HRW, which refused to oppose the US wars in Iraq and Yemen and supported intervention in Libya, lauded the neoconservative Arizona senator for his purported “defense of human rights” and “compassionate voice.”
In reality, John McCain used that voice to call for war nonstop.
On August 26, HRW published a shocking obituary for John McCain, claiming he “left behind a strong record of commitment to the bipartisan promotion and defense of human rights in the United States and abroad.”
"Senator McCain…was never shy about his commitment to basic rights & frequently confronted global leaders directly about their repression and abuse."
Sarah Margon, Washington director at Human Rights Watch, maintained, “Senator McCain was for decades a compassionate voice for US foreign and national security policy.” She added, “He was never shy about his commitment to basic rights and frequently confronted global leaders directly about their repression and abuse.”
The real McCain was an unabashed war hawk who staunchly supported the illegal invasion of Iraq. In March 2003 he declared, “When the people of Iraq are liberated, we will again have written another chapter in the glorious history of the United States of America.”
The real McCain voted to continue US support for Saudi Arabia’s murderous war on Yemen, which has unleashed the largest humanitarian catastrophe on Earth, pushing millions of impoverished civilians to the brink of famine.
The real McCain refused to apologize for calling Vietnamese people racial slurs. “I hate the gooks,” McCain insisted. “I will hate them as long as I live.”
The real McCain repeatedly said “Thank God for the Saudis,” applauding a hyper-authoritarian theocratic absolute monarchy that serves as a loyal US client state.
But HRW, which rarely fails to toe the US government line, maintained that “McCain and his staff championed a number of important human rights issues.”
“McCain worked tirelessly to help improve US foreign and national security policy to ensure it addressed both interests and values – a theme that very much guided his own approach to policy,” the hagiographic HRW obituary continued. “His support for human rights were central to his world view and an inspiration to many activists around the world.”
The only mild criticism HRW reserved for McCain was a lone throwaway line: “There were certainly times when McCain didn’t live up to his own aspirations.”
This is an extreme understatement.
McCain relentlessly advocated for war across the planet. In 2013, the liberal magazine Mother Jones (before it turned significantly to the right after the election of Donald Trump) created a map of the many countries where the unrepentant warmonger had called for US military intervention. These included, but were not limited to:
Aside from his hyper-hawkish foreign policy, McCain likewise supported the racist “war on drugs” and mandatory minimums. He additionally pushed for an end to affirmative action.
Yet upon his death, HRW Washington Director Sarah Margon took to Twitter to whitewash the war criminal, effusing, “The finality of John McCain’s death feels exceptionally tough for those of us who have fought for human decency & basic rights, along side & with him & his staff for so many years. Now we will do so in honor of his legacy. RIP.”
The finality of John McCain’s death feels exceptionally tough for those of us who have fought for human decency & basic rights, along side & with him & his staff for so many years. Now we will do so in honor of his legacy. RIP, @SenJohnMcCain.
HRW’s longtime executive director Kenneth Roth likewise had nothing but good words for McCain:
Sen. McCain will be remembered for his firm, principled opposition to torture, especially by Bush, a member of his own party: "It’s about us. It’s about who we were, who we are and who we aspire to be. It’s about how we represent ourselves to the world.” https://t.co/Z21L6TCwkUpic.twitter.com/OX8smQcqAA
McCain: “I know from…experience…the abuse of prisoners will produce more bad than good intelligence.”“Torture compromises that which most distinguishes us from our enemies, our belief that all people, even captured enemies, possess basic human rights.” https://t.co/E6wlgSL4dGpic.twitter.com/Kd6PUA8vud