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:
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lines Written on the Occasion of Bernie Sanders’ Announcement of His Intention to Vote for Hillary Clinton
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
Pete Dolack
Killing Ourselves With Technology
David Krieger
The 10 Worst Acts of the Nuclear Age
Lamont Lilly
Movement for Black Lives Yields New Targets of the State
Martha Rosenberg
A Hated Industry Fights Back
Robert Fantina
Hillary, Gloria and Jill: a Brief Look at Alternatives
Chris Doyle
No Fireworks: Bicentennial Summer and the Decline of American Ideals
Michael Doliner
Beyond Dangerous: the Politics of Climate
Colin Todhunter
Modi, Monsanto, Bayer and Cargill: Doing Business or Corporate Imperialism?
Steve Church
Brexit: a Rush for the Exits!
Matthew Koehler
Mega Corporation Gobbles Up Slightly Less-Mega Corporation; Chops Jobs to Increase Profits; Blames Enviros. Film at 11.
David Green
Rape Culture, The Hunting Ground, and Amy Goodman: a Critical Perspective
Ed Kemmick
Truckin’: Pro Driver Dispenses Wisdom, Rules of the Road
Alessandro Bianchi
“China Will React if Provoked Again: You Risk the War”: Interview with Andre Vltchek
Christy Rodgers
Biophilia as Extreme Sport
Missy Comley Beattie
At Liberty
Ron Jacobs
Is Everything Permitted?
Cesar Chelala
The Sad Truth About Messi
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail