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This morning on MSNBC.com......
Note the flowery praise of John McCain...
As Sen. Barack Obama tries to secure the Democratic presidential nomination and turn his attention to the presumptive GOP nominee, Sen. John McCain -- a war hero who survived more than five years in enemy captivity --
Adding to Obama's challenge is the Republicans' selection of McCain, who with his ever-present Navy cap, military lineage and loyal following of fellow veterans exudes traditional notions of patriotism. A McCain-Obama race would present a contrast between a battle-scarred former fighter pilot who believes in seeing through the war in Iraq, and a man 25 years his junior whose half-Kenyan roots symbolize Americans' increasingly diverse origins, who did not serve in the military, and who argues that the country's values have been threatened, not upheld, by the Iraq war. Link
How could a snot nosed, whippersnapper, like Obama, MSNBC. com asks, have a chance against such a credentialed patriot and superfragilisticexpealidocious veteran like John McCain? That's MNBC.com's, I guess, serious question this morning.
And The Reverend has an answer.....
"McCain had a unique POW experience. Initially, he was taken to the infamous Hanoi Hilton prison camp, where he was interrogated. By McCain's own account, after three or four days he cracked. He promised his Vietnamese captors, "I'll give you military information if you will take me to the hospital ...
"His Vietnamese captors soon realized their POW, John Sidney McCain III, came from a well-bred line in the American military elite. . .The Vietnamese realized, this poor stooge has propaganda value. The admiral's boy was used to special treatment, and his captors knew that. They were working him."
". . .two weeks into his stay at the Vietnamese hospital, the Hanoi press began quoting him. It was not 'name rank and serial number, or kill me'. as specified by the military code of conduct. McCain divulged specific military information: he gave the name of the aircraft carrier on which he was based, the number of U.S. pilots that had been lost, the number of aircraft in his flight formation, as well as information about the location of rescue ships."
"…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 cooperated with the North Vietnamese for a period of three years. His situation isn't as innocuous as that of the French barber who cuts the hair of the German occupier. McCain was repaying his captors for their kindness and mercy.
"This is the lesson of McCain's experience as a POW: a true politician, a hollow man, his only allegiance is to power. The Vietnamese, like McCain's campaign contributors today, protected and promoted him, and, in return, he danced to their tune. . ." Link
How do you think Americans would regard John McCain's patriotism if they knew about the extent of his collaboration with his captors, the North Vietnamese, during his captivity? Has collaboration with the enemy now become evidence of patriotism? When a captured U.S. soldier cooperates with his captors, America's enemy, how much cooperation with that enemy does it take before that soldier is no longer considered "a war hero who survived more than five years in enemy captivity --" or a veteran "who with his ever-present Navy cap, military lineage and loyal following of fellow veterans exudes traditional notions of patriotism."?
In teevee ads reminiscent of Captain Codpiece and Mission Accomplished, Americans have seen vintage POW McCain pictures, complete with a young McCain laying on a cot in North Vietnam. These images have been cherry picked for maximum patriotic emotional appeal.....suggesting that John McCain has given all for his country and so has demonstrated his patriotism to serve as president.
I've always understood that cooperating with the enemy was more traitorous than patriotic. I think the American voters, if made privy to the truth of McCain's cooperation with the Viet Cong, might also see McCain's cooperation with the enemy as falling short of true patriotism. Americans might sympathize with McCain's failure under tremendous physical and mental torment....but they wouldn't regard it as a patriotic heroic performance. Cooperating with the enemies of America, usually, isn't considered to be stars and stripes patriotism.
But I have a solution to this potential Republican dilemma.
John McCain has voted against declaring waterboarding torture. He has also agreed with George W. Bush that the president, alone, should be the only person who can decide whether a detainee is to be tortured or not. John McCain states that it's fine with him if the CIA is exempt from the Army Field Manual restrictions against torturous tactics being performed on detainees. While making a show of being against torture.....John McCain has helped to institutionalize torture in the office of the presidency.
Perhaps then....the Republican machine can join these two "features" of John McCain's biography.
What do I mean?
John McCain can run for president on a platform of, "The president should not have his hands tied over torture. A true patriot, like me, knows that torture works, I'm the living proof." John McCain, you know, "who with his ever-present Navy cap, military lineage and loyal following of fellow veterans exudes traditional notions of patriotism".....can run on his own cooperation with the North Vietnamese enemy back in the 70's. He can point to his collapse under torture, and his subsequent cooperation with the enemy, as positive proof that the Bush Doctrine, now McCain's Doctrine, of torturing Muslim detainees is the only safe way forward.
I can see the new skyscraper sized Mission Acomplished-like banners now.
"Vote McCain, Living Proof That Torture Works"
The "breaking news" teevee Knee Pad slurpers, like David Gregory and Tim Russert, can plumb the depths of their own profoundly serious and experienced minds to come up with "electability" questions like this one....
"Who's more patriotic? Someone who is living proof that torture works....or a guy who doesn't always wear a lapel flagpin?"
You know what's sad? I'm being completely serious.