The encomia are flowing, and much of the praise is well-deserved. John McCain was an honorable man of principle. He was a gentleman who embraced civility. He thus distinguished himself from the great majority of his current congressional Republican colleagues, who subordinate honor and principle and civility to the political expediency of enabling the sociopath in the White House. American politics would be more decent today if John McCain typified his party.

The eulogizers will talk about McCain’s legacy and the lessons we can learn from his long political career. They will predictably not cite one very important lesson: that honorable and principled men (and women) can be dangerous.  McCain was a relentless warmonger. He supported—indeed, in most cases enthusiastically promoted—every US foreign military intervention launched during his public life, from Ronald Reagan’s murderous Central American policies to G.W. Bush’s destruction of Iraq to the disastrous regime change operation in Libya to our futile and incoherent effort to influence the course of the Syrian civil war.

McCain gets praise even from liberals for his belief in American greatness. But McCain viewed the world through star spangled blinders. He couldn’t see the suffering and death and destruction that America power could produce. The world would be a better, safer place today had his outlook been less influential in shaping American foreign policy


  1. Jeffrey Herrmann August 28, 2018 at 11:24 am

    He gave us Sarah Palin, with all that entailed. When he was last up for re-election he swerved sharply to the right of his previously held positions, just to get re-elected. And he ended his voting career in the Senate by voting for tRump’s tax giveaway to the rich.
    Hair Twittler is such a moral monster that we feel admiration even for reactionaries like McCain, provided they once in a while oppose him.

  2. Frank August 28, 2018 at 11:44 am

    You nailed it so simply. I rarely agreed with his stances on anything, but I had an odd respect for him until he brought in Palin.

  3. Daniel Greco August 28, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    You might like this poem about McCain:

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