POW Week continues with a chorus of vets speaking out against McCain’s shameless POW peddling. I’m turning the Smack-o-Matic over to them for the evening.
Our first wielder, Valtin from Daily Kos, isn’t a vet, but works closely with them and thus belongs in this lineup:
I have never been tortured. But I have worked clinically with those who have, including U.S. POWs. I can tell you it breaks the mind and the body, the soul and the spirit, in a way that can never be forgotten.
Now John McCain cites his experience as a POW and torture victim as an anodyne to every mildly injurious political attack. While his painful experience as a POW matters in the history of the man, in our nation’s history, what matters now is that McCain has betrayed that experience, and the lives of thousands he could both know and not know. In doing so, he also betrayed the ideals of American fair-play and justice, going back to George Washington (who forbid his revolutionary army to engage in torture, even if the British did). As everyone should know, those ideals were not realized fully, and we are still fighting for them today. But McCain has trampled them in the mud.
What follows in regards to McCain’s enthusiastic support of torture leaves the Smack-o-Matic steaming. We’ll let it cool down a moment before we pass it on to our next wielder. Vets have been burned enough by McCain without us adding to the agony.
Right, then. C76 from Vet Voice – you’re up:
To the DNC and Senator Obama:
We all know that John McCain served in Vietnam and that he was a POW. We know it because the McCain camp reminds us of his sacrifice at every available opportunity. He uses it to explain away his fits of rage and the fact that he is so wealthy that he doesn’t know how many houses he owns or what kind of car he drives. It’s a cheap and easy way to extract himself from trouble, and the senator has shown absolutely no reservations about exploiting his service in an effort to explain away his mistakes. I find it crass that he chooses to use his military service as a crutch and a cudgel, but I suppose that it’s his right to whore out his time in prison as he sees fit.
The McCain campaign slogan might as well be “Fuck you: I was a POW.” It is their rallying cry and I’m surprised they haven’t had it trademarked. Even though it is both boorish and illogical, exploiting McCain’s service has allowed him to gain ground on Obama. Because of that fact, the Obama campaign and its surrogates absolutely must stop prefacing their remarks with variants of the phrase “I honor John McCain’s military service, but…” [emphasis added]
Daaamn. I especially love the blistering McDonald’s-Burger King analogy that follows. I think the Smack-o-Matic’s nearly reached the melting point.
Still got a few good whacks in it. Neil Riley from Vet Voice, get your elbow into it:
To the Senior Senator from Arizona:
Apparently you don’t read the diaries on Vetvoice. It’s OK and I’m not at all surprised. You haven’t been listening to the needs and concerns of this country’s veterans for sometime now. I am writing you in response to your extremely troubling appearance last night on Jay Leno’s program. When questioned on the number of homes you own (or really your wife), you dodged the question and again played the POW card.
What does that have to do with the question at hand?
Excellent question. The short answer: absofuckinglutely nothing. And Neil doesn’t stop pounding there – he goes on to contrast McCain’s POW playing with POWs who kept their honor. Nice one. The Smack-o-Matic is quickly headed for total meltdown.
The fact is, John McCain’s service during Vietnam was honorable and he sacrificed a great deal. But his service to the country carries no more weight than that of any other POW. Likewise, while McCain has given so much to his country, thousands of veterans–past and present–have given as much or more. In this war alone, thousands of troops have lost limbs, been paralyzed, and been burned beyond recognition. So to see McCain resort to playing the POW card when answering legitimate questions, in my mind, cheapens that experience. And by cheapening his own experience in war, he degrades all of our experiences in war. He turns the horrific incidents we’ve all seen, touched, smelled, and felt into a lame excuse to earn political points. And it dishonors us all.
Thank you, Brandon. Just chuck the Smack-o-Matic into that ice bath, thank you kindly. I think we’ve increased global warming by a factor of 6,000 tonight. Holy fucking shit.
These are brave men, good men, and honorable men. McCain might as well be spitting in their faces.
Remember them every time he pulls out his trusty POW card to buy his way out of a gaffe. If he’d treat them with such disrespect, just imagine what he’ll do to regular people.