The Mad Bomber

“How can you countenance someone who was engaged in bombings that could have or did kill innocent people?”

John McCain, Republican candidate for President, 2008.

McCain’s plane was shot down in 1967 over the city of Hanoi during his 23rd air mission over North Vietnam. It is not clear how many “innocent people” McCain’s bombs killed.

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5 Responses to “The Mad Bomber”

  1. rjjrdq Says:

    Yes, it is not clear. However it is clear what Bill Ayers’ agenda was. His intent was to hurt innocent people. I don’t think that was McCain’s *intent*.

    ‘Fraid I can’t see that, rjjrdq. It’s hard to see how you can drop a whole heap of ordnance over Hanoi without intending to kill lots of innocent people. Given that none of Ayers’ bombs killed anyone, he was either remarkably incompetent, or maybe not as passionate about killing innocent people as McCain. Maybe, unlike McCain, he was simply trying to make a point.

  2. rjjrdq Says:

    I’m not going to defend Vietnam-I thought it was wrong, but imagine an army where the soldiers decided, “Well, I dont agree with that, I’m not going to follow the order”. Whether the government made bad decisions is not for the military to decide. I know it’s messy, and strong arguments can be made either way, bombing civilians, human shields, etc.

    rjjrdq, My understanding is that McCain volunteered for the low-altitude bombing raids. I think that the important point is that this all in the distant past now; and if we can forgive McCain for willingly participating in that wrong-headed war, then we should be able to forgive the likes of Ayers for their wrong-headed actions in pursuit of higher ideals.

  3. macdoctor01 Says:

    The fact that you can take a soldier’s action in a war to a terrorist’s action and find them comparable, perfectly illustrates the confusion left-wingers feel in the face of violence. The ethical divide here is so obvious it is palpable, and yet you don’t seem to see it.

    The fact that Ayers was incompetent is immaterial. The fact that he tried to blow up his own countrymen without initially declaring hostile intentions, makes him a terrorist. McCain was, at least, fighting a declared war.

    When it comes to moral questions, I tend to look at, er, the moral issues. Making fine distinctions about formal declarations of war is the slippery slope to extraordinary renditions and Guantanamo. Anyway, according to wikipedia, “In 1970 the group issued a “Declaration of a State of War” against the United States government, under the name “Weather Underground Organization”.”

  4. macdoctor01 Says:

    Ayers’ declaration of war was as much empty posturing as the US declaration of a war on terror. Guantanamo is the result of that politicking and is related to a real war in the same way as Triad gangs and the Police – both keep the peace but only one has legitimacy.

    Nobody likes war (except for the odd nutter), but to liken a terrorist to a soldier is an insult to everyone who died in the world wars, in Vietnam and in Korea. Whatever your feelings about the legitimacy of war, and the ethicality of a government declaring war on another, the soldier can and should remain ethically neutral. There are rules to war. There is no ethical foundation to terrorism.

  5. underground Says:

    Sure there are rules to war, but these have been broken time and time again, from Vietnam to Iraq. And to say there is no ethical foundations to terrorism depends on what definition of terrorism you subscribe to. Nelson Mandela was a terrorist according to the US State Dept. And now he is considered a hero. Why has that changed?

    Why should the unethical actions of a volunteer combatant in an illegal or unjust war be any different to the despicable actions of a “terrorist” who engages in indiscriminate killing? Because of their uniform? Because they are following orders? Because of the Geneva Conventions? We judge these people not on who they are or who they represent, but on what they have done and their motives for doing so.

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