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Sen. John McCain, Republican War Hawk, Dead at 81

"US media worships, above all, US militarism. It's our civic religion."

Jon Queally

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) speaks during a taping of 'Meet the Press' at the NBC studios August 20, 2006 in Washington, DC. McCain spoke on various topics including the current situation with the war in Iraq. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images for Meet the Press)

Longtime U.S. Senator John McCain, the Republican from Arizona whose pro-war record includes aggressively pushing for the illegal invasion of Iraq by the United States in 2003, has died. He was 81.

While major news outlets broke into programming to bring viewers word of his death on Saturday evening, a few journalists like Tim Dickinson at Rolling Stone offered accounts of McCain's life that went beyond myopic hagiography.

Anti-war activists like CodePink's Medea Benjamin, who knew his policy record well and stood proudly against it, offered their condolences:

But journalist Jon Schwarz took note of the many millions of people in countries where McCain waged or advocated for war who had reasons not feel warm, fuzzy, or instinctively mournful by the news:

Meanwhile, media critics Nima Shirazi and Adam Johnson offered this pre-spin news brief—titled "Don't Let the Media Erase McCain's Far Right Legacy"—as a warning against the inevitable narrative that will dominate the coming days in which efforts to venerate the lawmaker will steadfastly ignore the sizeable and documented damage his political career left in his wake:

"McCain has passed," Shirazi and Johnson write. "Don't let the media forget the thousands of Arabs and Asians he helped displace, injure or kill. Their lives mattered too."

And in a separate tweet, Johnson recognized that it's "a reasonable human instinct to not want to say bad things about people who just passed," but added that "major historical figures aren't your friends' grandmother, they carry mountains of ideological baggage and sanctifying them is an inherently political act and it's childish to act otherwise."


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