John McCain, Jonah by mattsteinglass
May 26, 2007, 12:08 pm
Filed under: United States, Vietnam, War

Has anybody ever remarked on the fact that, based on his flight and combat-zone record, John McCain seems to be under some kind of curse? He crashed at least two (some accounts say three) training aircraft while learning to fly in the Navy, once in Corpus Christi, once after running into some power lines in Italy. He deployed to Vietnam on the USS Forrestal in July, 1967; on July 29 the Forrestal suffered the worst fire in the history of naval aviation, killing 134 sailors, when a missile accidentally launched from the wing of an F-4 Phantom waiting on deck, striking an A-4 and igniting its fuel tank. Who was sitting in the cockpit of that A-4? John McCain! (He managed to scramble to safety before his plane’s fuel ignited.) Three weeks later, on his 23rd combat mission, he was shot down by a SAM over Hanoi. He broke his leg and shoulder during ejection; he lost consciousness after landing in the middle of Truc Bach Lake, and survived only because a local pulled him out. A crowd promptly commenced beating him with sticks. He was then held captive and tortured for 6 years.

Finally, in March, McCain returned to a combat zone some 40 years after his mission over Hanoi, taking a stroll through a Baghdad market. Having apparently learned his lesson, he wore a flak jacket (note correct spelling!) and was accompanied by a protective cordon of troops, armored vehicles, and attack helicopters. This time, McCain himself emerged unscathed. However, the day after he left, 20 retail workers in the market who’d had contact with the visit were executed by insurgents.

I mean, the rest of this stuff is just statistical, or perhaps evidence of not being a very good pilot, but the Forrestal thing is very, very weird. I’d been reading references to the Forrestal fire for years. It’s a landmark event in US naval history. And then, while clicking around today, I find that the guy who was sitting in the plane that got hit by that missile was John McCain — well, that is simply bizarre. We shouldn’t be voting on whether this guy should be President; we should be voting on whether to throw him overboard. The man is a goddamn Jonah. Everything he touches blows up.


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