FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

John McCain in a New Context

by PATTY O'GRADY

Did you know that when John McCain was away from home for extended periods of time working as a U.S. Senator, Mrs. Cindy McCain would tell her children with his acquiescence that he was “deployed” and imagined herself just another lonely – albeit very, very wealthy – naval wife?

As a military wife and daughter I don’t think living in D.C. – wining and dining lobbyists – is the equivalent of deployment to Afghanistan, Iraq or Vietnam.

Why is this story worth repeating? The Cinderella quality of such imaginings provides a telling context – revealing the man and his presumptions hiding behind the mask of war hero.

In this election season, understanding the full context of presumptions is very important. My husband, also a former Vietnam Prisoner of War (1970-1973), spent time in both the “Hanoi Hilton” and a secondary camp -“Plantation Gardens” – as did John McCain who never mentions time spent in the latter. I am also the daughter of Colonel John F. O’Grady who was known to be a POW captured on the border of Laos and Vietnam in 1967 and who never returned. Like John McCain, John O’Grady was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy (1952). John O’Grady earned 7 military commendations for heroic service including the Silver Star and two Distinguished Flying Crosses.

There were many heroes in Vietnam – and there are many freshly bloodied heroes returning from new wars started by old men – and John McCain’s claim is tarnished by long forgotten historical facts that few are brave enough to proffer today for fear of vicious attack on their “patriotism”. My father’s legacy protects me from such attack and so demands that I ask the unspoken questions and remind voters of the forgotten history.  When the Vietnam POWS came home in 1973, President Nixon traded a small group of them celebrity status – anointing them as “heroes” – for political support of his failed war policies. John McCain was one of the anointed heroes while others were virtually discarded in exchange for their continued support of the false Nixon plan of “peace with honor” in Vietnam.

Politics can magnify or ignore heroism as it suits. In turn, the select POWS were introduced to very wealthy and influential members of the Republican Party, their records were elevated over other POW heroes with more compelling stories, and many difficult questions were not asked of them.

Today, some of those same POWS are employees of the neo-conservative American Enterprise Institute and many others have profited greatly from their staunch affiliations within the Republican Party.

In 1973, “patriotism” was traded like a commodity and heroes were used as political props. Essentially, the architects of both Vietnam and Iraq (Cheney, Rumsfeld, et. al.) launched a highly successful propaganda campaign (remember the Private First Class Jessica Lynch POW shameful sequel) using Vietnam POWS – at least the ones that were willing to be used wittingly or unwittingly – in an attempt to prop up the failing Nixon administration. Yet, if Mr. McCain is now intent on running on his character and his war record almost – because he has nothing else to offer – while suggesting that others do not care about their country as much as he does – then the wife and daughter of two other Vietnam heroes has a few questions for him:

In the interest of full disclosure why do you refuse to release your Department of Defense POW debriefing?

In the interest of full disclosure why have you failed to release all military medical records including psychological studies – 1973-1993?

Why do you only reference the time spent as a prisoner in the Hanoi Hilton”?

When will you provide details about the time spent in the prison referred to as “Plantation Gardens”?

Did you ever receive any preferential or atypical treatment while a POW in any location where you were held? How soon and when did you reveal your true identity to your Vietnamese captors – did you simply give name, rank and serial number?

Has any other former Vietnam Prisoners of War or Vietnam veteran questioned the record that you claim particularly your claims of “torture”?

What was your connection to the “Peace Committee”?

Have you ever referenced the “blue files” in any speech that you have given? What are the “blue files”? Where are those files housed? Why do you not want those files released?

Have you ever lost your temper with military families who challenged your position?

Have you ever acted in an inappropriate way or in a less than gentlemanly manner with any female spouse of any active duty military personnel member?

Why not let citizens, who know the personal and painful history better than anyone else, ask the questions? Why not let these questions prompt more thorough investigation and scrutiny and less shilling by the press? Why shouldn’t change really mean accountability as framed by ordinary people who also made an extraordinary sacrifice? The answers might provide all citizens the context needed to fully judge some less than credible claims that have aged into myths over time.

There is always the context to consider…

Patty O’Grady, Ph.D., teaches in the Department of Education at the University of Tampa.

 

Your Ad Here
 

 

 

More articles by:
May 23, 2016
Conn Hallinan
European Union: a House Divided
Paul Buhle
Labor’s Sell-Out and the Sanders Campaign
Uri Avnery
Israeli Weimar: It Can Happen Here
John Stauber
Why Bernie was Busted From the Beginning
James Bovard
Obama’s Biggest Corruption Charade
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
Indian Point Nuclear Plant: It Doesn’t Take a Meltdown to Harm Local Residents
Desiree Hellegers
“Energy Without Injury”: From Redwood Summer to Break Free via Occupy Wall Street
Lawrence Davidson
The Unraveling of Zionism?
Patrick Cockburn
Why Visa Waivers are Dangerous for Turks
Robert Koehler
Rethinking Criminal Justice
Lawrence Wittner
The Return of Democratic Socialism
Ha-Joon Chang
What Britain Forgot: Making Things Matters
John V. Walsh
Only Donald Trump Raises Five “Fundamental and Urgent” Foreign Policy Questions: Stephen F. Cohen Bemoans MSM’s Dismissal of Trump’s Queries
Andrew Stewart
The Occupation of the American Mind: a Film That Palestinians Deserve
Nyla Ali Khan
The Vulnerable Repositories of Honor in Kashmir
Weekend Edition
May 20, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Hillary Clinton and Political Violence
Andrew Levine
Why Not Hillary?
Paul Street
Hillary Clinton’s Neocon Resumé
Chris Floyd
Twilight of the Grifter: Bill Clinton’s Fading Powers
Eric Mann
How We Got the Tanks and M-16s Out of LA Schools
Jason Hirthler
The West’s Needless Aggression
Dan Arel
Why Hillary Clinton’s Camp Should Be Scared
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima Flunks Decontamination
David Rosen
The Privatization of the Public Sphere
Margaret Kimberley
Obama’s Civil Rights Hypocrisy
Pete Dolack
We Can Dream, or We Can Organize
Chris Gilbert
Corruption in Latin American Governments
Dan Kovalik
Colombia: the Displaced & Invisible Nation
Jeffrey St. Clair
Fat Man Earrings: a Nuclear Parable
Medea Benjamin
Israel and Saudi Arabia: Strange Bedfellows in the New Middle East
Ted Rall
Trump Isn’t Bluffing, He’ll Deport 11 Million People
Kent Paterson
Death in a Shopping Aisle: Jonathan Sorensen’s Fatal Encounter with Kmart
Lisa Sullivan
Venezuela’s Crisis From Up Close
Clancy Sigal
Trump’s Rasputin: What the Donald Learned From Roy Cohn
Manuel E. Yepe
Think Tanks and the US Power Elite
Kathleen Wallace
$25 vs $30, Hats Off to the Two-Party System!
Terry Simons
Mob Politics: the Democrats Have a Problem and It’s Not the Sandernistas
Franklin Lamb
U.S. Financial Regulations Increase Starvation Among Syria’s Children
James Cronin
The Pope and Mercy: the Catholic Church has not Abandoned Its 400 Year War on Science
Linn Washington Jr.
Islamophobia on the Rise in England
Thomas Mountain
25 Years of Struggle Building Socialism in Eritrea; Fighting the Cancer of Corruption
David Wilson
Who Speaks for the Refugee Children of Calais?
Michael Welton
Terry Eagleton: the Cheeky Marxist
David Mattson
Disserving the Public Trust: the Despotic Future of Grizzly Bear Management
Rick Sterling
Bernie Comes to Vallejo
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail