Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dishonest McCain

People who support McCain-- and the media-- have a lot of claims to make about his Vietnam War actions and treatment in captivity. But in his political life, McCain constantly says one thing and then does another. In other words, he now lives his life like a dishonest person, and this is easy to show. The media, however, is quick to help create an image of honesty and integrity for McCain, always rushing to call him a maverick-- even though the media should know that McCain's actual voting record as a maverick is very sparse, and that what he actually does is says he is going to go his own way in statements to the media, and then he follows the very conservative Republican path in his actual (media-ignored) voting in the Senate. This calling him honest and a maverick is, also, the perfect cover for someone who lives dishonestly-- if you create the widespread impression that everybody thinks you're honest, then people will simply take it for granted that it's true unless perhaps they actually read with their own two eyes (an underreported account of) how you actually behave.

So if McCain is very dishonest now, why should we believe that everything that's said about what he did during the war in Vietnam is true?

Specifically, does anyone else find it unusual that a man who signed a statement against America because he was "broken" (by his own admission) by torture would then turn around and refuse to leave captivity as some kind of defiant protest? Do people who are scared and intimidated by physical torture usually turn around-- somehow get a lot of guts back-- and basically ask for more imminent torture just to make a token protest? Sure, there is the line that McCain didn't want better treatment because he claims the Vietnamese were trying to demoralize low-ranking prisoners by making them believe that more-important prisoners were cooperating with their captors-- but during wars, it's normal for some prisoners to be released before others for a variety of reasons (rather than everyone all at once). There was no reason for the lower-ranking men to think that John McCain was betraying them if he got to go home because he was famous or important. Surely, any one of those men would have liked to have been in McCain's shoes, and to get to go home early. So the story seems really unlikely to me, and I think it's more likely that McCain didn't try to get out because he thought it was futile and thought the person who was telling him he had a chance to get out was wrong. Or, maybe he made a stupid gamble, believing that there must be some pressure on the Vietnamese if they wanted to release him, and that consequently he could get all of his fellow prisoners out (and look like a hotshot) if he insisted (that is, he thought that he was going to be imminently released at that time anyway, even if he said "No" at first). Or perhaps this whole story was fashioned almost out of the air after-the-fact.