A tribute to Senator John McCain

Mohammad Amjad Hossain | Published: August 31, 2018 20:49:00

John McCain

When the United States of America is surviving without a ladder since President Donald Trump assumed presidency the departure from this materialistic world by Senator John McCain will create void in foreign relations in the USA. Senator John McCain expired on August 25. He was undergoing brain cancer. The departure of Senator John McCain marks the departure of an ardent American patriot who did not compromise on fundamental principles. This writer recollects that Senator McCain was critical vociferously against water boarding or any kind of torture against prisoners of war since John McCain himself was the subject to torture while he was a war prisoner in North Vietnam during Vietnam war where more than three million Vietnamese died. McCain's plane was shot down on a bombing raid over Hanoi. He was subject to torture during five years of imprisonment. As a result, McCain could not lift his arms high enough to comb his hair. American military involvement in Vietnam war lasted for ten years from 1965 to 1975.

Ironically, Senator McCain was an ardent supporter of President George Bush's war against Saddam Hussein of Iraq in 2003. A hawkish Republican Senator admitted war in Iraq was a mistake and says he shoulders part of the blame in his new memoir: The restless wave: Good times, just causes, Great fights and other appreciations. That shows his courage to admit wrong decision. Senator John McCain rose to Chair of Senate armed services committee from a prominent Republican on foreign affairs committee in 114 Congress who advocated strong American presence abroad.

Senator John McCain was critical of Russian Federation when President Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea Peninsula of Ukraine in 2014 without firing a shot and advocated to provide arms to Ukraine to defend its integrity from Russian aggression. Similarly, Senator McCain was critical of President Donald Trump when he congratulated President Vladimir Putin on his sham re-election. Senator McCain is on record saying, an American President does not lead the free world by congratulating a dictator on winning sham election. President Trump's meeting at Helsinki was described by Senator McCain as one of most disgraceful performances by an American President. He said the damage inflicted by President Trump's naivete, egatism, false equivalence and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate. Senator McCain gave slap in fact to cast his negative vote in July of 2017 to repeal affordable care act by President Trump which has become known as Obama care along with two other Republican Senators: Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski. McCain last bill in the Senate was related to Burma which is known as Burma Human Rights and Freedom act of 2018 submitted in 115 Congress while he cosponsored defending American security from Kremlin aggression act of 2018.

It is an irony that President Trump did not recognise Senator McCain as a "hero "for having been shot down during the Vietnam war. A monument was erected on the shores of Hanoi's lake where John McCain was captured.

During his presidential candidacy against President George Bush presidential candidate in 2000, Senator John McCain presented his adopted daughter from Dhaka orphanage to win heart and mind of Asian voters. Daughter Bridget was picked up by his wife Cindy McCain from Mother Teresa home at Dhaka old town when she was on a visit to Dhaka in 1991. Placing of Bangladesh daughter by Senator McCain at campaign trail backfired as a result of phony campaign by President George Bush to describe the black daughter as an illegitimate child of Senator McCain. He lost primary election. Similarly, Senator McCain lost presidential election against Senator Barack Obama in 2008. Here too Senator McCain placed her Bangladeshi daughter at the Republic National convention in Minnesota to speak.

In the Senate John McCain placed importance defending American security. In this context he was in favour of expansion of NATO while threatening towards China and Russia.

Senator John McCain expired on August 25 following stopping treatment for brain cancer. John McCain practically suffered for about a year from brain cancer. Incidentally, President Donald Trump revised his eulogy following strong protest and started flying national flag at half-staff in the White House from August 27.   President Trump issued proclamation after 48 hours or so by saying despite differences on policy and politics, I respect Senator John McCain's service to our country and in his honour have signed a proclamation to fly the flag of the USA at half-staff until the day of his interment.                

Living former Presidents of USA President Jimmy Carter, President Bill Clinton, President George Bush and President Barack Obama expressed deepest condolences for sudden demise of Senator John McCain.

Externally Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada called McCain an American patriot and hero. Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh in his condolence message said John McCain was a symbol of his generation who helped heal the wounds of war by pushing for diplomatic normalisation of the ties with Vietnam. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong dispatched a message to Mrs. Cindy McCain expressing deepest condolence adding that "he was a true hero. His strength in diversity, moral fortitude, and courageous acts of patriotic service to his country were model for us". German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised McCain as one of the great political figures of our time who was an indefatigable fighter for a strong trans-Atlantic alliance while Secretary-General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg said McCain was an Atlantics. Foreign Minister of Pakistan also sent a condolence message.

Senator John McCain will be buried on September 1 at the US Naval Academy premises in Annapolis of Maryland next to his close friend Admiral Chuck Larson in US Naval Academy cemetery who died in 2014.  Admiral Chuck Larson was his class mate at Naval Academy. President George Bush and President Barack Obama will make eulogy on Senator John McCain on his final journey from this earth.

Mohammad Amjad Hossain, retired diplomat from Bangladesh and former President of Toastmaster International club of America, writes from Virginia.


Share if you like