Finally and hopefully we see the last of those neocons – read Malaysiakini Obama chalks up historic win.
Congratulations to Barack Obama for being elected as the 44th President of the USA and the first black American to be Head of State of the most powerful nation on earth, a post which should never have gone into the hands of low brow moronic George W Bush.
Can you imagine that it was just slightly more than 50 years ago (Malaysia's age) that Rose Parks, an African American woman, was taken off to jail for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. Today a black man is the President of that country!
I came across Obama’s name when my good mate, Dean Johns wrote of him in a Malaysiakini column some years ago, telling us he’s the man to look out for. If not for the fact that I had (always) eagerly awaited Dean’s weekly column, I would be none the wiser as to who the hell was this man with the strange name of Barack Obama.
Congratulations are thus in order too for Dean Johns for his foresight and aspiration for such a man to take over the reins of a nation which was once admired but under Bush-Cheney, feared and detested.
Dean wrote in his column again (article sent to Malaysiakini on eve of the US presidential election) on Obama titled Barracking for Obama.
The most descriptive paragraph in Dean’s column was “And the proposition that the dumb-as-dirt George Bush and his creepy VP Dick Cheney should be succeeded by the hopelessly hawkish ‘war hero’ McCain and the lipstick dipstick Sarah Palin is simply outrageous.”
I agree with Dean on almost every word save that part where he lambasted John McCain. Dean may disagree with me but that’s the strength of my friendship with Dean that we can agree to disagree without degenerating into a Bush-ite “Either you’re with us or against us”, or the equally acrimonious anwaristas’ cry of “You BN balls licker” (wakakaka).
Take it from me, the least hawkish person in any government as a rule would be the military man who has seen/experienced blood in combat (operative phrase being 'in combat') – example, Colin Powell!
I am convinced that John McCain is of the same mold.
While like Dean I had ‘barracked’ for Obama, I have been so bloody annoyed, out of a sense of fair play and outrage at the under-the-belt sniping at John McCain by another Malaysiakini columnist, W Scott Thompson, that I wrote a letter to Malaysiakini yesterday – and which I doubt would now be published as the events in the USA election may have rendered it slightly obsolete.
But let me present here what I had sent to Malaysiakini:
I am appalled by (Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy) Professor Emeritus W Scott Thompson attack on John McCain in his article 'Landslide' published by Malaysiakini.
While I share Professor Thompson's preference for Barack Obama as the future US President, his under-the-belt criticism of McCain has been most deplorable and smacked of the grubby style of the Swift Boats Veterans for Truth.
Thompson should be ashamed of himself for writing sneeringly of McCain as "a 'national hero' who supposedly had earned the presidency for five years squatting in a Vietnamese jail (heroism defined as endurance rather than courageous choice)."
If McCain was a war hero, it would not be because he was a POW, though he demonstrated his discipline and inner strength as a naval officer during his wartime incarceration. It would have to be his unstinting service to his country as a naval pilot who was prepared to conduct air operations 23 times (before being shot down) over North Vietnam, at that time one of the most heavily defended airspace in the world.
McCain was and is unlike President Bush and Vice-President Cheney, two of the most belligerent American leaders ever seen, but who both successfully avoided* the Vietnam War.
* Note not sent in letter - Cheny took 5 'deferments' from the Vietnam draft, yet he has been the most bellicose belligerent hawk in the Bush administration - earning him the dubious title of chickenhawk, a title used to criticize a politician, bureaucrat, or commentator who strongly supports a war or other military action, but has never personally been in a war, especially if that person actively avoided military service when of draft age.
We also need to note that McCain refused a North Vietnamese offer of early release in 1968, because it would mean him leaving before other prisoners who had been held longer. Such had been his sense of honour, sense of fairness and duty to his comrades that he was prepared to remain in the horrible POW camp for another 5 years before he was released in 1973 after the Paris Peace Accords.
But regardless of whether one wishes to remember McCain's duty to his country in war or his courageous endurance in the infamous 'Hanoi Hilton', Professor Thompson should hang his head in shame for employing the politically-motivated dismissive word 'supposedly', and for attempting to diminish McCain's war service by a pathetic hair-splitting re-definition of the 'heroism' attributed to the Republican presidential candidate.
Then, being the academic snob he must be, he contrasted McCain's Annapolis achievements (the US naval academy) against Obama's Harvard background. To borrow a leaf out of Thompson's book, that's like comparing the finest tempered steel against a fluffy quill.
But to be fair to Obama in the steel versus quill model, can there be a comparison between two vastly different items, each of relevant use in specific scenarios. Yes, it's like saying apples are superior to oranges!
One must remember that Republican John McCain defended Democrat John Kerry during the Swift Boats Veterans for Truth [SBVT] smear campaign through advertisements against the Democrat presidential candidate. McCain stated: "I condemn the [SBVT] ad. It is dishonest and dishonorable. I think it is very, very wrong."
Recently, McCain defended his presidential candidate rival Obama when a white Republican supporter alluded to the alleged Obama's questionable foreign allegiance. McCain chopped that bigoted suggestion down and spoke of Obama as a decent American citizen.
Professor Thompson should take note that while McCain might not have run the Harvard Law Review, he has time and time again demonstrated the finest example of his Annapolis training, that of honour (decency) and duty!