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US Politics

The Man Who Never Was

In dealing with the economic, military and domestic challenges ahead, America needs a leader who can exercise sage judgement, show leadership and take people with him

Article Introduction

Deceit on a Grand Scale

‘The Man Who Never Was’ –  A book from 1954 by Ewen Montagu. It later became the 1956 World War II film based on the actual story of Operation ‘Mincemeat’, a 1943 British Naval Intelligence plan to deceive the Axis powers into thinking the Allied invasion of Sicily, would take place elsewhere.  

‘Mincemeat’ involved the acquisition of a human cadaver, dressing it as a fake ‘Major William Martin, R.M.’ and then putting it into the sea from a submarine near Huelva, Spain. Attached to the corpse was a brief-case containing fake letters and supposed copies of top secret documents suggesting that the Allied attack would be against Sardinia and Greece. When the body, as intended, was found washed up on a beach in Spain, pro-German Spaniards passed the papers to German Intelligence, who immediately rushed them to the German High Command. The British ruse was so successful, the Germans remained convinced Sardinia and Greece were still the intended objectives, weeks after the Allied landings in Sicily had begun.

A Noble Purpose

Truth often being stranger than fiction, 61 years later the true identity of the man whose corpse became the ficticious “Major Martin” was revealed and honoured in a ceremony conducted by the Royal Navy in Cyprus. Quote: “Friday’s memorial service took place on board the current HMS Dasher, a patrol boat, in waters around a British sovereign RAF base in Cyprus. Dennis Barnes, a spokesman for the British Forces in Cyprus, said: “This was undoubtedly the first tribute by the Royal Navy to John Melville, the man who never was.”

Lieutenant Commander Mark Hill, commanding officer of the naval squadron in Cyprus, told Mrs Mackay and others present: “In his incarnation as Major Martin, John Melville’s memory lives on in the film, The Man Who Never Was. But we are gathered here today to remember John Melville as a man who most certainly was.” Mrs Mackay, 64, told The Scotsman: “I feel very honoured if my father saved 30,000 Allied lives.” End quote.

A Presidential Endorsement

An excerpt from the Denver Post’s endorsement of Senator Barack Obama on 17th October 2008 reads as follows. “Republicans love to mock Obama’s history as a community organizer. But here was a man with no money to offer, no patronage to dispense, no way to punish his opponents. All he could do was to work with people from all walks of life, liberals and conservatives, business people and the unemployed, and bring them together in common cause for a better community. Could there really be better preparation to reunite a worried and divided America to again pursue our “more perfect union”? If Americans were only worried about foreign affairs, McCain’s stalwart service in the military and experience on the national stage would make him the more credible commander in chief. But our eyes have turned homeward and, in this hour, Obama has the eloquence and vision to bring us back together. As novelist Christopher Buckley said in endorsing Obama, the Illinois senator “has a first-rate intellect and a first-rate temperament.”

Another Mythical Man

In its endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for President, the Denver Post repeats the usual media myth that somehow John McCain, in matters of national security, would be more qualified in the role of Commander in Chief than Barack Obama. What nonsense. This  absolutely wrong assertion about McCain’s ability needs to be debunked once and for all. He is a mythical man. But he is no hero, as any of his fellow POW’s who suffered in the  same POW camp in Vietnam would attest.There were heroes among these men, and the men know them. McCain was not one of them.

The daring bluff and use of John Melville’s corpse by the British in ‘Operation Mincemeat’ was for the noble purpose of attempting to save the thousands of lives at risk with the planned landings. Their masterful deception worked. In John McCain’s case, being lauded as an American hero had more to do with politics and being the son of a respected Admiral, who was also a friend of the republican President, Richard Nixon. Other prisoners of war were not so feted as was McCain, and to a man, none of them exploited the trials of their capture, incarceration and torture as did John McCain. For 35 years the hero myth has been embellished by McCain and promulgated solely for his  personal aggrandisement and political gain. An ignoble purpose indeed. Hardly heroic.

Deceit for Personal Ambition

In a Rolling Stone set piece titled, “Make – Believe Maverick” Tim Dickinson on October 16th wrote. “At Fort McNair, an army base located along the Potomac River in the nation’s capital, a chance reunion takes place one day between two former POWs. It’s the spring of 1974, and Navy commander John Sidney McCain III has returned home from the experience in Hanoi that, according to legend, transformed him from a callow and reckless youth into a serious man of patriotism and purpose.

Walking along the grounds at Fort McNair, McCain runs into John Dramesi, an Air Force lieutenant colonel who was also imprisoned and tortured in Vietnam. McCain is studying at the National War College, a prestigious graduate program he had to pull strings with the Secretary of the Navy to get into. Dramesi is enrolled, on his own merit, at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in the building next door’.

There’s a distance between the two men that belies their shared experience in North Vietnam — call it an honor gap. Like many American POWs, McCain broke down under torture and offered a “confession” to his North Vietnamese captors. Dramesi, in contrast, attempted two daring escapes. For the second he was brutalized for a month with daily torture sessions that nearly killed him. His partner in the escape, Lt. Col. Ed Atterberry, didn’t survive the mistreatment. But Dramesi never said a disloyal word, and for his heroism was awarded two Air Force Crosses, one of the service’s highest distinctions. McCain would later hail him as “one of the toughest guys I’ve ever met.”

On the grounds between the two brick colleges, the chitchat between the scion of four-star admirals and the son of a prizefighter turns to their academic travels; both colleges sponsor a trip abroad for young officers to network with military and political leaders in a distant corner of the globe”. — “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 where 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.”

This is the story of the real John McCain, the one who has been hiding in plain sight. It is the story of a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather. — End of quote from the Rolling Stone article.

McCain as one the Keating Five – 3 min 36

Qualifications to be Commander in Chief

When interviewed about John McCain, retired US Air Force General and former NATO forces commander General Wesley Clark told Bob Scheiffer on CBS  “I don’t think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president.” Most people would agree with the General’s comments. However he could have covered himself by saying is “in itself” a qualification.” Words do matter.The McCain campaign responded by saying that Barack Obama wasn’t qualified to be President,due to his lack of military experience. They obviously do not understand the role of a Commander in Chief. The most important assets a President and Commander in Chief can bring to the Oval Office, are sage judgement, people skills and an even temperament. These are widely recognised as Obama strengths, and by his record, McCain weaknesses.

Military experience is down the list as a necessary qualification for the Presidency. Presidents have an abundance of military advisers from whom they can seek advice, but in the end it is the President who still has to make the decision. Military advice was available to George Bush but he still decided to wage war in Iraq. By exercising better judgement, an intelligent President could have avoided that disaster. John McCain supported the Bush decision – Barack Obama to his credit and displaying good judgement, did not. The current cost of the war in Iraq to date,is more than 4000 American lives lost, a monthly bill of approx $10 billion, with an overall progressive cost,in excess of $600 billion. Iraqi losses are in the tens of thousands and this includes innocent men, women and children. All because of poor presidential objectives and judgement. 

Judgement

The impulsive warmonger John McCain rushes to judgement, Barack Obama does not. People are beginning to understand, that unlike McCain, Obama weighs things carefully, he consults with experts, he asks quality questions, and then as his record shows, he usually makes a good decision. He acts like a modern leader. This builds confidence.

In dealing with the economic, military and domestic challenges ahead America needs a leader who can exercise sage judgement, show leadership and take the people with him.  Americans are aching to be able to trust and feel proud of their President again. Let me restate and remind you of those key and pertinent words about Obama in the Denver Post endorsement, to emphasise how well equipped he is to lead the United States in its greatest hour of need since the great depression of the 1930’s.

The Denver Post Excerpt

“Republicans love to mock Obama’s history as a community organizer. But here was a man with no money to offer, no patronage to dispense, no way to punish his opponents. All he could do was to work with people from all walks of life, liberals and conservatives, business people and the unemployed, and bring them together in common cause for a better community. Could there really be better preparation to reunite a worried and divided America to again pursue our “more perfect union”?

The McCain Anger – 3 mins 5 sec

Final Words

When presidential historians write of this campaign as the preamble to an historic Obama Presidency, one critical observation should feature front and centre. “That Barack Obama sought and won the Presidency by being”The Man he Always Is”- and that John McCain, by the myth he lived and profited by, will always be remembered, as “The Man who Never Was”.

Go Obama / Biden

Yes you can

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Discussion

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  1. Excellent thoughts.

    Posted by ConcernedMilf | October 21, 2008, 10:30 am