Senator John McCain is playing the POW card. He claims his experience qualifies him to be commander in chief and president. It also protects him from his enemies. The "Hero Pulpit" is high above the crowd and beyond reproach. If that's true, why are his records sealed and the subject taboo? And not just his military records here but the careful notes and logs made by his captors in Vietnam?
Here's a few things we DO know:
1. He graduated at the bottom of his class at the naval academy. Some reports state that he wouldn't have graduated at all if not for his father, the decorated admiral.
2. He crashed five planes.
3. He broke both his arms, not from abuse by Viet Cong but failing to hold them in when he ejected after being down.
4. He received special treatment in POW camps due to his father's position.
5. He gave military and other information to his captors in exchange for medical treatment not afforded other prisoners.
6. He made 32 propaganda films/tapes for the Viet Cong.
7. He was given access to dignitaries and international reporters.
8. He was kept away from other prisoners much of the time (which makes verification conveniently tough).
9. He was given the nickname "Songbird" because he so freely gave out information.
10. He snubbed the villager that saved his life after the crash, but maintained a life-long relationship with one of his captors.
11. He was not promoted after being released, which is often the case.
12. He went to great lengths to have his military and POW records sealed.
13. He also fought to seal the records of other MIA/POW's and prevent their families from investigating and trying to recover their loved ones.
14. He continues to hedge against benefits for GI's, even though he is the recipient of those benefits.
His whole campaign is based on his status as a war hero. But if he's really the hero he claims to be, why not release the records? Why change and embellish the few stories he likes to repeat? Why not help others who are still missing their soldiers in Vietnam after all these years? Why not speak out for better treatment of GI's and veterans? Why not talk about his experiences candidly and answer questions frankly instead of holding them up as a banner of unimpeachable glory?
Don't get me wrong. I don't question his patriotism. I think we owe a huge debt of gratitude to all our service men and women. They risk and often give their lives for us, while we sit comfortably at our computers and complain to each other about how hard life is. In that respect, John McCain is a hero, just like all the others who wear the uniform in harm's way.
But General Clark was right. In going over his list of experiences, I can't see how any of them qualify him to be president. They certainly don't prove him to be a great military tactician. If anything they point toward failure.
Is this the kind of president we want? One who hides behind the flag, whose only focus is war, and who gets his advice from the lobbyists who work to subvert our economy and our rights? I don't think so! It's time for John McCain to take his place on bingo night at the DAV lodge, where he can tell his stories any way he likes. We need a president who's up to the task of improving ethics on the hill and solving the terrible problems we face here, at home.
U.S. News and World Report, May 14, 1973 article written by former POW John McCain
http://iperceive.net; page 193-194, Faith of My Fathers by John McCain.
The Nightingale's Song
The Phoenix New Times March 25, 1999
New York Daily News, June 5, 1969
The interview with Dr. Fernando Barral, a Spanish psychiatrist, was published in the Havana Granma in January 1970.
March 25, 1999, The Phoenix New Times