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Investigating John McCain’s Tragedy at Sea

Posted on Oct 7, 2008
AP photo

The USS Forrestal, with burning planes on deck, is shown in a 1967 file photo. The Navy’s worst disaster since World War II claimed the lives of 134 sailors.

(Page 2)

A week after the fire, McCain made a statement in which he said that when he was on the hangar deck he noticed that he had a wound on his knee and small shrapnel cuts in his thigh and shoulder. He was not treated in sick bay, however, and he tells a story in “Faith of My Fathers” that seems to be at variance with the facts. He writes that he went to sick bay to have his wounds treated but when he got there, a “kid” who was “anonymous to me because the fire had burned off all of his identifying features” asked him if another pilot in the squadron was OK. When McCain replied that he was, the “kid” said “Thank God” and died before McCain’s eyes. McCain said that experience left him “unable to keep my composure,” and that is why he left sick bay without being treated.

Lt. j.g. Dave Dollarhide witnessed that encounter because he was in sick bay, having broken his hip escaping from his plane, which had been immediately to the left of McCain’s when the blaze started. Dollarhide knew McCain and also the “kid,” a young man whom McCain knew well because he was his own plane captain, Robert Zwerlein, who was terribly burned when the first bomb exploded on the ship. Notwithstanding McCain’s dramatic account of witnessing someone die before his eyes, Zwerlein did not die then but instead was evacuated to the hospital ship USS Repose, where he expired three days later. On the basis of Dollarhide’s account, if McCain left sick bay without being treated it was not because someone died before his eyes.3 

McCain’s actions after the fire show a determination to exit the ship as quickly as possible. When New York Times reporter Apple finished gathering his notes on the fire, McCain boarded a helicopter with him and flew to Saigon. Given that fires still burned on the ship and some of his fellow airmen were gravely wounded and dying, McCain’s assertion that he left the carrier for “some welcome R&R” in Saigon has a surreal air. Apple, now dead, said nothing in his news reports about inviting McCain to leave the ship, although he did report talking to him in Saigon later that day. McCain does not mention receiving permission to leave the still-burning ship. Merv Rowland, a commander and chief engineering officer of the Forrestal at the time of the fire, told me that he had not known that McCain left the ship within 30 hours of the fire and that he found this “extraordinary.” Rowland added that only the severely wounded were allowed to leave the ship and that no one, as far as he knew, would have been given permission to fly to Saigon for R&R. McCain’s quick flight off the Forrestal meant that he missed the memorial service for his dead comrades held the following day in the South China Sea.

Not long after McCain left, the Forrestal set off without him on its somber voyage to Subic Bay in the Philippines, where it would undergo initial repairs. He rejoined the ship a week later when it was docked at Subic Bay. There he gave an official statement and asked for a transfer to the aircraft carrier Oriskany.


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Apple filed two stories about McCain’s time in Saigon. Apple’s first story said: “Today, hours after the fire that ravaged the flight deck and killed so many of his fellow crewmen, commander McCain sat in Saigon and shook his head. ‘It was such a great ship,’ he said.”4  Apple’s second story was filed three months later, just after McCain was shot down over Hanoi. In that story Apple wrote: “It was almost three months ago that the young, prematurely gray Navy pilot was sitting in a villa in Saigon, sipping a Scotch with friends and recalling the holocaust that he had managed to live through. He was John Sydney [sic—spelling is Sidney] McCain, 3rd, a lieutenant commander. The day before, he had watched from the cockpit of his Skyhawk attack plane as flames suddenly engulfed the flight deck of the Forrestal, on which his squadron was based. ‘It’s a difficult thing to say,’ he remarked after a long time. ‘But now that I’ve seen what the bombs and the napalm did to the people on our ship, I’m not so sure that I want to drop any more of that stuff on North Vietnam.’ ”5

The record suggests that after McCain left the burning Forrestal for the greater ease of Saigon, he saw his Navy career as being in jeopardy. Soon, he went to London, where his father, Adm. John S. McCain Jr., was stationed as commander in chief of the United States Naval Forces in Europe. Sen. McCain has written little about the fire, and his book does not mention any conversations with his father about bombs dropping from his plane on the Forrestal or his leaving the ship. However, it is difficult to imagine that he did not discuss the tragedy and his own personal difficulties because, by McCain’s own account, his father had intervened on his behalf before. After seeing the admiral in London, McCain went to the French Riviera, where he spent his nights gambling at the Palm Beach Casino.6

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By Common, March 26, 2010 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment

They would be replaced by new management, the books straightened out, and the banks then sold off.
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By sailorathisends, November 3, 2008 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Andy would you please review my postings here and either hammer me or agree with me on the single most important point I make.

That point is: There is a book endorsed by McCain about the Forrestal, and far too many documentary’s to make sense for a single tradegy, even though it’s yours and mine.

McCain participated in Situation Critical right about the time he became mentioned as a Presidential hopeful same as the book “Sailor’s to the End”.

All this media leads people to the absolute wrong conclusion. ‘Old Ordinance’ was to blame. I handled old ordinance from 1965, the whole Sea Campaign was fought with mixed bags of ordinance.

The BOOK is outright propoganda as the text on page 85 leaves you the reader to believe the ordinance was actually from 1935 while the author includes in the notes in the back that nobody else reads, he KNEW they were made from 53-55 which is not ‘old’ at all, ordinance has a very long shelf life and we don’t just throw it away.

Andy, knowing what we know ‘NOW’ would YOU agree the cause was and the whole damned mess would not and could not have happened if not for individuals going against set in stone safety measure’s, naval regulations. Negligent men made shortcuts that they did not report up the chain of command. Had they not done that the Zuni ‘couldn’t’ have fired..

My suspiscion is that for the first time I’m aware of our government covered for rather then assigned blame where blame is obviously due, because ?, because?, Johnny was part of the decision making process.

His leaving to get instructions on how to testify (supposition) from his father is just too damning. All the excessive coverage and spinning coincidently beginning right at a critical time in his political career just seems to pat.

The whole smear smacks of coverup to me Andy and we get to be the goats.. We weren’t hero’s for handling live ordinance we were stupid, we weren’t hero’s for fighting the fires in our tee shirts, we were stupid, every documentary effort mentiones shit like that. The ‘required’ uniform of the day was tee shirts and dungaree’s we don’t get to pick what we’d like to wear in the Navy.

Officers make bad decisions and blow up the ship and the fire fighters and the lowly crewmen fighting fires, retrieving dead and wounded, are the only ones criticised..

I’d sure like to find the officer who figured out how to open the #3 Hangar bay doors just as we finally got the fires under control and started it all over again so I finally got asphixiated..

Behind HIM, I’d like to know who the bastard was who decided the place for corpses and body bags was right at the only hatch to get to the chow line. There are seventeen stories 1004 ftx 565 to put such carnage and somebody thinks the entire crew should have to see, smell, and live with mental pic that for the rest of their life.

Anyhow, Andy, thanks for the help back then, God Bless.. The short version of the question posed, WAS IT MEN that ‘caused it’ or was it ‘old ordinance’. I don’t think ordinance had an IQ but maybe I’m wrong.

Phooey to the talking head degree’s up the wazzoo who can be so easily mislead and will NOT take up this investigation.. We of the crew are owed the real truth, the family’s of our fallen are owed the truth. There is a Goat to be sacrificed, but power and money and the ‘true’ Elite, scare our chronicalers of the truth, even in this great nation.

Andy and I don’t say we are hero’s and nobody I know blatts about being a hero except the fifth dumbest in his class ‘Shipwreck McCain”. I think if he could have swam away he would have.

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By Turner, November 2, 2008 at 6:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why has McCain insisted on only releasing part of his war record? Obviously there are many parts in it that he does not want the public to know about. He is happy to dredge history in order to show us the ” real Barack Obama “, however, how many of us know anything of McCain that he hasn’t vetted and edited.

Fuck John McCain! National hero my ass. National and Internationatal disgrace!!! He will burn in hell much like those he left to burn on the Forrestal!!!

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By Shenonymous, November 1, 2008 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment

It is my understanding that MSMs are all owned by Bush and McCain supporters.  In Texas even PBS-KERA is supported by the very rich families.  Moyers is about the only “radical” news program on in this state (Fridays usually at 9 but sometimes at 8pm).

The information provided by A.Z. Arrow and others on this forum will never get in the regular news so that all Americans and the world could see it.  These blogs and alternative news venues are the only way some people can learn the truth.  You might email the website to everyone you know.  That is what I am doing.  It is sort of the best we can do.

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By A. Z. Arrow, November 1, 2008 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

>[Please turn on your sound system for this reference:]

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By A. Z. Arrow, November 1, 2008 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment

queenie: So would I.  But you assume that Johnny Boy is honest. It will never happen.

Johnny will never tell his “side of the story”. Neither will his victims. Johnny has forgotten all about the circumstances of this flaming event from his past. 

Mc Cain trumpets his heroism while pretending he never heard of the USS Forrestal fire.

Andy’s account appears on the surface to back-up the story that McCain (or someone else that fired up his A-4 craft) “wet started” (or “black fired”) his A-4 plane touching off a Zuni heat seeking missile, with his prank costing the lives of 134 + US sailors on the USS Forrestal.

Check out the story of the fire at Wikipeadia, or at any other link or source provided by the DOD:

As I said previously:

According to some contemporary reports McCain “wet started” his A-4 Skyhawk engine:

“’Wet starting” was “a common practice among young ‘hot-dog’ pilots.”

Zuni Rockets Were of a Volatile Design

“In McCain’s case, the ‘wet-start’ ‘cooked off’ launched the M34 Zuni rocket from the
rear F-4 that punctured the Skyhawk’s fuel tank, knocked the M-65 1000 lb bomb off it’s
500 lb rated mount, and touched off the explosions and massive fire.”

“When the carrier Oriskany came along side[the USS Forrestal] McCain was put in a chopper and whisked away. The USS Forrestal Capitan order Johnny Boys removal.

McCain was the only Forrestal crewman to be immediately transferred to the USS Oriskany. . . Mc Cain was not injured.

>[Please turn on your sound system for this reference:] resta.htm

Further, a recent issue of Rolling Stone ,“Make-Believe Maverick,” Tim Dickinson, writes:

“The damage to the USS Forrestal was far more grievous: The explosion set off a chain reaction of bombs, creating a devastating inferno that would kill 134 of the carrier’s 5,000-man crew, injure 161 and threaten to sink the ship”

Because McCain’s dad was the Admiral in charge of Vietnam war operation the brass attempted to blame the fire on the dead Phantom pilot, but with so many of the USS Forrestal’s crew as direct witnesses, available to the investigation. . . the investigation was left bureaucratically “inconclusive.”

This “FIRE” should have ended John McCain’s Navy career.  His incompetence as a flier lead instead to him being captured by the North Vietnamese. He should never have surrendered, or made those statement against his country. His excuse is, as he said in the first “debate’ with Obama, is “I broke down.” A lame excuse. Being a prisoner of war does not automatically translate into being a “Hero”—or in the case of John McCain a self-proclaimed hero.

An accident, yes; but only in part. —The “FIRE” on the USS FORRESTAL essentially demonstrates a lack of seriousness and a failure to assume personal responsibility for one’s acts. And certainly, extremely BAD JUDGEMENT.


Some other reliable sources:

1967 USS Forrestal fire - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“On 29 July 1967, an unusual electrical anomaly caused a fire aboard the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal (CV-59) which was conducting

Vietnam Memorial Wall: The Virtual Wall - USS FORRESTAL CVA-59 29 July 1967

When placed in commission on 01 October 1955, USS FORRESTAL was the first ... The third round of detonations cleared the deck of men and fire-fighting gear, ...

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By queenie, November 1, 2008 at 10:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I would like to hear John McCain tell his version of the tragedy on the U.S.S. Forretal. Or better still, have some of his Naval buddies on the ship tell what they saw and heard regarding the “hero” McCain!

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By Andy, October 30, 2008 at 6:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I was on board the USS Forrestal during the tragic fire July 29,1967.

I worked on the flight deck as an Aviation Technician for VAW-123.

The day of the fire was one that I will never forget. The rumor on board as I remeber it was that an A-4 did a wet start and ignited a missle that caused a chain re-action of explosions and fire.  Most of the Navy personal that were injured or killed were actually night shift personal sleeping below the flight deck.  I remember having to go into those sleeping qaurters and pulling completly charred bodies from bunks and putting them into body bags.  Over one hundred thirty body bags were in the hanger bay when we finally pulled into the Phillipines.  I heard they flew McCain off the ship before the fire was under control.  Why?  I don’t know.
I have been watching the campaign from it’s inception.  I find it very intersting how McCain speaks of being a prisoner of war, but not once have I heard him even mention being on board the USS Forrestal during what would have been one of the worst tragedy’s at sea in modern history. 
I would like to hear him explain from his perspective what actually happened on that tragic day.

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By A. Z. Arrow, October 26, 2008 at 9:46 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous: Another news report worth checking:

How John McCain buried information about POWs, and about his own military and mental health Records.

The article includes direct links to official military, source and Congressional documents.


“McCain and the POW cover-up’

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By Shenonymous, October 26, 2008 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment

A. Z. Arrow – As is my habit when provided, I checked out links.  The one you provided:  Some of McCain’s Black Relatives Support Obama By Elgin Jones   South Florida Times,  Sunday, October 28, 2008 is a bonafide news article.  Apparently, “some of McCain’s black family members say they are not sure exactly where they fall on the family tree, but they do know this: They are either descendants of the McCain family slaves, or of children the McCain’s fathered with their slaves.”  Not that it matters at all if McCain had black ancestors since I myself am for complete miscegeny of the races, that is, gray people since I think that would eliminate all problems associated with race, and whether his ancestors had slaves or not doesn’t really matter and has nothing to do with the present McCain, the fact that racist remarks are being circulated in Republican blogs and literature does make quasi hypocrites of McCain and his campaign management. 

I do appreciate your translations, though, of all the criticisms being levied against Obama.

For a real change in the White House and the Supreme Court, vote Obama/Biden

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By A. Z. Arrow, October 26, 2008 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

You have seen my previous comment about Mc Cain’s temperament and about his failure to accept responsibility for his questionable and outrageous conduct.

My Friends:  It is all about character and honesty.

McCain is hiding his slave plantation, black family relations, and his family’s real heritage from the White public because he is attempting to drum up a white backlash vote (for his campaign) and against Obama’s.  —All with code words:

“Who is Barrack Obama?” (McCain)
Translation: Not one of “US”

“He Pals around with Terrorist” (Palin)
Translation: disloyal, anti-American

“His middle name is Hussein”(Palin and McCain)
Translation: He is an African Muslim after all. Only Half White.

“He wants to redistribute the wealth” (away from the rich )
and “give our Tax Revenues to Those (?) who do not Pay Income Tax”(Palin)
Translation: to inner city neighborhoods.

“not Qualified and cannot stand up to the crisis his election will generate” (McCain )
Translation: A Danger, a 6 foot 4 inch Black guy that carves a Backward “B” in some innocent McCain Campaign workers cheek.

“Some of McCain’s Black relatives support Obama.

At least Obama is honest!

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By sailorathisends, October 25, 2008 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My Dear J. M. Caiella,
If I understand you correctly, you dispute Mr. McCains own opinion and endorsement of the book ‘Sailors to the End’ and the documentary’s he participated in, correct?
I have to presume you’ve not studied the book.
Both the book and all subsequent documentary films state that in two seperate incidents a formal committee and an ambitious group both independantly chose to eliminate one failsafe each with out co-ordination or reporting them up the chain of command.
These sources endorsed by Mr. McCain as fact state that openly, and McCain adhered to their statements and conclusions without comment.

Willfully eliminating regulations would be the ‘cause’ the ‘effect’ would be the Zuni went off resulting in an a standard issue weapon, the 1k used by the entire fleet detonating on deck.

I believe that much is irrefutable. Even you did not dispute that.

Mr. Kennedy left the site of his tradegy too, he sought advice before he faced the consequeces of his actions or reported his part at Chappaquadic. By leaving on the first available ‘civilian’ transportation to Siagon where he could communicate privately with advisors, seeek help and advice, Mr. McCain surely leaves himself open to question.

Did anyone else have the opportunity to get council and advice before making their statement. I didn’t, did you? I didn’t feel the need, did you?

If not for the illogical obviously flawed conclusions put before the public I would be at peace right now. Never knowing. It is the twisted logic that drags me forth and the question ‘why is it so important’ to spin the obvious and cover up for a crew things that in times past were openly addressed. Documentary’s often name the names and condemn men for using bad judgement in their lifetimes sparing no feelings.

All the stuff for public consumption is crafted away from the obvious ‘cause’ toward the great unknown ‘they’ paranoics always reference. ‘They’ in this case being unknown Pentagon leaders and decision makers, when in fact the critical decisions were made ‘at sea’ by people who ‘could be known’ but are not.

Those who want to wear blinders and follow the leader without question, that is your right. Those who can and must think for themselves are entitled to real answers.

Especially this crew. However, when each crew member is donned a ‘hero’ for simply having survived in all the media, it does a lot to quell hard questions. “Some” of the men I served with are most certainly hero’s of the highest order, facing the inferno without regard for their own safety. God Bless Them.

My question to J. M. Caiella would be, if the people who made the shipboard decisions are not unknown, please name them for us. We bare them no ill will, we would love for them to live in peace and be left alone, but we suspect that one of them could one day aspire to leadership where daredevelry, impulsive behaviour, and inattention to detail could cause others harm.

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By Shenonymous, October 24, 2008 at 4:40 pm Link to this comment

With all the intense and adverse criticism about Barack Obama’s religion, citizenship status and newness to politics, all of which are spurious, and untruthful attacks, it is with great appreciation goutgrec that you have provided this report about Senator McCain’s involvement with other POWs.  If it were not for folks interested in giving Americans a portrait of Senator McCain, we would be duped once again by the party that holds high moral values yet doesn’t actually put into practice those moral values.

I don’t think we ought to hold our breath shanen for McCain’s military records to be made public. 

Sailoratthisends’ indictment of McCain’s actions on the ship is a passionate argument that begs to repeat the question why are there no military comrades standing with McCain as he rallies for his campaign.  He does have a screeching well-dressed woman but where are those “men who served honorably?”

A. Z. Arrow, much as I would like for that video to offer the proof you claim, it doesn’t.  It is about a half a minute of practically nothing.  But thank you anyway for a good old college try.

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By J. M. Caiella, October 24, 2008 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There must be a cogent response to accusations and statements of alleged fact in the comments by Sailorathisends.
1. The Massey report he refers to is the Navy’s official investigation into the causes of the fire. Despite this sailor’s experience, the report and photographs of the fire reveal that McCain’s and other A4s of VA-46 were carrying two (not one) of the old 1,000-lb. bombs; one under each wing. The centerline station was occupied by a 400-gallon fuel tank.
2. The “failsafes” were not removed by unnamed officers. Based on the operational experience of carriers from the Pacific Fleet that had been on the line for some time (the Forrestal was an Atlantic Fleet carrier, the first assigned to the Vietnam War), it was decided to change some launch procedures to match those of the Pacific ships.
3. While old ordnance “had nothing to do” with the initiation of the fire, it had everything to do with the death toll and destruction. Firefighters estimated they needed about two minutes to knock down the fire. The first bomb exploded within about 90 seconds. Others followed shortly thereafter. The Massey investigation found that the newer bombs only exploded after some five minutes in the fire and virtually all of them with what is termed a low-order explosion. The old bombs blew as high-order explosions.
4. I assume his reference to the “only guy who escaped testifying under oath” refers to Sen. McCain. If so, this is absolutely untrue. McCain gave a written deposition soon after the fire (as did the whole crew). This statement is part of the Massey report. Further, about a week later in Subic Bay, during the hearings, John McCain indeed DID testify under oath. The questions and McCain’s answers are also part of the Massey report.
5. If his statement about “abandoning ship” and “jumping on the first helicopter out” refers to Sen. McCain, again this is a false declaration. There is adequate documentation of McCain’s activities in the wake of the fire. And the helicopters were used to evacuate the wounded. No one would entertain the thought of allowing anyone else the valuable space and weight allowance.

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By goutgrec, October 24, 2008 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

Thanks to both Mr. Dean and Ms. Hersberger for taking the time and care to examine this important issue. Mr. Dean is correct—no one in the mainstream press will touch this. Everyone accepts the hero mythology.

While Ms. Hershberger’s does not cover the MIA/POW issue, a detailed and documented examination is provided by Sydney H. Schanberg on The Nation Institute website.

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By shanen, October 18, 2008 at 11:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

McCain is just a very secretive fellow, though since he picked Palin I’m much more concerned about his medical records than his military records. Bride of Caesar? Or taking the Fifth? Voters in an actual democracy should have access to sufficient information to evaluate the candidates for public office.

I think the truth is usually found between the extremes. In this case, McCain’s version is one extreme, but this article is *NOT* the extreme on the other end. However, many parts of the story could be examined—and the first step in getting the truth would be for McCain to release his military records. That is an obvious starting point, and it makes me deeply suspicious that he has not done so. My own military records are certainly not particularly glorious, but I would certainly feel obliged to release them if I were running for public office.

Everyone makes mistakes. However not everyone learns from them… Palin is just McCain’s largest recent mistake.

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By Sailorathisends, October 18, 2008 at 7:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is my duty to those men who served honorably, died honorable, and did not have a Admiral daddy. McCain did not participate in saving the ship by his own admission while I was helping wounded and a friend had to remove the skin from fingertips to print the many, many, unrecognizable body’s.
Anyone with a brain can understand the simplicity of my opening claim.
Those UNAMED officers who willfully eliminated ‘two’ failsafe that prevented Zuni’s from going off were the sole cause of the rocket going off. Old ordinance had nothing in the WORLD to do with it. NO NEGEGENCE OF DUTY, NO FAILURE TO USE THE CHAIN OF COMMAND, no ZUNI, NO way this mass death could have been happened, period. Now anybody can understand that.
  Secondly, A-4’s set up to deliver large 1000 lb weapons never carried two in my two years six months on three ships total in the Air War of the South China Seas. It was always 1000 lbs on the middle inboard weapons mount, two external tanks on the wing mounts or either an assortmant on wing mounts and perhaps napalm or an external fuel tank in the center mount.
  Yes bombs were blown off planes into the fire, but NOT McCains, he claims his fell off after he got hit. His weapon, singular, was armed when it lay there, and would have blown due to the fuse activated by wind turning a little propeller. He claims ‘two’ which I never saw on one bird in the whole previous cruises on previous ships. The 7019 page Massey investigation found White’s plane was hit after ‘all witnesses’ testified under oath.
  I regret his incarceration but it is a further testiment to his ineptness, not worthy of the claim of hero.
  MY hero’s were there fighting fires, defusing live weapons, disposing of those that were in harms way and could have sunk us.
  There were no accidents that day, there was willfull negligence of Naval Regulations and ‘somebody’ is to blame for that.
    There are SEVENTEEN Unknown’s in one tomb in Arlington, some individual/s are completely at fault for that.
    Another ship, same exact circumstances there would have been men in Levenworth for several charges such as derilection of duty.
    Had ANY other officer abandoned the ship while the confligeration was still going by hopping a ride on the first helo out, I assure you he would have served long and hard time but John is the Admirals son isn’t he.
    This article is accurate, factual, and easily proven by interviewing people who actually fought the China Seas Campaign, rather then a ship of fresh, smartassed newbies, looking to shoot planes faster to show the W.Coast Navy how it’s done.
    For the lack of a nail a shoe was lost, for the lack of a shoe a horse was lost, for the lack of a horse a Knight was lost, for the lack of a Knight, the battle was lost, for the loss of a battle the WAR was lost.
    Forrestal, due to those who discarded combat proven safety measures was lost costing nine months of 24 hr attack operations in mid 67, it missed the RR yard and 9 months of supply interuption, photo intelligence, air support for our troops.
    REMEMBER TET, it broke our American Spirit, NV’s popped up all over the south ‘six months’ after the loss of one of our most potent and precise air attack machines, and most certainly DID contribute somewhat to the buildup that lost the war in our hearts and minds forcing withdrawel..
    That’s the truth, that’s the way it IS. And the only guy who escaped testifying under oath got a free pass, not a heroic transfer to the Oriskany. Got shot down, then idolized to the point, nobody would reconviene to get him under oath and on the record.
    One can easily forgive error in panic John, but Running Away from your responsibility, that’s just not heroic in anybody’s mind. I for one resent it and bear many, many, unhealed mental scar’s and images to this day.

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By A. Z. Arrow, October 18, 2008 at 6:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


McCain has his tantrums, and several revealing numinous moments as a Napoleonic-like psycho case.
The following clip is offered as proof: it demonstrates one such tirade of a would-be tyrant—we know he is a liar—and this conduct definitely disqualifies “Johnny boy” as a potential President of the UNITED States:


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By Dave Dollarhide, October 18, 2008 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


I was in sick bay until we docked at Subic Bay, but my roommate was keeping me in the loop until I was taken to the hospital there.  I rejoined the squadron a month later, when they returned to Jacksonville. 

McCain had just been promoted to LCDR, which gave us an overkill of 13 LCDRs in the squadron.  For the most part, he was just another pilot. 

The day after the accident, McCain asked the CO of our squadron, CDR Fred Dunning if he could take leave.  It was granted…not really a big deal at all.  With 5,000 people aboard and no flight operations to be conducted, there was little to do for air wing personnel during the four weeks it took the ship to return to Jacksonville, then on to Norfolk.  There were others on the ship given leave also.

This was never an issue with anyone in the Navy and we didn’t think twice about it.

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By Leefeller, October 17, 2008 at 8:19 pm Link to this comment

David Dollarhide,

Never really thought McCain was the cause of the accident, but his actions just after seem questionably misplaced, leaving the ship especially not respectable. 

McCain was not the CO, so did he have permission to leave to go to Saigon?  Even if he did, I believe it very crass to leave your fellow mates, and not to be present for services, speaks volumes about his character. 

It is possible the truth is hidden and none of will ever know the facts.

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By Dave Dollarhide, October 17, 2008 at 5:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mary Hershberger’s article, Investigating John McCain’s Tragedy at Sea, is the most bogus twisting of the facts surrounding our terrible accident in 1967 to date.  My name is Dave Dollarhide and I was there.

Hershberger made contact with me recently and said she was just learning of the USS Forrestal fire and as a history professor was very interested in the facts.  After letting me talk about my personal experience as an A-4 pilot for a while, she began asking numerous questions about John McCain that I eventually realized were aimed at finding any inconsistencies in his story.  Our tragedy is not a place for political muckraking and I backed away from the conversation.

One theme from Hersberger’s article is that somehow, McCain contributed to the disaster by dropping one of his bombs to the flight deck. 

Imagine this.  A ten foot long rocket fires at supersonic speed into the four hundred gallon drop tank of the adjacent airplane twenty feet away.  There was an instantaneous fuel explosion strong enough to rock McCain’s airplane and mine.  Shrapnel ripped through deck personnel outside our airplanes and some flew under us hitting an A-4 in his drop tank a hundred feet or so forward of our position.  A chaotic conflagration followed.  After the fuel tank blast, McCain’s airplane was immediately surrounded by fire, which also rolled under my right wing. 

At this moment, does anyone really think he would take the time to reach over and with one hand hold a latching switch and the other hand pull the gear handle up to bypass the ground safety system that prevents inadvertent firing of weapons.  After that, he would need to arm the bomb’s station select switch, followed by turning on the master arm switch, then depress the bomb release button??????  Insane!  With the adrenalin flowing, we were just trying to get out of our cockpits and there is no way these things could have been done accidentally.  This all happened before the bombs started exploding.

Hershberger also says, “There was, in fact, a single bomb—not two—that dropped to the deck.”  She has no way of knowing that!  Neither do I and I was there, injured on the deck no more than fifty feet from the bomb in front of McCain’s airplane when it exploded. 

There were nine one thousand bombs that exploded on the deck and most of them probably dropped to the deck before detonating.  One explosion was behind McCain’s airplane and was very likely his second bomb to fall to the deck. 

The fire caused the small explosive charges (CAD) in each bomb rack to ignite, forcing the ejector foot of each rack to extend, pushing the bombs to the deck.  …no switches required here.  The same high temperature later caused the M-65 bombs to detonate.  Hershberger uses unnamed “persons familiar with the ordnance” in her assertion that only pilot action could have caused a bomb to drop from an airplane.  She has quoted people who are misinformed.

I have no doubt that McCain thought the rocket hit his airplane.  This all happened in a few seconds and there was mass confusion.  Most certainly, he did nothing to contribute to the tragedy.  Hershberger’s assertion is completely irresponsible.

Other facts in her account are also false.

Hershberger obviously has political motives in writing this article.  Her politics are no business of mine, but she claims to be a historian in talking about a tragedy where many suffered and died.  A true historian is dedicated to preserving events of the past as they occurred.  She has engaged in exactly what she accuses John McCain of doing and has twisted history to suit her needs.

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By Robert, October 14, 2008 at 4:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

His military records need to be released. He is hoping people are dead or too old to remember or care.  Was he a person who because of his clout of an admiral grandfather and father given special treatment when the regular person would have been kicked out of the naval academy and later military or tortured as a POW when he got special treatment instead? Did Henry Kissinger save the McCain family from disgrace cause the Vietnamese were going to release him “Little Prince” and not other POW.s?  What is the truth of his entire life and career?
We have a right to the truth. And if he has nothing to hide then why not release the records.

The republican’s put a lying smear campaign of hate and fear out there like they did with Bush for the people to swallow but we want the truth this time not the lies again.

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By Shenonymous, October 12, 2008 at 7:02 pm Link to this comment

Purple Girl, I hope you are right because the more facts about McCain the more he can be shown to be the counterfeit paladin he pretends to be.  But you have provided no references for any of your claims.  Where did you get your information?

Louise does just that.  Excellent information, with source reference.  It allows us to check it out for ouselves.

As usual such good and penetrating questions from Leefeller. Yayyyy!  Someone has to ask them!  Your clever creation of a separate breed, the tripartite me, myself, and I, is most believable.  Can we call that tribe the MMIs oh disgusting one? 

RightWing- Just for your information, and it might not mean a thing to you, but I’ve read every word of all your posts.  Aside from the fact that it is irrelevant to the topic of this post, the fact that 51% of the CBS News poll believe God created humans in their present form does not legitimately imply that the majority of the people also believe in creationism or intelligent design.  Biden was simply stating his belief about the majority of the people’s belief.  It doesn’t even matter if he was right about the number of people.  It was a bit of a clever and diverting discussion on Biden anyway and irrelevant to what is being bandied about on this forum.  Oh, I see, reading more of your posts, you are trying to misdirect the attention away from your hero with clay feet, McCain.  134 deaths is quite a nightmare to carry with a man for the rest of his life who went through what is claimed and yet walked away “without a scratch”.  Maybe seeking the presidency he thinks he would have the opportunity to blot it out?  But one should not speculate on what one might think.

jackpine savage I am grateful for your huge insight asking why McCain does not have any war cronies surrounding him or even standing on the platforms where he rallies? I think this is the biggest question generated on this forum.  One would think if he had acted heroic they would be flocking to his side.  What is wrong with this picture?

Anarcissie has a very interesting and credible narrative. 

Fenwick, you are surely Sherlock Holmes!  A AEI or Cato Jeckyl/Hyde theory is verrrryy interesting and convincing. 

This story does seem to be just one that give some blazing colorization to McCain but there are folks here I think are right, take note of his notforthwithcoming with his medical and military records, then move one’s energy on other pressing issues.

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By Kodos, October 10, 2008 at 3:02 pm Link to this comment

The big issue here isn’t who caused the accident. By McCain’s own admission he left the ship. It’s unbelievable that he had permission. That means he deserted during a war when his ship was in trouble. Any normal navy aviator or sailor would have been court marshaled. The penalty can be as severe as life in prison.

This would explain why no veterans of the USS Forestal are trotting up on the campaign stage to support him. And the same is true for his fellow POWs.

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By PatrickHenry, October 10, 2008 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment

By FENWICK, October 10 at 7:55 am #

Reich wing most likely drinks like the rest of us.

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By Arrow, October 10, 2008 at 10:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


McCain has his tantrums, and several revealing numinous moments as a Napoleonic-like psycho case.

The following clip is offered as proof: it demonstrates one such tirade of a would-be tyrant—we know he is a liar—and this conduct definitely disqualifies “Johnny boy” as a potential President of the UNITED States:


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By RightWing, October 10, 2008 at 8:37 am Link to this comment

Fenwick that was funny, are you from Lowell?

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By Leefeller, October 10, 2008 at 8:23 am Link to this comment

McCain has shown the moral turpitude of a cockroach,  very acceptable in politics.  Telling tall tails such as lies in McCain’s case takes a back seat to his lap dog vice president.  I know Bush is quite the liar, we but we need refinement in the category.

McCain is a hero and a Maverick, okay “so”.

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By truthseeker4all, October 9, 2008 at 10:06 pm Link to this comment

It’s clear that McCain has a long history of taking big risks.  I could live with that if it could be written off as youthful spirit, but in the past few weeks he’s shown that Risk is his middle name.  Given the tightrope the next President will be walking with Russia, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela, etc., the last thing we need is to give a “maverick” access to the big red button.  He can stay in the Senate as far as I’m concerned—he actually had a shot at winning until he started doing extremely stupid things.

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By PatrickHenry, October 9, 2008 at 6:18 pm Link to this comment

Johns Dad, Admiral McCain, covered up not only his sons (Songbird McCain) mistakes but covered up the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty.

The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.

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By tolstoy, October 9, 2008 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment

Too many questions, even if we accept his version of the Forrestal his actions right now confirm the erratic nature of his entire career. He has run away and tried to compensate in various ways, desperate to be a hero. He’s not suitable to be a president of the kids’ junk pile. A combination of Capt. Queeg and Richard Nixon, worse than Bush.

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By tolstoy, October 9, 2008 at 5:28 pm Link to this comment

Even if we give him his version there’s no doubt the more we learn about McCain the more unsuitable he becomes as president. We can humanize him and relate and maybe admire him also but then we’re left with the rest—today it’s a 05 rage he had in a casino including screaming at the table “Don’t you know who I am?!” Try a combo Cpt.Queeg and Richard Nixon. McCain is worse than Bush.

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By Barry R. Nicholson, October 9, 2008 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

RightWing, thanks again for the “heads up”.

Your admission that “The inquiry to this accident was just completed about 8 years ago, yes a very long time.”  That is nearly 34 years AFTER the incident occurred! That should raise a red flag to any reader with a critical mind especially as McCain had risen to become a serious contender for the Republican presidency at the time of this investigation.

Now whether the Zuni rocket pins are inserted in the rear or nose 002.jpg does not preclude your answering my question “how in the hell could the protective pins inserted in the rear [nose]of each Zuni rocket be blown out by the wind and onto the ships deck (which the investigator said had been reported to happen more than once previously because these pins were found all over the ships deck! I seriously question this happening even in a hurricane, don’t you? Just what kind of weapons designers and manufacturers does America have? I have always observed we have the finest haven’t you? This is bull shit!

Third, if these pins were known to blow out onto the deck by the wind, then don’t you think the ships weapons co-ordination board would have been aware of this and NOT allowed pigtails to be inserted early or are our best in the world trained naval personnel just a bunch of morons and overlook these things or do not report them to their superiors? Bull shit!

As I stated before I find it astonishing that all three errors would and supposedly did occur to set the Zuni rocket off accidentally starting with the alleged meeting when the “ship’s weapons co-ordination board met to discuss the men’s concerns a month before the fire [where] it ruled that flight crews could ignore Navy protocol on connecting the ‘pigtails.’ From now on they could plug them in not when the planes were on the catapult facing out to sea, but when they were on the rear deck facing each other. The ruling was never made official, but the crew began to act on it straight away.” Really???

Regarding the “rogue” power surge that is THEORIZED to have allegedly caused an electrical charge to fire off the Zuni rocket and your comparison of it to TWA Flight 800 blowing up and crashing into the Atlantic should raise a RED FLAG to any reader who has the least bit of knowledge about the latter’s investigation that this was just that, a theory, and suggested probable cause. However, eyewitness reports certainly suggested other probable causes, but with the suppression of evidence and the actual outright deception that we all know so well has occurred in the history of this country beginning with the Battleship Maine, Pearl Harbor, Gulf of Tonkin, the Liberty incident, Oklahoma City Murrah Federal Building, and now the events of 9/11/2001 one must look a little closer at the motives and methods of the belated Forrestal Fire Investigation and how it arrived at its conclusions.

Like I said previously, there should be an investigation of the investigation.



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By ocjim, October 9, 2008 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

The lie about this incident certainly is not the first lie told by McCain nor does it show the depths of his recklessness and disdain for others.

An LA Time article last Sunday indicated how reckless, inattentive to details, and how much of a risk-taker John McCain was in his naval career, so his current campaign shenanigans should not come as a surprise.
The first involved the loss of a plane in Galveston Bay through his inattention to altitude. In a later autobiography, McCain falsely claimed engine failure.

A serious “clowning around” incident occurred over southern Spain in 1961 when he flew into electrical wires, causing a blackout. He landed on the aircraft carrier Intrepid with several feet of electrical wiring wrapped around his plane.

McCain’s third crash involved a T-2 trainer jet in Virginia. A 1966 navy report could not corroborate McCain’s claim of an engine explosion and cited several other McCain errors in judgment and procedure.

His naval career was decades ago, but recent actions tend to support his tendency to take risks and to grandstand, but now, as the potential American President, his mishaps could negatively impact billions on our planet.

Since retaining Steve Schmidt, a Karl Rove protégé, to right his faltering campaign, McCain has been risk-taker, Obama-attacker, and grandstander, all rolled into one. Add to that a disturbing practice of distorting the truth for McCain’s own purpose and we are beyond a moral maverick. America needs integrity, peace, honesty and stability. Unwary voters with McCain-Palin could get more war, more instability, more division and more fear, in other words, many more Bush moments.

The selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate, the lying about the McCain-Palin ticket’s exploits, the lies about Barack Obama, and the trip to Washington to solve the financial crisis – all are razzle-dazzle attempts to gain headlines and votes.

A majority of Americans say that Sarah Palin is not fit to be president while the actuarial risk of her succeeding John McCain is like one in six when considering his age alone, but perhaps one in four when you add his health risks.

Even beyond the shadow of his aviator days, John McCain is perfectly willing to take us along his journey of recklessness, daring and risk-taking. With 3 of 4 shakes of the dice, we’ll get a cynical risk-taker who seems to be doing anything to promote himself.

But one shake might mean we lose with the snake eyes of a female Bush Mini-Me, Sarah Palin.

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By Big B, October 9, 2008 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

While all this banter back and forth about Mccain’s military record is somewhat interesting, it doesn’t change the fact that people won’t not vote for ‘ol Johnny because he may have an embellished military record. They are not going to vote for him for old fashioned political reasons, he’s a liar, a cheat, and a thief! He has been very lucky that the same old dimmos that blew the last two elections are still trying to blow this one, because if they had hired a Lee Atwater desciple the airwaves would be filled every night with pictures of Mac’s ex-wife, Charles Keating, and Johnny shaking hands with W.
And the gap in the poles would be 20%(despite Barry’s “blackness”)
I am not a fan of Barry. But at least he has worked for everything he has, unlike Johnny, who has Forest Gumped his way through life on the reputation of his more accompliced father and his rich second wife.
McCain is a leftover, the worst kind of old cold war scum. He is a filthy beast of a bygone era. An era that left the US bereft of moral standing in the world, and financially bankrupt.
My Wife told me yesterday why she could not possibly vote for McCain(and she is somewhat conservative) She reminded me that McCain could have saved us from Bush debacle if he would have only stood up and fought for himself after the sleazy campaign dealings of the Bushies in South Carolina. She said if he won’t fight for himself, how can she trust him to fight for us.
Not only is my wife still a stunning brunette, she is still very insightful as well.

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By Leefeller, October 9, 2008 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment

And now a word from a disgusting individual

For me all the deaths in Vietnam and Iraq are disgusting, all the deaths, not just our solders and theirs, lets make sure we are including all civilians, killed and maimed in mindless wars, this is beyond disgusting and you say that “ I am “a disgusting individual” , thank you Linda S, I will consider that a complement coming from you. 

War is a commodity I find most disgusting, waving a flag while pretending to be self righteous and calling someone a terrorist is disgusting. Lying while doing all of these is most disgusting.  We need only look at Washington politics to see ongoing disgusting practices every day.

Though I am flattered you place me the company of our most disgusting fearless leaders, I prefer to stay in the most disgusting individual category.  There is little desire on my part to become company of the disgusting elite, please know their is a difference.

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By RightWing, October 9, 2008 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

Donald from the Islands, good to see an Obama supporter with a clear mind.  Barry , very good research, but trial by fire was made as a training film only, to show new recruits what happens when fire fighting rules are not followed. Every rule on the flight deck was written in blood. The inquiry to this accident was just completed about 8 years ago, yes a very long time. The safety pins are at the nose of the missile and along the mer/ter rack, the nose safety is just a cap with a long red streamer, the wind across the deck on average is about 25 to 40 knots constantly, unless sitting dead in the water.The safety pins on the zumi’s were removed to expedite the launch sequence from the cats. By not having to run around the aircraft and pull these pins , the launch crew saves time, a few seconds at most, but on the flight deck people live and die by the second.Electrical engineering was not your strong point, as made clear by you assumption that an errant spark could not travel to the zumi, oh so naive, remember a few short years ago the 747 that fell into the Atlantic off the coast of N.Y. an errant spark in the fuel tank.Armed aircraft are always placed a certain way on aircraft carriers, this is not the only aircraft carrier to subject to bombs going off and planes shooting each other and sailors dying, it just happened to be the one McCain was on. those A4s you say were ready for takeoff, you are wrong, they were preflighting, if they were in final ready they would be behind the jet blast deflector, not parked on the side. The f4would have shot a missile at a bird on the waist cat. cat 3 or 4. If that bird had launched it would have hit the next bird in line. the missile did hit a sailor in the shoulder though, which could have caused a deflection. Your theories are way off..find out who lit the Enterprise on fire

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By Greg Gardner, October 9, 2008 at 8:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What purpose is this informating really serving? I’ve yet to read a response that justifies this information newsworthy. 

PS - Spraying to all whinners, move on, and move forward.

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By mystic, October 8, 2008 at 10:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am in no position to judge, but what bothers me most is that McCain has not authorised the release of both his military AND medical records.This makes one assume that whatever he has got to hide is not complimentary to his position on the respective issues, tantamount to lying. He could clear this up with release of his records and has chosen not to do so.

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By truthseeker4all, October 8, 2008 at 8:41 pm Link to this comment

Thanks for the video links.  I watched a couple—very interesting.

You’re right that the article is for the most part useless (I’m not saying it’s unfounded, I simply have no way to really know).  It’s useless because it’s not going to influence anyone’s vote at this point.

McCain is losing votes because of his behavior during the past 6 weeks, not because of allegations about what he did or didn’t do 4 decades ago.

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By Barry R. Nicholson, October 8, 2008 at 5:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


Thank you for the “heads up” link on YouTube titled Forrestal Disaster (Aircraft Carrier Explosion). I viewed all five of the segments Forrestal Disaster (Aircraft Carrier Explosion) and I was left with even more questions.

I won’t go into a complete de-bunking of this investigation as I neither have the time, money, or requisite professional knowledge to do so. But there are a few astonishing and questionable revelations that the investigator Radm. Massey came to during his probe.

First, I find it astonishing that all three errors would and supposedly did occur to set the Zuni rocket off accidentaally starting with the alleged meeeting when the “ship’s weapons co-ordination board met to discuss the men’s concerns a month before the fire [where] it ruled that flight crews could ignore Navy protocol on connecting the ‘pigtails.’ From now on they could plug them in not when the planes were on the catapult facing out to sea, but when they were on the rear deck facng each other. The ruling was never made official, but the crew began to act on it straight away.” Really???

Neatly inserted are video frames of a tape recorder as if the investigator had a recording of the meeting of the ships weapons co-ordination board and its unofficial ruling. Just what were the crews “concerns” being discussed and why would this dangerous procedure be adopted and just how much more efficient and effective would this new procedure be anyway. I require a lot more information here as I hope you would including the tapes! Until then, this is bull shit!

Secondly, how in the hell could the protective pins inserted in the rear of each Zuni rocket be blown out by the wind and onto the ships deck (which the investigator said had been reported to happen more than once previously because these pins were found all over the ships deck! I seriously question this happening even in a hurricane, don’t you? Just what kind of weapons designers and manufacturers does America have? I have always observed we have the finest haven’t you? This is bull shit!

Third, if these pins were known to blow out onto the deck by the wind, then don’t you think the
ships weapons co-ordination board would have been aware of this and NOT allowed pigtails to be inserted early or are our best in the world trained naval personnel just a bunch of morons and overlook these things or do not report them to their superiors? Bull shit!

Fourth, according to the official conspiracy theory, when the F-4 Phantom II switched over from external power to internal power a “rogue” power surge occurred that just happened to send an electrical current to the Zuni rocket that just happened to have its protective pin blown out by the wind that day and unintentionally fired because the new unofficial and I would add unjustifiable and criminally reckless procedure of plugging in the pigtail while the planes rockets were pointing directly at the other planes across the flight deck had been carried out. BULL Shit!!!!

There ought to be an investigation of the investigation!

Note also in the OFFICIAL TRAINING FILM “Trial By Fire: A Carrier Burns” that the United States Navy requires all of its flight deck training personnel to view that there is conveniently inserted a video clip of a jet plane firing a missle across the deck of an aircraft carrier while the planes wings are folded leading one to believe this is an actual archive video of the F-4 Phantom II that acccidentally fired its Zuni rocket to cause the fire on the Forrestal! except for the fact that this jet is firing its rocket ito the open ocean, the Forrestal’s A-4’s were reading for take off with their wings down, and there is NO archive video of this actual event happening on the Forrestal!

I would suggest we go back to the port side of the Forrestal and concentrate on the area underneath the three (3) A-4’s (one of which was McCains) where the fire started and look for the cause of the fire there.

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By Donald from Hawaii, October 8, 2008 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Let me state up front that (a) I support Barack Obama, and (b) I lost my father in the Vietnam War.

That said, while there are a lot of things for which I take issue with John McCain, his service in Vietnam certainly isn’t one of them.

Obviously, McCain—who very could well have lost his life in the Forrestal tragedy—has his own unique personal perspective on what happened that day, and I’ll not dispute what he remembers about the accident.  Certainly, the extraordinarily close proximity of that missile’s errant path could well have left him with the understandable impression that his own A-4E aircraft had also been struck along with the jet just in front of him.

The Vietnam War’s been over for 33 years. Let’s move on, please. It serves no good purpose to dredge up this unfortunate incident.

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By RightWing, October 8, 2008 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment

I guess Mary and the truthdig staff didnt do much research on this story, no unamed sources here.

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By RightWing, October 8, 2008 at 11:43 am Link to this comment  A couple of his shipmatesbacking him up.

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By RightWing, October 8, 2008 at 11:41 am Link to this comment, watch the little 5 min video, actual footage from the plat camera, then tell me how anyone is going to have their head about them in that mess. Even his highness(Obama) could not have helped out. There is an intire movie out there of this mishap.Hippy Pam it,s all about the soap.

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By RightWing, October 8, 2008 at 11:30 am Link to this comment

Kathy Kang,,, give me a break, If your here, you know who your voting for. Truth seeker all of his records were released, 5400 page blvd, St. Louise Mo.
In the official report he was brought in to give a statement, his injuries though minor were treated, as a fighter pilot during Vietnam, and still on up status, he was sent to another squadren to fly, the Navy was hurting for A4 drivers, so they were transfered at random. Amonth or two after this he was flying over Vietnam. Trust me If your dad is the President, you fuck up an aircraft carrier, he wont save you.

This is from the 1967 report right after the fire
James M. Caiella has written a scholarly article about the disaster, which appeared in the Fall 2003 issue of Foundation magazine, a publication of the National Naval Aviation Museum, located in Pensacola, Fla. Caiella, who is now associate editor of Proceedings and Naval History magazines, published by the U.S. Naval Institute in Annapolis, generously shared with us copies of some key documents which he obtained from the Navy under the Freedom of Information Act. They include a typed transcript of the sworn testimony that McCain gave less than two weeks after the disaster, on Aug. 5, 1967, and also a written statement he submitted prior to his testimony, describing the first moments of the disaster:

McCain, 1967 statement: I heard a loud explosion and immediate fire all around the airplane . . . Smoke and flame were around the cockpit so I unstrapped . . . and unplugged my oxygen hose, keeping my visor down. I looked to the aft of the airplane and saw nothing but flame and I could see burning fuel in front and around the airplane but it did not look too bad to the forward. I opened the canopy and walked out on the refueling probe and jumped from the end of it, landing just on the edge of the fire and rolled clear..

McCain said that he rushed to help another pilot who had gotten out of his plane and had jumped into the flames and rolled clear, but was still on fire.

McCain, 1967 statement: I started running over towards him and I was near a group of men with a fire hose. As I was about 10 feet from him the first bomb exploded and blew me back about 15 feet. I sat up and saw a lot of bodies near me (some who had been on the hose) and I ran and jumped over the starboard cat walk [under the flight deck].

That first bomb explosion was 90 seconds into the fire. Soon it ignited other bombs and other missiles. Later, on the hangar deck below the main flight deck, McCain said he and another officer, along with “a lot of fine enlisted men,” pushed several bomb carts overboard to keep them away from flaming fuel that was curling down from above. He later “noticed that I had a hole below my left knee with some metal in it, and two small shrapnel cuts in my thigh and shoulder.”

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By Anarcissie, October 8, 2008 at 11:17 am Link to this comment


Are you suggesting this article is like swiftboating?

It does seem like that sort of thing.  The way it actually worked on me was to make him seem like a more sympathetic character, however flawed and conflicted.  McCain amid the flames, wondering if he wanted to keep dropping the stuff on the Vietnamese.  Decides to do it.  Shot down, lands among his victims and is put into a cage.  Redeems his previous ambiguities by refusing early repatriation.  Years later, after earning a certain amount of respect for his cranky ways, he disgraces himself by descending to slander in a political campaign.  He embodies our imperial tragedies.  But we must move on….

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By Android, October 8, 2008 at 9:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s between him and his God. Beyond speaking to an embellished & grandized military career as legacy of 2 Admirals, has absolutely nothing to do with his capacity to serve as President. I do not support McCain, but I truly detest the attention that these “Character Issue” & “Values” detract from real issues and the candidates’ solutions. Less fluff, more truth please.

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By truthseeker4all, October 8, 2008 at 9:00 am Link to this comment

In all of your comments above [that I read], I didn’t see you contradict the report that McCain left the deck for safety while his comrades stayed to help.  In your version, did he stay on the ship, or fly to Saigon as reported?  Was he injured during the accident?  Since injuries are what make a survival story interesting, why didn’t the NYT journalist write about it when the tragedy was first reported by him?  Why, in your mind, hasn’t McCain been willing to release his records?

In McCain’s own words just six weeks ago, he was shot down because he flew deeper into enemy territory than he was supposed to.  So, by self admission he didn’t follow orders that day.

I have no problem acknowledging that McCain is a war hero.  After all, he got in a plane many times knowing that others would try to kill him.  Of course, every veteran of war is a hero in my book.  However, based on what has been reported, on at least one day when other heros were fighting a fire and saving comrades, McCain was a coward, and choose self preservation over duty to country and fellow comrades.

I have three problems with discrediting this article:
1. the author seems to a respectable journalist and historian, and if she wrote this as a partisan, she would endanger her own legacy as a historian

2. I don’t understand why he isn’t flanked by fellow war heros in support and testament to his character

3. If the outstanding allegations are without merit, McCain can put out the fire (oh, I forgot, that’s not his job) by simply releasing his military records.

I have no problem with releasing all dirt on all politicians, but in McCain’s case it is particularly important because he exploits these experiences to define himself for political gain.

p.s. I was leaning toward McCain until he selected Palin as a running mate, so I’m not against him or the GOP per se.

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By Fahrenheit 451, October 8, 2008 at 8:29 am Link to this comment

@ kathy kang;

Wow, you should start a blog.  You have spoken to the heart of the issue.  Well said; bravo!  Thank you!

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By Leefeller, October 8, 2008 at 7:45 am Link to this comment

McCain the hero Maverick, did not stick around for the services of his ship mates, most normal humans would have wanted to support their crew, by hook or by crook, normally a crew is very close for they can die together.  I suggests McCain is a loner who like a solipsist, believes he exists in the world by himself, his life shows a very strong pattern of promoting me, myself and I.  Of course he is not alone in that regard, one only need look at the Whitehouse today.

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By kathy kang, October 8, 2008 at 7:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks for the article that got us thinking. I’m a 60 year-old proud naturalized American who always believed in American Dream and have fulfilled that dream,believing in hard work with integrity and paying back to society. My long-held respect for McCain as a true hero has been disappearing gradually as I watch his disgraceful conducts during this campaign,past few weeks in particular. As an undecided voter I’m very saddened to admit that I no longer know what he really is—-he certainly does not deserves to be called Maverick or Hero; his pattern of disingenuous behaviors have lead me to conclude that he is NOT a man of true genuine integrity. I feel very torn and lost,yet quite thankful that I have seen the True Color of McCain before he is placed in the White House with his propped up attack dog,Palin,who is being used for the sole purpose of smearing his opponent by throwing anything at him,hoping something may stick.Sadly we may never know the real truth behind the incident on the fateful day in Vietnam,but as sad and bewildered as I feel, I am comforted by the fact that one person on earth knows the whole truth,deep in his heart and has to carry the truth to his grave in the end—-that person is John McCain.

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By RightWing, October 8, 2008 at 7:32 am Link to this comment

and if McCain did embellish his story, we really need to look back at Biden and Obamas books, Oh I forgot Dems are so honest, they would never liven up a story.
When Joe Biden claimed at a Democratic debate last year that he had been “shot at” while visiting Baghdad’s Green Zone, the press didn’t bother to check it out.
Biden claimed in 2006 that he chided President Bush in a private conversation.

“When I speak to the president,” he told Bill Maher on HBO, “I’ll literally turn to the president and say, ‘Mister President, how can you say that, knowing you don’t know the facts?’”


“He said, ‘I have good instincts, “I said, ‘Mr. President, your instincts aren’t good enough.’”


His Democratic audience cheered appreciatively, but a close Bush confidante told FOX News on Saturday: “That conversation never happened.”


On the same show, Biden claimed to have once told a colleague: “Were we not senators, I’d rip your goddamn Adam’s apple out.”


Although he did not name the other senator, Biden’s graphic imagery caused some to wonder about his temperament.


Biden also used unusually strong language to ridicule those who believe in creationism or intelligent design.


“I refuse to believe the majority of people believe this malarkey!” the senior senator from Delaware exclaimed.


But less than six months earlier, CBS News conducted a poll that found a majority of Americans (51 percent) do believe that God created humans in their present form. Even larger majorities reject the theory of evolution, according to the poll.


a reporter asked Biden whether his dismissal of a belief held dear by most Americans might come back to haunt him if his White House bid gained traction.


With characteristic bluntness, Biden shrugged and said yes.

Thomas Lifson
It is terrible to lose family members to a traffic accident. But why on earth would a United States Senator fabricate an embellishment and claim that it was a drunk driver’s fault, when the record clearly indicates it was not?

Delaware Online reports:
Since his vice presidential nomination, Joe Biden’s 2007 statement that a “guy who allegedly ... drank his lunch” and drove the truck that struck and killed his first wife and daughter has gained national media traction.

Alcohol didn’t play a role in the 1972 crash, investigators found. But as recently as last week, the syndicated TV show Inside Edition aired a clip from 2001 of Biden describing the accident to an audience at the University of Delaware and saying the truck driver “stopped to drink instead of drive.”

The senator’s statements don’t jibe with news and law enforcement reports from the time, which cleared driver Curtis C. Dunn, who died in 1999, of wrongdoing.

“To see it coming from [Biden’s] mouth, I just burst into tears,” Dunn’s daughter, Glasgow resident Pamela Hamill, 44, said Wednesday. “My dad was always there for us. Now we feel like we should be there for him because he’s not here to defend himself.”

Biden has embellished his supposed “working class” origins in Scranton, PA, when in fact his father was successful sales professional for substantial companies, and he attended a very expensive private school.

Is this an attempt to exploit the death of his first wife for political gain? The thought is sickening. Even if Biden was inititially misinformed, he and his campaign have allowed a lie to propagate throughout the media. The news report above mentions:

“...since Barack Obama tapped Biden to be his running mate on Aug. 23, The New York Times, National Public Radio and The Economist have run stories that characterized Dunn as a drunken driver.”


But now that he has been catapulted into contention by virtue of being selected as Barack Obama’s running mate, Biden and such bullet-dodging tales may be subjected to a level of scrutiny that tripped up Hillary Clinton when she falsely claimed to have come under sniper fire in Bosnia.

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By RightWing, October 8, 2008 at 6:45 am Link to this comment

No “Wet Start”

A special note is in order here. We have seen some baseless claims that McCain was somehow responsible for the Forrestal disaster. One incorrect but widely quoted theory has him triggering the Zuni missile with the exhaust of his own plane by “wet-starting” – deliberately dumping fuel into the afterburner before starting in order to shoot a large flame from the tail of the aircraft. This is a preposterous notion. For one thing, A-4 jets flew at subsonic speeds and were not equipped with afterburners. According to the Military Analysis Network site maintained by the Federation of American Scientists, the A-4 was powered by a “Single, Pratt & Whitney, J-52-P-408A non-afterburning, turbojet engine.” The manufacturer’s description of the aircraft also describes the powerplant as “One 11,187-pound-thrust P&W;J52-P408 engine,” with no mention of an afterburner.

And while pilots tell us that a “wet start” is possible even without an afterburner, the theory fails for another reason. The tail of McCain’s plane was pointed over the side of the carrier and away from other planes at the time, and the F4 Phantom fighter that fired the missile was facing McCain’s plane from the opposite side of the deck, as shown in Caiella’s diagram, in other diagrams, and in Navy film of the fire.

This bogus theory appears to have gotten its start from a report by New York Times reporter R. W. Apple. Jr, who reported on July 31, 1967 – two days after the fire – that the Forrestal’s captain, John K. Beling, believed an “extreme wet start” had created “a thick tongue of flame” that set off the Zuni. Beling did not identify McCain’s plane as the source, however, and said only that the aircraft was “parked near the carrier’s island,” which would have put it far forward and on the opposite side of the flight deck from where McCain’s plane was getting ready to launch. Not usually noted by the conspiracy theorists is that Capt. Beling “repeatedly said that he had been unable fully to sort out the conflicting reports” that circulated on the 5,000-man vessel in the hours after the fire, according to Apple, who also called the wet-start theory “tentative.” In any case, Beling’s early theory was soon dismissed by Navy investigators, who found that the Zuni had been touched off by a stray electrical charge, not by a jet exhaust. Author Freeman summarizes the findings succinctly in in “Sailors to the End

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By RightWing, October 8, 2008 at 6:43 am Link to this comment

Here you go barry, A4s have always carryied 1000lb bombs, so your rockcreak press is wrong, againlike rolling stone wrong.

The variety of payload the A4 Skyhawk carried evolved dramatically as new systems were developed to meet the increasing challenges of air to air and air to ground combat. In its long lifespan as a low level fighter/attack aircraft, the A4 could boast capabilities needed to match almost any conceivable circumstance.

The following list is by no means exhaustive. It is drawn exclusively from long personal ordnance experience with this aircraft (referred to as “birds”, in the Marine aviation environment), and represents the most common ordnance payloads associated with it in tactical mission situations.


Mk 80 Series GP/HE (General Purpose High Explosive) Bombs.

Mk 81 - 250 lb
Mk 82 - 500 lb
Mk 83 - 1000 lb
Mk 84 - 2000 lb
Bombs may be configured for a variety of mission requirements from retarded (low altitude high drag) release, to conical (high altitude low drag) release. May be fused for instantaneous or subsurface burst, proximity, or long time delay burst.

Get the story correct, seems like the rcp got its story from a nyt article,, strange isnt it.

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By RightWing, October 8, 2008 at 6:23 am Link to this comment

First , your quoting from rolling stone,really reputable. Second, Barry if he had a plane behind him, it would have been in the water,60 feet below, yes he had planes beside him not behind him.The zumi was shot from the right side of the ship looking forward, yes caused by an electrical short because a safety pin was removed.Louise you need to stop and look at all the evidence, the housing mess was caused by the dimmies trying to buy votes from the poor, sure we will make sure you can get a house, but you got to vote us in first. check out the Barney (the man eater) files, and Meeks and the imperial Obama. look the up they are out there, If I put up the link, you wont look at it, because you are already brainwashed, If you have to work for it ,you might watch it. Bye the way Hmmm wonder what happened to Cyrena. and Hippy Pam try some soap.

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By hippy pam, October 8, 2008 at 6:06 am Link to this comment

mcshame BROKE UNDER PRESSURE in NAM…While MY FRIENDS DIED FOR THEIR BELIEFS AND WERE TRUE TO THEIR COUNTRY AND FLAG…..HE GAVE IN…....Wrote letters and confessions….He is a coward and quitter-NOT A HERO-..........

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By Fahrenheit 451, October 8, 2008 at 5:42 am Link to this comment

@ jackpine savage;

You said, “Hero my ass; he’s a craven little man.”

Well put, I agree.

From what I’ve been able to find out; John McCain has been a rolling disaster all of his life.  For those that haven’t seen the video about “The Keating Five”; well, here is a link;

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By jackpine savage, October 8, 2008 at 5:04 am Link to this comment

We’ll never know the truth of McCain’s service, mostly because the Senator wants it to be that way. And there must be a reason for that, no?

What makes me wonder the most about his “war hero” persona in running for president is that he has not surrounded himself with fellow POWs and old Navy pilots. Fred Thompson relates stories at the GOP convention, but where are his brothers in arms?

Did anyone take early release? Moreover, not taking early release did not stop McCain from issuing a propaganda statement broadcast to American troops. And after just four days as a POW, McCain (by his own admission) offered to give military information in exchange for medical treatment.

Never mind that he hugged the chief Vietnamese interrogator on the floor of the Senate, or that Gen Oleg Kalugin (KGB, ret and now a DoS consultant) entered into the Congressional record, under oath, that the KGB did interrogate US POWs and that a “high ranking navel officer” agreed to work for the KGB.

Hero my ass; he’s a craven little man.

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By Barry R. Nicholson, October 7, 2008 at 9:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I suggest you read another version of the Forrestal fire “Navy Releases McCain’s Records”
that explains what triggered the “electrical short” that triggered the Zuni rocket to be fired in the first place. Maybe someone should sue Wayne Madsen for liable and slander so we can have a legal “discovery” of the events. Note how the McCain campaign committee tries to spin this story with the video of the disaster and fails to reveal his “wet starting” that caused the plane behind him to mis-fire a missle.

Also view

McCain and the Forrestal fire

USS Forrestal Mishap July 29, 1967

John McCain escapes Forrestal explosion

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By Marnie, October 7, 2008 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you for this article.
McCain really is a Bush clone.
Coward, runner away from danger, AWOL but could do that because of daddy’s apron strings, jet plain crasher, liar, hero wanna be, daddy user, alcoholic, used daddy to have access to one of the best educational institutions in the country, but blowing-off-the-opportunity, a hider in holes, McCain below deck, Bush on 9/11 hiding underground, Bush as NO died was in an underground bunker, both watched history happen on the boob tube.

Both have spent their adulthood trying to prove their manhood and superiority and both have not only failed utterly, but have caused great harm to others and to this nation.  They are both an international embarrassment to this nation.

That a military Commander would leave his subordinates to die trying to save their fellow crew men and to not be a part of the crew’s efforts to save their ship (the fire got below decks and spread and burned for several days.  In a ship filled with munitions and jet fuel anyone who stayed on board risked being blown to bits.) is about the most disgusting thing that could be said about a military officer.

Bobby Hurd a member of my Sunday School class was a nurse on the Forrestal.  He, and may others on the Forrestal became a men that day.  McCain became a yellow bellied capon, and wants to become the next Commander-in-Cheep.

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By Louise, October 7, 2008 at 7:32 pm Link to this comment


Thanks for your response, which seems to indicate you think I said what was said in my last post.

Actually my last post was a series of quotes from:

Retired Colonel John Arthur Dramesi, chief war planner for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and commander of a wing of the Strategic Air Command. A POW in Vietnam at the same time McCain was, he took the torture and never cooperated.

Retired Colonel Larry Wilkerson, U.S. Army. Wilkerson joined General Colin L. Powell in March 1989 at the U.S. Army’s Forces Command in Atlanta Georgia as his Deputy Executive Officer. He followed the General to his next position as Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, serving as his special assistant.

Former Republican Senator, Lincoln Chafee, who had a long working association with McCain back before McCain lusted for the presidency. Last year Chafee left the republican party and became an independent. And now is campaigning for Obama. He made news last month when he described Palin as a “cocky wacko.” Unrepentent, he refuses to apologise. [Good for him!]

Retired Brigadier General John H. Johns. One of 49 retired military leaders who signed a letter urging Congress to reject a provision of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that would redefine Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions so as to downgrade the Conventions’ standards for humane treatment. A bill that McCain supported.

And a few more observations from others:

“Then there’s torture — the issue most related to McCain’s own experience as a POW. In 2005, in a highly public fight, McCain battled the president to stop the torture of enemy combatants, winning a victory to require military personnel to abide by the Army Field Manual when interrogating prisoners. But barely a year later, as he prepared to launch his presidential campaign, McCain cut a deal with the White House that allows the Bush administration to imprison detainees indefinitely and to flout the Geneva Conventions’ prohibitions against torture.”

“- the most revealing of McCain’s flip-flops was his promise, made at the beginning of the year, that he would “raise the level of political dialogue in America.” McCain pledged he would “treat my opponents with respect and demand that they treat me with respect.” Instead, McCain has turned the campaign into a torrent of debasing negativity.”

“Throughout the campaign this year, McCain has tried to make the contest about honor and character. His own writing: “Always telling the truth in a political campaign is a great test of character.” He adds: “Patriotism that only serves and never risks one’s self-interest isn’t patriotism at all. It’s selfishness. That’s a lesson worth relearning from time to time. It appears the candidate himself could stand to relearn.”

Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism czar under Bush: “I’m sure John McCain loves his country. But loving your country and lying to the American people are apparently not inconsistent in his view.”

Rita Hauser, on the Bush Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board from 2001 to 2004:
“- ambition is John McCain’s basic character. Seen in the sweep of his seven-decade personal history, his pandering to the right is consistent with the only constant in his life: doing what’s best for himself. To put the matter squarely: John McCain is his own special interest.”

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By Louise, October 7, 2008 at 7:30 pm Link to this comment


And finally, RIGHTWING, and this is me. I just listened to McCain repeat what Obama had just said about controlling spending in Washington DC then, audaciously claim the statement as his own, then state he is the only one with a record of fighting for reform! Then turn around and BLAME Obama for the problems, like the folks in that audience are too STUPID to know McCains a republican who’s been there supporting Bush policy from day one! Holy crap! He just compared Obama to Hubert Hoover! The guy is a raving lunatic! [And he LOVES war!]

Oh my gosh! What is it with you rightwingers? Do you LIKE being targeted as STUPID and unable to REMEMBER ANYTHING for more than a day or two?

I mean seriously ... that’s what McCain thinks of you!

What is it with you rightwingers?

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By mendez, October 7, 2008 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment

All these years I just thought McCain was well short, ya know, the runt of the litter so to speak.  I had never suspected that he actually had mastered walking around on his knees though.  What a guy.

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By Leefeller, October 7, 2008 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment


Appricate your response, you may want to read the article in Rolling Stone, from what I understand any POW who accepted the early out, had to denounce his country or some other propaganda items requested by the Viet Cong, so McCain did not do anything special in his position.  He suffered but so did many others. We just have different definitions of what makes a hero.  It does not matter to me who calls him a hero, he is not one, nor a Maverick.

Prefer not to dwell on McCain’s story telling abilities, respect your earlier request let his yarns rest in peace, we can never prove anything anyway, one way or the other. Hero, sticks in me craw.

You should read the Rolling Stones article on Maverick McCain.

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By Hammo, October 7, 2008 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment

Our country and military have opportunities to improve and correct the directions we have been going for several years.

I am not sure that McCain would provide the necessary leadership for either our country as a whole or our military.

Food for thought in the article:

Transcendent warfare: New Army manual, research report are valuable

Joint Recon Study Group
Oct. 6, 2008

Two new documents by and about the U.S. Army are sparking discussion and debate about various elements of the Army’s missions and future directions.

Both documents, a field manual and a research study report, expand perspectives about achieving short-term and long-term success in various kinds of missions.

Taken together, along with other comprehensive considerations, these views might be considered part of an “outside-the-box” and valuable concept sometimes referred to as “transcendent warfare.”

The new Stability Operations Field Manual, to be released today according to an Oct. 5 Washington Post article, emphasizes the role of “stability operations” in countries and regions that include fragile states and failed states.

Another new document is a report by the Rand Corporation based on a study they conducted for the Army Environmental Policy Institute (AEPI). The report is titled “Green Warriors: Army Environmental Considerations for Contingency Operations from Planning Through Post-Conflict.”

Article continues at:

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By Arrow, October 7, 2008 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Right wing:

In the USS Forrestal fire Mc Cain was not injured. He fled for his life to the Oriskany
and because the Capt. thought it best for his safety. The brass order the obligatory investigation, in part, as a PR cover because of this father’s status, and thus failed to give duen attention to “Johnny” role. It was not a good day for the surviving members of the crew. And many were pissed-off at McCain for his backfire prank. Pleas go to the Vietnam Memorial web site that I posted below. Or do you own search.

Important: for an additional account of your hero’s character please be sure to read the article by TIM Dickinson.


What About the ‘Wet Start” (Backfirie)?


>Vietnam Memorial Wall: The Virtual Wall - USS FORRESTAL CVA-59 29 July 1967
When placed in commission on 01 October 1955, USS FORRESTAL was the first ... The third round of detonations cleared the deck of men and fire-fighting gear, ...

>Please turn on your sound system for this reference:

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By Frank, October 7, 2008 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller, I for one have never head McCain call himself a war hero. His supporters may say so, and they are welcome to that opinion. He has a right to talk about his service and how it he feels it has affected his personal character.

Two things set him apart in my mind from many who served there. He was not drafted, he volunteered for service. As a POW, having already been tortured, he refused an out-of-sequence early repatriation to the US which the North Vietnamese offered him once they realized he was the son of a high-ranking US Admiral.  He had a chance to ‘cut in line’ in front of other prisoners and get released to the US early, and he refused, saying he would only allow it if all of the other prisoners would be released with him. That adherence to his sworn code of conduct in deference to his fellow prisoners is,  in my mind, a heroic thing.

That doesn’t mean I want him in the white house, but I have tremendous respect for his conduct there.

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By JFoster2k, October 7, 2008 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment

It’s not surprising that McCain’s account of the events slant in his favor. Quibbling over the unprovable details gets us nowhere. The more important issues revolve around what kind of man John McCain really is. While McCain’s responsibility for the tragedy may be an unanswerable question, what we know for certain is that he left the ship and his crewmates immediately following the disaster and without permission. At best, this act displays very poor judgement, and at worst, cowardess.

In light of the opinions of him as expressed by some of his former crewmates and fellow politicians, his “maverick” nature seems more like “desperation” or “recklessness”. Neither of which are good qualities for a president who will have to deal with an economic melt-down and a middle east that hates us.

On the topic of military service, I’ve often wondered why it is so important that our President have service experience. As I understand it, in military training, soldiers are conditioned to be killers. Why does that make someone a good leader?

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By Leefeller, October 7, 2008 at 1:16 pm Link to this comment


You are correct in your comment and I support it,  except McCain is not a war hero true or otherwise.  600 plus other POW’s are not running for president and calling them selves such and how many other dead and wounded?

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By Frank, October 7, 2008 at 1:07 pm Link to this comment

John McCain is a true war hero if there is such a thing, and suffered horrendously as a prisoner of war.  I say respect that leave the story alone. It is not going to get him into the white house and talking about it only distracts form the issues that McCain are weakest in. He’s clueless on economics, and his foreign policy sounds just like Bush.  That’s all the voters need to think about.

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By RightWing, October 7, 2008 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment

By leaving the ship Leefella, might have meant he was transfreed to another ship or a command, you must hve been in the Army,If you are injured you leave the ship. the injured were sent to the Hospital Ship

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By Arrow, October 7, 2008 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


I guess you missed my point. So,

Further in the recent issue of Rolling Stone, “Make-Believe Maverick,” Tim Dickinson, writes:

“The damage to the USS Forrestal was far more grievous: The explosion set off a chain reaction of bombs, creating a devastating inferno that would kill 134 of the carrier’s 5,000-man crew, injure 161 and threaten to sink the ship”

Because McCain’s dad was the Admiral in charge of Vietnam war operations the brass attempted to blame the fire on the dead Phantom pilot, but with so many of the USS Forrestal’s crew as direct witnesses, the investigation could not be white washed. The investigation was left bureaucratically “inconclusive.” This “FIRE” should have ended John McCain’s Navy career. His incompetence as a flier led instead to him being captured by the North Vietnamese. He should never have surrendered nor have made those statements against his country. In his the first debate with Obama the excuse Mc Cain offered is, as he says, “I broke down.” This is a lame excuse. So, being a prisoner of war does not automatically translate into being a “Hero” –or, in the case of John McCain, a self proclaimed hero.


An accident, in part,  perhaps? But it also needs to be acknowledged that the “FIRE” on the USS FORRESTAL was (and is) essentially a symptom of McCain’s lack of seriousness: of his ongoing failure to assume personal responsibility for his acts.  Beyond that, it can be argued that the fire and cover-up is certainly characteristic of his BAD JUDGEMENT.



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By Big B, October 7, 2008 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment

Noun, verb, “I was a POW and war hero!”

            John McCain

Did this schmuck go to the Guliani school for politics? Of course, he shares many attributes with Rudy, the fact that he has never been able to keep his dick in his pants, and is a compulsive liar(but those two often walk hand in hand).

This may seem insulting to some, but the fact is that not all solders, policemen and firemen, are Hero’s! That is a myth perpetuated by the current administration in order to pull the wool over the average americans eyes while the national treasury is fleeced for the military industrial complex and all the other bushie benefactors. While dumptrucks filled with money are driven away from the treasury, we the people are calling for more meaningless memorials, and assigning the overused term “hero” to people who are just doing their jobs. Jobs they chose to do.

Just because you were a POW does not make you a hero.

All I need to know about John McCain is that his wives can’t trust him. His constituants can’t trust him. His business partners can’t trust him. Why should I?

Barry may not be perfect, but who do you want in the white house in the next four potentially challenging years, An inexperienced but thoughtful Barry, or a old school cold war reactionary, with a bad temper and loads of bagage that could make him the political equivilent to a eunich George Bush?

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By Leefeller, October 7, 2008 at 12:36 pm Link to this comment

Having been in the service, I find it extraordinary McCain could leave the ship, without permission?  Even if he did have permission, something is not right in his head, so in his mind, he calls it being a Maverick, someone who abandons his mates? Boy, this sounds like Bush showing up for duty only when he felt like it, these guy are sick. 

Yes,  McCain is quite the hero, he should be huddled in a cave with Osmama near the gates of hell.

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By RightWing, October 7, 2008 at 11:27 am Link to this comment

Arrow you need to use the entire quote from the wiki not a pick and choose.  The safety pins are still intact until he taxies to the cat, then the weapons people remove the pins, so he could not have dropped those bombs from inside the cockpit.  More bullshit from Mary…Some of those who were on the Forrestal and other persons familiar with the ordnance told me that because the rocket did not hit McCain’s craft, only actions by the pilot could have caused any bomb to fall from McCain’s Skyhawk. These sources—who spoke under the condition that they not be publicly identified—are in agreement that, if any bomb fell from the McCain airplane, it was because of actions that he took either in error or panic upon seeing the fire on the deck or in his hasty exit from the plane. Two switches in the cockpit of a Skyhawk need to be thrown to drop such a bomb, according to the sources.

Also false, McCain was injured from jumping from the nose of the SkyHawk, almost all of the sailors up on the deck that day had no firefighting experience, because of that fire, all carrier sailors now attend firefighting school in Norfolk Va.

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By RightWing, October 7, 2008 at 11:06 am Link to this comment

Read the last para. two 1000 pound lbs knocked loose by the zumi’s About 10:50 (local time) on the 29th, while preparations for the second strike of the day were being made near 19°9′5″N 107°23′5″E / 19.15139, 107.38472,[3] an unguided 5-inch Mk-32 “Zuni” rocket, one of four contained in a LAU-10 underwing rocket pod mounted on a F-4 Phantom II, was accidentally fired due to an electrical power surge during the switch from external power to internal power.

A drawing of the stern of Forrestal showing the spotting of aircraft at the time. Likely source of the Zuni was F-4 No. 110. White’s and McCain’s aircraft are in the right hand circle.The rocket flew across the flight deck, striking a wing-mounted external fuel tank on a A-4 Skyhawk awaiting launch[3], either aircraft No. 405, piloted by LCDR Fred D. White[1], or No. 416, piloted by future U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate, LCDR John McCain.[4] The warhead’s safety mechanism prevented it from detonating, but the impact tore the tank off the wing and ignited the resulting spray of escaping JP-5 fuel, causing an instantaneous conflagration. Other external fuel tanks overheated and ruptured, releasing more jet fuel to feed the flames which spread along the flight deck, leaving pilots in their aircraft with the options of being incinerated in their cockpits or running through the flames to escape. LCDR Fred D. White, waiting to launch in Aircraft No. 405, leaped out of his burning Skyhawk but was killed instantly (along with many firefighters) by the cooking off of the first bomb. LCDR Herbert A. Hope of VA-46 (and operations officer of CVW-17) jumped out of the cockpit of his Skyhawk between explosions, rolled off the flight deck and into the starboard man-overboard net. Making his way down below to the hangar deck, he took command of a firefighting team. “The port quarter of the flight deck where I was”, he recalled, “is no longer there.”[3] With his aircraft surrounded by flames, McCain escaped by climbing out of the cockpit, walking down the nose and jumping off the refueling probe.

The impact of the Zuni dislodged two of the 1,000 lb (450 kg) bombs, which lay in the burning fuel. The fire teams chief, Gerald Farrier (without benefit of protective clothing) immediately smothered the bombs with a PKP fire extinguisher in an effort to knock down the fuel fire long enough to allow the pilots to escape. According to their training, the fire team normally had almost three minutes to reduce the temperature of the bombs to a safe level, but the chief did not realize the “Comp. B” bombs were already critically close to cooking-off until one split open. The chief, knowing a lethal explosion was imminent, shouted for the fire team to withdraw but the bomb exploded seconds later - only one and a half minutes after the start of the fire.

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By RightWing, October 7, 2008 at 11:01 am Link to this comment

Louise, The plane that fired the first zumi was parked on the aft starboard side just over the arresting gear retraction station, the zumi fired because some college puke officers wanted to shave time off the launch sequence, by leaving off one safety pin, they would save a couple of seconds at best when pulled up to the catapult. McCain’s A4d skyhawk was parked on the port side 2spots down from the rear port elevator. the aircraft next to McCain was hit by the first zumi, which was being armed and fueled, its rockets cooked off and shot toward the bow at some other aircraft which were loaded and fueled, they in turn cooked their rockets and they fired back hitting around McCain’s plane, while his aircraft was on fire he climbed onto the nose and jumped off,and was carried off the flight deck by the corpsman and to the triage station. Now how far is the left willing to go on this one, there is 10 hours of film and 20 years of investigation as to why this happened, and it wasn’t John McCain.

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By Arrow, October 7, 2008 at 10:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

According to some contemporary reports McCain “wet started his Skyhawk engine:

“‘Wet starting” was “a common practice among young ‘hot-dog’ pilots.”

Zuni Rockets Were Volatile Design

“In McCain’s case, the ‘wet-start’ ‘cooked off’  launched the M34 Zuni rocket from the
rear F-4 that punctured the Skyhawk’s fuel tank, knocked the M-65 1000 lb bomb off it’s
500 lb rated mount, and touched off the explosions and massive fire.”

“When the carrier Oriskany came along side[the USS Forrestal] McCain was put in a chopper and whisked away. McCain was the only Forrestal crewman to be immediately transferred to the USS Oriskany. . . I have a hunch McCain left for his own safety because the crew wanted blood.”

Further,n a recent issue of Rolling Stone ,“Make-Believe Maverick,”  Tim Dickinson, writes:

“The damage to the USS Forrestal was far more grievous: The explosion set off a chain reaction of bombs, creating a devastating inferno that would kill 134 of the carrier’s 5,000-man crew, injure 161 and threaten to sink the ship”

Because McCain’s dad was the Admiral in charge of Vietnam war operation the brass attempted to blame the fire on the dead Phantom pilot, but with so many of the USS Forrestal’s crew as direct witnesses, the investigation. So the investigation was left bureaucratically “inconclusive.”

This “FIRE” should have ended John McCain’s Navy career.  His incompetence as a flier lead instead to him being captured by the North Vietnamese. He should never have surrendered, or made those statement against his country. His excuse is, as he said in the first “debate’ with Obama, is “I broke down.” A lame excuse. Being a prisoner of war does not automatically translate into being a “Hero”—or in the case of John McCain a self-proclaimed hero.


An accident, yes, but only in part. —The “FIRE” on the USS FORRESTAL essentially demonstrates a lack of seriousness and a failure to assume personal responsibility for one’s acts. And certainly, extremely BAD JUDGEMENT.


Some other reliable sources:

1967 USS Forrestal fire - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

On 29 July 1967, an unusual electrical anomaly caused a fire aboard the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal (CV-59) which was conducting c 196…_Forrestal_fire

Vietnam Memorial Wall: The Virtual Wall - USS FORRESTAL CVA-59 29 July 1967

When placed in commission on 01 October 1955, USS FORRESTAL was the first ... The third round of detonations cleared the deck of men and fire-fighting gear, ...

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By yellowbird2525, October 7, 2008 at 10:37 am Link to this comment

in my opinion what this country needs to do & fast is to get rid of all the politicians; they are bought & paid for & nothing ever nor will it be done without bribing someone. the people & the planet suffer & more wars are waged to FORCE people in other places to HAVE to do what the wealthy here want them to do backed by the might of the Army. Go read the “history” from the HAWAIANS point of view of how THERE country & THEIR land & THEIR culture was destroyed & they are STILL fighting to get it back; under the great wealthy forcing everyone to do THEIR will; and the STUPIDITY of a country SO GULLIBLE that it BELIEVES the political pablum that “it is for the greater good”; for WHOM? only the wealthy’s pocketbook; NOT for the people of THIS nation who have NOTHING compared to Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Australia, & many many many MORE. Our Gov likes to SAY look at RUSSIA; well, lets NOT. Let’s look at every other nation that has the SAME freedoms or MORE so: and wonder why the people of this country are so BANKRUPT, NAKED, & have NOTHING. Of course McCain is nothing but a big fat liar; ALL of them are. ANY Pres NOT doing what the fat cats WANT him to do, is killed or not going to be President. They will get a “puppet” in to do their bidding.

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By Leefeller, October 7, 2008 at 10:27 am Link to this comment


Looking at the truth with blinders on must be very hard on you.  Science has found people like you cannot help yourself, for you are born that way, very much like gay people are born the way they are.

Political vision requires taking your head out from where the sun doesn’t shine, your tunnel vision may be genetic, no matter, rest assured, you are not really seeing from a tunnel. 

Why don’t you discuss issues?  Maybe tell us why McCain Palin are the better candidates? Why your candidates never lie? How McCain is such a spokesperson for regulation?  You must have some reason behind your spewing or is science correct,  it really is just in your genes supporting your comfort zone?

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By Leefeller, October 7, 2008 at 10:00 am Link to this comment

McCain and company try every way they can to make Ayres sound like Osama bin Laden, as if Ayres never got caught and paid his due to society and is still on the run paling around with Obama?  This is very much like Palin call them a witch doctor, attacker approach. 

Prove me wrong, did Ayres get to walk like Scooter? Now if people like Scooter Libby paid their dues I would feel he was vindicated, far as I am concerned he is a criminal and much more like Osama bin Laden than Ayres.

Rule of law be damned, McCain by selecting Independent Alaska Palin, lives in a glass house.  In the past the Dems, have ignored the trashing and lies, only to loose the election.  Obama is smart to fight back, but with the truth please, we know their is plenty of truths to Trash Palin with, McCain has been living on empty for a long time now.

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By Louise, October 7, 2008 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

This has already been referenced, but needs repeating.

John McCain, The Make-Believe Maverick.

“I’m going to the Middle East,” Dramesi says. “Turkey, Kuwait, Lebanon, Iran.”

“Why are you going to the Middle East?” McCain asks, dismissively.

“It’s a place we’re probably going to have some problems,” Dramesi says.

“Why? Where are you going to, John?”

“Oh, I’m going to Rio.”

“What the hell are you going to Rio for?”

McCain, a married father of three, shrugs.

“I got a better chance of getting laid.”

Dramesi, who went on to serve as chief war planner for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and commander of a wing of the Strategic Air Command, was not surprised. “McCain says his life changed while he was in Vietnam, and he is now a different man,” Dramesi says today. “But he’s still the undisciplined, spoiled brat that he was when he went in.”


“Let’s face it,” says Larry Wilkerson, a retired Army colonel who served as chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell. “John McCain made his reputation on the fact that he doesn’t bend his principles for politics. That’s just not true.”


“John has made a pact with the devil,” says Lincoln Chafee, the former GOP senator, who has been appalled at his one-time colleague’s readiness to sacrifice principle for power. Chafee and McCain were the only Republicans to vote against the Bush tax cuts. They locked arms in opposition to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. And they worked together in the “Gang of 14,” which blocked some of Bush’s worst judges from the federal bench.

“On all three — sadly, sadly, sadly — McCain has flip-flopped,” Chafee says. And forget all the “Country First” sloganeering, he adds. “McCain is putting himself first. He’s putting himself first in blinking neon lights.”


According to Dramesi, one of the few POWs who remained silent under years of torture, McCain tried to justify his behavior while they were still prisoners. “I had to tell them,” he insisted to Dramesi, “or I would have died in bed.”

Dramesi says he has no desire to dishonor McCain’s service, but he believes that celebrating the downed pilot’s behavior as heroic — “he wasn’t exceptional one way or the other” — has a corrosive effect on military discipline. “This business of my country before my life?” Dramesi says. “Well, he had that opportunity and failed miserably. If it really were country first, John McCain would probably be walking around without one or two arms or legs — or he’d be dead.”


The myth of John McCain hinges on two transformations — from pampered flyboy to selfless patriot, and from Keating crony to incorruptible reformer — that simply never happened. But there is one serious conversion that has taken root in McCain: his transformation from a cautious realist on foreign policy into a reckless cheerleader of neoconservatism.

“He’s going to be Bush on steroids,” says Johns, the retired brigadier general who has known McCain since their days at the National War College. “His hawkish views now are very dangerous.

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By psickmind fraud, October 7, 2008 at 9:49 am Link to this comment

Wing nut, if McCain would just let his military records be released, maybe some of this would be cleared up.  Gee, I wonder why he won’t? Ya think it’s a case of Bushitis?

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By Purple Girl, October 7, 2008 at 9:10 am Link to this comment

John McCain has Direct Ties to the current Economic meltdown via Wall Street Deregulation and Corp War Profiteering.
John continued to sell his office to Wall Street Gamblers..He keeps Two standing behind his shoulders(Phil Gramm & Rick Davis). Keating cost US what? An d How much is this New Bailout going to Ultimatley cost US?
John provided ‘leaks’ and ‘credentials’ to SELL the Iraq Invasion, and then the ‘Double Down’ Surge which feeds right back into Our National Debt about 10 Billion short a month!
Johns History and Own admissions to Recklessness go Well beyond ‘Hijinx’ they are Dangerous. John appears to have Gambled all his Life, but many times using others as ‘the Chip’ that could fall.
What Dick Cheney has done to our Rights and Freedoms, John MCain has done to our Safety & Security. When it comes to the Two Biggest Crisis’ our Nation is facing, John McCain is Smack Dab in the Middle of Both, And they are Interconnected!! throw in his Big LOVE for Big Oil and Volia! You have one of the Biggest Traitors to the Security and Future of this country.Banking, Oil, Military= The Miltiary Industrial Complex!!!!Same Shit CheneyCorp has been Pushing for Decades.
It appears Benedict McCain hide his true Coat long enough to confuse and Delude the electorate and the media- Lulling them to sleep with his bedtime Story.
It should Not be the Sole Respsonsiblity of a opposition campaign to INFORM the Public about FACTS Nor History, That is the Duty of the FREE PRESS!
PUT A DAMN BOW ON IT ALREADY!!!!Mac Is THE DIRTIEST and Most Complicite POLITICIAN to the Downfall of America next to Dick Cheney!
How much More Shit needs to be dropped before you are able locate all those ‘Chickens roosting’ On Mac’s Doorsteps????

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By Louise, October 7, 2008 at 8:07 am Link to this comment


Telling the truth is not “swiftboating.” Flat out lying is. Maybe we need to make the distinction.

Most of us have made mistakes, and done stupid things we regret. But most of us face the consequence instead of making up stories to alter the facts that make the history. Most of us would fear accountability enough to keep us from publishing altered reality in a book.

Clearly McCain has tried to re-write history. That wouldn’t make him a hero. That would make him someone who’s afraid of the truth. And lacking in good judgment. And using tragedies that hurt others far more than it hurt him for personal and political gain. That is reprehensible, so we need to dig deeper and find out for sure ... is this the truth? And if it is, the truth needs to be told.

If anyone, including RightWing wants to take exception, feel free to do so. But provide verifiable sources. Documentation other than McCains biased account needs to be presented. I for one would like to see that documentation, if it exists.

By the way RightWing, no one questions the reality of the rocket and the bombs. The real issue is what part McCain played in contributing to the accident, and his behavior after the accident. He appears to have left the deck, then the first aid station, when he could have been helping others. Then he left the carrier. Why? To avoid getting hurt, or to avoid accountability? Or both.

Meanwhile, it appears when McCain was young and dumb and pursuing his military career, he was a real “Got-to” sort of guy. Got to get Daddy to bail me out again.

Sound familiar? Yep, McCain is the perfect replacement for Bush!

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By RightWing, October 7, 2008 at 7:40 am Link to this comment

Dimmies are not smart enough to swift boat, In the actual video and investigation you can see bombs falling off planes and rockets shooting everywhere, so tell me how this is an embellishment, what about Obamas voting record, all embellished, Bidens shoot down story, Bidens saving of Bosnia, lets have the truthdig people just make shit up, are you guys getting desperate? lets take a look at the Ayers connection,sure is expanding, It,s not swift boating if it is the truth….......

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By Leefeller, October 7, 2008 at 7:37 am Link to this comment


Are you suggesting this article is like swiftboating?  Must admit this article does not sound like the one in Rolling Stone, were McCain seems more of a boorish spoiled brat very similar to Bush.  In the Rolling Stone article the rocket hit McCains jet?  You may want to check it out also.

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By Angellight, October 7, 2008 at 7:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sarah Palin: Palling Around With Secessionists (Video)!

There is a reason why McCain Adviser says that if we “talk about the Economy, we will lose!”  That is because they have no good ideas on the economy for the Middle Class.  Their ideas and solutions only benefit the rich, well-off and well-connected!

A Prayer for Barack…........Beautiful!

Five Myths of McCain (in Video)!
McCain Fudges HIs Navey Record
China Bush/McCainStyle:  “We have been taught to fear and despise China as a communist threat. Simultaneously, our political leaders and the media perpetually preach the benefits of capitalism. Meanwhile the most clear and present threat from China is their capitalism. Made in China is the most published modern phrase. By investing the proceeds of their national productivity they have become the kings of capitalism and are now the primary source of goods worldwide. It is not their pretended politics of communism that we should be concerned about. We already have that here. We have been outsourced, out produced and our intellectual property is infringed, duplicated and returned to our shores by the containership load.”  The Creditory System, Hari Heath

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By middle.american, October 7, 2008 at 6:55 am Link to this comment

Regardles of whether the story has changed over the years to add bravado to the McCain political namesake, or whether the names have changed, or whether he acted improperly…

Do not lower your political discourse to that of the sleazy, slimy, spinning, sacks of shit that are Republican pundits.

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