|The Media Created Mythical John McCainMy candidate is Sen. John McCain. As was Truman, McCain is a member of the majority party with an unassailable military background. Also, like Truman, McCain has sufficient maverick in his pedigree and a reputation for straight talk that gives him instant credibility.
Ken Bode, DePauw University –COLLEGENEWS.ORG, March 2004
“Few politicians can match McCain’s record and reputation for candor and integrity . . . ” Mike O’Connor, The Daily Texan, 6/8/2004.
When Senators see John McCain on C-SPAN, they know to grit their teeth and say a prayer. Chances are the Republican is calling them panderers and pork barrelers. In a town where politicians are in a daily tug-of-war with their scruples, McCain is the most conscientious of objectors to business as usual. Their consciences pricked, Senators would rather he just shut up. But McCain, 60, doesn’t care; faced with congressional ill will, he points to the order of his priorities: “First their respect, then their affection.” TIME’s 25 most influential people, 1997 edition
|Here is the
Real John McCainCitizens for Life, a New Hampshire group, complained in ads that McCain once referred to the Leisure World senior citizens home as ”Seizure World.”
McCain, reveling in adoration at a June 1998 Republican fund-raiser and sure his joke would go no further, said: “Do you know why Chelsea Clinton is so ugly? Because Janet Reno is her father.”
“The nice thing about Alzheimer’s is you get to hide your own Easter eggs,” John McCain said to reporters while sitting in his campaign bus.
McCain Takes Aim At Religious Right
McCain comes to Kerry’s defense
|Mythical John McCain“I like John McCain only because he’s probably one of the most honest people in Congress. I don’t agree with a lot of his politics, but I admire that he seems to say what he thinks regardless of party line. That’s good.” June 2004, quote from a liberal blog.||Real John McCain“About 300 guests turned out Saturday night to celebrate the 90th birthday of Joseph ‘Joe Bananas’ Bonanno, retired boss of New York’s Bonanno crime family. He retired to Tucson in 1968 . . . John McCain, R-Ariz., and Gov. Fife Symington sent their regards by telegram.” The Arizona Republic – January 17, 1995
McCain was one of the “Keating Five,” congressmen investigated on ethics charges for strenuously helping convicted racketeer Charles Keating after he gave them large campaign contributions and vacation trips.
|Mythical John McCainWashington Post columnist George Will wrote about McCain in 1988, “He was a prisoner for 5-1/2 years. Because he was properly obstinate, he was in solitary confinement most of that time . . . Every day for two years, one of his guards ordered him to bow, and then knocked him down.”
Joseph Spear, an awestruck columnist who wanted presidential candidate Bob Dole to pick McCain for vice president wrote, “McCain is a war hero . . . He was tossed into the infamous ‘Hanoi Hilton’ prison camp, where he was hung by his fractured arms for hours at a time.” Many have written columns suggesting that McCain is presidential material and advocate his running for the nation’s highest office.
|Real John McCain“Nhan Dan today published answers to questions by one of its correspondents made by a U.S. air pirate detained in North Vietnam. “He is Lt. John Sidney McCain . . .” Hanoi VNA International Service in French – November 9, 1967
“To a question of the correspondent, McCain answered: ‘My assignment to the Oriskany, I told myself, was due to serious losses in pilots which were sustained by this aircraft carrier due to its raids over North Vietnam territory and which necessitated replacements. From 10 to 12 pilots were transferred like me from the Forrestal to the Oriskany . . . upon arrival near the target, our formation, with six bombers, would mount the attack according to the following order: I would be number three, and the chief of the formation, number one. Each pilot would have to approach the target from a different direction, the choice of which would be left to him.'” A November 9, 1967 declassified Department of Defense document
“A meeting which will leave its mark on my life: My meeting with John Sidney McCain was certainly one of those meetings which will affect me most profoundly for the rest of my life. I had asked the North Vietnamese authorities to allow me to personally interrogate an American prisoner. They authorized me to do so. When night fell, they took me–without any precautions or mystery–to a hospital near the Gia Lam Airport reserved for the military. (Passage omitted) The officer who receives me begins: I ask you not to ask any questions of political nature. If this man replies in a way unfavorable to us, they will not hesitate to speak of “brainwashing” and conclude that we threatened him. (Passage omitted) “This John Sidney McCain is not an ordinary prisoner. His father is none other than Admiral Edmond John McCain, commander in chief of U.S. Naval forces in Europe.” Written by “prominent” French television reporter Francois Chalais – January 1968
“Reds Say PW Songbird Is Pilot Son of Admiral . . . Hanoi has aired a broadcast in which the pilot son of United States Commander in the Pacific, Adm. John McCain, purportedly admits to having bombed civilian targets in North Vietnam and praises medical treatment he has received since being taken prisoner.” Saigon-UPI, June 4, 1969
“The English-Language broadcast beamed at South Vietnam was one of a series using American prisoners. It was in response to a plea by Defense Secretary Melvin S. Laird, May 19, that North Vietnam treat prisoners according to the humanitarian standards set forth by the Geneva Convention.” The Washington Post – June 5, 1969
After being periodically slapped around for “three or four days” by his captors who wanted military information from him, McCain called for an officer on his fourth day of captivity. He told the officer, “O.K., I’ll give you military information if you will take me to the hospital.” –U.S. News and World Report, May 14, 1973 article written by former POW John McCain
McCain was taken to Gai Lam military hospital. (U.S. government documents)
“Demands for military information were accompanied by threats to terminate my medical treatment if I [McCain] did not cooperate. Eventually, I gave them my ship’s name and squadron number, and confirmed that my target had been the power plant.” Page 193-194, Faith of My Fathers by John McCain
Phoenix New Times, March 25, 1999 — Two former POWs, Air Force Colonels Ted Guy and Gordon “Swede” Larson, said in a feature article that while they could not guarantee that McCain was not physically harmed, they doubted it. Both Guy and Larson were senior ranking officers (SRO’s) in McCain’s POW camp at a time he claims he was in solitary confinement and being tortured.
|Mythical John McCainMcCain starred during the 1991-93 proceedings of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs.
Boston Globe, June 21, 2003— “In the ensuing weeks and months , McCain and Kerry individually, and then together, concluded that the unresolved divisions of the Vietnam War were causing too much national anguish, and that it was time to put the war to rest.
Four years later, on a summer day in 1995, Kerry and McCain stood beside President Clinton in the East Room at the White House as he announced that the United States would normalize diplomatic relations with Vietnam. For a president who most famously had not served in their war, the two combat veterans served as wingmen.
In his work toward that day, Kerry earned the ‘unbounded respect and admiration’ of McCain, who, like others in the Senate, originally viewed Kerry with suspicion. ‘You get to know people and you make decisions about them,’ says McCain. ‘I found him to be the genuine article.’
“. . . At hearings where McCain’s anger at his critics flared, Kerry would reach over and place his hand on McCain’s arm to calm him down. “I remain grateful to him for doing that,” McCain acknowledges.
” . . . Ultimately, he [Kerry] crafted a report stating that while there may have been POWs unaccounted for and possibly left behind, no proof existed that Americans were still being held.
“Together, McCain and Kerry then led the effort to normalize relations with Vietnam. ‘The work John Kerry and John McCain did’ is ‘truly one of the most extraordinary events we have had in the last 50 years,’ says Edward M. Kennedy, who has served in the Senate since 1962.”
|Real John McCainDuring the hearings, he worked hand in hand with his Sen. John Kerry, the panel’s co-chairman, to discredit voluminous evidence indicating that Vietnam was still held a sizeable numbers of U.S. servicemen alive after the prisoner return in 1973.
McCain stood out because he “always showed up for the committee hearings where witnesses were going to talk about specific pieces of evidence. He would belittle and berate these witnesses, questioning their patriotism and otherwise scoffing at their credibility. All of this is on record in the National Archives . . . ”
When, on Nov. 11, 1992, McCain was advised that Dolores Apodaca Alfond, chairwoman of the National Alliance of POW/MIA Families (her pilot brother, Capt. Victor J. Apodaca, is missing in action in North Vietnam), was offering some testimony that was critical of the Senate Committee, he rushed into the room to confront her.
Award winning journalist Sydney Schanberg described the scene. “His face [McCain] angry and his voice very loud, he accused her of making “allegations … that are patently and totally false and deceptive.” Making a fist, he shook his index finger at her and said she had insulted an emissary to Vietnam sent by President Bush. He said she had insulted other MIA families with her remarks. And then he said, through clenched teeth: “And I am sick and tired of you insulting mine and other people’s [patriotism] who happen to have different views than yours.”
By this time, tears were running down Alfond’s cheeks. She reached into her handbag for a handkerchief. She tried to speak: “The family members have been waiting for years — years! And now you’re shutting down.” He kept interrupting her. She tried to say, through tears, that she had issued no insults. He kept talking over her words. He said she was accusing him and others of “some conspiracy without proof, and some cover-up.” She said she was merely seeking “some answers. That is what I am asking.” He ripped into her for using the word “fiasco.” She replied: “The fiasco was the people that stepped out and said we have written the end, the final chapter to Vietnam.” “No one said that,” he shouted. “No one said what you are saying they said, Ms. Alfond.” And then, his face flaming pink, he stalked out of the room, to shouts of disfavor from members of the audience.
McCain took the lead in demanding a U.S. Justice Department investigation of POW/MIA families and activists accusing them of fraud because in some of their fund-raising literature they claimed the U.S. government knowingly left U.S. POWs behind after the Vietnam War and that some remain alive today.
McCain 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 investigate the POW/MIA families and activists finding NO scams or reasons to charge anyone.
The SPOTLIGHT November 15, 1999
|“Dr. Fernando Barral, a Spanish psychiatrist residing in Cuba, returned from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam . . . he brought back some journalistic news: an interview with a North American pilot captured in the DRV after bombing Hanoi on 26 October 1967. The meeting between him and the pilot took place in an office of the Committee for Foreign Cultural Relations in Hanoi. The pilot interviewed is Lt Cmdr John Sidney McCain, son and grandson of American Navy Admirals.
“In the course of the interview, on various occasions he showed that knowledge of the language, saying some words, dates, and so forth in Spanish, or [using it] when he thought the interpreter was seeking the corresponding French word.
“Naturally, from the beginning this established a more direct communication between us, and more than one question or my response was made directly in Spanish.” Havana Granma January 24, 1970
|Col. Bui Tin, a former Senior Colonel in the North Vietnamese Army (he had actually interrogated McCain and other U.S. prisoners) testified before the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs in 1992.
At least 55 American POWs were murdered by their interrogators and guards while in North Vietnamese prisoner of war camps.
Pictured right: During a break in the hearing, Sen. McCain moved to where Col. Bui Tin was seated and warmly embraced him as if he were a long lost brother.
|Sen. John McCain warmly greeted Vietnam Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet during a 1992 visit to Hanoi. Kiet was a ranking communist party member of the secret Central Committee of the former National Liberation Front (Viet Cong), and was part of the elite clique responsible for setting policies and directing the communist war waged against the pro-democracy Vietnamese as well as U.S. forces in South Vietnam.As a senior Central Committee member, Kiet ordered American POWs to be punished by execution and helped formulate the Vietnamese communist policy which resulted in the murder of thousands of pro-U.S. South Vietnamese in Hue during the Tet Offensive of 1968. Communist Party henchmen executed over 5,000 men, women, and children, burying many of them alive in mass graves during the brief time North Vietnamese troops held that historic ancient Vietnamese city.|
|Senator McCain is pictured embracing Mai Van On in Hanoi, November 13, 1996. On identified himself as one of the Vietnamese who pulled McCain from Hanoi’s Truc Bach Lake, where McCain parachuted in 1967 after his bomber was shot down. McCain has said, many times, that, after pulling him from the lake, the Vietnamese brutally beat him and stabbed him with a bayonet.|
|July 11, 1995, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., (right), and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., (center), gave President Bill Clinton, (left), the valuable political cover he needed to remove the U.S. imposed trade embargo against communist Vietnam.
All major U.S. veterans organizations, the two POW/MIA family groups, and the majority of Vietnamese Americans in this country opposed Clinton’s lifting of the embargo.
|McCain lost five U.S. Navy aircraft
Navy pilot John Sidney McCain III should have never been allowed to graduate from the U.S. Navy flight school. He was a below average student and a lousy pilot. Had his father and grandfather not been famous four star U.S. Navy admirals, McCain III would have never been allowed in the cockpit of a military aircraft.
His father John S. “Junior” McCain was commander of U.S. forces in Europe later becoming commander of American forces in Vietnam while McCain III was being held prisoner of war. McCain III’s grandfather John S. McCain, Sr. commanded naval aviation at the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.
During his relative short stunt on flight status, McCain III lost five U.S. Navy aircraft, four in accidents and one in combat.
Robert Timberg, author of The Nightingale’s Song, a book about Annapolis graduates and their tours in Vietnam, wrote that McCain “learned to fly at Pensacola, though his performance was below par, at best good enough to get by. He liked flying, but didn’t love it.”
McCain III lost jet number one in 1958 when he plunged into Corpus Christi Bay while practicing landings. He was knocked unconscious by the impact coming to as the plane settled to the bottom.
McCain’s second crash occurred while he was deployed in the Mediterranean. “Flying too low over the Iberian Peninsula,” Timberg wrote, “he took out some power lines [reminiscent of the 1998 incident in which a Marine Corps jet sliced through the cables of a gondola at an Italian ski resort, killing 20] which led to a spate of newspaper stories in which he was predictably identified as the son of an admiral.”
McCain’s third crash three occurred when he was returning from flying a Navy trainer solo to Philadelphia for an Army-Navy football game.
Timberg reported that McCain radioed, “I’ve got a flameout” and went through standard relight procedures three times before ejecting at one thousand feet. McCain landed on a deserted beach moments before the plane slammed into a clump of trees.
McCain’s fourth aircraft loss occurred July 29, 1967, soon after he was assigned to the USS Forrestal as an A-4 Skyhawk pilot. While seated in the cockpit of his aircraft waiting his turn for takeoff, an accidently fired rocket slammed into McCain’s plane. He escaped from the burning aircraft, but the explosions that followed killed 134 sailors, destroyed at least 20 aircraft, and threatened to sink the ship.
McCain’s fifth loss happened during his 23rd mission over North Vietnam on Oct. 26, 1967, when McCain’s A-4 Skyhawk was shot down by a surface-to-air missile. McCain ejected from the plane breaking both arms and a leg in the process and subsequently parachuted into Truc Bach Lake near Hanoi.
After being drug from the lake, a mob gathered around McCain, spit on him, kicked him and stripped him of his clothing. He was bayoneted in his left foot and his shoulder crushed by a rifle butt. He was then transported to the Hoa Lo Prison, also known as the Hanoi Hilton.
After being periodically slapped around for “three or four days” by his captors who wanted military information, McCain called for an officer on his fourth day of captivity. He told the officer, “O.K., I’ll give you military information if you will take me to the hospital.” –U.S. News and World Report, May 14, 1973 article written by former POW John McCain
“Demands for military information were accompanied by threats to terminate my medical treatment if I [McCain] did not cooperate. Eventually, I gave them my ship’s name and squadron number, and confirmed that my target had been the power plant.” Page 193-194, Faith of My Fathers by John McCain.
When the communist learned that McCain’s father was Admiral John S. McCain, Jr., the soon-to-be commander of all U.S. Forces in the Pacific, he was rushed to Gai Lam military hospital (U.S. government documents), a medical facility normally unavailable for U.S. POWs.
The communist Vietnamese figured, because POW McCain’s father was of such high military rank, that he was of royalty or the governing circle. Thereafter the communist bragged that they had captured “the crown prince.”
For 23 combat missions (an estimated 20 hours over enemy territory), the U.S. Navy awarded McCain a Silver Star, a Legion of Merit for Valor, a Distinguished Flying Cross, three Bronze Stars, two Commendation medals plus two Purple Hearts and a dozen service medals.
“McCain had roughly 20 hours in combat,” explains Bill Bell, a veteran of Vietnam and former chief of the U.S. Office for POW/MIA Affairs — the first official U.S. representative in Vietnam since the 1973 fall of Saigon. “Since McCain got 28 medals,” Bell continues, “that equals out to about a medal-and-a-half for each hour he spent in combat. There were infantry guys — grunts on the ground — who had more than 7,000 hours in combat and I can tell you that there were times and situations where I’m sure a prison cell would have looked pretty good to them by comparison. The question really is how many guys got that number of medals for not being shot down.”
For years, McCain has been an unchecked master at manipulating an overly friendly and biased news media. The former POW turned Congressman, turned U.S. Senator, has managed to gloss over his failures as a pilot and collaborations with the enemy by exaggerating his military service and lying about his feats of heroism.
McCain has sprouted a halo and wings to become America’s POW-hero presidential candidate.