that he only became a leader when he focused on others truly moved meHe was a great American

  8. Lance Trebesch

    McCain’s crucible to wisdom was the Hanoi Hilton.One of the best talks/essays on what it was like to be a prisoner of war there is by Admiral Stockdale, the senior officer in that prison. It’s also a talk about stoicism and how, when all has been taken from you, and everything cruel has been done to you, you can still resist.You can find it here: http://media.hoover.org/sit

    1. PhilipSugar

      This man was also severely disrespected. What great writing. People said he was stupid, a dullard. Incredible insult. I have three businesses in AZ and two in DE. I do not wish war on anybody, and I think it chews people up, but as he says some come through the crucible. Others do not and I do not think one bit less of them for it. I cannot tell you the tears I have shed for those that don’t and the prayers for those that do.

    2. Rob Larson

      Wow, what a great read – thanks for sharing

      1. Lance Trebesch

        You’re welcome.

      2. PhilipSugar

        Can you imagine Saturday Night Live making fun of him. Mocking him? There are lines you don’t cross and that was one. NBC keeps that one up instead of apologizing in absolute shame: https://www.nbc.com/saturda

        1. PhilipSugar

          The mainstream media wonders why they are reviled……

        2. Rob Larson

          Agreed, that was poor form.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        Yes, lately I’ve remembered that speech and wondered just how correct he was: That is, it may be that the “military industrial complex” had enough political power, via campaign contributions, etc., strongly to influence US foreign policy, especially in Viet Nam through W going back to Iraq to get Saddam.

        1. jason wright

          There does appear to be an intimate relationship between the US military and the economic interests of US corporations (rather than the nation). When Goldman Sachs wants ‘regime change’ to protect its investments overseas (Libya et al) the CIA, the Pentagon, and the DoD seem all too willing to lend a hand. The politics of it are deeply troubling. The political arena seems to have been captured to serve this process. Generals as politicians does not work well for a democracy. I assume the US tradition of ‘military and state’ (a ‘modern’ variation on European ‘church and state’) goes back to Washington and his military campaigns against the British in the eighteenth century. The relationship needs looking at. It’s dangerous for the world. It’s dangerous for the US.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            In our democracy, citizens get to vote, and the politicians are elected by the votes of the citizens. Rich people don’t get extra votes. Companies don’t get any votes at all. IIRC, it’s illegal to buy votes. To know how to vote, we need an “informed citizenry”, and in part for that we have a free press.BUT: Money still plays a big role in politics. E.g., there are huge forces pushing for importation of cheap goods and cheap labor. For the labor, it’s gotta be under 2% of the citizens who want the cheap labor. Instead, it’s businesses and their owners who want the cheap labor, basically slave labor.Why can’t Trump easily go ahead and build The Wall and, thus, slow and stop the flow of illegal immigrant criminals, drugs, disease, more crime, welfare dependency, etc.? Not because of the voting citizens. Instead, it’s big money that’s not supposed to be voting at all.How big is the money? It has taken over nearly all the MSM as its propaganda arm so strongly it has the MSM on a suicide march of lost credibility, readers, and ad revenue.The solution is for Trump, etc. to explain the situation to the citizens and then the citizens to become informed and vote.And that process is supposed also just as a special case to stop the military influence Ike warned about.Generally the two biggies in national politics are peace and prosperity. Since Trump is not in a shooting war except Akrapistan started by W and fumbled by Obama, he is seen as doing well on peace.On prosperity, for the voting citizens and their take home pay, two biggies are stop the flow of cheap goods and cheap labor. For the goods, have trade deals and tariffs. For the cheap labor, enforce our long standing immigration policies, procedures, and laws.If a man is to take the results of his work and support a mother and child, then he wants the mother to be his wife and the child to be his descendant. But the cheap labor Democrats want to tax the man to support dependent mothers not their wives and children not their descendants.In particular, the workers are being taxed to support immigrant students in US higher education. That education is very expensive, often too expensive for US families, and for the families of the immigrants, except maybe from Saudi Arabia, wildly too expensive. So, the immigrant students get financial support, a LOT of it. So, US tax payers often unable to afford higher education for their own children are being taxed to support the higher education of immigrants. The immigrants, then, compete with US tax payers for jobs. Bummer.E.g., athttps://www.migrationpolicy…is a nice table from a few years ago showing in one year 975,000 immigrant students in US higher education. Basically US tax paying citizens are being squeezed out of US higher education and the associated careers.Why? There were two reasons, both basically from money: (A) US business wanted cheap college educated labor. (B) In particular, US national security planners wanted more STEM field workers; so, for the security clearances, maybe hire US citizen STEM field workers but otherwise have those citizens squeezed out of the labor market.How? The NSF got some economists to estimate supply and demand curves and then to write into NSF university research contracts that so many foreign students must be supported. That’s how. The voters didn’t want that; they were never asked or well informed; the “swamp” did that. Norman Matloff has long written up the details.So, to stop this stuff, we need an informed citizenry. Nearly all the MSM, however, wants to be a toilet mouth and back side exhaust port house organ for the big money and Democrats.Trump is turning around much of this and getting abuse beyond belief. Some big power and big money are PISSED at Trump.

    1. Richard

      There are times when Fred just simply displays ignorance of facts and truth.You won’t read about how John Mccain treated his first wife today.https://youtu.be/0f53-j7QKR0

    2. Amar

      Strange irony eh. The medium post above ends with these words: https://uploads.disquscdn.c…and following that Medium recommends I read the following post: https://uploads.disquscdn.c…Maybe Caitlin Johnstone should read Zat Rana (at least from the sense of timing)

      1. jason wright

        who is she?

    3. SubstrateUndertow

      A shallow cavalier assessment of a complex life.No one’s life deserves to be so summarily reduced to such a terse black& white dismissive critic !

      1. jason wright

        it was a life built on dynastic opportunity. such privilege and his conduct deserve to be examined. Caitlin Johnstone’s tone is vicious, and the timing is insensitive, but she has a point about McCain. he’s not a hero. he’s not a friend of humanity. he served the interests of the dark side. being POTUS would have been far more shocking and dangerous for the world than a Trump.

      2. kidmercury

        sure, others can focus on whatever nice things the new york times, cnn, and wash post has to say about him. i will remember how critical he was to supporting every american war for the past 20+ years at least, wars that are virtually entirely unnecessary, built upon lies, and result in the deaths of thousands of children. almost 46,000 people have been killed in iraq by the US-led coalition championed by mccain. just under 4,000 of those murdered individuals are children.but, since they are poor brown people in a far away land, i understand the average american, who complains constantly about domestic racism, will not be concerned about that. for those individuals, remember mcain’s role in keating five, a banking scandal that cost taxpayers over $3 billion USD (1980s dollars). of course, one doesn’t get mass media glorification without being BFFs with the international banksters.

  9. Tom Labus

    Maybe his death wakes the Senate. They are currently hopelessly lost

    1. creative group

      Tom Labus:the Citizen United SCOTUS decision makes it profitable to keep the Senate asleep.https://en.wikipedia.org/wi…There is only hope from those with a brain. The two party system in the United States is broken beyond repair. A total dismantling is required. We have 30 million voting Americans brainwashed and have put the ambitious of man worshiping before the Republic of the United States. Everything is about slogans that mean something totally different. Honor of the flag means if you don’t do or look as we do you are not American. Bigotry hidden in symbols.Captain Obvious!#UNEQUIVOCALLYUNAPOLOGETICALLYINDEPENDENT

      1. sigmaalgebra

        For yourEverything is about slogans that mean something totally different. Honor of the flag means if you don’t do or look as we do you are not American. Bigotry hidden in symbols.I suggest that what you are seeing is just an attempt at manipulation using total nonsense: Some people currently with reduced or low power in DC very much want to get power back and/or up. E.g., they want the “renewable energy” gravy train, Chicago style machine politics that Obama did.To get this power, they don’t have any meaningful attacks on Trump. So they make the best attacks they can dream up, and what you quoted is one of them. So, whatever one does about the American flag, the attackers have a way to attack.Ann Coulter explained one of the nonsense attacks: Antifa wants to claim that their violence is their first amendment right of freedom of speech but Trump’s speech is impeachable violence. Nonsense but in a sense slightly clever, apparently clever enough to fool some people for a few minutes.But the anti-Trump attacks are nonsense: If people hearing the attacks will go along with nonsense of vague hints, insinuations, insults, accusations without evidence, and other total rear exhaust port nonsense, then it’s easy to attack anything.People speaking nonsense in public tend to come up short fairly soon. E.g., the Trump attackers seem to come up with another case of nonsense about once a week, Stormy, Manafort, Cohen, “fit for office”, obstruction of justice, collusion, conspiracy, the Don Jr. meeting in Trump Tower, on and on. As a result, the attackers are looking less credible than the celebrity gossip rags, and in that way they are losing. Again, since such nonsense is the worst they can find on Trump, they are in effect giving Trump a world class, A++ clean bill of health.Net, the anti-Trump people just want the power Trump has but don’t have anything meaningful against Trump so just shoot what they do have which is just blanks from wet powder — “fizzt”.So, from such nonsense attacks, don’t take them seriously, don’t be manipulated, and just ignore them.

    2. awaldstein

      Not going to happen unfortunately. There is no waking up, only voting out.

  10. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:many within our group have different views on Senator John McCain but one view that is unanimous is that he had integrity, honor and sacrificed for this country we all benefit. Many of us have not scarified ever but benefit daily. Very honored to have had him represent Arizona.A true Maverick.John McCain said he has had the best life. That will be honored by those with honor.https://www.cbsnews.com/vid…Captain Obvious!#UNEQUIVOCALLYUNAPOLOGETICALLYINDEPENDENT

    1. Richard

      his first wife also crippled from an injury probably had a different view

  11. JLM

    .”Who will go?” America asked.”I will,” answered John McCain.McCains were a family with a proud tradition of military service.Admirals – his grandfather, father. Sons – Annapolis Naval aviator, another a Marine.We will be a free people as long as we continue to enjoy such legacies of service.Today is a day to honor military service. I hope that John McCain is in Heaven with his Admiral forebears.”Welcome home, good and faithful warrior.”Godspeed.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Richard

      You won’t read about how John Mccain treated his first wife today. But this is what I remember. This was the real John McCain. He is just another hypocrite.https://youtu.be/0f53-j7QKR0

      1. JLM

        .Today is not the day to speak ill of the dead or to speak of politics. It is a day to mourn with dignity and respect.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. Richard

          It’s not politics. Loyalty to country starts with loyalty to spouse.

          1. Pointsandfigures

            We can disagree. People get really changed from war, and especially what he went through. Let’s let her speak about it and not anyone else. Divorce happens. No one is perfect.

          2. Richard

            Divorce happens, infidelity is a choice.

          3. sigmaalgebra

            Uh, but he was just a Corvette driving, risk taking, devil may care, “tail hook” kind of guy?

          4. PhilipSugar

            Again I agree with you and I will not work with people that I know cheat on their spouses, because if they are willing to do that what else are they willing to do. Get a divorce? As you say happens. I am not giving him a pass and the amount of anquish he must have put his wife through who waited for him was immeasurable. I am just saying that I know men that have come back and were not the same. Read Stockdales piece. Do I blame him for getting to the point of attempting suicide? Doesn’t even get consideration.

          5. PhilipSugar

            I would agree but you put your mind where his was. I have no imagination of where his mind could be. None.

      2. Salt Shaker

        In the scorecard of life we all have demerits. No one is perfect or infallible. He’s not the first or last whose marriage did not sustain the strains of war, let alone the particularly heinous treatment he endured as a POW. I did not agree w/ a lot of McCain’s politics, but that does not diminish my respect for a man who devoted his entire life to service, country and the denizens who inhabit it. He was a man, first and foremost, driven by conviction. We need more John McCains, not less.

      3. cavepainting

        There is no man who is perfectThere is no man who is pure evilEveryone is a hypocrite in some wayOnly way to speak of the dead is with dignityRanting of the dead at the time of mourning So unaware of your own blemishesSpeaks more of you than the other.

    2. Rob Larson

      Thanks JLM for your salute to John McCain. Have a deep appreciation for him ever since he told the story of Mike Christian in my elementary school more than 30 years ago. What an example of patriotism and honor. (see my comment to Phil above for the video of McCain telling it) http://www.citizensflagalli

      1. Rob Larson

        For anyone wondering why people call McCain a war hero: The first 6 paragraphs of this essay by David Foster Wallace, forcing you to imagine yourself in McCain’s shoes as he was shot down, injured (2 broken arms, broken leg, stabbed in the groin), brutally beaten, thrown in a cell for months while his body wasted away to 100 pounds, then offered early release is in my opinion the strongest tribute to McCain ever written:https://www.rollingstone.co…And makes you wonder what kind of a man you would have been, how you would have measured up, if you were in his shoes.

  12. sigmaalgebra

    ForHe was a sharp contrast with our current President, who exhibits none of these values.Again, as best I can tell, Trump looks like he is well on his way to being the best POTUS since Lincoln or Washington. But I don’t want to be wrong: If you have any credible information of anything significantly wrong with Trump since his election, then please, PLEASE trot it out. I don’t know of any such information.On McCain, I’m sorry he was in the Hanoi Hilton.Best I can tell and remember, basically he never wanted the US to pass up an opportunity to pursue another foreign war.To me, we have to be really careful about going to war, but when we do go we should win the darned thing quickly and then come HOME. What Bush 41 and General Schwarzkopf did in Gulf War I is a good example of what we should do. And I go along with the points of the Powell Doctine.The foreign wars where I believe we made big mistakes are Viet Nam, Afghanistan, and Gulf War II.Since then where it appears we have done well are Trump’s actions in Syria, e.g., the two cruise missile strikes, and against ISIS. It appears that maybe Trump is about to get us the heck out of Akrapistan in good way — I hope so. Where and how the dirt poor Taliban get all the food, guns, and ammunition is a puzzle.For North Korea and Iran, both are threats to the US and several of our important allies, and Trump has been applying a lot of pressure and apparently making some progress and so far without firing a shot — GOOD. It also appears that Trump is building up the US military — GOOD. It also appears that Trump has a crash program to defend against ICBMs, e.g., from North Korea or Iran — REALLY GOOD.To me, that McCain lost to Obama was really bad. That appeared to be a case where the powers of the Republican party nominated what THEY wanted personally instead of someone who could BOTH give them some of what they wanted and also WIN the election — hopeless, arrogant attitude. I do fear that when Trump retires the Republican party will go back to the McCain, Flake, Romney, neocons, National Review, New American Century, far right stuff and, thus put some far left, hopeless, destructive socialists in power. I’m strongly for Trump, but I’m not for the anti-Trump Republicans.The next thing I remember about McCain was his reaction to Trump’s giving one of his early campaign speeches in Arizona: McCain accused Trump of “firing up the crazies”. That’s not something to honor or respect.Soon, at an event in Iowa, Trump was interviewed by Luntz and pushed back against McCain, apparently for the “crazies” remark: As seems to be common, what Trump said was correct and reasonable but could easily be misquoted to sound like something else. E.g., IIRC Trump said about McCainHe is considered a war hero because he was capturedLikely Trump was correct, that is, that the main thing the common man in the street knew about McCain was his very hard time in the Hanoi Hilton — from what I read about that time, surprising he lived through it.Here Trump was correct on another point: Being captured is not sufficient to be a war hero.Then at the end of this little exchange with Luntz, IIRC Trump saidMaybe he is a war hero.Actually, again Trump was correct: IIRC McCain had enough medals to be considered a war hero, and at least one of those medals was from some of what he did while captured.IIRC, on the vote in the Senate to repeal and replace ObamaCare, Triump had a promise from McCain, but at the last moment on the floor of the Senate McCain changed his vote with the result that the repeal and replace failed — McCain had changed his mind before Trump.

    1. SubstrateUndertow

      You forgot to post your mathematical proof !

      1. sigmaalgebra

        Maybe I should say that the math is too advanced and belongs in an appendix!But, no: As a child, I wanted security. In particular I wanted to be able to defend myself against K-12 teachers, nearly all of whom were women, out to hurt me and did a lot. Mathematical proof let me defend myself. More generally, math let me do that: My math SAT scores (took the test twice) put essentially all the female faculty in the entire K-12 back on their heels where they just could NOT do anything about it.Math grad school was much better, but there was a guy there out to get me. When in one little two week effort I came up with some nice, new publishable results, which I did later publish, I was suddenly immune to attack.But eventually I did learn that even the best math and science, at least at anything like their current development, can be advantages, maybe even fantastic advantages, but in building a good life are like maybe some good tools in building a good house and not nearly all the job.

  13. Pointsandfigures

    Met him several times. Donated to him (and Hillary) voted for him in 2008. Even if you disagreed politically, he was honorable. The US Service Academies are crucibles of many things. Duty, honor, country is for certain one of them. When you are a freshman (plebe, or doolie depending on your Academy), it is drummed into you with every move you make and every sentence you utter from the time you toe the line to the time you walk away. Cadets have to memorize a book, Contrails, Reef Points or Bugle Notes. In it are several things that exemplify duty, honor, country.McCain graduated at the bottom of his class. People think he was dumb. People don’t know how academies rank. It’s not only grades. It’s military performance and physical performance. Merit based. McCain walked a lot of tours and got a record number of demerits.Before the Hanoi Hilton, he was steeped in honor from his family and the academy. As a POW, it was the faith his fathers had which saved him since he had nothing else.No matter which side of the aisle you are from, you must know McCain was a patriot and his family is grieving.

    1. sigmaalgebra

      “Admiral, it’s about your son.”Admiral: NO! What has John done now?”Sir, the good news first: The carrier Forrestall won’t actually sink ….”:-)!!For “duty, honor, country”, ask Trump about the “honor” of McCain, (A) his “fired up the crazies”, many of his constituents in Arizona, and (B) his suddenly changing his vote on repeal and replace.And for “country”, maybe consider those extra foreign wars he wanted to get us into. Wars are bad enough; unnecessary wars are one of the worst parts of this planet and seriously hurt our “country”.McCain deeply, profoundly, bitterly hated Trump and, apparently because Trump won where McCain lost. That hate is not very close to “honor”.Trump was duly elected by tens of millions of US citizens; nasty attacks on Trump are against “duty, honor, and country” for those citizens who voted for our POTUS and, thus, our country.Trump very much does NOT need his job. He and his family are taking terrible and 100% unjustified abuse, far beyond what any POTUS before ever did back to Washington, and that’s bad on all of “duty, honor, country” for all the abusers, including McCain.Nasty, false accusations are really bad stuff; our country shouldn’t have to put up with that. Politicians who do it should be voted out, and that would be a really good laundry day for our country.

      1. Pointsandfigures

        Meh, i think you can disagree and still have honor. There are a lot of other establishment deep state Republicans that don’t like Trump. When it came time to have honor in the most dire of circumstances, McCain did. I don’t agree with Sam Nunn (former Dem Sen of GA) very much but I think he is honorable. It is hard to separate honor when we really have a disagreement with someone. In IL, West Point grad Rep. Jeannie Ives disagreed with our current governor and primaried him. She has disagreements over abortion policy with him. He won. She is fighting back. She lost. That’s not exactly dishonorable but it isn’t being a team player. McCain was never a team player.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          Sure, I fully agree in principle and almost entirely in this case.The story is, because McCain’s father was an admiral, prisoner McCain could have walked out of the Hanoi Hilton and back to the US, but to keep his honor with respect to the other prisoners he didn’t do that, and the results were that he went through hell that nearly killed him.If he wanted to disagree, say, on how many F-22s, Nimitz class carriers, Ohio class SSBNs, the NSF and NIH budgets, etc. okay — those are all judgment calls. Besides, a politician has to represent their constituents, especially the ones who voted for him, even if at times he disagrees.But his “crazies” was different — a personal attack on Trump apparently out of jealousy that Trump was being successful where he had not been or at least that Trump was getting support from some people in Arizona that had voted against (I’m guessing) McCain.And as I understand vote counting in Congress, on the way to the vote, there are promises made, and the vote is taken considering the promises. Changing a promised vote at the last minute is not just a political difference but going back on an important promise. It appears that McCain deliberately tricked the Trump team, made a promise to get the team to go for the vote and, then, at the last minute changed his vote to have Trump fail. Trump was on the way to his campaign promise of “repeal and replace”, and McCain sabotaged that with a personal lie. IIRC, West Point has some strong opinions on lying.What person is “honorable”? No one is perfect. So, deciding on “honor”, etc. has to be a judgment over many actions over years, including some actions that are not perfect.IIRC McCain got at least one medal for some of what he did in the Hanoi Hilton. So, say he was a war hero and honorable, fly the American flag at half mast for some hours or days, have him rest in the Capitol Rotunda, have some ceremonies honoring him, etc. By all means have some sympathy for his family. Okay, of course, and fine with me.For being a “maverick” in politics, maybe Rand Paul would qualify. I didn’t see McCain as a maverick.The bitterness of McCain toward Trump was so strong I have to wonder why. My first guess is that Trump won where McCain lost.But maybe a bigger reason was some old US military and foreign policy. In short:(A) The WWII Axis was very nasty, caused the deaths of 50-100 million people.(B) The US got fully involved and was the main force that defeated the Axis.(C) In Europe, Stalin kept the countries his armies marched through on the way to Berlin. In Asia, Mao won the civil war in China against the Nationalists we backed. Soon there was the war in Korea. Essentially at the same time Viet Nam was looking like it was going to join up with the Moscow-Peking axis and be another Korea. And there were “world Communist” movements in large and small countries around the world. So, Communism looked like another threat like the WWII Axis. Then there was the expensive Cold War.(D) In response to this history and threat, and the view of overwhelming US military power, some people in the US had some ideas: Basically the US would “police the world”. That was the stick, and there was also the carrots of economic and political development along US lines, US business, etc.Well, we tried in lots of countries with varying levels of effort and success. McCain’s time in, over, and near Viet Nam was close to the center of those ideas. It looks like McCain bought into the police the world ideas. At least since the JFK election in 1960, lots of powerful people in the US bought into those policing ideas.Sadly, policing the world is not really a new idea and can get close to the old bleed a country white on absurd foreign adventures — even if in some respects an effort is well intended, the execution might be so clumsy that the project is a disaster, and that appeared often to be the case.(E) But Communism was not the only threat, not the only effort to try “the old take over the world ploy”. Instead, there are some hundreds of millions of Muslims, many highly devoted and ready to fight, even in suicidal battles. Mideast oil is a big enabler of this threat. There was the long Iraq-Iran war. There was Saddam, and he tried to take over Kuwait and then Saudi Arabia. We pushed back with Gulf War I. Then Saddam got back to his take over the world ploy, and W, invaded, got Saddam, and strung him up.But W’s subsequent occupation was a disaster, in blood and treasure, lots of US blood and treasure and lots of both also for Iraq. I read W’s intentions, goals, and execution in Iraq in Gulf War II as outrageous, brain-dead, incompetent, disastrous, a real and serious shot in the gut of the US. W showed that the US can throw its country away for nothing anytime it starts being stupid. Obama continued the incompetence.(F) So, along comes Trump, with strong opinions on the policing stuff, way back there, long before he ran for POTUS. In particular, at least at times, he was strongly against Gulf War II.From then to the present, it appears that Trump has some new ideas for these foreign policy issues. The main ideas appear to be:(i) Always be willing to sit and talk with any other leaders anywhere. Part of the old ideas were that if some leader was not appropriately well behaved, then they would not get party invitations.(ii) Don’t make an effort to clean up the mess in the foreign open sewers. Make some offers, etc., but don’t insist. Take the position that their sewer is their problem. Our interest is America First: If they don’t threaten us or our close allies, then we won’t try to tell them what to do.(iii) To reduce the number of attacks on the US or US interests, have an overwhelmingly strong US military and then hope not to have to use it.(iv) To throttle a threatening foreign country, e.g., North Korea and Iran, at least at first, be patient, use sanctions, cut them off economically from the US and much of the rest of the world, and wait a while. Maybe have some aircraft carrier battle groups near their country, but hope not to have to fire any shots. In particular now, I’m guessing, have a crash program to defend against ICBMs.(v) For the economic side, cut explicit trade deals. Don’t try for too much; e.g., don’t insist that they run their politics and economy our way and have their country wide open to Citi, Morgan, GE, McDonald’s, the CIA, NSA, USAF, etc.Well, a lot of the Republican anti-Trump people were very much on the side of the old ideas of the US police the world, formulated some of their thinking in their A New American Century, etc.Now my guess for McCain: McCain, from his time in Viet Nam, through the Gulf Wars, especially Gulf War II, etc. was strongly for the old police the world ideas, the A New American Century anti-Trump ideas.So, that’s my guess for why McCain so hated Trump.To me, in simple terms, it appeared that McCain never wanted to pass up an opportunity for the US to get into another foreign war — Libya, Iraq, Somalia, Kosovo, ….I believe that basically Trump is correct: For parallels we can go back at least to Wilson (his however many dozen “points”), Teddy (“walk softly and carry a big stick”), FDR, Truman, Ike, … up through Obama. These examples have had us try lots of high, low, hard, soft, nice, nasty, take control, leave then alone, help them, hurt them, etc. and at times with poor quality, on the ground execution.My view now is that Trump’s judgment is the best of the bunch and that McCain HATED that.

  14. John Revay

    Yes RIP John McCain

  15. Ronnie Rendel

    I was raised on the ideal of West Point, which very much affects how I think to this day. My father was a holocaust survivor, born in Poland in 1929, and liberated by Patten’s 3rd Army in 1945. He enlisted in the US Army in 1948 and served in Army of Occupation Europe – where he was a prisoner 3 years earlier. My father fell in love with the US and the Army ever since. I was raised on those values.

  16. george

    The title of this post is Duty/Honor/Country, and how we remember a Man who deeply sacrificed for his country and people!We should put the sling shots down for a day. I’m one, deeply grateful for the blanket of freedom provided through his service. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

  17. sigmaalgebra

    Yes, nihil nisi bonum. For the rotunda of the Capital, “does he really deserve a place in here?”.There seems to be something curious all of a sudden: We have Obama, Joe Lieberman, and other Democrats speaking nice things about McCain. Sounds (1) orchestrated and (2) for November.For the November connection, sounds like the powers of the Democrats have concluded that the constant Democrat attacks on Trump since the election and the 24 x 7 “fake news” attacks on Trump have worn thin with a lot of voters and are starting to help Trump and hurt the Democrats. A slight prelude of this is some of what Nasty Nancy and Governor Cuomo recently said — really paraphrasing Trump in ways that are imitation, “the sincerest form of flattery”.So, looks like now, suddenly, on the way to November, the Democrats are out to do something like clean up their act.I don’t believe a word of it. The candidate, relevant facts are: (1) Trump actually won the election. As a result, Trump is POTUS with a lot of power, e.g., to have ICE deport illegal alien criminals, and a veto over the money, e.g., for machine politics loose money for the expensive and nearly worthless “renewable” energy. (2) The Democrats want that power. In particular they want to go back to their “happy days” of Obama, Hillary, and Pelosi and the associated machine politics. (3) To go back, the Democrats are eager to reverse the election of Trump. They still actually believe that, with Mueller, a majority in the House in November, and an impeachment trial in the Senate, early in 2019 they will be able to throw Trump out of office. (4) The Democrat’s main challenge now is November: They must win the House. (5) But now, from Trump’s work, the economy, the polls, Trump’s rallies and leadership — he’s no pushover — the Democrats are afraid that the nasty, groundless attacks on Trump are on the way to failing in November so are trying to appear to be nice guys — praising Republican never-Trumper McCain is part of that nice guy act.Trump has already announced that, starting 60 days before the November elections, he will be campaigning. As the Democrats learned to their sorrow, had a wake up call and a reality check in 2016, Trump is a tough cookie, tougher than the average cookie, no pushover, too smart to fall into silly traps, a winner, a really good campaigner, etc.Won’t work: Bluntly the Democrats are still in their echo chamber from Vermont to Martha’s Vineyard, NYC, DC, parts of machine Chicago, parts of Oregon, SF, Silicon Valley, and Hollywood and will lose the flyover states including the Rust Belt, West Virginia and Pennsylvania west through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, and the Upper Midwest of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Due to tariffs, the strong return of steel, much more in manufacturing, the astounding progress on unemployment rates and GDP growth rates (the Atlanta Fed is now predicting 4.6%), and no shooting wars in progress, Trump looks really good on the two biggies, peace and prosperity, so good that, except for the Democrat echo chambers, the Trump Train stands to win, significantly or big.The echo chamber Democrats believed that their Obama, Hillary, Pelosi world was real — it never was. The Democrats are getting a reality check.Bluntly the Democrats just do not have a significant message or leader. Oops, correction: They have the message “Impeach 45” and the leadership of Maxine Waters. To the people in the oil fields of the Permian and the Dakotas, the oil pipeline workers, the coal miners, the steel workers, the manufacturing workers, and much more, the ideas of Maxine Waters are smelly, reeking, fuming, bubbling, boiling, toxic, sticky stuff, and Pelosi, Hillary, etc. are not far behind. Sorry, Nasty Nancy: A LOT of those voters, many of which just got a job again for the first time in years, want The Wall and all illegal aliens criminals OUT of the country. I know you can’t see that there in SF or in DC, but in the fly over states it’s darned real; you had a strong hint in 2016 and are about to get a refresher course in November.I’m a registered Democrat who wants nothing to do with the Bush Dynasty, what McCain was going for, Flake, Romney, Paul Ryan, the W team for Gulf War II and Akrapistan, but neither do I want more of Obama, Hillary, Pelosi, etc. And I really like Trump. Apparently there are enough US citizen voters that agree with me to win elections; sorry, Nasty Nancy — your political policy and arithmetic paper gets at best a D-.But, I confess, Trump is one of a kind, and without him the US will be in for some bad times before we get some more good leadership. Gee, after Trump we just need another multi-billionaire with his own Boeing 757, with a long, strong interest in politics, a LOT of insight into politics, some really good ideas and leadership, and a total no BS personality.Apparently basically the special interests are really strong and are generating anti-Trump forces in some of the Republican party, all of the Democrat party, and nearly all of the media. What Trump has going for him is really good work, really good campaigning, and quite happy voters in the fly over states.As Trump mentioned recently on refusing to consider any censorship of the media, “we will let the voters decide” — really bad news for the anti-Trump people.Net, a lot of the sudden praise of McCain is politics, that is, deceptive manipulation, with a hidden agenda, and a chase, by whatever means, nice or nasty, legal or not, after money and power.

  18. Pete Griffiths

    Sadly it appears that he was of a dying breed.

  19. jason wright

    https://www.youtube.com/wat…Next to no one will now read this post and this comment (so why do i bother? balance perhaps? ,but as McCain’s funeral has taken place now seems to be the appropriate moment to offer an alternative perspective on his political career, one that was not reflected in the eulogies and hagiographies seen in the MSM in recent days.Seeing Kissinger at the funeral was enlightening.