Palin' around with a terrorist
October 12, 2008
Sarah Palin is right to criticize Barak Obama for 'palling around with terrorists,' as she puts it. A smart politician would not hang around with people who have been connected to bombs that might have hurt civilians, even though the Weather Underground that Obama's buddy Bill Ayres helped found never targeted civilians. The only person they ever killed was one of their own in a fatal bomb making blunder in a Greenwich Village townhouse.

Of course, those bombs of the Weather Underground back in the late 1960s and early 1970s were a stupid but understandable response to the infinitely larger numbers of bombs that were dropped on purpose by John McCain and others into civilian neighborhoods and workplaces in Vietnam.

Indeed, McCain was shot down as he was bombing Hanoi, a city, not a military base nor a military supply line such as the Ho Chi Minh Trail. This was patently illegal then and it's illegal now. It's a war crime. It was a war crime when it was done by Japanese to Chinese and Mongolians, when it was done by Germans to the British, and in turn when we targeted civilians in Dresden, Hamburg, Cologne, Frankfort, Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki. At least, however, there was a justification for being at war with Germany and Japan. There was none for our war on Vietnam just as there is none now in Iraq.

We pretend that the rest of the world cannot tell that our bombs are just as terroristic as anyone else's. We pretend that they misinterpret any civilian deaths as somehow America's intent to kill people who are not armed. We pretend that John McCain wasn't a terrorist.

He was.

There was absolutely nothing noble about what McCain did to Vietnamese. He was one of the least likely to pay any price for his actions, bombing them into fireball oblivion from thousands of feet in the air. Were they not in possession of antiaircraft rockets they would have had no chance to defend themselves against the bombings of hospitals, civilian neighborhoods, and the infrastructure that kept their people alive.

Were the Vietnamese a threat to the U.S.? No. Were they a threat to a neighboring country? No. Did the UN decide that a military invasion was necessary to stop a genocide or other major human rights violation? No. The U.S. unilaterally decided to step in to seize a colony the French lost in 1954. The Vietnamese had every right in the world to defend their nation by any means at their command. The U.S., on the other hand, had neither the right to attack anyone in Vietnam, nor the right to attack civilians anywhere. The Vietnamese didn't always conduct themselves by the international rules of war, but the U.S. and John McCain clearly did not.

So let's not be quite so fast, Sarah. Check out the character and history of your pals. Your running mate murdered Vietnamese civilians. Neither Barak Obama nor even Bill Ayres, his pathetic 'pal', did.

Commentary by Tom H. Hastings,
Portland, OR

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