Are Americans That Were Prisoners Of War Automatically Heros?

Discussion in 'Politics & Government' started by Lon Tanner, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. Lon Tanner

    Lon Tanner Very Well-Known Member
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    Not in my opinion. It does not fit most definitions of what constitutes a hero and in that regard I think Donald Trumps comment about John Mc Cain was spot on.
     
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  2. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    For those of us who don't know American politics very well ...can you enlighten us on Trumps comments about McCain ?
     
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  3. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    McCain has been a constant critic of Trump, both before and after the election. After dumping on him every chance he gets, he then falls back on his hero status for having been a prisoner of war after being shot down in North Vietnam. When criticized for having said something negative about McCain, given that he was a war hero, Trump said that he'd rather have people who didn't get captured. They fly their mission, come back, and are ready for another mission.
     
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  4. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    Thank you ken...I knew that McCain was a Trump critic , but I hadn't heard that statement...
     
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  5. Beatrice Taylor

    Beatrice Taylor Well-Known Member
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    I had to check the definition to be sure.

    I would have to say that John McCain fits the definition.

    He is certainly more of a hero than I am and he should be commended for his service to our country.

    he·ro
    ˈhirō/
    noun
    1. 1.
      a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.
      "a war hero"
      synonyms: brave person, brave man/woman, man/woman of courage, man/woman of the hour, lionheart, warrior, knight; More



    2. 2.
      NORTH AMERICAN
      another term for submarine sandwich.
     
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  6. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    OK! Here's my own problem with all this! In popular cultural dispersion of belief, the guy who shot up a public place is always considered a "coward". Always.

    The soldier who goes off under orders to kill others is a "hero". Small wonder there are "conscientious objectors", assuming their objection is morally-based, rather than cowardly-based. See, there's that word again. As I interpret this dilemma, if one person kills another, the one living is EITHER a coward, or hero, can't be both.
    Frank
     
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  7. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Very Well-Known Member
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    I think a hero is the person who does what is right, despite being afraid and in personal danger. Someone who kills another to save innocents lives would be a hero in my book. Someone who randomly kills others is NOT a hero. Someone who suffers for their beliefs can be considered a hero, but I have read such conflicting reports on John McCain that I don't know whether he is a hero or not. Some said he was captured and suffered torture at the hands of the NVA because he wouldn't betray his comrades. Others say he was injured when he was shot down, he made propaganda statements and betrayed those imprisoned with him, then when he was freed, his injuries were cast as evidence of torture and he was portrayed a hero to avoid embarrassing his father, who was CINCPAC at the time. "Little" John McCain's father and grandfather were both admirals, but "Little John" never made the grade.

    I don't know what is the truth.
     
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  8. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    In a strange sort of attempt to deny people who do bad things from having positive words attached to them, they began doing that a few years ago. They also label people who strap bombs to their chests and blow themselves up in public places as cowards. Well, they may be a lot of things, but I don't think that "coward" is an accurate descriptor.

    A hero is someone who is willing to make a significant sacrifice, or to take a serious risk, in order to do the right thing. Not all whistleblowers are heroes, but I think that some of them are. Motivation plays into it.
     
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  9. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Don Alaska
    That is why we cannot effectively concur, nor assess conclusions; an imponderable of sorts.
    Frank
     
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    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
  10. Thomas Stearn

    Thomas Stearn Active Member
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    As far as the situation in the US is concerned, I'll be reading your posts with interest.

    More generally speaking, I don't think that people mean the same thing whenever they use the word hero. I feel we have to acknowledge that "hero" is used in different contexts with slightly different meanings. Just think of that movie scene in Notting Hill when Emma Chambers said to her friend "You are my hero" just indicating that she wanted to encourage him to put a smart idea into practice immediately.

    That meaning of a "hero" differs from the one used when calling a war veteran a "hero". Yet, here again, war veterans are sometimes collectively called "our war heros" by the public using hero for any combatant without specific reference to what exactly he did that would qualify him as a "hero". Going by this idea of a war hero, even a Private doing his service at a support base remote from the front and never having had any contact with the enemy would then be the same war hero as would a Private of , say, the Navy SEALs distinguishing himself by having had very dangerous contact with the enemy and surviving fierce hand-to-hand combat several times before eventually becoming a POW.

    Interestingly, military leadership again show their (different) understanding of a hero by awarding respective medals and other distinctions only to some.

    So people have different ideas of the word hero. It all depends on one's personal viewpoint which, again, is formed by a number of factors. The exact meaning of the word "hero" changes when used in different contexts. There are even people who call soldiers murderers. At the other end of the spectrum there are people who refer to any combatant as a hero even if it was a war of extermination.

    The bottom line is, leaving the US aside for a moment, that I don't think that any combatant is automatically also a hero irrespective of what kind of war it was and what he did as a combatant. That does not mean, however, that I wouldn't have a lot of respect for anyone who serves his country in the armed forces in times of war. I think it was this respect for a war veteran that McCain calls for and which he deserves especially because he was a POW. It's a different thing, though, if that status is deliberately used hoping to attract more attention or trying to get an advantage in political affairs. Trump's statement that he'd rather have non-POWs is cynical.
     
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  11. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    Certainly, there are degrees of heroes. To answer the OP however, I don't believe that prisoners of war are automatically heroes. I can't think of his name but that yahoo who left his post in Afghanistan to go looking for the Taliban, and was then held by the Taliban for a couple of years, I don't think he was a hero. People died because of whatever the heck it was that was going on in his head.
     
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  12. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Veteran Member
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    My own personal interpretation of a Hero is one who, on his own volition, acts as a bridge from the chains of enslavement to freedom or from possible death to life. ( note the capital H)

    If a POW is found to be the greatest singular factor which gives the hope of life and freedom to the other captives, then he or she could be counted as a Hero. ( again, the capitalized H)
    If someone throws himself in harms way to save others, he or she is a Hero.
    If a doctor freely gives his talents and helps those who are sick and injured, he’s a Hero.
    If someone dies in battle, he has given all he can give and is a Hero among his living comrades who can be touted as hero’s because of their group effort to free someone else.

    The reason for the small and capitalized H: Although it isn’t written in any book, the capitalized H gives distinction to an individual compared to a grouping who may or may not be a willing participant.
    It’s possibly not according to any available definition but its simply my way of thinking and I certainly do not expect anyone else to share my feelings.
    All soldiers need a merit badge for being there, but those who go the extra mile deserve the trophy.
     
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