Baseless McCain P.O.W. Smears Resurface

May 28th, 2010 at 3:55 am | 48 Comments |

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Arguably, the most interesting “human” story unfolding in the U.S. is the revival of an old canard that John McCain is not the heroic survivor of Vietnamese prison camps, but one who sold out his comrades.

Allegations are not new that he campaigned against investigations and disclosures that the U.S. abandoned missing prisoners at the end of the Vietnam War, but the reports had no traction and were largely ignored.

That they have arisen again, seems largely because McCain is in a serious fight to retain the Arizona Senate Seat that he’s held since 1986. The threat is not from a Democratic contender, but from the right — ultra-conservative J.D. Hayworth whom admirers describe as a “patriotic immigration reformer,” and critics call “one of the ten dumbest members of Congress.”

Hayworth is challenging for McCain’s Senate seat after losing his own seat in the House of Representatives. By all accounts, Hayworth is something of a blowhard, who put his wife on the government payroll when he was in office. A McCain campaign video has Hayworth saying America never “formally” declared war on Germany in WWII, juxta-positioned with a newsreel of President Roosevelt declaring war on Germany.

Leading the attack on McCain is the VDare.com website, run by Peter Brimelow, who argues: “Might MIA Issue Finally Finish McCain in Arizona?” Brimelow clearly hopes it does, mainly because McCain is seen as soft on immigration which Brimelow and others see as America’s greatest threat.

Brimelow says that McCain, in his bid to secure the Republican nomination, is in “a desperate primary battle” and has done “a much-derided, vertigo-inducing, 180-degree turn on illegal immigration (from Mexico) and the need for a border fence.”

The only chance Hayworth has of unseating McCain is if the present primary rules change. If Arizona drops its “open primaries” and rules that only registered party members can chose the Republican candidate, the aggressive, conservative Tea Party movement could well oust McCain for Hayworth.

If the present “open primary” prevails, independents will assure McCain of his seat, especially since native Americans — Hopi and Navajo Indians — solidly support him.

That a genuine American hero like McCain is once again suspect by rightwing sources, is disturbing to many. Ron Unz, publisher of The American Conservative is reprinted by VDare.com, opining that McCain’s “much-touted POW record will boomerang just like John Kerry’s Swift Boat service” (in the Vietnam War) eventually undermined Kerry’s claims of heroism.

Unz says “hundreds of American POWs had been condemned to death at enemy hands by top American leaders” after the Vietnam War because they’d be “a major political embarrassment” if brought home after decades of cover-ups.

McCain is accused of being part of the cover-up. This is also the theme of Sydney Schanberg, whose Killing Fields book about genocide in Cambodia won a Pulitzer Prize and was made into an Academy Award movie. Schanberg is described as “one of America’s foremost Vietnam War journalists” with unmatched credibility.

If missing POWs were abandoned after the war, it would constitute an “act of monumental treachery” and McCain’s participation in official denials would be unforgiveable. McCain’s reluctance to raise false hopes among relatives of the missing is dismissed as part of the cover-up. Some 591 POWs were released by Hanoi after the war – including McCain – while some 600 are unaccounted for.

McCain’s observation that there is “some evidence though no proof,” that Hanoi might have held back some POWs, is rejected by Schanberg: “No one could meet McCain’s standard of proof as long as he is leading a government crusade to keep the truth buried.”

By way of response, Schanberg has a dubious record as a reporter. As the only Western journalist in Cambodia after its collapse, he initially didn’t believe reports of Khmer Rouge genocide. “It is difficult to believe how their (Cambodian) lives could be anything but better with the Americans gone,” he wrote in the New York Times.

The Khmer Rouge killed some 2 million Cambodians – anyone educated, or who wore glasses, read books, etc. In the midst of massacres, one Schanberg story was headed “Indochina without Americans: for most a better life.” Noting that life in Cambodia might be “hard and inflexible” under Communism, he wrote that it would be “tendentious” to forecast that a communist government might implement genocide as a national policy. So much for Schanberg’s analytical acumen.

As for McCain betraying fellow ex-POWs, the most effective rebuttal is other ex-POWs. To a man, they admire his refusal to be released early because his father and grandfather were admirals. He was relentlessly tortured and abused.

By his own admission he “broke” under torture, and feels guilt to this day. For five years he remained resolute.

He’s also a man who puts country ahead of political ambitions- witness his support for the “surge” in Iraq when colleagues were urging capitulation. It is not those who endured what he endured who attack his integrity – but those who see political gain by undermining him.

Personally, I’d argue that allegations of McCain’s betrayal of fellow POWs are mindful of conspiracy theories about President Kennedy’s assassination – without substance. None of us knows, of course, but evidence is overwhelming that John McCain, human frailties and all, is a man more worthy than those who would undermine him.

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48 Comments so far ↓

  • Slide

    Peter Worthington: “He’s [John McCain} also a man who puts country ahead of political ambitions.”

    Right. I guess that is why he picked Sarah Palin to be his running mate – he was thinking of country first.

  • TerryF98

    His fellow prisoners did not think highly of him, he had preferential treatment because his dad was an admiral, he got the name “Songbird” because he sang like a canary.

    He was not tortured in any meaningful way. His injuries from being shot down were well treated in the circumstances and these injuries resulted in some lasting damage.

    McCain the war hero is pretty much a myth. He crashed 4 planes and nearly destroyed an aircraft carrier. He is a philandering adulterer who discarded his first wife who had been injured in a car crash in order to take up with beauty queen Cindy, what is it with beauty queens and McCain, Bimbo Cindy and Snow billy Palin.

    You are fluffing McCain just as the press has done all these years. He is a pandering fool. I am a Maverick, Oops now I am not or ever have been a Maverick.

    McCain is a poster child of the sort of career politician that need to be kicked out in November.

  • Slide

    TerryF98, not a McCain supporter I presume?

    oh, and lets not forget this is a man who called his wife a C*** in public. What a guy.

    “Three reporters from Arizona, on the condition of anonymity, also let me in on another incident involving McCain’s intemperateness. In his 1992 Senate bid, McCain was joined on the campaign trail by his wife, Cindy, as well as campaign aide Doug Cole and consultant Wes Gullett. At one point, Cindy playfully twirled McCain’s hair and said, “You’re getting a little thin up there.” McCain’s face reddened, and he responded, “At least I don’t plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you c***.” McCain’s excuse was that it had been a long day. If elected president of the United States, McCain would have many long days.”

    http://www.rawstory.com/news/2008/McCain_temper_boiled_over_in_92_0407.html

  • Sunny

    Oh, for heaven’s sake.
    Why stop with the one ridiculous rumor?
    Haul out all the rest of them. Like the one about the politician McCain calling his wife that horrible name in front of a group of people *including three reporters* who won’t report that scoop themselves OR even let their names be attached. There are lots of Washington reporters like that, afraid to report what happens when they’re there.
    And the POWs McCain served with didn’t _really_ like and admire him, they only campaigned with him last election because … oh, maybe they were scared he’d call them that bad name!
    Did you hear that he fathered an illegitimate child on a black prostitute? Yeah, that’s the ticket.

    It must be true, because we WANT it to be true. And we WANT to be led around by the nose, believing and spreading lies because it’s oh so much easier than simply talking about policy disagreements. Skip that boring stuff — go for the juice! Destroy the guy! Take his family down with him!

  • Slide

    I don’t think it can be called a “rumor” when three reporters verify what he said. But if that comforts you fine. To paraphrase you, “It must be a lie, because we WANT it to be a lie.”

  • TerryF98

    “It must be true, because we WANT it to be true. And we WANT to be led around by the nose, believing and spreading lies”

    That’s a Mavericky ™ kind of thing to say.

    McCain is an angry old man who should have been kicked out a long time ago. He has little in the may of major legislation, he denounced most of the things he used to believe in. He flip flops all over the place like a wet fish out of water.

    A man of no convictions, no morals, no character. Some one who puts “country first ™” then chooses an idiot like Palin to be his VP choice.

    Time for him to spend the rest of his teas cutting the lawn at his 7 houses.

  • Sunny

    “I don’t think it can be called a “rumor” when three reporters verify what he said.:

    Three anonymous reporters?
    Who didn’t report it themselves?
    And don’t want their names put out there?
    Check the credibility and record of the guy that wrote the book, why don’t you?

    Five reporters told me you’re actually Karl Rove, sitting at your computer putting together push polls about black babies being secretly raised by McCain’s wife. They saw you — but they were too shy to report it themselves (which is, as we all know, a hallmark of national reporting, that natural reticence to actually report things), but they told me it was true, and you can believe me.

    Think!

  • andydp

    I have no problem criticizing Sen McCain’s “flip flopping” on whatever issues will get him re elected. This is what politicians do.

    I do take umbrage at people sniping at his military service. I’ll wager many of the critics have never served or even been subjected to the horrors Sen McCain went through. I suppose we now need to resurrect doubts about his “mental state after all those years” in North VietNam; his illegitimate black child, short temper and whatever else Lee Atwater thought up.

  • Sunny

    TerryF98 // May 28, 2010 at 7:39 am

    “McCain is an angry old man who should have been kicked out a long time ago. He has little in the may of major legislation, he denounced most of the things he used to believe in. He flip flops all over the place like a wet fish out of water.”

    And THAT is a reasonable charge based on observable and verifiable evidence. I’m not sure I’d agree with the “should have been kicked out a long time ago,” but clearly McCain’s floundering and trying to pander to a base who’s united behind the guy who didn’t know we declared war on Germany. And clearly he’s older, too.

    But the willingness of some to try to destroy a decent, if imperfect, human being by putting out every rumor, half-truth, and flat out lie — and the eagerness of some to believe anything and everything bad about a guy they simply disagree with — is a worrisome thing to me. The people we need in government are the smart, decent ones. They’re not going to be perfect, but how many of them are going to be willing to paint a big fat target on their backs for every half-baked discredited smear doctor to destroy them and their families, all because so many are willing to believe something without checking it at all?

  • TerryF98

    When he pushes his military service as an example of how great a man he is, and uses his time as a POW as a cover for his inadequacies, it’s a valid thing to actually question just what he did during his time in the military.

    He came close to bottom of his class in his military academy, he had a reputation of shirking off and was a serial womanizer. He crashed plane after plane due to his incompetence as a pilot. He was shot down due to being incompetent. He puffed up his time as a POW. He was treated far better than normal prisoners during his time as a POW.

    Most injured captives were allowed to die. He received special medical treatment, a personal nurse and stayed a long time in the hospital.

    I can understand the need for the right to defend McCain, after all he is the best you have.

  • ottovbvs

    …….McCain is a less than admirable character, has repeatedly demonstrated questionable judgement (viz. Palin) and would have been a disaster as president………BUT……..that is no reason to question his service anymore than it was reason to question the service of Kerry who as far as I can see behaved admirably but was completely trashed by the right (unfortunately a number of former service members chose to join in this trashing for what were obviously political reasons which demonstrated that former members of the military can be just as malicious, disloyal and malajusted as anyone else)…….now they are employing the same technique against one of their own which for me demonstrates just what a cesspit of anger, hate and malevolence the far right has become……..these are deeply ugly and paranoid people……..but I would admonish the more noisy Democratic denouncers of McCain(who I agree with most of the time) that we don’t want to become like these nut cases……..we don’t live in a perfect world, it’s full of flawed people who have and have not served in the military…….none of them deserve to have every ugly little rumor about their lives used as campaign fodder

  • Sunny

    TerryF98 // May 28, 2010 at 8:01 am

    “When he pushes his military service as an example of how great a man he is, and uses his time as a POW as a cover for his inadequacies, it’s a valid thing to actually question just what he did during his time in the military”

    That’s true, but not to believe any blessed thing anybody says who might make a buck off of saying it.

    I see you’ve trotted out some of the rest of the ridiculously easy to rebut but oh-so-satisfying allegations (which therefore _must_ be true!). Here’s another one for you! I heard from a reliable source that each time a prisoner died, he dined on suspicious liver and fava beans with a nice bottle of Chianti.
    When you can point to one person who actually was _with_ McCain in the Hanoi Hilton to verify those charges, then you’ll have something. Of course, many of them actually *campaigned* with him, so that might be difficult.

    The “crashed plane after plane” charge is intellectually lazy, at the very least.

    http://www.factcheck.org/askfactcheck/did_mccain_crash_five_planes_did_he.html

    “I can understand the need for the right to defend McCain, after all he is the best you have.”

    You might not have noticed, but “the right” doesn’t defend McCain. They’re the biggest ones panting at his heels, trying to destroy the candidate by destroying the man himself. They thank you for your willing participation. Perhaps you’d be interested in joining the outcry over Mr. Obama’s missing birth certificate, or his secret Muslim faith?

    Think
    for
    yourself.

  • franco 2

    Wow.

    Some real vitriol coming from the left… If a right-winger said these things they’d be called “nut-jobs” around here, but lefties get a pass.

    While I agree with much of the sentiment expressed about McCain I take issue with this:

    McCain doesn’t put “country first” because he chose Palin? Hilarious. That must mean Obama is a traitor because he chose dimwit Biden, appointed Janet Napolitano as Homeland Security Chief and staffed his entire cabinet with Harvard incompetents and tax cheats.

    McCain should be put out of office for various reasons. I would love to see him gone. He is not to be trusted…on anything, including his POW story, but that’s not the reason.

    McCain at one time was entirely too dependent on his POW story which I started to find unseemly, because it seemed designed to elicit sympathy. You are either a hero or a victim, you really can’t be both, yet McCain sought to get mileage out of the dual narrative. Terry is right, anyone who displays his war record as a reason you should vote for him deserves his record be scrutinized. McCain was never a stellar performer in the military. But that’s really old news…it’s like the birther argument…no one’s mind is going to be changed and there won’t be any new evidence while there are a myriad of other reasons McCain (and Obama for that matter) should be defeated.

    I fail to see how people can vote for an 80 year old man for a supposedly important office. Furthermore, it makes me seriously question the values of a politician who refuses to retire. What is so great about being a Senator? Is the job really THAT easy that an 80 year old can do it? Yes it is apparently.

    I’m reminded of a story about Arlen Specter, who loved to travel abroad on our tax money.

    “If [Specter] were to lose today, nowhere would the cheers be louder than the State Department. Specter loved to travel and, like many Senators, he liked to treat U.S. diplomats as his valets.

    But he went further than most senators: At almost every location he traveled, he demanded that the U.S. embassy arrange squash games for him. In Rome or Paris, this might have been easy, but at more far-flung posts, diplomats would have to cease giving their attention to commercial, military, or political work in their host nations in order to make arrangements. Specter’s staff would also make it clear that their boss expected to win.”

    The reason these men Specter, McCain and so many more, will desperately cling to their office is simply because of the trappings of power and their own egos, nothing more.

    These are the moderates Frum and Worthington like so much. Too bad they are only moderate as a result of their lack of principles…and they have the chutzpah to claim they are “voting on principle” when they are merely looking out for themselves. It’s pretty obvious Peter.

  • ottovbvs

    Sunny // May 28, 2010 at 8:43 am

    “The “crashed plane after plane” charge is intellectually lazy, at the very least.”

    …….As I mentioned above I don’t subscribe to this trashing of McCain but the “crashed plane” stories aren’t totally without substance if somewhat exaggerated……it’s perhaps appropriate to ask why he left the service…….this is a guy whose father and grandfather were senior admirals but it must have been obvious to him he was never going to attain flag rank and that’s why he opted out……and he was never going to get a flag because he either lacked the talent or his record.

  • ottovbvs

    franco 2 // May 28, 2010 at 9:00 am

    ‘Some real vitriol coming from the left… If a right-winger said these things they’d be called “nut-jobs” around here, but lefties get a pass.’

    ……Franco…….don’t you read……….rightwingers HAVE said these things…….that’s what this whole thread is about

  • medinnus

    I think its sad that the GOP of today (but hopefully not tomorrow) has so little to say on issues and policy that they routinely engage in demonizing their “enemies” – even if that enemy is one of their own. You see it in primaries, you see it in the Obama hatred, you see it whenever things don’t go their own way. Heck, you see it with vitriol here on the forums from the “intellectual giants” who have nothing but “Oh yeah, well Obama’s a Kenyan Socialist and you’re just a Leftist TOOL!” level fantasies and crapola. When there are people here who post something with which you don’t agree, try providing facts from credible sources (not links to GOP Factiod Fact-ories), and reasoned arguments.

    I expect that sort of twaddle from the Left, so please don’t bother with the “kindergarten” defense of “Well, the Left does it too!” – what the Left does doesn’t matter to me in the least.

  • franco 2

    “By way of response, Schanberg has a dubious record as a reporter. As the only Western journalist in Cambodia after its collapse, he initially didn’t believe reports of Khmer Rouge genocide. “It is difficult to believe how their (Cambodian) lives could be anything but better with the Americans gone,” he wrote in the New York Times.

    The Khmer Rouge killed some 2 million Cambodians – anyone educated, or who wore glasses, read books, etc. In the midst of massacres, one Schanberg story was headed “Indochina without Americans: for most a better life.” Noting that life in Cambodia might be “hard and inflexible” under Communism, he wrote that it would be “tendentious” to forecast that a communist government might implement genocide as a national policy. So much for Schanberg’s analytical acumen.”

    This is quite a charge. Easy for Mr. Worthington to say after the fact. He should know that reporters (especially ONE reporter) can easily be kept ignorant by a determined government.
    Lots of people didn’t/couldn’t believe Hitler was killing Jews.

    Really…the guy was naive, just like the Frummers here. Nothing new about that. Worthington forgets that this reporter worked for the New York Times. Most Times reporters hold the liberal world-view and therefore he was a victim of that, not just a dubious reporter. In fact it shows he’s willing to give the accused the benefit of the doubt rather than run off and print some spurious accusation. If Worthington sought to discredit reporters on this basis…well, it’d be like shooting fish in a barrel.

  • easton

    “I fail to see how people can vote for an 80 year old man for a supposedly important office. ” McCain is 73 hardly 80. As to his war record, at the end of the day he was offered early release because of his father and he declined it because he knew the North Vietnamese would have made political propaganda out of it. While it was his duty to say no, and if he had said yes he would have been shamed, but at the end of it all, there was heroism in saying no. He could have very well have died in the North Korean prison, and he had no way of knowing how much longer he would be there. and yet he said no to early release.
    For me, that makes him a hero. That doesn’t mean he should be Senator, or President or whatever, but it does mean I have no right to disparage his service, one truly heroic act washes away a lot of sins. And Hayworth is just a Gibbon.

  • Sunny

    ottovbvs // May 28, 2010 at 9:04 am

    “As I mentioned above I don’t subscribe to this trashing of McCain but the “crashed plane” stories aren’t totally without substance if somewhat exaggerated.”

    I know. I believe the link gives the details. There’s some point, though, where exaggeration edges over into flat-out lie, and that really bothers me. It isn’t just that it bothers me for McCain (though I confess a fairly strong emotional response to attacks on his record as a POW); it bothers me when it lies supplant truth or even good sense about *any* of our politicians — and that includes the stupid distractions about birth certificates or 9/11 conspiracies.

    Too often, I think a disagreement on policy turns into a moral indictment — that because I disagree with you, you are therefore morally deficient. Since you are morally suspect, then I am likely to believe every bad thing about you.

    I think it hurts us, as citizens, when we are so willing to believe the worst about people without any good evidence. And worse, I think it hurts us in that it renders less and less likely any sane person would bother to run for any political office. Who but a narcissist or sociopath would want the job?

    We get the leaders we deserve. We’re going to have to learn how to deserve better.

  • sinz54

    Terry F98:

    STOP LYING.

    The ONLY reason you want McCain to lose the primary is because you hope that a newbie GOP candidate will be easier to defeat in November.

    You’re an ultra-liberal partisan. We got this.
    Try to be honest for a change.

  • TerryF98

    Sinz.

    Please detail where I have lied. Please provide verifiable links to prove your point.

    Please back up your assertion.

    I will withdraw anything I have said that is not true.

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  • aDude

    There can be some areas of McCain’s conduct after coming home that may be criticized (he did a fair amount of skirt chasing, although after what he went through it is rather understandable). But to criticize his conduct as a P.O.W. just goes way over the line, whether it’s coming from the left or the right.

  • LFC

    The right has become masters of besmirching people who serve their country. McCain when he ran against Bush. Max Cleeland who gave 3 limbs in the service of his country. John Kerry who risked his life while Boy George jumped ahead of 200 other guys to get a safe and cushy stateside posting and thus avoid a war that he supported. Now it’s McCain’s turn again.

    But they’re the REAL patriots, right?

  • Sunny

    TerryF98 // May 28, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    “Please detail where I have lied. Please provide verifiable links to prove your point.
    Please back up your assertion.”

    You made all the allegations, bucky. You back ‘em up.

    Got anything besides anonymous reporters?
    Try looking up Michael Cronin, Bud Day, Ralph Gaither, Paul Galanti, Wesley Schierman & Orson Swindle, all of whom were also Vietnam POWs, and at least two of whom were cellmates of Mr. McCain (Bud Day is credited with saving his life). And all of whom supported his candidacy for president.

    Or do you have some more anonymous reporters to prove that all of them weren’t *really* POWs surviving conditions that make waterboarding look like a walk in the park, either? That the fact that McCain can’t raise his arm all the way is *really* because of a misstep by the Vietnamese prostitute he had walking on his back?

    “I will withdraw anything I have said that is not true.”

    True? Try verifiable. That’s cleaner. And that wipes out mostly everything you wasted time regurgitating from propagandists and graduates of the Big Lie School of Journalism (Goebbels would have *loved* the internet) — besides that you don’t like McCain.

  • TerryF98

    I felt some sympathy for McCain during the 2000 primary. The way the Bush campaign (Rove) treated McCain was a disgrace.

    However that evaporated like snow on a June day when he chose to mount the type of campaign that he did with the Wasilla half governor.

    The tactics used were downright obscene. Hence all respect gone.

  • TerryF98

    Sunny all I have said is in the record. If you can prove otherwise go ahead.

  • jimbob54

    I don’t know what happened back in WWII, but a newsreel of Roosevelt declaring war is not evidence that the US declared war on Germany. Under the constitution, only Congress has the power to declare war.

  • TerryF98

    Jimbob.

    I think you stumbled into the wrong thread. Take off the tinfoil hat and try again :-)

  • LauraNo

    How can anyone claim a man who changed his positions on a whim puts country first? Either you think immigration reform is necessary or you don’t, either you think the bailouts were absolutely necessary or you don’t, either you think tax cuts for the rich at a time of war is wrong, or you don’t. My best guess is his first position on an issue is the honest one but he abandons it for political expediency. And he does it at far more often than any other politician.

  • ottovbvs

    TerryF98 // May 28, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Jimbob.

    “I think you stumbled into the wrong thread. Take off the tinfoil hat and try again ”

    …….it’s hard to make Jimbo up isn’t it…….he must be wearing the tinfoil helmet today

  • gmckee1985

    I’m sick of John McCain, and have no use for him after he led the GOP to a big defeat in 08. But it’s a shame there isn’t a better challenger than Hayworth.

    McCain will cruise to reelection. Hopefully they’ll find someone more worthy to take over for him next time.

  • LFC

    LauraNo asked… How can anyone claim a man who changed his positions on a whim puts country first?

    And don’t forget his view on DADT, where he said that he’d support it if the military did. Now the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs say it’s time (pending the outcome of one more study), and McCain is threatening a filibuster.

    Forget his war record one way or the other. McCain is one of the most opportunistic worms in politics today, and that’s saying something.

  • Arch

    McCain the soldier has my respect and thanks. McCain, the man today, has largely lost my respect. But J.D. Hayworth deserves only scorn.

  • anniemargret

    I have no problem, indeed, nothing but admiration, for any soldier who is in combat and is imprisoned and/or tortured by the enemy . On this, I cannot and will not excoriate John McCain. He served honorably under the most difficult circumstances.

    My problem is with the Vietnam vets who were allegedly left as MIAs there, and whether or not John McCain with others, were derelict in their duty to investigate and do all that they could to find them. If this is true, as some claim, then this would put a serious asterick next to Sen. McCain’s name. It would constitute a complete lack of integrity and a horrifying abandonment of men lost to war. As a person who lost my boyfriend in combat in the jungles of Vietnam, I find this allegation as serious as they come.

    As far as John McCain politically, I have no use for him. While I was a supporter during my Independent days, his apparent will-o-the-wisp stances on serious subjects show a man more interested in political hay than putting his country ‘first.’ I was appalled by his willowy and milky stance on torture. First he was against it, then he bent with the political wind.

    The worst abrogation was his support of Sarah Palin. She is nothing more than an overpaid political agitator, and couldn’t stand on her own without props and sound bites. To put her near the nuclear button as he almost did is chilling. I would say, sadly, his integrity took a fall, rightly, after the 2008 elections.

  • ktward

    McCain, the politician, has undoubtedly enjoyed better–and younger–days.

    It is unquestionably an indictment of Rove/GWB campaign machinations that they managed to eviscerate an otherwise long & highly esteemed pol. In 2000, had McCain won the nom over Bush, I would have had quite the lever-pulling decision to make.

    But today is today.
    While McCain has a lot to rightfully answer to post ’07—starting with Palin and continuing with abandoning the tenets of his own immigration bill—his military service isn’t part of it. One’s West Point class ranking has zero to do with one’s wherewithal under the pressures of torture and imprisonment, and every legit investigation of McCain’s POW days is long since over. Any who wish to dissect these to score political points do so at their legitimacy’s peril.

    But what a horrid irony, that those who might seek to serve in our military in all their imperfect humanness might be, one day, subject to this kind of bulls**t because of that service. Appalling.

    But let me add … is this not, today, a by-the-book campaign tactic of the Right?
    While the Left makes plenty of campaign hay–rightfully so– over the chickenhawks, the Right shows no shame in knifing the very bravest among us– the ones that have actually shot bullets and shed blood.

    What does this tell us about the Right? and their delusional self-righteous finger they unscrupulously point?

    David? Peter? These are YOUR peeps. How proud you must be.
    Just curious– where were you when this kind of crap was flying at Kerry?

    I’m all ears.

  • MSheridan

    Allegations are not new that he campaigned against investigations and disclosures that the U.S. abandoned missing prisoners at the end of the Vietnam War, but the reports had no traction and were largely ignored.

    That they have arisen again, seems largely because McCain is in a serious fight to retain the Arizona Senate Seat that he’s held since 1986. The threat is not from a Democratic contender, but from the right — ultra-conservative J.D. Hayworth whom admirers describe as a “patriotic immigration reformer,” and critics call “one of the ten dumbest members of Congress.”

    I won’t claim that people on the left never made such claims–I’m quite sure I remember seeing several of them do so back in the day. However, to my recollection the specific allegations always had originally come from campaigns targeting him from the right and then been picked up later. I am not a fan of Senator McCain, and I don’t personally believe that war hero status is a qualification for high office, especially when it is earned for suffering rather than achievement, but I do think that during his captivity he DID do his duty and if he was broken (as he says he was) that he honorably endured to the full extent of his ability.

  • ShawninPHX

    I feel no pity for Senator McCain. He sat on the sidelines in 2004 when the “Swiftboat Veterans for Truth” lambasted Sen. Kerry’s verifiable Vietnam record. Or when Republicans chose to slam triple amputee Max Cleland as ‘un-American.’

    As they say – what goes around comes around.

    You chose your side. Now live with it.

  • anniemargret

    shawnnPHX: “I feel no pity for Senator McCain. He sat on the sidelines in 2004 when the “Swiftboat Veterans for Truth” lambasted Sen. Kerry’s verifiable Vietnam record. Or when Republicans chose to slam triple amputee Max Cleland as ‘un-American.’

    I agree. I meant to add that to my blogpost above but glad you mentioned it. I was seriously disapppointed in John McCain, who supposedly was a friend of John Kerry’s. What they did to smear him and Cleland was nothing short of shameful. But as I noted above, when it comes to making brownie points, McCain will err on the side of infamy rather than truth…. it is a sad footnote for a man who had a great start and who had many admirers.

  • ShawninPHX

    Senator McCain long ago sold his soul and he deserves what he gets. I was taught that holding doors open for people; respecting others and treating people well would come back to you in life. I still think this is true.

    Senator McCain has no one to blame but himself for this mess. No person should question his devotion, but I – like Senator McCain in 2002 and 2004 – will hold my tongue and not attack those who do. When you have the audacity to sit on the sidelines (while your fellow soldiers are being ambushed) then you have to pay a price. Practice what you preach, Senator. Good soldiers and honest men were thrown to the wolves and you defended their ‘right to free speech.’

    And, yet, now you speak up when it’s your hide. Too little too late.

    Good riddance to bad men.

  • BoolaBoola

    McCain is a fake. He would have washed out of the Academy on three separate occasions but didn’t cos daddy was a famous admiral.

    “I’m a war hero cos I crashed a plane and they tortured me!” What a loser.

    He never finished saying f*ck you to the people who tortured him, that’s why he’s such a psychopath. His first impuse when he sees another person is to kill them. He has to keep restraining himself.

  • Sunny

    Just for the record:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Cleland

    “The ad, which Cleland supporters claimed questioned the senator’s patriotism,[9] was removed after protests from prominent politicians including Republicans like John McCain and Chuck Hagel”

    http://articles.sfgate.com/2004-08-06/news/17440104_1_swift-boat-veterans-mekong-delta-bush-and-kerry-campaigns

    “Vets group attacks Kerry; McCain defends Democrat”

    Try googling Ted Sampley. He’s the source of many of the first wild allegations against both Kerry and McCain — and it may well be that McCain got targeted early on (not this race) not only because he supported normalizing relations with Vietnam, but because he defended Kerry.

  • Sunny

    Point being, that it doesn’t take all that much effort to find out if what somebody remembers about a couple of years ago matches the truth. You just have to actually care about the truth.

  • 5/29/10 Links | HBD Books

    [...] Forum attempts to refute the McCain POW story.  Against Schanberg’s eye witness reports and testimony from government [...]

  • PW43

    Wow! if being wrong about something brings into question ones ability as a reporter than Peter Worthington is in trouble. Up here in Canada we know all about Worthington and fellow Canadian who headed south David Frum. They are ideologues who are wrong more often than right because they stick to their ideologies and distort the truth to fit them. Schanberg was wrong about the Khmer Rouge initially. He’s since admitted as much. Worthington was wrong about Iraq and wrong about Canada getting into Afghanistan yet he will never recognize that he was wrong.

    The issue is American POW’s left behind and whether American governments since Nixon(along with politicians like McCain) have known about them but lied that none were left behind. On this question Schanberg makes a compelling case for a coverup, with McCain right in the middle of it. Worthington has made no case against the coverup allegation, except to drag out the oft used wacko conspiracy theory argument. Lazy journalism at its best. But I’ve never considered Worthington a real journalist. Reporters are suppose to seek the truth, not spin it.

  • athensboy

    McCain was a true war hero, but today he’s a blathering,pandering idiot.I wish he’d just go away.

  • tequilamockingbird

    Well, Worthington, you’ve written a long post that makes some reasonable points. But you jumped the shark with this:

    “He’s also a man who puts country ahead of political ambitions …”

    That’s flat-out preposterous. Whatever he may have been at one time, he’s become a pandering, self-serving disgrace. Stick to arguing his war record, where there are legitimate differences of opinion.

  • jakethesnake

    ” …other ex-POWs. To a man, they admire his refusal to be released early…”
    Really? Sure enogh? ALl of them, to a man, eh? Wow. You must been pounding the phones pretty hard.