McCain and the POW POW POW coverup

I will reserve judgement until I’ve read this more thoroughly, but quite an intriguing bit of journalism from Sydney Schanberg. Could John POW POW POW McCain be a war hero like George AWOL Bush is a war hero1? What exactly happened in Vietnam?

Unaccounted For

John McCain, who has risen to political prominence on his image as a Vietnam POW war hero, has, inexplicably, worked very hard to hide from the public stunning information about American prisoners in Vietnam who, unlike him, didn’t return home. Throughout his Senate career, McCain has quietly sponsored and pushed into federal law a set of prohibitions that keep the most revealing information about these men buried as classified documents. Thus the war hero who people would logically imagine as a determined crusader for the interests of POWs and their families became instead the strange champion of hiding the evidence and closing the books.

Almost as striking is the manner in which the mainstream press has shied from reporting the POW story and McCain’s role in it, even as the Republican Party has made McCain’s military service the focus of his presidential campaign. Reporters who had covered the Vietnam War turned their heads and walked in other directions. McCain doesn’t talk about the missing men, and the press never asks him about them.

The sum of the secrets McCain has sought to hide is not small. There exists a telling mass of official documents, radio intercepts, witness depositions, satellite photos of rescue symbols that pilots were trained to use, electronic messages from the ground containing the individual code numbers given to airmen, a rescue mission by a special forces unit that was aborted twice by Washington—and even sworn testimony by two Defense secretaries that “men were left behind.” This imposing body of evidence suggests that a large number—the documents indicate probably hundreds—of the US prisoners held by Vietnam were not returned when the peace treaty was signed in January 1973 and Hanoi released 591 men, among them Navy combat pilot John S. McCain.

[Click to read more of Nation Institute’s McCain and the POW Cover-up The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam]

War Memories

I would be very surprised to read of this perspective anywhere in the corporate media. Most remember the TANG Rove kerfuffle and would be hesitant to wade into those fetid waters again, especially since Karl Rove is advising McCain.


  1. in other words, a fake hero []

4 thoughts on “McCain and the POW POW POW coverup

  1. Michael Pugliese says:

    Why did The Nation publish this piece by a very experienced reporter? (See, the movie, The Killing Fields, ” on the genocide in Cambodia for the background on this reporter.) Entirely based on FAR RIGHT sources (far more extreme/to the Right of the Neo-Cons) like the rag of neo-fascist, racist Willis Carto, The American Free Press and Ted Sampley who alleges McCain is a COMMUNIST agent of the Vietnamese after being brainwashed by the VC.
    For another example of a left-liberal reporter (like Schanberg) being shnookered by FAR RIGHT loons (john Birch Society) over another story on Vietnam War POW’s, see the book by leftist sociologist, Jerry Lembcke, “CNN’s Tailhook Tale.”

  2. Seth A says:

    Michael, I don’t agree. You must have read a different article, the one I read had as its sources The New York Times, Congressional testimony, and governmental memos. That is what history looks like; primary sources.

  3. Michael Pugliese says:

    Primary sources, love’em, snarky, see for example,
    That out of the way when you dig deeper into the Schanberg narrative in The Nation piece and a previous one the Village Voice, again he lifted the quotes and allegations from The Spotlight/The American Free Press of Willis Carto. On Carto see, “”Willis Carto and the American Far Right.” University Press of Florida, just published.
    And, another set of sources, from leftist academics, on the Far Right bunkum on “POW’s left in ‘Nam, ” see H.Bruce Franklin, “M.I.A. OR MYTHMAKING IN AMERICA. New York: Lawrence Hill & Co., 1992 and Jerry Lembcke, “CNN’s Tailhook Tale.” Lembcke has also debunked the far right meme about anti-Vietnam War protestors spitting on returning vets in, “Spitting Image.”

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