McCain’s Moral Incoherence

The Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing with several former secretaries of state testifying about various challenges to global security, including Henry Kissinger. When some protesters interrupted the meeting, he had them thrown out (which I’m fine with), but with this ridiculous statement:

Kissinger, the diplomat who was secretary of state under President Richard Nixon, as well as President Ronald Reagan secretary of state George Shultz and Madeleine Albright, who was secretary of state under President Bill Clinton, were on hand for a hearing on global security challenges.

As the hearing started, several protesters approached the table where Kissinger was seated, holding signs and shouting at him.

“I’ve been a member of this committee for many years and I have never seen anything as disgraceful and outrageous and despicable as the last demonstration that just took place,” McCain said.

“You know, you’re going to have to shut up or I’m going have you arrested,” he said, summoning Capitol Hill police.

And then, to a smattering of applause, McCain added: “Get out of here you low-life scum.”

Really, John? You’ve never seen anything as “disgraceful and outrageous and despicable” as a protest against someone who helped cause the death of at least a million people and helped install brutal dictators around the world? That seems far more disgraceful and outrageous than a protest. Sure, you have to have them removed from the room, but that statement is morally bankrupt. If you’re looking for low-life scum, take a look at Mr. Kissinger. Then look in the mirror.

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  • somnus

    Killin millions of people is moral. Being *rude* about it isn’t.

  • matty1

    “Challenges to global security, including Henry Kissinger”

    Interesting way to describe him

  • HappyHead

    testifying about various challenges to global security, including Henry Kissinger

    And yet when people testified about the challenge to global security that is Henry Kissinger, he had them kicked out?

    He needs to make up his mind what this meeting is about.

  • Loqi

    Sure he sabotaged peace in Vietnam in order to to get Nixon elected, resulting in the deaths of untold millions. But he did it with a dignified air in a snappy suit. Kissinger is more accurately described as high life scum.

  • Michael Heath

    I think we need to cut some slack here to Sen. McCain. I’m confident he would admit with some reflection this isn’t the most, “disgraceful and outrageous and despicable” scene he’s encountered. E.g., his own torture and that of his comrades being examples of events far worse than what we have here.

    As an ardent speech advocate who yearns for more speech, I think we do ourselves a disservice when we play “gotcha” with disingenuous responses against our political opponents.

  • Joseph Sexton

    So, the Senator who thinks the solution to every foreign policy problem is to bomb someone or something, or to torture someone (although, to be fair, he was against torture before he was for it) thinks the architect of “everything that flies against everything that moves” as a solution to Cambodia not being compliant with US demands is a swell guy. Somehow, I am not surprised.

    There’s an international tribunal in Cambodia for those responsible for the Khmer Rouge genocide. One of the questions people ask is why Herr Doktor is not also in the dock.

  • moarscienceplz

    Well the million dead people were mostly peasants who were fighting for a better life for themselves and their families, and they weren’t Americans. It’s not like they were anybody that really mattered. So why be mean to poor old Henry? Honestly, whatever happened to respect for your elders?

  • Marcus Ranum

    Yeah, a full-on ‘Stop the War In Vietnam”-style protest would have been more appropriate.

    But, seriously, McCain was a pilot in that war and requested a combat assignment. So he wanted to kill people, and did. He was part of “operation rolling thunder” which consisted of bombing the fuck out of practically defenseless Vietnam. Why would you expect him to criticize a fellow war criminal?

  • Marcus Ranum

    Well the million dead people were mostly peasants who were fighting for a better life for themselves and their families, and they weren’t Americans.

    Not to tread where Modus walks:

    They envied us for our freedoms!!!!!

  • Doubting Thomas

    So McCain defends the criminal whose direct actions kept McCain a POW and tortured far longer than he could have. If anything says senile that would be it.

  • colnago80

    Re Marcus Ranum @ #8

    Not entirely defenseless as some 500 aircraft were shot down.

  • D. C. Sessions

    What’s especially interesting is that Kissinger was instrumental in Senator McCain’s becoming a guest of Vietnam.

  • Marcus Ranum

    Not entirely defenseless as some 500 aircraft were shot down.

    During Rolling Thunder? I don’t think it was nearly that many.

    Anyhow, maybe you’re going to treat us to some of your famous moral equivalencies and tell us that Rolling Thunder was nowhere near as bad as what the Syrians did, or some foolery like that? Hey, here’s a surprise for you: most the casualties were civilians. That means, in military terms, the targets were not defended.

    Anyhow, you’re just being your usual disagreeably dishonest self and chose to portray my words out of context. I wrote:

    bombing the fuck out of practically defenseless Vietnam

    Which, if you consider the few hundred (?) pilots shot down, or killed, compared to the tens of thousands of civilian casualties, “practically defenseless” is an apt description. But you’re probably trying to downplay it so you can claim that the Gaza Strip is well-defended, you genocidal bootlicker, you.

  • SC (Salty Current)

    and helped install brutal dictators around the world

    According to this article, which I missed entirely in 2008, McCain had a friendly meeting with Pinochet in Chile in 1985.

  • colnago80

    Re Marcus Ranum @ #13

    As someone who opposed the Vietnam War from day one, I take considerable exception to your comment. I don’t have the exact number on hand but it is my recollection that in excess of 500 US aircraft were either shot down over North Vietnam or crashed due to mechanical problems. This included a number of B52s.

    Relative to complaining about Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip, here’s a link to a statement by the US Chairman of the JCS General Martin Dempsey on the IDF’s actions there. Compare the IDF in Gaza with the US in Iraq or Russia in Chechnya. Although the link is to the left wing Haaretz article, it is reprinting an article previously from Reuters, not known as a Zionist sockpuppet. Here’s a money quote from the general:

    The highest-ranking U.S. military officer said on Thursday that Israel went to “extraordinary lengths” to limit civilian casualties in the recent war in Gaza and that the Pentagon had sent a team to see what lessons could be learned from the operation.

  • shadow

    From the OP:

    “Get out of here you low-life scum.”

    So, Kissinger left?

  • 930i7

    Kissinger always did look a bit seedy to me.

  • Al Dente

    According to the British History Learning Site:

    During the many months during which Operation Rolling Thunder operated, 643,000 tons of bombs were dropped. However, nearly 900 US aircraft were lost. The financial cost of Operation Rolling Thunder was huge. It was estimated that the damage done to North Vietnam by the bombing raids was $300 million. However, the cost to the US of these raids was estimated at $900 million.

  • dan4

    McCain’s horrible “joke” regarding Chelsea Clinton and Janet Reno certainly qualified him for the “low-life scum” characterization far more than it does for the (admittedly stupid and indefensible) behavior of the protestors.

  • birgerjohansson

    Kissinger and Nixon also encouraged their (west) pakistani allies in their aggressive repression of democracy in East Pakistan. This resulted in ten million refugees fleeing to India and hundreds of thousands of women being systematically gang-raped by the uniformed scum that was the pakistani army.

    Eventually India got fed up with the burden of all those refugees and beat the shit out of Pakistan, leading to East Pakistan becoming the independent Bangladsh.

    Kissinger encouraged Indonesia to invade East Timor. leading to a third of the population dying in the genocide.

    Kissinger encouraged the generals of argentina to step up their “dirty war” against their own people.


    We should put Kissinger in suspended animation, so we can put him on trial when we have the technology for keeping someone alive for a thousand years…which is the appropriate prison sentence.

  • democommie

    “Not to tread where Modus walks: They envied us for our freedoms!!!!!”

    They wanted it for nothing, the TAKERZ!

    Re: losses in “Operation Rolling Thunder”: I have no idea where the numbers are coming from, but a lot of aircraft/aircrew losses in the Vietnam War had little to do with the targeted or saturated bombing in North Vietnam. That it did not work to any great effect, militarily or politiclly, is pretty obvious. It did have the desired effect of making a lot of non-combatant REMF’s feel like they had big cocks, so I guess THEY felt like it was worth it.

  • democommie

    Gosh, I almost forgot.

    John McCain is a fucking piece of shit and he can’t die too soon.