Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Alexander Cockburn raises the question of John McCain's collaboration with his captors as a POW. His piece is a come-on to an article by Douglas Valentine which is available by subscription only. Save your money--it is available here for free.

So, McCain leveraged some details to get some medical attention, not anything too contemptible. Who’s to judge someone in the position?

But McCain was held for five and half years. The first two weeks’ behavior might have been pragmatism, but McCain soon became North Vietnam’s go-to collaborator.

McCain provided his voice in radio broadcasts for the North Vietnamese. General Vo Nguyen Giap, a nationalist celebrity of the time, interviewed him. McCain’s uneasy compliance was a moment of affirmation for Vietnamese. His Vietnamese handlers thereafter used him regularly as prop at meetings with foreign delegations, including the Cubans. McCain became what he is today, a psywar stooge.

Vietnamese radio propagandists made good use of McCain. He was on the air so often that, on June 4, 1969, a U.S. wire service headlined a story entitled "PW Songbird Is Pilot Son of Admiral".

The story reported that McCain collaborated in psywar offensives, aimed at American servicemen. "The broadcast was beamed to American servicemen in South Vietnam as a part of a propaganda series attempting to counter charges by U.S. Defense Secretary Melvin Laird that American prisoners are being mistreated in North Vietnam."

I have not seen the wire service story mentioned but I'm sure the Democratic National Committee has a copy. It will be interesting to see to what extent attacks on John McCain's record as a POW reach the mainstream press.

This Pensito Review article contains a video discussion by some POW activists along with a transcript. Here is an excerpt of a part of the discussion between Congressman Bob Dornan and former Senate Chief Investigator, U.S. Senate Minority Staff, Tracy Usry.

USRY: Information shows that he made over 32 tapes of propaganda for the Vietnamese government. Certainly, you do what you need to do to stay alive. Nobody would fault anybody for that. But there comes a point in time when enough is enough.

REP: DORNAN: They made those transcriptions, and in the transcriptions, I heard a POW who heard them comin’ into his cell and said, “Oh, my God, is that Admiral McCain’s son? Is that the admiral’s son? Is that Johnny — telling us that our principal targets are schools, orphanages, hospitals, temples, churches?” That was Jane Fonda’s line. Where are those transcriptions? Believe me — they’re in the archives of the museum, the bragging military phony museum in Hanoi. McCain could not have wanted those [to] turn up in the middle of a presidential race. He knows that. I know that, and a few other people know that, and that’s why he went against Bob Dole’s legislation.


Blogger Hyperman said...

I wonder how Repugnican will like to taste their own medecine.

I can't wait to see their outrage at this example of attack politics. I hope there's still copy of these broadcast somewhere, that would be great to use them in advertising.

And I can't wait to see Neocons defending McCain by saying he was the poor victim of torture and that under torture, you'll say anything to get your ass saved.

10:16 AM  
Blogger Gary McGowan said...

Here's a report at myDD when McCain caved and went along with Bush on the torture leglislation, apparently for political gain as "presumptive presidential candidate."

I'm sincerely sorry John McCain has lived through so much shit. I'd prefer he would enjoy time with his family in peaceful retirement. I surely don't want him elected president.

It seems obvious to me that Clinton and Obama would handle this differently running against him. I'd prefer the Clinton approach.

Thanks for bringing this story to our attention, Gary. And thanks to hyperman for the very cogent observation on the irony of this.

11:50 AM  

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