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John McCain: Fighter Ace -- destroyed five US planes

Sarah's picture
Thread: 

[Welcome, Michael Tomaskey readers!]

For months now the claims that John Sidney McCain III would be more of the same as the Bush administration have been beaten like the drums of war.

A McCain administration might not be the same as another Bush term, though -- it might be worse, especially if their respective flying records are anything to go by.

Don't misunderstand. This is not to disrespect McCain or denigrate his service. It's to suggest, strongly, that in light of what a younger and arguably less (flight-related) accident-prone Republican President has achieved in the past two terms, accepting McCain as just like Bush might seriously understate

the potential consequences to the nation. Bush's loss of his combat-readiness credential has been documented here and elsewhere in the past. But John McCain crashed five US Navy planes, and that's on the record. Moreover, he was involved in, if not instrumental to, the worst accident ever onboard a US Navy aircraft carrier -- the USS Forrestal fire.

Bush, George W. (aka George Bush Junior.) Texas Air National Guard Lt. and F-102 pilot. Son of a serving Congressman and Navy fighter pilot, G. H. W. Bush, former director of the CIA; grandson of financier Prescott Bush. Something happened to his ability to fly. He flunked -- or skipped, if not both -- a flight physical. He's famous for answering challenges that he actually crashed a TxANG Delta Dagger -- maybe while Flying Under the Influence, maybe not -- by saying, "Where's the plane?"

McCain, John. Grandson of a US Navy admiral. Son of a US Navy admiral. Fighter pilot aboard the Forrestal -- in one of the A-4 Skyhawk aircraft destroyed in the fire -- one of, if not the, first aircraft affected when a Phantom loosed a rocket on the deck (hat tip to DKos poster Timpanogus). Forty-one years ago, the Navy yanked McCain out of a burning plane -- and off the carrier where it caught fire. He was transferred immediately. The plane was recorded as a crash, credited to McCain. His fifth and final crash resulted from being shot down over Vietnam. One of McCain's wrecks is on the bottom of Corpus Christi Bay; one's in Iberia; one was jettisoned over the side of the Forrestal during that god-awful inferno that killed 134 sailors that same day, destroyed more than 20 combat aircraft, and sent the ship into drydock so long she never went back to Southeast Asia air operations.

Let me say this quickly. Being an airplane pilot is a skill set that, me among them, millions of Americans dearly wanted as we grew up in the years before jet planes were as elegant as buses and flying fighters wasn't any more exciting than an hour on your Wii. McCain's first crash happened so long ago, I hadn't been conceived yet -- and I'm almost 50. He wiped out into Corpus Christi Bay in 1958. His last -- and most famous -- crash came in October 1967, over Viet Nam.

Do we dare not stop this man from becoming President?

Do we dare not vote to prevent a worse pilot than W from sitting in the White House?

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Comments

Submitted by lambert on

Ouch!

A McCain administration might not be the same as another Bush term, though — it might be worse, especially if their respective flying records are anything to go by.

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

instead of just going AWOL or pulling strings or multiple deferments, etc--esp in this day and age.

Of course, McCain's from a military family, so that's what he did careerwise -- he just wasn't any good at it at all.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

And braver than me. I pulled up a bunch of this stuff and decided I wouldn't make it into a post. Takes someone with service cred to do it, and good for you for speaking up like General Clark.

Everything he got in the Navy, including slithering out the front door with an officer's stripe instead of being kicked out the back door for being a screw-off to going straight from the bottom of his class into flight school, being kept on for months after everyone else either graduated or had washed out, keeping his ticket after screwing one machine after another into the ground or the drink, a record that would have permanently grounded anyone who was not the son of an Admiral and the grandson of another.

Lot of anger in the regular officer corps about him pulling on his father's coat tails to get ahead, again and again, and very little eagerness for putting up with him in command. After eight years of senseless slaughter and complete destruction of the entire US Army under Yahoo-In-Chief GeeW and the prospect of eight more under Mad Man McCain, old dope-smokin' draft-evading Bill Clinton has to be looking pretty good. Obama and Hillary too.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

it seems to me he gets a pass (like Dubya got for his 40 years of drugs and slacking--but then he was "born again") because of his years as POW, and decades in the Senate actually doing stuff.

I think many think he's more than made up for his lousy military record.

--His family was military, and so he was too.
--He was really really bad at it.
--Since then, he endured stuff that permanently crippled him, showed fortitude and bravery and helped his co-POWs, and for the past bunch of years done tons of actual legislative stuff (some because of his own mistakes, crimes, and scandals, showing he learned from those, too).

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

Sarah,

Maybe I'm not reading it well enough, or maybe it's confusing to read, but your post seems to imply that McCain was responsible (if even partially) for the Forrestal incident, an incident in which from what I understand he was a total bystander. There seems to be no break between the Forrestal part of that paragraph and the "forty-one years ago" sentence it seems to lead into.

As for the post, I can't decide whether it's in jest, or if it's trying to his poor piloting to what kind of president he may be. If it's the latter, I'm not sure I follow.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

So, the gist of this is that he's a bad-luck charm? I'm genuinely confused as to what his poor flying skills and penchant for being at the wrong places at the wrong times have to do with him as a potential president much in the same way that I don't subscribe to the theory that Obama hated his mother, therefore he hates all women, and therefor unfit to be president.

I'm not sure how shirking one duty is somehow less honorable than trying and then failing at something. I'm not sure I'm keen on these type of analyses.

I think it is one thing to go directly at destroying these myths, but something entirely another to make the revelations secondary to a poor argument. (i.e. bad things happen to John McCain, thus he can't be president).

Maybe, I'm missing the snark? Really, am I missing a joke?

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

and correcting the myth of John McCain being the candidate most likely to be a competent CinC is only important if someone cares about those sorts of things.

McCain, like GeeW, came up in privilege with a powerful father and a heroic multi-generational family legacy. Like GeeW, he was more interested in partying than school, and like GeeW he depended on his father’s influence to both open doors and move him forward as well as clean up behind him and cover his ass when he screwed up.

Like GeeW, he operates through arrogance and cockiness and intimidation to cover up his fundamental sloppiness and laziness and persistent incompetence. Like GeeW, he has left a trail of disasters both personal and professional, indiscretions and fiascos that have been systematically papered over by a false persona created out of whole cloth - in McCain’s case wrapped around a shred of truth from an event that happened 40 years ago.

The only difference between them in character is that McCain actually showed up for duty, while GeeW sloughed off and likely deserted. Whether McCain had that option emotionally, given the pressure he admittedly felt to be a hero from the preceding two generations of flag rank McCains, is unclear.

If you think so highly of McCain, search under his name and Keating and tell me again how upright and respectable he is. And for pity’s sake, anyone who feels they can assert that he’s somehow “learned from his mistakes” in any way besides being more careful to cover his ass in advance, please provide some sort of evidentiary support for the claim.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

"If you think so highly of McCain"

From your very first response to me on here, you've assumed much about me that you can't possibly have know. I don't feel as if I should have to say it, but I don't "think so highly of McCain". If you got that from me not seeing the connection between his poor piloting skills and his ability to lead, you really are making rash and baseless assumptions.

I don't really like McCain, I won't be voting for McCain, and personally don't see how he's so much more experienced than Obama to lead the country. But, I shouldn't have to say that, and I shouldn't be submitted to your snarkless personal critiques of what you think I believe when I've revealed nothing that you could assume about my like or dislike of McCain.

Quite frankly, I think you need to back off.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

This:

I think many think he’s more than made up for his lousy military record.

—His family was military, and so he was too.
—He was really really bad at it.
—Since then, he endured stuff that permanently crippled him, showed fortitude and bravery and helped his co-POWs, and for the past bunch of years done tons of actual legislative stuff (some because of his own mistakes, crimes, and scandals, showing he learned from those, too).

goes with this:

If you think so highly of McCain, search under his name and Keating and tell me again how upright and respectable he is. And for pity’s sake, anyone who feels they can assert that he’s somehow “learned from his mistakes” in any way besides being more careful to cover his ass in advance, please provide some sort of evidentiary support for the claim.

So there, that's sorted then.

From your very first response to me on here
The one where I challenged your assertion that the Democratic Party has engaged in voter supression? The assertion you have - thus far - failed to support? I remember that, too.

Quite frankly, I think you need to back off.
Heh. Pretty funny. You stuck your nose in this thread, asked questions, got answers. It is a rough, tough world.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

I guess that makes your response better, somehow? For whatever you add to this board, you easily take it all away with distracting personality. If you think you're going to hack, slash, and burn your way around here with impunity, you're wrong. Let us not pretend that I'm the first person you've side-swiped, here. I've been only reading this blog since late June, and have had my education of you.

Yeah, tough world, and tough shit. Get used to it, and get over it.

flotsam's picture
Submitted by flotsam on

Listen, I think we can all agree on one thing here, and that is the ability of Republicans to invent bogus mythologies of their pasts, and to then proceed to foist those myths on the great unwashed masses, thereby parleying the phony stories into votes. The stories usually have to do with steadfastness, courage, and leadership under pressure (fear-based stories, in other words). The stories are usually bogus, and, morover, irrelevant. There's a book I've been hearing about recently which addresses this very issue. It 's called Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics. Here's an excerpt from a review:

"With this provocative book, Greenwald, a former constitutional lawyer and author of A Tragic Legacy and How Would a Patriot Act, purports to expose the rank myth-making and exploitation of cultural, gender and psychological themes by the Republican Party. The author begins his attack by targeting John Wayne, whom he sees as a template for right-wing notions of American courage and conservative manliness. Wayne's avoidance of military service and his string of divorces, both at odds with his public image, are emblematic in this account of a fundamental hypocrisy implicit in conservative mythologies. Greenwald goes on to argue that prominent Republicans from Ronald Reagan to Mitt Romney display the same hypocrisy in their public ideologies and personal lives. Shouldering much of the blame are the press and the media, including Matt Drudge, Ann Coulter, Chris Matthews and even Maureen Dowd, all of whom propagate popular attitudes about virile Republicans and effeminate Democrats."

So... has anybody read it? I can only assume that Greenwald also delves into the anti-intellectual strand, the Forrest Gump "virtues" of the Republicans, as well. "I'm not a smart man..."

 

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

about recognizing when people have set ideas about politicians that have been reinforced for decades--and about sympathy for lasting ordeals too. I'll always remember POW/MIA bracelets--it's still a very big deal to many.

I know all about Keating 5--he made up for it, and earned his party's hatred for it too---that's a plus, twice.

And i'd never vote for him or any Republican--i'm going McKinney at this point.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

I quote:
Yeah, tough world, and tough shit. Get used to it, and get over it.

Yeah, it is, and you're the FNG on the block. Don't pick a fight with bringiton here - - - and if your reading comprehension sucks so bad that you cannot understand that I was comparing the likely outcome of a McCain presidency, based on the record of his work in a job that required a similar kind of expertise, but on a much smaller scale, than that required to be a competent President, to the demonstrable results of the incumbent -- who actually was, arguably, a better pilot than McCain -- you're the one who needs help.

Also: McCain's "wet start" of his A-4 that day, a hotdog stunt, may not have caused the Forrestal accident, but it certainly didn't help prevent the carnage that followed when the rocket got loose.

McCain may be many things; that he is a veteran who served to the best of his ability I do not dispute, and I do respect. But based on his record, I cannot support him for President.

Have I now made myself clear, newbi?

You want to tell me who I can run with and who I can't?
Not in this house, unless Lambert tells me different.
So -- STFU unless and until you can learn to read and comprehend what's said to you, newbi.

We can admit that we're killers ... but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes! Knowing that we're not going to kill today! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

The insult that gets thrown when someone writes something that is a source of disagreement. And of course, a newbie is not supposed to fight back when insulted.

Out of curiosity, how long does the newbie status last? How long before one is no longer treated like an epsilon, so to speak?

Any other unwritten rule we should be aware of?

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

stop insulting and dismissing--that's why BIO was criticized and you just exacerbated it.

Corner Stone's picture
Submitted by Corner Stone on

Yeah, it is, and you’re the FNG on the block. Don’t pick a fight with bringiton here

Are you serious? This is what you pull out of this thread so far?

So — STFU

Lot of that sentiment going round Corrente lately...

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

a very narrow group of posters. I'm one of 'em, and I'm tired of playing nice.

This isn't KOS. This is Correntewire.

And yeah, Corner Stone, I am as serious as a stroke.

We can admit that we're killers ... but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes! Knowing that we're not going to kill today! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Must have missed it.

Thanks for the cover, Sarah, but I'm doing OK; not a scratch so far.

Anyone wants to have at me, feel free. Always interested in an educational opportunity.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

your point was logical, reasonable, and sensible.

but as one of our many resident intelligentsia said above,

"this is correntewire".

mob behavior is just a fact of human nature.

i would add, sarcastically referring to someone here as an "newbie" is like sarcastically referring to an anerican citizen as an "immigrant" -

are we all?

oh, and damonMI,

you'll find that ass-kissing is quite common among the elite of correntewire -

i think of it as similar to elephants in a circus ring

locked trunk to tail,

parading round and round the ring.

huffing and sniffing.

don't be discouraged.

this is actually a fun place that can use all the "outside" help it can attract.

Submitted by lambert on

... you

can

kiss

my

ass

any

time

!

What

a

sweet

thought!

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

"logical, reasonable and sensible"

or was it not, lambert.

i have come to understand that you monitor very, very closely;

so closely i could not even hit the edit button and correct my errors.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

As Whaleshaman Pointed Out Recently, Lambert
Submitted by orionATL on Tue, 2008-07-29 18:36.
you lack talent.

You have no standing whatsoever from which to offer the slightest criticism of someone as talented, capable, dedicated, honest, hard-working and valuable as Lambert Strether. He has more talent in his toenail clippings than you have displayed in the sum total of everything you have ever written here.

It is only by the grace of Lambert's extraordinary patience and his immense capacity for charity and compassion that you are allowed to write here at all. In return, you have chosen to blatantly insult him.

You should be ashamed of yourself. If you possessed the slightest shred of wit, you would be.

Submitted by lambert on

Neither praise nor blame. The site speaks for itself, the writing speaks for itself.

Heck, I thought Orion wanted to kiss my ass, not that there's anything wrong with that, so I made it available. If Orion doesn't, then Orion doesn't have to.

I apologize for any unintended misunderstanding.

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Sometimes, communicating the truth requires stooping down to the level of the intended audience. I'd rather not, but when it is required I will.

Since we're all so big these days on Edward Cummings:

"there is some shit i will not eat"

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

before trying to stop the piling on,

should we not, perhaps, infer that john mccain is a very, very lucky man.

maybe this nation could use a bit of his luck.

and as i was also about to say,

senator obama, if elected president, will be flying the u.s. of a. without any training whatsoever?

want to be a passenger on that flight?

vote obama!!!

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

I don't mind being a newbie, at all. And, despite the best efforts of less than a handful, I am not discouraged, though, disappointed, as I did call myself asking genuine questions in good faith. I joined up, here, because I'm looking to learn. You don't get that from most other political blogs.

Why I reacted the way I did was because there has been a poster who has routinely gone out of his way to lords over his his arguments with his over-bearing personality, and I don't see how it adds anything to the discussion that is not then instantly taken away by this obvious distraction. I do try very much to remember that "you are not your argument", but when one gos out of ones' way to render that idea impossible, well...

I still don't get what John McCain's record as a navy pilot have much to do with his potential presidency, nor do I get the only half-snarking point Ms. Sarah (and, she'll be Ms. Sarah to me from now on) tried to make that he'd be worse than Bush. Looks like some got pissed because I didn't make the connections like a good boy.

So, again, I don't mind being a newbie in the least bit. Everyone's been a newbie, well, except Larry King, who always was and will always be. But, I digress...

Submitted by lambert on

The personality of whom you speak was also a warrior during the primaries for the candidate that I, and I think, you, supported, and did a number of influential, well-written, and very well-received posts. I was glad to have him.

There several warriors at Corrente -- I, of course, because of my Teddy Bear personality, have given up being a warrior -- and sometimes the people you want on your side going into an alley or in a bar fight aren't always the nicest people, know what I mean?

If you don't want to get involved, don't. Nobody said you had to answer every comment. If you do want to get involved, be prepared and learn and/or win. The only thing that really counts here is the writing.

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

the old death's head at cnn.

when he dies will cnn die also?

i can only hope so.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

Maybe my problem is, I respect writers, and readers.
Not the same thing as respecting commentators and agitators.

We can admit that we're killers ... but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes! Knowing that we're not going to kill today! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

We can admit that we're killers ... but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes! Knowing that we're not going to kill today! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

& Corollary.

just sayin'.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

i concur;

i say, and feel, that genuinely,

but that does not dispose of the problem.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

why don't i?

know any other folks who use words, phrases, wordsounds, and analogies like i do?

who?

your writing "standards" remind me of "no child left behind" - highly conventional and, just incidentally, highly restrictive.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

to be something readers can follow. Doesn't have to be baby food -- sometimes if it's chewy, it's good for you to take time and digest it.

I make no excuse for the guy who wrote "Ulysses."
I make no excuse for ee cummings. Buffalo Bill's defunct is poetry, say those wise and erudite judges of such questions, and so it must be a poem. Doesn't mean it has to be comprehensible. Doesn't mean it has to be easy to follow.

I finally figured out that if you read it out loud, fast enough, it sounds like a mystic sort of singing. Doesn't mean I like it. Art for its own sake is art all the same.

I will repeat something from the latest Eureka ad: "There's a fine line between genius, and stupid."

You have to give the observer some sign which side of the line you're working from.

Submitted by lambert on

And very, very funny. However, I wasn't really ready for it until two or three years ago -- that is, when I was no longer young. And I had this wonderful book by Hugh Kenner to help me appreciate it.

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

cal1942's picture
Submitted by cal1942 on

"Do we dare not vote to prevent a worse pilot than W from sitting in the White House?"

So does that mean that since FDR failed to make his prep school's baseball team that a fellow student who made the team would have made a better president?

Sarah, your presentation, if it was indeed serious, is as childish as my question regarding FDR.

And if it was serious, have you ever considered that McCain flew in rather more hazardous circumstances than GW Bush.

I will not vote for John McCain (or for Obama for that matter); but McCain's piloting skills have nothing to do with his fitness for the Presidency.

Please stay away from the service records of combat veterans, ALL combat veterans.

Submitted by lambert on

I think "McCain's a worse fighter pilot even than Bush!" is a perfectly fine riff to run. I mean, who could have predicted...

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

flotsam's picture
Submitted by flotsam on

That would explain it. I mean, I love a good food fight as much as the next guy, but I'm glad to move on ... and so thanks, Sarah, for asking me to provide more info on that book I mentioned, about 30 inches down the page, in my futile attempt to change the subject.

But ... that's what I was hoping youse guys could do. The book (once again) is called "Great American Hypocrites", and I am hearing a lot of buzz about it, but was hoping somebody else might know a bit more.

downstreamer

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

yes, amberglow, he was a pilot and he was certified and he did fly missions in the F-102, which the USAF classified as an "all-weather attack/intercept aircraft," otherwise known as a fighter plane.

Arguably, bad as W was as a pilot, he was a better pilot than McCain. McCain's first two crashes came in trainers, and his crash in Iberia came on a training mission rather than in a combat situation.

That said, McCain may have a better handle on how to govern than does Bush. McCain's been a Senator for a long time, and while the incumbency advantage is nothing at which to sneeze, it can't cover all the warts. There are many one-term Senators around, after all, whose constituents' reaction to a re-election bid amounted to, "You've GOTTA be kidding."

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

and you can't compare overseas service in a "war" to any of W's "wartime" experiences--especially about people when one stayed home at a time he shouldn't have, and another served overseas.

It's like Kerry--he didn't have to go either but he did. Other sons of Admirals or whatever didn't have to go either but McCain did.

Turlock