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Media Matters: "Print reports on Clark's comments didn't note that McCain camp's response included Swift Boat Vet Bud Day"
The Left wing watchdog of the "right wing media" went on to note that The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Reuters all mentioned Bud Day without pointing out that he was a Swiftboater!!!! (Probably because unlike their "watchdog" they wisely didn't want to open that particular door, as we'll soon see.) Media Matters then described many of the charges levied by Kerry's fellow Swift Boat vets as baseless, and claimed they had debunked them.
All of which is a moot point in this discussion. Because (oops) Media Matters forgot to address Bud Day's part in the story - which had nothing whatsoever to do with John Kerry's time in service. America's most decorated veteran - like countless other former POWs (and veterans) - was outraged by Kerry's post-service accusation that they were baby killing, ear-collecting rapists and war criminals, a charge made before the US Congress while Day and his fellow POWs were being tortured in Vietnamese prisons in part for refusing to sign confessions of just that.
McCain weighed in on the Swift Boat ads regarding Kerry's service back when it mattered.
"I deplore this kind of politics," McCain said. "I think the ad is dishonest and dishonorable. As it is, none of these individuals served on the boat (Kerry) commanded. Many of his crew have testified to his courage under fire. I think John Kerry served honorably in Vietnam. I think George Bush served honorably in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War."So it's admirable that Media Matters wants to highlight McCain's "maverick" attitude towards "dirty" politics. But while attacking Bud Day might appeal to hard core communists, it should be noted that while "condemning" Kerry's fellow Swift Boat vets, McCain remained silent on the post-service issues his fellow POWs raised in 2004. (And has likewise so far in 2008, but by all means, keep pushing.)
McCain likely would not have remained silent in 1973. Just released from a North Vietnamese prison, he recounted his experiences in the May 14 issue of U.S.News & World Report.
I was in the hospital about six weeks, then was taken to a camp in Hanoi that we called "The Plantation." This was in late December, 1967. I was put in a cell with two other men, George Day and Norris Overly, both Air Force majors. I was on a stretcher, my leg was stiff and I was still in a chest cast that I kept for about two months. I was down to about 100 pounds from my normal weight of 155.
I was told later on by Major Day that they didn't expect me to live a week. I was unable to sit up. I was sleeping about 18 hours, 20 hours a day. They had to do everything for me. They were allowed to get a bucket of water and wash me off occasionally. They fed me and took fine care of me, and I recovered very rapidly.
I remained in solitary confinement from that time on for more than two years. I was not allowed to see or talk to or communicate with any of my fellow prisoners. My room was fairly decent-sized—I'd say it was about 10 by 10. The door was solid. There were no windows. The only ventilation came from two small holes at the top in the ceiling, about 6 inches by 4 inches. The roof was tin and it got hot as hell in there. The room was kind of dim—night and day—but they always kept on a small light bulb, so they could observe me. I was in that place for two years.
Suddenly "The Cat" said to me, "Do you want to go home?"
I was astonished, and I tell you frankly that I said that I would have to think about it. I went back to my room, and I thought about it for a long time. At this time I did not have communication with the camp senior ranking officer, so I could get no advice. I was worried whether I could stay alive or not, because I was in rather bad condition. I had been hit with a severe case of dysentery, which kept on for about a year and a half. I was losing weight again.
But I knew that the Code of Conduct says, "You will not accept parole or amnesty," and that "you will not accept special favors." For somebody to go home earlier is a special favor. There's no other way you can cut it.
I went back to him three nights later. He asked again, "Do you want to go home?" I told him "No." He wanted to know why, and I told him the reason. I said that Alvarez [first American captured] should go first, then enlisted men and that kind of stuff.
"The Cat" told me that President Lyndon Johnson had ordered me home. He handed me a letter from my wife, in which she had said, "I wished that you had been one of those three who got to come home." Of course, she had no way to understand the ramifications of this. "The Cat" said that the doctors had told him that I could not live unless I got medical treatment in the United States.
We went through this routine and still I told him "No." Three nights later we went through it all over again. On the morning of the Fourth of July, 1968, which happened to be the same day that my father took over as commander in chief of U. S. Forces in the Pacific, I was led into another quiz room.
"The Rabbit" and "The Cat" were sitting there. I walked in and sat down, and "The Rabbit" said, "Our senior wants to know your final answer."
"My final answer is the same. It's 'No.' "
"That is your final answer?"
"That is my final answer."
With this "The Cat," who was sitting there with a pile of papers in front of him and a pen in his hand, broke the pen in two. Ink spurted all over. He stood up, kicked the chair over behind him, and said, "They taught you too well. They taught you too well"—in perfect English, I might add. He turned, went out and slammed the door, leaving "The Rabbit" and me sitting there. "The Rabbit" said "Now, McCain, it will be very bad for you. Go back to your room.
What they wanted, of course, was to send me home at the same time that my father took over as commander in the Pacific. This would have made them look very humane in releasing the injured son of a top U. S. officer. It would also have given them a great lever against my fellow prisoners, because the North Vietnamese were always putting this "class" business on us. They could have said to the others "Look, you poor devils, the son of the man who is running the war has gone home and left you here. No one cares about you ordinary fellows." I was determined at all times to prevent any exploitation of my father and my family.
There was another consideration for me. Even though I was told I would not have to sign any statements or confessions before I went home, I didn't believe them. They would have got me right up to that airplane and said, "Now just sign this little statement." At that point, I doubt that I could have resisted, even though I felt very strong at the time.
But the primary thing I considered was that I had no right to go ahead of men like Alvarez, who had been there three years before I "got killed"—that's what we say instead of "before I got shot down," because in a way becoming a prisoner in North Vietnam was like being killed.
About a month and a half later, when the three men who were selected for release had reached America, I was set up for some very severe treatment which lasted for the next year and a half.
They took me out of my room to "Slopehead," who said, "You have violated all the camp regulations. You're a black criminal. You must confess your crimes." I said that I wouldn't do that, and he asked, "Why are you so disrespectful of guards?" I answered, "Because the guards treat me like an animal."
When I said that, the guards, who were all in the room—about 10 of them—really laid into me. They bounced me from pillar to post, kicking and laughing and scratching. After a few hours of that, ropes were put on me and I sat that night bound with ropes. Then I was taken to a small room. For punishment they would almost always take you to another room where you didn't have a mosquito net or a bed or any clothes. For the next four days, I was beaten every two to three hours by different guards. My left arm was broken again and my ribs were cracked.
They wanted a statement saying that I was sorry for the crimes that I had committed against North Vietnamese people and that I was grateful for the treatment that I had received from them. This was the paradox—so many guys were so mistreated to get them to say they were grateful. But this is the Communist way.
So this was a period of repeated, severe treatment. It lasted until around October of '69. They wanted me to see delegations. There were antiwar groups coming into Hanoi, a lot of foreigners—Cubans, Russians. I don't think we had too many American "peaceniks" that early, although within the next year it got much greater. I refused to see any of them. The propaganda value to them would have been too great, with my dad as commander in the Pacific.
David Dellinger came over. Tom Hayden came over. Three groups of released prisoners, in fact, were let out in custody of the "peace groups." The first ones released went home with one of the Berrigan brothers. The next group was a whole crew. One of them was James Johnson, one of the Fort Hood Three. The wife of the "Ramparts" magazine editor and Rennie Davis were along. Altogether, I think about eight or nine of them were in that outfit. Then a third group followed.
The North Vietnamese wanted me to meet with all of them, but I was able to avoid it. A lot of times you couldn't face them down, so you had to try to get around them. "Face" is a big thing with these people, you know, and if you get around them so that they could save face, then it was a lot easier.
For example, they would beat the hell out of me and say I was going to see a delegation. I'd respond that, O.K. I'd see a delegation, but I would not say anything against my country and I would not say anything about my treatment and if asked, I'd tell them the truth about the conditions I was kept under. They went back and conferred on that and then would say, "You have agreed to see a delegation so we will take you." But they never took me, you see.
At this point I want to tell you the story of Capt. Dick Stratton. He was shot down in May of 1967, when the American peace groups were claiming that the United States was bombing Hanoi. We were not at that time.
Dick was shot down well outside of Hanoi, but they wanted a confession at the time an American reporter was over there. That was in the spring and summer of '67—remember those stories that came back, very sensational stories about the American bomb damage?
"The Rabbit" and the others worked on Dick Stratton very hard. He's got huge rope scars on his arms where they were infected. They really wrung him out, because they were going to get a confession that he had bombed Hanoi—this was to be living proof. They also peeled his thumbnails back and burned him with cigarettes.
Dick reached the point where he couldn't say "No." But when they got him to the press conference, he pulled this bowing act on them—he bowed 90 degrees in this direction, he bowed 90 degrees in that direction—four quadrants. This was not too wild to the "gooks," because they're used to the bowing thing. But any American who sees a picture of another American bowing to the waist every turn for 90 degrees knows that there's something wrong with the guy, that something has happened to him. That's why Dick did what he did. After that they continued to keep pressure on him to say he wasn't tortured. They tortured him to say that he wasn't tortured. It gets to be a bad merry-go-round to be on.
All through this period, the "gooks" were bombarding us with antiwar quotes from people in high places back in Washington. This was the most effective propaganda they had to use against us—speeches and statements by men who were generally respected in the United States.
They used Senator Fulbright a great deal, and Senator Brooke. Ted Kennedy was quoted again and again, as was Averell Harriman. Clark Clifford was another favorite, right after he had been Secretary of Defense under President Johnson.
When Ramsey Clark came over they thought that was a great coup for their cause.
Some of you may have to find some way to forgive John McCain for referring to his torturers as "gooks" - McCain himself has subsequently embraced reconciliation with Vietnam. Time often tempers one's opinions of even the most vile of foes.
McCain biographer Paul Alexander chronicled the Arizona Republican's anger toward Kerry during their early careers in the Senate together.But lets not start picking out curtains...
"For many years McCain held Kerry's actions against him because, while McCain was a POW in the Hanoi Hilton, Kerry was organizing veterans back home in the U.S. to protest the war."
In his 2002 book, "Man of the People: The Life of John McCain," Alexander says that the two Vietnam vets finally reconciled in the early 1990s after having "a long - and at times emotional - conversation about Vietnam" during a mutual trip to Kuwait.
During the early summer, Mr Kerry implored Mr McCain, the maverick Republican who ran against Mr Bush in the 2000 Republican primaries, to become his running-mate, meeting him seven times. He even offered to expand the vice-presidency to include running the Pentagon. “I can’t say this is an offer because I’ve got to be able to deny it,” Mr Kerry told Mr McCain. “But you’ve got to do this.”It's often a pleasure to stroll briefly down memory lane. For folks like the Media Matters crew that might seem to be a very short path. In reality it's not, of course, and it's one that they - like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Reuters - might take care to avoid.
Mr McCain told him he was out of his mind, and went on to embrace Mr Bush. “Goddammit,” a furious Mr Kerry said to an aide. “Don’t you know what I offered him? Why the f*** didn’t he take it?” At the time, Mr Kerry also thought that John Edwards, his eventual choice, was overly ambitious. “What makes this guy think he can be president?” he asked staff in February.
After the anti-Kerry Swift Boat veteran attacks in August that questioned his Vietnam service, Mr Kerry’s campaign was in turmoil, beset by feuds, indecision and dithering. Mr Kerry, often generous to his staff but a constant whiner, had reverted to indecision, unable to straighten the mess out.
PowerLine: Robert Coram is the author of American Patriot: The Life and Wars of Colonel Bud Day. He has forwarded a message related to our post "Setting the record straight on Bud Day, and CNN." Mr. Coram writes:
Michelle Malkin: "Take a look at the man on the left in this photo ..."
Heh: "John Kerry says that John McCain lacks the good judgment necessary to be president..." It's another flip flop!
Ahhh, memory lane...
Amazing that while the DNC successfully banned that video from broadcast they had Michael Moore as the ultimate guest of honor at their convention.
Amazing too that while John McCain was in that prison Barack Obama was going to an Islamic elementary school in Indonesia. (Not that there's anything wrong with that...)Posted by D.B. Cooper at July 7, 2008 02:40 PM
Sorry, I disagree.
Bud Day knew exactly what SBVT was up to when he signed on. He knew exactly what they were up to when he wore his MoH in a televised ad smearing John Kerry...an ad that also smeared his military service.
In fact, when he signed on, he specifically defended the first SBVT ad, which was almost entirely a smear on Kerry's military service. Go back and read the Bud Day letter you posted on the other page.
He took SBVT money to finance his new group's (VVLF) harassment suits against Kerry and his associates.
He specifically defended their tactics the other day:
"The Swift Boat attacks were simply a revelation of the truth, the similarity does not exist here.What the Swift Boat campaign was about was to lay out John Kerry's record."
Sorry, he's chosen his friends.
Posted by skylark at July 8, 2008 05:50 AM
DB Cooper said:
"Amazing too that while John McCain was in that prison Barack Obama was going to an Islamic elementary school in Indonesia. (Not that there's anything wrong with that...)"
Wow, that IS amazing ! Especially when the blog you link to says nothing at all about an Islamic school. And the WaPo article the blog links to specifically says the school was NOT a religious school, but a public school.
Maybe it was just a typo on your part, hmmm?Posted by skylark at July 8, 2008 05:58 AM
An Islamic public school. I'm sure non-Muslims were allowed to attend.Posted by D.B. Cooper at July 9, 2008 10:48 AM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(4) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)