Friday, October 3, 2008

Veterans Against John McCain Make Some Important Points

John Mc Cain has been cashing in on his 5 ½ years as a POW with such regularity that some think it unseemly. His September 4 acceptance speech centered on those dreadful years. He even used it to answer a question about how many houses he owns. Now he points to his experience of running a naval squadron as proof of his executive experience. Having opened the subject of his military experience, it might be appropriate to at least look at some of the questions that have been raised about this.
Ted Sampley, who was a leader of that anti-Kerry Swift Boater movement, is now raising questions about McCain through Vietnam Veterans Against John M Cain. However the corporate media, which spent weeks circulating his claims against Kerry will not given him the time of day. Of course, progressives have not forgotten that the corporate media refused to thoroughly examine George W. Bush’s problems with the SEC or his very dubious service in the Texas Air Guard.
Sampley and his colleagues detests both Kerry and McCain shutting down the search for missing prisoners of war and says it was because the senators were anxious to open trade with Vietnam. This cannot be proven, one way or the other.
Former GOP Congressmen John LeBoutillier and Bill Hendon insist that McCain abandoned the American POWs. Perhaps McCain did not think he was abandoning anyone, but it is hard to dodge the fact that he has devoted his senate career to preventing anyone from effectively reopening the question and unsealing what could be important evidence. Here, again, we do not know what his motives are. Perhaps the man is too convinced of his own infallibility. His angry and somewhat illogical attacks on Barack Obama suggest as much.
Critics also accuse him of often collaborating with the North Vietnamese, calling him the Hanoi Hilton’s “songbird,” a charge that cannot be proven and which overlooks evidence of his determination to resist his jailers when possible. Applying the corporate press’s usual standard of “balanced” reporting, the MSM (mainstream media) should at least approach the Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain claims with a “he said—she said” approach.

John LeBoutillier is on solid ground when he notes that McCain’s story about the guard making the sign of the cross in the dirt was probably borrowed from Admiral Jeremian Denton, another POW/Senator.

The allegations of Sampley and others about McCain’s conduct while a POW are impossible to definitively prove and overlook the basic fact that all human beings have breaking points. McCain’s detractors suggest he could have been brainwashed and programmed in Hanoi, becoming some sort of “Manchurian Candidate.” Unfortunately, this is within the realm of possibility, but it cannot be proven. Since the early 1950s, US intelligence (through MKULTRA) and other countries have experimented with mind control and have had limited success in brainwashing and programming people to carry out certain actions when triggered.

There is ample evidence that Soviet ( KGB &GRU) and Cuban psychiatrists interrogated POWs in Hanoi, yet McCain insists that it never happened. Some former prisoners spoke about interrogators from North Korea, whose programs for turning prisoners were very successful. It is documented that McCain was interviewed by Spanish psychiatrist Fernando Barral in 1970. North Vietnamese Colonel Bui Tin told a Senate committee in 1992 that Soviet officers interrogated prisoners on a daily basis. Why would McCain deny the presence of non-Vietnamese interrogators and also hug the Vietnamese Colonel Bui Tin as though he were a long lost brother. Bui Tin, who had been a North Vietnamese interrogator. One cannot help wondering about the Stockholm Syndrome.

By his own 1973 US News and World Report account, he thought many of the prisoners had been drugged. Of course, the North Vietnamese could have done this, as drugging and interrogations have long gone hand and hand. McCain’s account includes the claim of being tortured daily, but his two senior officers have said they do not believe he was tortured. Some, including fellow prisoners, say his injuries were the result of the plane crash.

Oddly, he embraced the Vietnamese , Mai Van On, in 1997, who pulled him out of his plane and assisted him, but refused further contact after that meeting in Vietnam. By most accounts, he has become Vietnam’s best friend in the US Senate.

These angry vets damage their own case by embracing extreme charges that McCain often cooperated with the North Vietnamese and that he could be some sort of Manchurian candidate. They make a far better case when they discuss the way he has treated people in the movements concerned with POW/MIAs. There is much evidence that McCain does not want POW/MIA issues examined. They also make a very strong case that the man is simply not temperamentally equipped to be president.

. McCain’s track record in dealing with the POW/MIA people is very troubling and marked by wild outbursts and irrationality. During Senate hearings on POW/MIAs, he belittled and interrupted witnesses who disagreed with him. He erupted in anger, shouted, shook his fist, and reduced some to tears. Then he demanded that the Justice Department investigate some of the people who opposed him on this issue. St. John Mc Cain told reporters:

The people who have done these things are not zealots in a good cause. They are the most craven, most cynical and most despicable human beings to ever run a scam.

The Justice Department did his bidding and probed two organizations, but did not find evidence of a scam. Mc Cain heaped scorn on H. Ross Perot, whose concern about the POW/MIAs was certainly sincere and well-informed. Navy Captain and fellow POW Eugene "Red" McDaniel was also attacked by the Arizonan as a fraud.

In 1995, Senator McCain gutted the Missing Personnel Act, which would have made it easier for families of missing soldiers and those would be missing in the future to gather information from the Pentagon. He has also consistently opposed releasing documents about POW/MIAs.

As late as 1996, he was still unbelievable uncontrolled in his conduct regarding these people, erupting in anger and accidentally turning over the wheelchair of a missing POW’s mother, Jane Duke Gaylor.

In the Senate his outbursts and verbal abuse of colleagues. Several Republican colleagues have said that John McCain was unfit to have his finger on the nuclear button.
John McCain was known for his rebellious and impulsive,reckless behavior even at Annapolis, where he graduated 494th in a class of 499 in 1958. He entered Naval Aviation, whose policy was to select people from the top third of the class. He crashed 5 planes, and examiners wanted to attribute three of the crashes to “pilot error,” but did not do so. Some say he was responsible for the terrible accident on the USS Forrestal in the Gulf of Tonkin on July 29, 1967, when 132 lives were lost. The incident is called the “Forrestfire.”

It is said that he “wet started” his A-4E, which set off a chain reaction. Wet-starting was forbidden but considered sort of a joke prank among some pilots. It involved feeding fuel before starting the plane, resulting in more than 12 feet of flames coming out of his plane’s tail that day. The object was to alarm the pilot in the plane behind you. Lt. Commander Mc Cain was the only uninjured person to be helicopter off that great carrier that day.

The official story clears Mc Cain, son of a high rank admiral and grand son of a legendary admiral, but many shipmates took a different view. Some point out that few Naval aviators from his time have endorsed McCain’s quest for the presidency. He had been passed over for promotion twice before this incident. The main reason for withholding promotions is belief that the candidate lacks maturity. Of course, he was promoted as a matter of policy after he became a POW.

One is inclined to take a second look at what happened on the Forrestal when considering McCain’s cynicism and irresponsibility in selecting Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. After months of complaining about Obama’s lack of experience and background in foreign affairs, he selected a politician with a very thin resume and no experience in foreign affairs and national security to serve one heartbeat away from the presidency.

It would appear that McCain had a badly flawed temperament before becoming a POW, and that terrible experience could have exacerbated his difficulties. Maybe the experience made him even angrier and more disposed toward irresponsible conduct. Was it a result of his suffering in Hanoi or just part of his personality? Whatever—it is not the temperament of a potential President of the United States. We need to know a great deal more about this man who is given to almost blind rage on occasion and sometimes rash and irresponsible conduct. The voters need to thoroughly vet this man with a view to learning if he is psychologically capable of handling the enormous power that resides in the hands of the President of the United States.

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