Thursday, October 9, 2008

Is the Hero shedding clothes?

Andrew Sullivan, Dear Gentle Reader(s), has for several weeks been virtually rabid about his opposition to Senator McCain's presidential hopes.  That rabitidy has even surpassed his disdain (not nearly a strong enough word) for Senator Clinton. Quite often, though, he pulls his punches, and one begins to wonder why.

Today, in a discussion about McCain's famous temper, Sullivan writes, "I'm not judging the man, whose passions are real and whose service to his country should be honored;" and that raises the question, how long does a man get to wear the mantle of "hero" while at the same time taking some questionable steps in the service of his country?

Take, DGR(s), a quick jaunt over to Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain.  It will be instructive, if not just a little reminiscent of 2004's swift-boating of Senator Kerry.

At VVAJMcC you will read of the 4 planes McCain lost while piloting and one lost during an accident prior to take-off.  You will also read of McCain's capture and subsequent captivity. 

The final paragraphs of the site, though, are the most telling for the purposes of our little post today:

For 23 combat missions (an estimated 20 hours over enemy territory), the U.S. Navy awarded McCain a Silver Star, a Legion of Merit for Valor, a Distinguished Flying Cross, three Bronze Stars, two Commendation medals plus two Purple Hearts and a dozen service medals.

"McCain had roughly 20 hours in combat," explains Bill Bell, a veteran of Vietnam and former chief of the U.S. Office for POW/MIA Affairs -- the first official U.S. representative in Vietnam since the 1973 fall of Saigon. "Since McCain got 28 medals," Bell continues, "that equals out to about a medal-and-a-half for each hour he spent in combat. There were infantry guys -- grunts on the ground -- who had more than 7,000 hours in combat and I can tell you that there were times and situations where I'm sure a prison cell would have looked pretty good to them by comparison. The question really is how many guys got that number of medals for not being shot down."

For years, McCain has been an unchecked master at manipulating an overly friendly and biased news media. The former POW turned Congressman, turned U.S. Senator, has managed to gloss over his failures as a pilot and collaborations with the enemy by exaggerating his military service and lying about his feats of heroism.

McCain has sprouted a halo and wings to become America's POW-hero presidential candidate.

These vets, DGR(s), do not regard the senator as much of a hero.

Nonetheless, the good senator did serve; he was shot down; he did undergo years of imprisonment and torture; he does have physical impairments because of treatment during his incarceration.  We must remember that.

He also, Dear, Dear Gentle Reader(s), asked the Republican party to nominate Sarah Palin for the office of Vice President of the United States.  We must remember that.

Perhaps the Senator's hero couture should be replaced by something not quite so transparent.  Or, perhaps, honored as a relic.

Andrew, you have our permission to stop the redundant references to the good senator's service.

Trust, but verify.


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