Recently, the Washington Post fell over itself to commend a John McCain that never existed, instead lavishing praise on a well-curated PR facsimile developed over decades:
And all over this world, Mr. McCain is associated with freedom and democracy. He has championed human rights with verve and tirelessness — speaking out against repression and authoritarianism, and inviting — no, cajoling — his colleagues, both Republicans and Democrats, to bear witness with him on trips abroad. He has frequently welcomed victims of repression to the corridors of the capital, too, giving them succor and encouragement in the fight against tyranny.
One is curious if “all over this world” includes Iraq, which McCain lobbied to invade, resulting in 500,000–1 million deaths. Or Libya, which McCain passionately advocated bombing, turning it into an ungovernable bastion of extremism and slavery. Or Syria, which McCain helped rip apart by pushing for CIA-supported opposition groups for years. Or Gaza, whose destruction by Israeli forces McCain cheerled for in 2014. Or Yemen, which McCain, almost more than anyone in Congress, helped destroy by defending Saudi Arabia's murderous war there.
Unfortunately, the Washington Post forgot to mention any of these countries; instead it simply recited platitudes about “authoritarianism” and “human rights.” The millions of Arabs whose lives McCain helped wreck simply didn’t register in their (or his) moral calculus.
As for McCain’s supposed habit of “speaking out against repression and authoritarianism,” he had such an opportunity in 2015, when Lee Fang directly asked him about Saudi’s well-documented, US-backed war crimes in its bombing of Yemen—a siege that has since killed well over 10,000 civilians and lead to a cholera outbreak affecting nearly 600,000:
“They may be bombing civilians, which is actually not true,” McCain said, when asked about civilian casualties in Yemen.
“Civilians aren’t dying?” [Fang] asked.
“No, they’re not,” the senator replied. “Oh, I’m sure civilians die in war. Not nearly as many as the Houthis have executed,” McCain continued, referring to the Shiite militia waging an insurgency against the Sunni government in Yemen.
Asked about the recent reports of Saudi forces bombing a wedding party in Yemen, McCain said, “I’m sure in wars terrible things happen and the Houthis however are an extremist group backed by the Iranians who are slaughtering Yemenis.”
The reality is that McCain uses the rhetorical bludgeon of “human rights” as an arbitrary tool to push for war and demonize US enemies. For reasons that remain a mystery, the promotion and lobbying of war is not itself considered a human rights violation, nor does it sully one’s ability to act as an arbiter of them.
This is in stark contrast to the principles that animated the Nuremberg Tribunals. In his closing arguments, Justice Robert Jackson made clear that “the central crime in this pattern of crimes, the kingpin which holds them all together, is the plot for aggressive wars.”
If one had to sum up McCain’s political career, you could do worse than “aggressive wars”—seeing as how there’s never been one McCain didn’t promote with “verve and tirelessness.”
/u/NSDU, McCain sounds like a "real cool dude" if you like fucking warmongering pieces of shit, that is. Par for the course for neoliberals however.