John McCain likes to tell people he doesn't like to talk about his POW experience, then he proceeds to tell them, again, all about it.
At the beginning of McCain's struggle for the White House - god, so long ago - and especially since the Republican National Convention, most of what we heard from John McCain and friends, was related to his time in Vietnam in a prisoner of war camp. Everytime he opened his mouth, he was yammering about how he spent five long years away from home, and blah, blah, blah...as if that experience, in some magic way, qualified him to lead the most powerful nation on earth.
He neglected to tell folks that one of the reasons he sat in that camp (and he was not tortured for five years, no matter what Fred Thompson says!) in Vietnam was because, once again, he ignored Naval regulations and was flying 1000 feet lower than he should have been, thus giving the North Vietnamese a better target, which resulted in his being shot down.
For awhile, the POW thing went away. We heard about it occasionally, but not all the time. Well, John must feel he's up against the wall, 'cause the POW thing is back. In Columbus, Ohio, joined by that great Prussian intellectual, Arnie Schwarzenegger, the POW thing again reared its "patriotic" head.
Arnie, bulging his muscles, told the faithful assembled: "John McCain has served his country longer in a POW camp than his opponent has in the United States Senate. I only play an action hero in the movies, John McCain is a real action hero."
Sound good? Well, it's bullshit! Hell, McCain probably sat in that camp longer than Arnie's been governor! What does that have to do with anything? Furthermore, just how did he serve his country while a POW? He told the North Vietnamese everything they wanted to know in order to get treatment in a hospital. I'm not criticizing him for that as few people can withstand mental or physical torture for very long. But that's not heroic. Hundreds of other prisoners were treated as badly or worse than McCain and did not give more than their name, rank and serial number.
This POW, "heroic" stuff has long been part of the carefully cultivated narrative of one John McCain - perhaps the lousiest Navy pilot since the birth of Naval aviation. It's the stuff of legend, and most of it is just that - legend.
McCain, who doesn't like to talk about his POW experience, told the rally in Columbus:
"I've served my country since I was 17 years old. And spent five years longing for her shores. I came home dedicated to a cause greater than my own."
"...longing for her shores"??? Who wrote that sentimental claptrap? He was a crazy sailor, for god's sake. Can you imagine McCain sitting in his little cell saying, "Oh, I long for my country's shores"? He'd be much more like to say, "Goddamn, I can't wait to get out of this hellhole and set my ass down on the California sand, chase up a little poontang and get shitfaced!"
But even the press buys this crap (always has!). The AP article describing this rally relates almost breathlessly how McCain "was shot down, held and tortured for more than five years..."
Finally, the cause greater than his own must have been Charles Keating's savings & loan operations. Or maybe McCain is refering to all the lobbyists and friends and donors he's done favors for over the years.
The whole POW thing reeks of desperation.