This article by a fellow POW of McCain’s on why he will not vote for McCain gives me conflicting feelings. On the one hand, it’s good to know that you don’t have to fall down and worship McCain because he was a POW. On the other, it’s disappointing that no one seems to have come out of Vietnam with a good reputation. The war tends to destroy those who served in it whether they were a “hero” like McCain or a poor grunt just trying to survive long enough to get back home. At least part of this is because the American elite did not serve and in order to make themselves feel better about avoiding service, they belittle the service of those who went to Vietnam.
As a Vietnam veteran, I am disappointed at veterans denigrating other veterans, whether it’s “Swift Boat Veterans” running down John Kerry, or another POW running down McCain. When I came back, all any civilian wanted to hear was whether you killed any babies or committed some other atrocity in Vietnam. One book I remember reading was called “No Victory Parades.” One problem for John McCain is that he missed all that. He came back praised as a hero rather than reviled as a criminal for his service. His tour of duty was a lot tougher than most, but his reception was a lot better than most. That may be one reason he is so ready to go to war, whether against Iraq, Iran or Russia. I liked him in 2000, but that was before he became such a warmonger. I think his defeat by Bush changed him for the worse. This article at least raises questions about how much people should bow down to McCain’s POW experience. He uses it for everything, most recently defending himself for not knowing how many houses he has. His spokesman said something like, “He lived in only one house for five and half years, in prison” Maybe he should cool it on the POW stuff for a while.