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From a POW Prison, John McCain Emerged a 'Maverick'
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=48979"><span class="small">Don Gonyea and Brakkton Booker, NPR</span></a>   
Sunday, 26 August 2018 08:37

Excerpt: "John McCain, a titan in the U.S. Senate, was a consistent conservative, though unafraid to buck Republican Party leadership on issues ranging from campaign finance reform to the GOP-led effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act."

John McCain is treated in a Hanoi hospital during the Vietnam War in November 1967. (photo: Handout/Getty Images)
John McCain is treated in a Hanoi hospital during the Vietnam War in November 1967. (photo: Handout/Getty Images)


From a POW Prison, John McCain Emerged a 'Maverick'

By Don Gonyea and Brakkton Booker, NPR

26 August 18

 

ohn McCain, a titan in the U.S. Senate, was a consistent conservative, though unafraid to buck Republican Party leadership on issues ranging from campaign finance reform to the GOP-led effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

He died Saturday at age 81.

While the Arizona senator and two-time presidential candidate will be remembered for his self-proclaimed "maverick" persona, it was his military bloodlines and 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam that shaped much of McCain's legacy.

McCain was the son of an admiral and grew up on naval bases both in the United States and around the world. McCain's grandfather was also an admiral, making them the first father and son four-star admirals in history of the U.S. Navy.

McCain followed his father and grandfather into the family business. He was a member of the U.S. Naval Academy's Class of 1958. While at the academy, he developed a reputation as a rambunctious and insubordinate student who received more than his share of reprimands.

He also maintained another family tradition while there, earning mediocre grades in the classroom.

"My father was here and his father before him. Like me, their standing was closer to the bottom than the top of their class," McCain told a 2017 class of Naval Academy graduates.

McCain finished fifth from the bottom of his class.

Despite his poor classroom performance, he was able to become a naval aviator. By the mid-1960s, the Vietnam War was raging and McCain's squadron was drawn into battle. At one point in 1967, McCain was almost killed after a wayward rocket from a nearby bomber hit his aircraft's fuel tank just before he was to take off from the USS Forrestal.

Explosions and fires from that incident killed more than 130 people aboard, but McCain managed to escape unscathed.

On Oct. 26, 1967, while on a bombing run over the North Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, his aircraft was struck by a Vietnamese ground based anti-aircraft missile.

"Just as I released the bombs and started to pull back on the stick, a surface-to-air missile took the right wing off my airplane. My airplane violently gyrated. I ejected," McCain recounted to C-SPAN in 2003.

The impact from the ejection knocked Lt. Cmdr. McCain unconscious, and he landed in the lake below.

Both McCain's arms were broken, so was his shoulder, and his knee was shattered. He was pulled out of the water by a Vietnamese mob and was stabbed, beaten and taken to a prison commonly referred to as the "Hanoi Hilton."

Years later, as McCain reflected on this period, he said he held no ill will toward his captors.

"I don't blame them. We're in a war," McCain said in a separate interview with C-SPAN in 2017.

"I didn't like it, but at the same time when you are in a war and you are captured by the enemy, you can't expect to have tea," McCain said.

Because of the prominence of McCain's family, his captors saw in him potential for propaganda and offered him early release. But McCain repeatedly refused the offer because his fellow POWs would not be released as well.

He spoke about that shortly after his release in 1973.

"A number of times they were strong in their tactics trying to get me to possibly embarrass my father and our country," McCain said.

He spent most of his time in solitary confinement and endured incessant torture.

His ordeal as a POW, however, helped fuel his political career. As a senator, he could speak with authority on military matters. Perhaps the most striking example was when he challenged the George W. Bush administration and its "enhanced interrogation" of terrorism suspects. McCain decried the practice as torture.

McCain has visited the prison where he had been a POW.

"I still despise those who inflicted pain unnecessarily on me and my fellow prisoners, but I hold no ill will toward the Vietnamese people, either North or South," he said.

The former prisoner then talked about his many friendships with many Vietnamese in the years since, adding that he always admired and respected the Vietnamese people.


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+3 # dquandle 2018-08-26 10:49
He wasn't a "maverick" He wasn't a "titan". He was a vicious mass murdering, war criminal and liar, who spend his entire stay in the senate war-mongering and perpetrating war crimes from the safe and cozy vantage point of the staggeringly corrupt and stupid governing body of which he was a major part.. He never met a war he didn't like. The Vietnamese should have hanged him decades ago, for war crimes, and the world would have been a much better place. Songbird McGoon lied about his time as a POW, and torture, and betrayed is fellow troops, receiving preferential treatment because daddy was an admiral. In all probability, his cancer was caused by his happily being around materials of genocide, agent orange, napalm, which he all too happily dropped on civilian targets.

Good riddance to vicious filth.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2008/06/13/mcnasty/

https://www.counterpunch.org/2015/07/20/the-horrors-of-john-mccain-war-hero-or-war-criminal/

https://www.counterpunch.org/2008/10/14/war-hero-or-war-criminal/

https://www.propublica.org/article/mccain-brain-cancer-draws-renewed-attention-to-possible-agent-orange

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/did-agent-orange-cause-mccains-cancer

https://www.opednews.com/articles/John-McCain-s-Agent-Orange-by-Chuck-Simpson-090417-345.html
 
 
+2 # dquandle 2018-08-26 11:45
He was saved from drowning by the people he had tried to murder.

"...his many friendships with many Vietnamese in the years since..."


"The Vietnamese man saved McCain’s sorry ass, and yet McCain has nothing but hatred for “the gooks” who allegedly tortured him. As he told reporters on his campaign bus (The Straight Talk Express) in 2000, “I will hate them as long as I live.” (1)"

from

https://www.counterpunch.org/2008/06/13/mcnasty/

"Jack McLamb, a distinguished Phoenix Arizona policeman, FBI hostage negotiator and Vietnam veteran with a top-secret security clearance, told Alex Jones that McCain was never tortured. McLamb spoke to several POWs, and they told him that “when [McCain] came in [to the POW camp] he immediately started spilling his guts about everything because he didn’t want to get tortured.” According to these POWs, the two broken arms McCain had sustained were the result of McCain panicking and not pulling his arms in when he bailed out of plane. (McCain, notably, was a lousy pilot and crashed three planes before being sent to Vietnam. )"

from:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2008/10/31/giving-aid-and-comfort-to-the-enemy/
 
 
0 # dquandle 2018-08-26 11:48
NPR:
National Pentagon Radio.

Of course they are filled with fulsome encomia for this vile psychopath and mass murderer....
 
 
-3 # Wise woman 2018-08-26 13:53
He certainly was a man of strong convictions with an ability to see both sides of an issue. It's a testimony to his own internal strength that he got out of North Vietnam alive and with forgiveness in his heart for his captors. Such internal strength is very rare. May he rest in the peace he fought for.