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Posted at 2:03 PM ET, 04/ 3/2008

Name, Rank, and Service Number

By Michael Dobbs

McCain TV ad "624787"

"What is your rank?"
"Lieutenant commander in the Navy."
"And your official number?"
VOICE-OVER: "John McCain--the American president Americans have been waiting for."

Snippets of video create powerful images, but they often leave out an important part of the story. Last week, the McCain campaign launched what it billed as "the first television ad of the general election" to kick off the senator's "Service to America" tour. The centerpiece of the ad (43 seconds in) is a brief clip of McCain being questioned in hospital in Hanoi a few weeks after his U.S. Navy plane was shot down while on a bombing mission over North Vietnam. The clip shows McCain providing his rank and service number, as authorized by the Code of Conduct for American Prisoners of War.

Some news outlets depicted the clip, recycled from an earlier McCain advertisement here, as part of an "interrogation video." See a CNN report here, and Fox News here. According to the New York Post, McCain was responding to questions from a "Vietcong officer." The Washington Times, the Boston Globe, and Knight-Ridder also presented the scene as an "interrogation." In fact, the McCain campaign acknowledges that it is a clip from an interview that McCain gave to a French television journalist named Francois Chalais.

The Facts

John McCain suffered terrible injuries after his A-4 Skyhawk attack aircraft was shot down near Hanoi on October 26, 1967. According to his 1999 biography, Faith of My Fathers, his right arm was fractured in three places, his shoulder was broken, his right knee was fractured, and he had been bayoneted in the left leg. At first he refused to provide his interrogators with "any information beyond my name, rank, serial number, and date of birth" but began providing extra information after being knocked around and "beaten." He agreed to meet a visiting French journalist after the Vietnamese threatened to withhold medical treatment on his leg.

Here are two more extensive clips from the interview with Chalais featured in the McCain ads. The first comes from a CBS report on a return trip that McCain made to Vietnam following the normalization of relations in 1995.

The second clip is from an A&E biographical film on McCain. It shows the prisoner asking the French journalist to send his love to his wife and children and tell them "I will be back soon."

In his televised report, Chalais described his interview with McCain as "one of those meetings which will affect me most profoundly for the rest of my life." You can see a 2000 French television report on the McCain-Chalais meeting here. A prominent French film-maker and writer, Chalais died of leukemia in 1996.

A U.S. government transcript published on an anti-McCain website, recounts the following exchange between Chalais and McCain:

MCCAIN: "I was carrying out a bombing mission, my 23rd raid, over Hanoi. It was then that I was hit. I wanted to eject but while doing so I broke both arms and my right leg. Unconscious I fell in a lake. Some Vietnamese jumped into the water and pulled me out. Later I learned there must have been about 12 of them. They immediately took me to a hospital, in a condition two inches away from death. A doctor operated on my thigh. Others at the same time dealt with my arms."
CHALAIS: "How are you treated here?"
MCCAIN: "Very well. Everybody is very nice to me."
CHALAIS: "How is the food?"
MCCAIN: "This isn't Paris, but it is alright."

In his autobiography, McCain describes how a North Vietnamese officer was present in the room during his meeting with Chalais and was "displeased" with his uninformative answers. Nevertheless, he said he very much regretted providing information to interrogators and interviewers that went beyond his name, rank, and service number.

Anti-McCain activists have accused the senator of violating the Code of Conduct. Former POWs in Vietnam, including the Medal of Honor winner Col. Bud Day, have come to his defense, saying that he did not provide any military secrets to the Vietnamese and therefore did not violate the code.

The Pinocchio Test

The McCain campaign has been more careful in its choice of words than CNN, Fox, and the New York Post. Press releases about the ads on the McCain website refer to Chalais as an "interviewer," here and here, not as "an interrogator." Nevertheless, the television ad omits some important context. Let me know your reaction to the ad.

(About our rating scale.)

By Michael Dobbs  | April 3, 2008; 2:03 PM ET
Categories:  Candidate Record, Candidate Watch, History, Verdict Pending  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: McCain's '100-year war'
Next: Suffragettes for Hillary


I've got a thousand dollars says Dobbs gives less than 3 stars.

Posted by: zukermand | April 3, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I had no problem with the ad.

Posted by: JakeD | April 3, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

For the interview, I've got no problem. As a previous note points out, there were no 'secrets' given out so any 'violation' of the code of conduct was technical only and is in keeping with the current code.

For the ad, sounds like it is also just fine and McCain is not responsible for how CNN, Fox or anyone else describes it.

Posted by: crb | April 3, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

McCain being a prisoner of war and shot down is like 1000's of others who served their country during these times. This does not by any means qualify him to be President of the U.S.!!! He served -- Bush didn't serve -- Clinton didn't serve. The bad and the good. Is he too old to be President?? Why is he saying "because of my age, the choice for V.P. is very important." Does he already have alzhimers? Will he have Lieberman around to whisper in his ear when he makes BUSH like gaffu's? Does he have the intellegance to make the right decisions or will he just rely on the same Republican advisors that got our Country into the mess we are now in? Would his term be deja view all over again? Legitimate questions all.

Posted by: John Evans | April 3, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

John Evans:

Perhaps "legitimate" questions, for another thread. This thread is about a specific ad and whether "context" was left out (I guess also about uncareful "choice of words" by CNN, Fox, the New York Post, and the Washington Times). Do you have a reaction to that ad?

Posted by: JakeD | April 3, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Can you spell deja vu? Can you spell intelligence?

Legitimate questions, indeed

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Also "alzhimers", and I'd have to look up "gaffu's" ; )

Posted by: JakeD | April 3, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Clinton was a great president, ask the thousands of dead Bosniaks. You'll be able to ask hundreds of thousands of massacred Iraqis how dreamy a Democrat president is in a few years.

Posted by: Will | April 3, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I had no idea that the ad footage was from a French documentary. I was under the impression (that is it strongly implied to me) that McCain was being questioned by a Vietnamese captor and was refusing to say anything other than his name and serial number.

Although I am not a McCain supporter, the ad misled me into believing something that is not true, and I'm offended at being duped. While the ad says nothing that is specically untrue and thus is not technically a lie, it is intended to mislead.

McCain perhaps does not personally intend to mislead, but if he has lost control of his campaign propaganda already, I have lost respect for his character.

Posted by: Stonecreek | April 3, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Democrat and won't be voting for McCain. I'd love to say this ad was a problem for him, but...

I don't see deception in this ad. The footage of him lying on the bed doesn't really look like it is coming from a brutal interrogation and it looked to me as if they were using it to symbolize that he was a prisoner of war. Which he was. So, I don't see a deception here. As another commenter said, it is not the campaign's fault if TV hosts make bad assumptions.

Posted by: LynnDeanne | April 3, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Are you kidding me, Stonecreek? There was a Viet Cong officer IN THE ROOM, obviously hoping that the French journalist would get info, who (if you read the actual thread above) was very "displeased" with McCain's uninformative answers. Seriously, spending FIVE YEARS as a prisoner of war is no big deal to you guys, huh?

Posted by: JakeD | April 3, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, LynnDeanne. I can't believe that anyone would legitimately claim McCain is lying about anything here.

Posted by: JakeD | April 3, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Jake D:

Of course him being a POW during a wildly unpopular war means something to all of us. He served this country. My father served, and so did millions of others. I admire them all - I'm not at all sure I'd have the guts to have done what he did.

My admiration for him does not extend to a conviction that he could possibly be up to the challenge of being our next president. In fact, of the three currently in the race, he is least capable on every level to be president in the tumultuous years we have ahead.

Jake D, you obviously have nothing better to do than sit on blogs all day. The very least you could do is read the entries in full before you issue your inane comments. In this case you'd see that people have written exactly this: that we are proud of his service. We do not want him as president.

Posted by: JakeDjr. | April 3, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

From the Col. Bud Day link, above:

"Chalais was a French newspaperman who was there to do a pro-commie news release about John's condition, and to let the U. S. to know that John was horribly broken up, but he was alive. The place..the hospital where John was lying on a hospital gurney. He was in intense pain. His right arm had been fractured in 3 places, his right knee was fractured, his left arm was jerked out of the socket, and he had been bayoneted in the left leg. NEED I mention that they were not passing out pain pills or injecting morphine and painkillers in his legs or arms????? Isn't it instantly clear that this is the story of Commies exploiting a very badly injured prisoner?? Extortion?? Abuse?? Against the Geneva convention???

"As all of us with massive fractures, John hurt like hell, and John was in intense pain. Just the slightest jiggle created unbearable pain. Just before the Commies brought Chalais to the prison to interview John, they put him in a botched up huge body cast in early-mid November 1967 which was unlined, and which while stabilizing the bones..also ate some huge ulcers on his right arm. I can comment on these issues from absolute personal knowledge because I too was all broken up..3 fractures of my right arm, shrapnel wounded in the right leg, gunshot wounded in the left leg and hand, and had been hung by the arms..which paralyzed my hands, and I was John's first roommate. I was shot down about 6 weeks before John...and had almost identical injuries. I was still in intense pain in late October when John got shot down. I was in a big ugly cast. There was no Tylenol, Aleve, aspirin, morphine, or any painkillers for us. It was just plain gut it out.

"The pain from these fractures does not instantly go away...ask any one who has had a broken arm, or leg, or ribs..and they will tell you that the pain persists for weeks. I was still having serious pain when John was moved into my room in early December 1967. John was almost totally immobile when he came into my room. He could not use either arm, and could not feed himself.

"John had also been systematically starved by his guard..who was feeding John, but also eating most of his soup. Major Norris Overly and I were the first American pilot prisoners to see John MCain after he got out of the hospital, and he was on the absolute verge of death from starvation and wounds. I did not believe that he would live until the following morning. This was the first week of December 1967, roughly 5 weeks after John had been shot down. I was still limping from the gunshot wound and the bail-out injury to my right knee.

"John could not get off of the wooden slab without Overly or me assisting him into the sitting position..and his ability to walk was very minimal..and only then with great pain.

"Now..after these factual descriptions....let's get to the guts of the slander about John McCain. Francois Chalais was a Frenchman. McCain was NOT in violation of the Code of Conduct in speaking with him. McCain did not speak against his country or any of our allies..which is what the Code prohibits. The news of his shoot-down was not a military secret, and in fact had been published by the U. S. Navy, just as all combat losses were reported. John McCain did not say anything to Chalais that was improper."

Posted by: JakeD | April 3, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, JakeDjr. Let's see if Stonecreek feels the same.

Posted by: JakeD | April 3, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse


Are you PROUD of McCain's service to his country?

Posted by: JakeD | April 3, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

The ad is not deceptive. It does not claim
McCain was being interrogated by his captors. And, after watching the other video clips provided, I could even say the ad actually understates McCain's dire condition as a POW/son of a Navy Admiral.

Can McCain's campaign be held accountable for the inaccurate representations of various media sources?

After spending the last few weeks arguing that Obama cannot be held accountable for the words of another (i.e. the colorful Rev. Wright), I must extend that same defense to McCain.

Posted by: Stonhinged | April 3, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I don't have a problem with the add, but rather the analysis provided by the "fact checker". Don't you think it would be appropriate to mention that McCain, in an interview with Mike Wallace in the 90s, admitted that he broke under torture and signed a propoganda statement that said he purposefully targeted women and children while on his bombing runs and that he was guilty of war crimes? I don't fault McCain for this at all, but I do think the analysis should include information that goes against the implication of the commercial - that McCain never "broke" under interrogation.

Posted by: NM Moderate | April 3, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

That's not the implication at all -- everyone knows he broke under the torture eventually -- he's STILL the President that Americans are waiting for.

Posted by: JakeD | April 3, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Although I am not a McCain supporter, the ad misled me into believing something that is not true, and I'm offended at being duped.

Since the consensus seems to be that there was no intent to deceive, I don't think McCain is responsible for your assumptions.

Posted by: jblog | April 3, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Good night, everyone, and good luck.

Posted by: JakeD | April 3, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

I am an Obama supporter but how can anyone disrespect John McCain? The time he served as a POW was not a movie. They didn't yell "cut" and everyone broke for pizza. The man is a hero. He disappointed me in the last election when he turned around and supported Bush. That is why I do not trust him to be president, but I am a democrat who will always honor his service to our country.

Posted by: Rosie55 | April 3, 2008 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Spots like this make me feel queasy and I'm not sure why. Television advertising is inherently manipulative, but there's something more subtle going on here. Sen. McCain has every right to hire a Madison Avenue ad shop to spin his biography into a more appealing story. But with a record like his, McCain shouldn't have to boast, exaggerate or spin. The ideal military hero is usually thought of as more reserved and less of a braggart. This is probably why during the last presidential election some people were left feeling uncomfortable with John Kerry's emphasizing his service in Vietnam (and I'm not just referring the Swift Boat nut jobs - it did in fact go beyond that crowd). Both efforts seem a little tawdry.

Posted by: CodexJustinian | April 3, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Tough times Don't last, only tough people do. Well, McCain isn't a tough guy nor did he endure the tough times. He eventually caved in and admitted to being a war criminal. Perhaps he'll do the same if he's US President, just cave in to the terrorists.

It's a joke Mccain is running for President. No one wants that old geezer for president. A woman or black man (or even a black woman) would easily beat him in a general election.

We already have McDonald's, McMansions, and now McPresidents? Gimme a break!

Posted by: Diplomat | April 3, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

5 years in a POW camp...and he's not a general....Hmmm wonder you are telling me after five years in a POW camp...he's got enough still up[ there to run the country......No Post Traumatic Stress.....I need to see some medical records.....sounds like the GOP.....lets get another dummy to be the face of the party....maybe we can start another war and continue to fill our can't tell me it hasn't happened before

Posted by: hey now | April 3, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a McCain supporter, but I to challange a man who was wounded and beaten is disgusting.

Posted by: Trey | April 3, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

The ad is intended to illustrate McCain's wartime capitivity. The fact that is he served his county and survived the ordeal is admirable.

However, the ad makes it seem as if he steadfastly maintained 'rank, name, serial number' throughout his captivity. In this it presents a cartoon version of what this kind of imprisonment is like. It's not, as JakeD wrote, that 'everyone knows' he broke and talked to his captors. It's not as if he spent five years without talking to anyone about his family, etc. In this the ad is (as thirty second ads maybe always are) misleading.

But the larger point about this is: how does this experience relate to his claim to the presidency? He served his country under trying circumstances, and he's to be honored for that, and his many decades of service. But what difference does it make for the kind of president he'd be?

Posted by: mike | April 3, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

I hope to get a chance to vote for Obama...I don't see a circumstance where I would vote for McCain. And I have noted issues with his pre-POW service record. But I will not criticize anything about his time as a POW. I see a lot more deception in the MSM coverage of the Democrats' campaign, and especially the Rev. Wright coverage, than anything I could see in a candidate's 30-second ad. I understand McCain was under 1000x more stress during his 5 1/2 years in Hanoi than anything that 99.9% of Americans will ever experience, and I hope no one in this election will ever try to take anything away from his service, honor and suffering during that time.

Posted by: flarrfan | April 3, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

I do honor John McCain's service. He is a true American hero. He has served his country well but he got shafted by President Bush when they lied and said he fathered a black child but now his time has past. He should continue to serve as an elder statesman but this is a new world and we need leaders who understand it and not leaders who are still fighting old wars.

Posted by: faird | April 3, 2008 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Without any disrespect no matter who anyone is organic brain disease of the Alzheimer types is not a respecter of persons.
The reason I bring this up is my asking why in my petition for the G.I. bill up in Congress why he is standing for filibuster against it. Some other things about him make no sense like disrespectful remarks about women by a well educated officer from a military and family tradition.

I do have trepidation about blunders in the way Reagan looked as if he didn't have a clue as to what was going on such as in the basement of the White House. Outbursts of temper might be another red flag. I wish I were a Republican so I could be better qualified to expound on this subject.

Frankly I wish the candidate would submit to an MRI.

Posted by: Frank Lornitzo | April 3, 2008 11:16 PM | Report abuse

This is probably a technicality, but was it a Viet Cong (the rebel movement in South Vietnam) or a NVA (North Vietnamese Army) officer in the room?

Posted by: Gregg | April 4, 2008 3:19 AM | Report abuse

My father was captured at the Battle of Kasserine Pass in North Africa on 2/14/43 and was held 2 1/2 years by the Germans. His POw experience colored every part of his life from that point on -- in my house my siblings and I weren't permitted to "waste" anything -- and my Dad unfortunately had a really bad anger problem, coupled with "discipline." I loved my Dad (he passed on about 6 years ago) but he was an untreated Post traumatic stress disorder victim thrown back into society without any support. My Dad loved getting his POw license plate and hat -- but that experience had deep and damaging consequences. John McCain is a man tried by his POw experience -- and I happened to be very familiar with this footage and its origin as a journalist's interview, so I had no illusions this was an interrogation. But people should also remember that John McCain's father was an Admiral and this interview happened because of his status as a politically valuable prisoner. So a long prelude to the punchline -- John McCain is no easy hero. His horrible injuries are a true mark of dedication and sacrifice to our country that I salute -- and he still suffers some of their consequences today. But that snippet, thrown into an ad with no context or subset of information about his family connections, the interview etc. in some ways for me diminishes the solemn nature of his service and sacrifice -- that sacrifice my Dad made as did the other thousands or hundreds of thousands of soldiers who have suffered the rigors of capture. My Dad tried to escape 3 times (kept getting recaptured); he had frostbite on his legs and feet that caused him pain and problems throughout his life; lost all his teeth; and saved the lives of many men during the Germans' retreat by talking the officers into permitting him to commandeer carts to pull wounded American prisoners. He was a hero, but he never used that status for his personal gain. This is one fact about John McCain that everyone knows and respects and he could have really taken the high road by keeping this out of his ads and let the media keep reminding everyone of his time spent in Hanoi. 'Nuff said.

Posted by: omyobama | April 4, 2008 4:12 AM | Report abuse

Gregg, good point. I have changed it.

Posted by: The Fact Checker | April 4, 2008 7:50 AM | Report abuse

I did my time in the service, but as a black man I feel as if no one in the Republican Party has any use for my opinion regardless to me serving as an American. Being captured by your enemy no makes one qualified for the job of president than being shot by the enemy an being made a general, there is no correlation and to say that he is more America than Obama just because he is a vet is crazy, I was in the service and a lot of white people think they are more American than I and I served this country with an good conduct medal and honorable discharge.

Posted by: Bernard | April 4, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: Sandra Swallow | April 4, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

I stand by what my candidate, Barack Obama, says every time he mentions John McCain. He is an American hero and we salute him for his service. I see absolutely no problem with the ad.

I think it's helpful to let the news people and pundits know (through this piece) that they are leaping to an assumption, because that means they will be called on it if they do it again. But you can't possibly award any Pinocchios to the actual McCain campaign on this one. Don't do it!

On a practical/logistical note, you also have to go with the archival footage and photos that exist. It's amazing there is anything they can use from so long ago.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | April 4, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

John McCain is a hero for putting himself in harms way in service to his country. I honor his service, although like Bush, cheney, Clinton and Ali, I found a way to avoid that war. McCain's service is a factor in his favor as a potential President. None of that, though, addresses whether this ad is deceptive. Wikepedia offers this:
In August of 1968, a program of severe torture began on McCain, at the same time as he was suffering from dysentery,[41][36] and McCain made an anti-American propaganda "confession".[36] He has always felt that his statement was dishonorable,[48] but as he would later write, "I had learned what we all learned over there: Every man has his breaking point. I had reached mine."[41] His injuries left him permanently incapable of raising his arms above his head.[49] He subsequently received two to three beatings per week because of his continued refusal to sign additional statements.[50] Other American POWs were similarly tortured and maltreated in order to extract "confessions" and propaganda statements,[41] with many enduring even worse treatment than McCain.[51]

Again, I do not suggest that this disqualifies McCain or that anyone else would have held out as long as he did. But if Wikipedia is accurate, this ad is misleading and roughly equal to a sniper fire lie.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 4, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

There are some stories I follow or sometimes read from the Mainstream Media in America, that makes me feel their Jornalists are not trained well or I should say the Media is just being Partisan. Actually, as a European, following the USA Elections this year, I can see the reason why Pres. Bush was re-elected. The Media which is supposed to be a source of information for the masses, has become a platform for distortion, and mis-information.
I can not understand how a media organisation, would not fact-check its information before giving it to the masses. As an outsider, looking at the McCain Ad, there is no where in the world I would have thought he was actually being interrogated by his Captors, because he was smoking or did had cigarette in his hand.
When did the Vietnamese become that good, to be inetrrogating a Prisoner of war while he enjoys his Cigarette?
But then if you look at the accounts of some of his colleagues, which I may advice Fact Checker to check, for them not be like the "Clinton Sniper Fire story" and I will quote here...
"As all of us with massive fractures, John hurt like hell, and John was in intense pain. Just the slightest jiggle created unbearable pain. Just before the Commies brought Chalais to the prison to interview John, they put him in a botched up huge body cast in early-mid November 1967 which was unlined, and which while stabilizing the bones..also ate some huge ulcers on his right arm. I can comment on these issues from absolute personal knowledge because I too was all broken up..3 fractures of my right arm, shrapnel wounded in the right leg, gunshot wounded in the left leg and hand, and had been hung by the arms..which paralyzed my hands, and I was John's first roommate. I was shot down about 6 weeks before John...and had almost identical injuries. I was still in intense pain in late October when John got shot down. I was in a big ugly cast. There was no Tylenol, Aleve, aspirin, morphine, or any painkillers for us. It was just plain gut it out."
I have smoked for more than 20yrs and I really can not remember Cigarette being a Pain Killer. Is there any possibility that, this Ad video may be mis-leading or the American press as I now believe is just mis-informing its people?

Posted by: Chrys | April 4, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

McCain like so many other Americans served his country with honor. He followed orders went into the field and had the mis fortune to become a POW. His use of that experience to portray himself as presidential timber is a bit much though. We have seen the GOP wrap itself in our flag only to spoil it with anti American policies, corruption and Karl (Marx) Rove over the last twenty five or more years. When the Bush book is opened for review of all it's failures John McCains name will be right up their with his Shrubness. So, The POW thing while heroic does not make him a qualified candidate for Leader of the USA in my opinion. Semper Fi (to the US that is)

Posted by: Anonymous | April 4, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I have been a life long democrat. I fervently believe anyone who questions Senator McCain's heroism in the face of his being tortured has no morality or courage of their own. Senator McCain, I have no doubt,left his soul and health in Vietnam, and returned with the nightmares that come with war. Just imagine being subjected to punishing mental and physical torture by your enemies for 5 1/2 years and then ask yourself how would you have reacted? The man was a soldier and patriot, who I, a US Marine, can never even compare to in courage. I do not believe in many of your polices, but I do admire than man.

Posted by: NELSON | April 4, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, NELSON. McCain was not my 1st choice (nor my 101st choice), but I will defend his honor as a POW until the day I die.

Posted by: JakeD | April 4, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I am a lifelong Democrat and would never vote for a Republican for president, especially at this crucial time in our history. That said, I think anyone who would impugn Mr. McCain's bravery, courage and intregrity needs to get a new life. Mr. McCain is a true national hero and he deserves all of the respect and honor that we as a grateful people can bestow on him. No campaign ad or utterance can chanage that simple fact. However, none of this, in and of itself, qualifies him to be president any more than my being a retired physician qualifies me for that office. I would urge my fellow citizens to continue to honor Mr. McCain for his extraordinary service and then vote for a really qualified candidate.

Posted by: Harry Ison, MD | April 4, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Herry.

Posted by: JakeD | April 4, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I am an Obama supporter but I don't see the point of this factchecker.

McCain's problem is he's clinging to the past when America is looking to the future. He is running for Bush's third term when 80% of the country think we are heading in the wrong direction. His Vietnam story won't save him in November.

McCain is not a bad person. He is wrong on issues. Because of his temper, one may wonder if he should not be kept away from the nuclear button. Let's have a factchecker on McCain's temper.

Posted by: tchanta | April 4, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Isn't Obama "looking to the past" too, specifically a speech he gave about Iraq being the WRONG choice?

Posted by: JakeD | April 4, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I have no problem with this ad and I think that everyone should honor Sen. McCain for his extraordinary service to the nation during the Viet Nam war. He is a genuine patriot, as are Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama.

Since there is no question of patriotism on the table, I do not see any relevant connection between Sen. McCain's war service and his current campaign to become the next president of the United States.

I am deeply concerned however that he has continued to support the misguided and dangerous policies of Bush/Chaney in Iraq. The fact that McCain persists in his serious blunder in confusing Shiia Iran with Sunni al Qaeda is also deeply disturbing to me. I want a national leader who will bring a nuanced, fresh, and open approach to our international policy. That man is certainly not John McCain.

McCain believes that the U.S. could keep its troops in Iraq for 100 years without sustaining casualties. This is the most dangerous sort of fantasy based upon false assumptions about the culture and history of the Middle East. In addition, McCain wants to bomb Iran and extend this pointless war in the region into another arena of dispair and failure. Election of this misguided no-nothing will endanger the United States.

Posted by: dee | April 4, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Hey will,you could ask the Iraq's now,about Bush and the hundreds of thousands dead in Iraq for a lied to war,just like Nam was...
I think the ad is as phoney as can be.Why didn't McCain put out front that it was not the vietnamese that were asking him those questions...

Posted by: Lance Newell | April 4, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

I just watched the ad a second time. Yes, the brief interview segment does give the false impression that McCain is being interrogated (rather than being interviewed by a journalist), and that false impression is reenforced by the words of the announcer in the ad ("Has he walked the walk?"), who implies that we are watching him do just that, and the false impression is also reenforced by the editing of the interview clip, which shows him saying nothing but giving just his "name, rank and serial number", a typical act during interrogation. The ad needs to be clarified if it's to be considered a fair portrait of what was really going on at the time.

Posted by: Bob | April 4, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Well, quite literally, he did not "walk the walk" for a long after that interview / interrogation. Why aren't you nitpickers complaining about that too?

Posted by: JakeD | April 4, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Bottom line: I am fine with "The Fact Checker" calling the media out for no being "more careful in its choice of words" and ZERO Pinocchios ...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 4, 2008 6:49 PM | Report abuse

They shouldve fed McCain to the rats when they had the chance.

Posted by: kirkd | April 4, 2008 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Ouch, kirkd -- that's kinda harsh, don't you think -- did you not see the "lifelong Democrats" above who (correctly) noted that anyone who would impugn McCain's bravery, courage and integrity needs to get a new life?

Posted by: JakeD | April 4, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

No need to answer that, kirkd; I already know you don't think.

Posted by: JakeD | April 4, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

To me the thing was very mis leading.
We have been mis led enough the past few
years. I respect McCain for his service.
I have heard enough about it now.
With respect I think John McCain has a
mental problem with his high temper. He has had the bad temper ALL his life and
that scares me. I was in WWII and I never shot at anyone nor did anyone shoot at me but I saw all the blood and guts and busted bodies that still haunts me. We need peace in this world. John is not the man.

Posted by: Westexacan | April 4, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

I didn't see anything misleading about the ad. McCain was in unimaginable pain and the enemy was witholding and medical care. The "interview" was staged with what amounted to props (botched casts, a bed that was taken away right after the session, etc.) to make it look more cozy than it was. Such "interviews" were a common method of interrogation. I understand our macho fascination of prisoners who don't talk, but as we learned from waterboarding, exert enough torture and people will say anything. Even if McCain did eventually "break", I have no problem with his courageous sacrifice for his country. Unless one has been in his position, one has no right to quible over such trivalities as whether McCain's ordeal was an "interview" or "interrogation."

Posted by: MoralProtagonist | April 4, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I find the ad misleading.

The beginning sets the theme:

"Keep your courage.... Stay strong. Do not yield."

Presumably the end is meant to show how McCain fits that theme.

Giving rank and number means precisely one thing to most laymen: the only information a heroic prisoner will give his captors.

After McCain supplies rank and number and the scene is abruptly cut (underscored with percussion). The viewer is intended to infer that McCain did indeed keep his courage and refuse to yield.

There is no outright lie, but if I had only seen the ad, I would have been misled.

Posted by: John K | April 4, 2008 11:50 PM | Report abuse

I watched the video, it's very easy to tell its a Frenchman talking & I see no deception in any part of it. I'm of the Vietnam era, I saw my friends leave for combat & many never returned. I also saw the cowards that used every trick in the book to get out of going. Running to Canada, rich people paying poor men to take their sons' place. You should have just said thank you McCain, you suffered while I was a coward. Unless you have walked a mile in any Vet's shoes, you have no right to say anything about McCain at all! It took 5-1/2 yrs for McCain to succumb to torture! You cracked at the very beginning running like dogs with your tails between your legs. Bless those who serve this country.. Jane Fonda murdered many young men when she turned over those slips of paper to the Vietnamese our boys had given her so that she could let their families know they were still alive. You spit on the Vets & POWs when they came home, but She was given "Woman of the Year" as her reward, have you watched the videos of her?......I believe she's now supporting Obama, why don't you go over & interview Hanoi Jane??????????

Posted by: CarolTate2 | April 5, 2008 6:12 AM | Report abuse

As Barack Obama continues to criticize John McCain for saying he's willing to keep a 100-year troop presence in Iraq, another Obama adviser has suggested U.S. forces could stay in Iraq longer than the Democratic candidate initially thought.

Adviser Colin Kahl wrote in a policy paper for the Center for a New American Security that the United States should transition to an "over-watch" force of between 60,000 and 80,000 troops by the end of 2010, according to an article Friday in the New York Sun.

That appears to be at odds with Obama's public position of removing all combat brigades from the country within 16 months of taking office.

Kahl told the Sun his plan would still keep the U.S. "out of the lead" and mainly in a "support role." He said the plan had nothing to do with the campaign.

The Obama campaign said in a statement: "The writing of Mr. Kahl, one of hundreds of outside advisers to the campaign, is not representative of Barack Obama's consistent policy position on the Iraq war."

But Kahl's plan seems to jibe with other advisers' statements that Obama's withdrawal timetables are more a goal than a firm policy commitment.

Foreign policy adviser Susan Rice, for instance, told reporters in February that Obama's plan to end the war in 2009 is not absolute, and that he reserves the right to revisit troop levels in Iraq upon taking the oath of office.

Posted by: Lucygirl1 | April 5, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Hard to be a hero in an unpopular war ... why would he want people to think about just why we were bombing Hanoi? Because the people in Hanoi had declared war on the USA? had sent terrorists to bomb our cities? because ...

A strange piece of introduction ... to remind us all about a war we lost.

Posted by: Fred D | April 5, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm a big Obama supporter, and I find the character assassination of John McCain to be utterly distasteful. Indeed, I find the character assassination of all three of the remaining candidates to be utterly distasteful. All of these candidates have their weaknesses (McCain: bad temper, Clinton: untrustworthy, Obama: inexperienced), but all three are fully capable of leading this country, albeit with their own distinct styles. (for the record, I do not find my depiction of Clinton as "untrustworthy" as pejorative: she's a politician, and a very good one)

John McCain is an American hero. To suggest otherwise is to completely misunderstand the sacrifice these men and women make for our country. A sacrifice that I, an effete, aristocratic liberal cannot possibly fathom from the comfort of my life. And a sacrifice that I wholly, unequivocally appreciate.

Posted by: P Diddy | April 5, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who thinks that Clinton or Obama are going to get their health care programs passed intact is naive. Unless the Democrats get to 60 in the Senate, it's not going to happen (and the early indicators are that they'll make gains, but fall short of a filibuster-proof majority). Anyone who thinks getting out of Iraq is going to be as simple as "bringing our boys home" is naive.

McCain spoke truthfully when he said we would be there for 100 years. We may not be there with the force strength we have now, but we will have bases and a presence in Iraq for the rest of my, and likely everyone else here's, life. If you listen to the full answer McCain gave at that Town Hall meeting, he specifically alluded to Korea and elsewhere as examples.

For their part, Obama and Clinton are practicing the age old political two-step of pandering to their base during the primary, then getting real during the general.

Posted by: P Diddy | April 5, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I will not vote for McCain - but his service is a point of honor and I see nothing wrong with the ad.

That said, he is doomed in the 2008 campaign -- like the hero he is he has thrown himself on the "grenade" of the Bush legacy that now has grown to the size of a 500lb bomb.

By the time November 4 rolls around, the 81% of America who now believe that the country is heading in the wrong direction will have had 7 more months of $4.25 per gallon regular gas ($5.25 per gallon diesel),massive strikes by the trucking industry, skyrocketing airfares, hundreds of thousands of additional layoffs caused by industry closures, and hundreds of additional American deaths in a stupid useless war.

Because of that Bush legacy, the old warrior will very likely experience a whipping not seen since the last Republican Senator for Arizona to make the attempt.

Posted by: gandalfthegrey | April 5, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Where is the Fact-Checker on the Ohio woman who was not in fact denied treatment or even uninsured, despite Clinton's LIE about her circumstances in the stump speech? Is there no one to check facts on the weekend?

The woman is clearly delusional, either that or her staff is incompetent in verifying the stories she tells. Whichever explanation is disqualifying for the presidency.

Posted by: flarrfan | April 5, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

It is an ad for a man who thinks he should be President. It withholds key facts that should be part of our analysis of whether the footage displays anything noteworthy related to our decision about his candidacy. It is dishonest in the sense of not being fully descriptive. Do we want as our President another man who thinks it is okay to withhold information from us that might cause us to grant him greater favor than we would if he divulged all the facts?

Posted by: 33rdStreet | April 6, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Here we go again! More fodder for the MIA Fact-Checker:

This time Jake Tapper, no particular Obama friend, who helped break the Rev. Wright story to prominence, is reporting that in Oregon yesterday, Clinton "mis-spoke" again in comparing her Iraq record to Obama's.

"Clinton on Saturday told Oregonians, "when Sen. Obama came to the Senate he and I have voted exactly the same except for one vote. And that happens to be the facts. We both voted against early deadlines. I actually starting criticizing the war in Iraq before he did."

It's an odd way to measure opposition to the war -- comparing who gave the first criticism of the war in Iraq starting in January 2005, ignoring Obama's opposition to the war throughout 2003 and 2004.

But even if one were to employ this "Start Counting in January 2005" measurement, Clinton did not criticize the war in Iraq first.

Scrambling to support their boss's claim, Clinton campaign officials pointed to a paper statement Clinton issued on Jan. 26, 2005, explaining her vote to confirm Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State.

"The Administration and Defense Department's Iraq policy has been, by any reasonable measure, riddled with errors, misstatements and misjudgments," the January 2005 Clinton statement said. "From the beginning of the Iraqi war, we were inadequately prepared for the aftermath of the invasion with too few troops and an inadequate plan to stabilize Iraq."

But Obama offered criticisms of the war in Iraq eight days before that, directly to Rice, in his very first meeting as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Jan. 18."

Posted by: flarrfan | April 6, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I have no interest whatsoever in what Barack Obama said about the war or how he voted on it.

What I **am** interested in is what he would do with respect to current and ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan if he were elected president.

I've heard him say that (1) he would immediately begin bringing the troops home, then possibly send them back, and (2) his first act as president would be to call an immediate meeting of the Joint Chiefs to seek their input and ideas for ending the war (which, BTW, is precisely what George Bush did last year).

Obama promises "change," but neither of his statements with respect to the war point to that. Has he changed his plan for handling the Iraq war, and it's gotten by me?

Right now, this lifetime Dem is looking strongly at McCain if for no other reason than his 19-year-old son is actually fighting in Iraq/Afghanistan and, combined with his own experiences as a POW, I'm at least confident that he would be conscientious with the lives of our soldiers.

Posted by: GPM | April 6, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

John McCain wants everybody in America to know how much he suffered in the war, and expects them to elect him President because of it. I've never once heard him utter a word of remorse about all the Vietnamese civilians killed by the bombs he and other aviators dropped, or even come close to questioning the justification for the Vietnam war. Instead, it seems like for McCain, the war was mostly about what was done to him and what a great hero he was.

Posted by: Patrick, Takoma Park MD | April 6, 2008 8:17 PM | Report abuse

I think it's fair. I mean, you always lose some nuance in a short piece for TV. While his book is more forthcoming, one would hardly expect such a degree of information for an ad. He could have excluded that "interrogation" clip, however.

Posted by: fake1 | April 6, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

the ad itself, i have no problem with. however it allows an ambiguity such that it has been more readily misinterpreted by certain media outlets. the media is responsible for fact checking and taking care with language... the media should be held to a higher standard as they form national consciousness in significant ways.

Posted by: tough one | April 6, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

just an academic point: the north vietnamese and the vietcong are different people. no vietcog would have been holding mccain in hanoi.

Posted by: certop | April 6, 2008 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, certop; that was correted by "The Fact Checker". I'm fine with the ad (and opinions thereof, as long as no one in impugning McCain's bravery, courage and integrity -- no one from the campaign represented it as an "interrogation" clip -- you guys didn't appreciate the "Purple Heart" bandaids when Kerry was the candidate, right?).

Posted by: JakeD | April 7, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Latest John SIDNEY McCain thread (I can't seem to post my comment there, so I will try here):

The "100-year war" claim has been completely debunked (and Barack HUSSEIN Obama received TWO Pinocchios) by "The Fact Checker":

That being said, I agree with McCain that the Dems' policy of a) complete withdrawal or b) withdrawal and re-invasion is an "imprudent and dangerous course."

Posted by: JakeD | April 7, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I wish your paper, The NYT, the LAT, and the rest of the Obama cheerleaders were as quick to disect him as you all are with Sen. McCain.

I find it mindboggling your dead silence on Michelle Obama's racism, as exposed in her thesis at Yale, where MLK's references to "a color blind society" are non-existant.

Posted by: latina_in_texas | April 7, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

The ad was definitely intended to mislead. It's dishonest, and I can't understand how the writer at FactChecker wouldn't immediately condemn it. He usually excoriates any Democratic issue or ad and ladles out Pinoccios. Why has he held his fire this time?

Smells bad.

Posted by: SBG | April 7, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Sorry it "smells bad", SBG, as long as you aren't impugning McCain's bravery, courage and integrity : )

Posted by: JakeD | April 7, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand how you people get to challenge Obama for his change in opinion on how we should handle the war. First he says we can just bring them home, then he talks to people and says maybe we should be more careful and keep troops there longer, and people condemn him for it. Utterly ridiculous! He gets good information and changes his opinion, and suddenly that is a bad thing. This is what 8 years of stubborn hardheadedness has done to republicans.

Sorry off-topic, but I noticed a trend.

Posted by: Michael | April 7, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

This is the first election I have chosen to participate in. Only because there was a Candidate that offered a true alternative to the many past administrations. Most of the past administrations (with the exception of Carter) had a practice of intentionaly misleading the public. Now is this "misleading" or lying? My 40 years of business experience tells me that when someone knows what the truth is, yet directs you to believe something else, it is lying.

I was watching a Sunday Morning news show where John McCain was being interviewed in regards to his opinion of President Bush's submittal to congress for funding approval of the troop surge. He has publicly said that he was 100% behind the troop surge. The public opinion at that time was definitely not behind the surge. The only way the public had to challenge it was by putting pressure on their congressmen to withhold the funding to the armed services as a whole. On this show he angrily said that the public was acting very irresponsible and should not "abandon" our troops in Iraq by not approving the funding submitted even though it had provisions for the troop surge. He said that the public should push for handling this situation the proper way. They should submit to the congress a motion to review the funding of the surge and to let the outcome be what it may.

Of course as a Senator, he already knew that if the regular funding bill passed he would have his funding for the surge, and he also knew that submitting for a new bill to stop the surge would require at least 120 days, making it too late to do anything about it.

Yet with a very straight face, he tells us, the American public that this is the proper way to do things. What he was doing was giving the public wrong directions on a cab that would take the very long route to an airport that would be closed by the time you got there.

That sirs is Lying in your face to accomplish his goals. Remember his is the smart one, we are just the dumb public.

Did I forget to mention his intentional misquotes about other candidates statements while on the campaign trail! This is a statement that he is either comfortable continuing lying to the American people, or he is not smart enough to read the quotes others have made.

Either way, he is not morally qualified to lead me anywhere.

Posted by: Louis | April 7, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Nina Simone | April 7, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

John McCain in my estimation is a true American Hero. I served in Vietnam and would not want to ever exchange places with him. And not only John but his whole family, including one son who served in Iraq and another son is graduating from Annapolis this year. And his Dad and his grandfather were flag officers. Whether you vote for him for president, he is everything that we should expect in Ameericans

Posted by: Fred Worth | April 7, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

McCain violated the code of conduct. There is no doubt, it is military record.

McCain voted for the invasion of Iraq.

McCain divorced his wife to marry rich and help his political career.

McCain conspired with Charles Keating and the S&L Crisis

McCain lies about Iraq.

If being a bad soldier, and having poor judgment, lying, divorcing to improve your political career and helping crooks like Charles Keating is American, then I guess I have a different view of America as do most of us who know the difference between a lie and the truth, true heroism and being a prisoner of war, and calling people "gooks" of whom we bombed, burned and shot over 2,000,000 for another useless war.

Posted by: nacirema | April 7, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

I had no problem with the ad. Why would anyone assume the Vietnamese would have filmed interrogations of McCain, let alone provided that to his presidential campaign? Obviously it had to be from another source, but it's ahrdly the first 'historial re-enactment' or 'docu-drama'.

Posted by: Tom J | April 7, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

I am really dismayed. John McCain served his country during an unpopular war. He gave years of his life for his country. His sacrifice was greater than I can even imagine. What has happened to people in our country that we defame those who protect us?

My father served in WWII and was a disabled vet. He suffered greatly his whole life. He was a kind man and the idea that just because someone serves and is damaged in some way automatically makes them "mentally damaged" and in need of treatment and an MRI is just sick.

Senator McCain is running for office and his patriotism is a plus. He is right to inform the public that he served his country. That is the reason he talks about his Vietnam experience - so the public knows he is a hero and a patriot. I am sure he is like my father, and does not dwell on this. Most servicemen try to forget the pain and hurt they experience during a war.

My father received the Silver Star for putting his life in danger and saving others while being shot and becoming disabled as a result. He didn't brag about this - but he had a family that did.

John McCain's supporters feel proud of his record and anyone who doesn't - whether they agree or disagree with the Vietnam War needs to rethink the meaning of Patriotism and what it means to be proud to be an American.

Posted by: Susan | April 8, 2008 2:42 AM | Report abuse

The ad is fine and McCain is a hero in my book. Whether that means he'd make a great POTUS is another matter, but he has more guts and integrity in his little finger than Billy Jeff & W put together.

Posted by: daveinboca | April 8, 2008 7:07 AM | Report abuse

The ad is deceptive and a clear attempt to imply that McCain was being interrogated by the enemy while he stood firm and gave only name, rank and serial number. There's no need for McCain to run this kind of deceptive ad. The truth about his service 40 years ago is admirable on its own; engaging in this misleading puffery is dishonest, however.

Posted by: Jayne | April 8, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

McCain has served his country as only a soldier could do. I seriously doubt I could have survived what he went through and I am quite sure most of his detractors (as well as supporters) wouldn't have either.

But anyone who accepts a political ad at face value is extremely naive at best or should ride the little bus at worst.

Posted by: WillieBoy | April 8, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I have no problem with this ad. It is what is purports to be, a depiction of the senator's service to his country and capture.

I think it would be even more powerful if it did include the rest of the interview because it would make even more clear the level of his suffering. Some people may object to his bombing mission, others will not.

You would have to be pretty naive to believe that the Vietnamese interrogated their prisoners on camera.

Posted by: Ken | April 8, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Good points, Ken and WillieBoy. This is probably the only footage made of McCain during those 5 1/2 years -- he's got nothing to be ashamed of in using it -- he is the American President Americans Are Waiting For!!!

Posted by: JakeD | April 8, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

what pdiddy said.

Posted by: gbooksdc | April 8, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

It is amazing how stupid some of these partisan posters are. The only way to know where their breaking point to torture is, is of course to try it themselves. Most wouldn't last an hour. One fool states that McCain didn't make "general" as if the was from displeasure - of course the Navy does not have the rank of "general" but McCain retired after a successful command as a Lt.Commander comparable to a coronal in the Army. He also was awarded several medals including Distinguish Service Cross, Silver Star and Bronze Star as well as a Purple Heart. Of the three candidates, McCain alone has experience of commanding troops on a high level. As a military man, I can tell you I would follow his orders anywhere, because he has been there. I would laugh at the other two bozos, never knowing for sure if they were not the enemy. The same is true of civilian life. Clinton and Obama are totally lacking in any meaningful experience either legislative or corporate. This is no time to teach these people leadership skills. We need someone who already has them and McCain does. And I am not a Republican, I am an American who feels this country deserves the best either party can offer. In this election the choice is clear.

Posted by: FRS | April 10, 2008 11:55 PM | Report abuse

How could you think that McCain is a worthy candidate? He is an admitted adulterer,several times over, whose values should preclude his being President of the United States! His "meaningful experience" in this area should warn any & every voter of his "slimeball" character traits.

Posted by: Dick / NH | April 16, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse


McCain, retired as a Captain (06), not a LCDR (04)...BTW, What is a "coronal"??? Did you mean Colonel??? I can see that you are, INDEED, a "military man"....what a joke!!!

LCDR is the equivalent of Major; Captain is the equivalent of (Full bird) Colonel.

As a veteran (Commander(05, USCG), I think you had better brush up on your military knowledge.

FYI,one of those "other two bozos" will be the next President, thank God!!!By using that English structure, you, of course, are calling McCain a "bozo", as finally got something correct...he IS a BOZO!!!!

Posted by: Dick / NH | April 16, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

McCain's decorations include the following: the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart.

Also it was the PAVN, People's Army of Viet-Nam, not the "NVA" -- just as it was the National Front for the Liberation of the South (Mat-Tran Dan-Toc Gai-Phong Mien-Nam), usually referred to as the "National Liberation Front," that was the political arm in the south, not the "Viet Cong" -- which was simply a nickname.

While I find it a near impossibiliy to vote for Sen. McCain, I certainly respect him and his service to the nation. Personally, I just have too many differences of opinion on too many issues with the senator. It is certainly not personal, since I happen to like him, but whatever our differences I hope I never stoop to the level of ad hominum comments for the simple fact that he seems to be someone you can agree to disagree with without it becoming personal.

Regardless of what some might thank while sitting in the comfort of their homes facing a computer, everyone has a breaking point when subjected to torture and deprivation. You learn that very quickly in SERE (Survival Evasion Resistence & Escape) training. The trick is delay and provide as little as you can as well as make it as incoherent as you can get away with -- easier said than done, of course.

I fought on the ground in Viet-Nam, usually in small teams and on (thankfully) infrequent occasions participated in cross-border ops. Our gallows humor idea of a joke was to ask that no one tell anything of importance since we had low thresholds of pain and would spill our guts. Of course, lugging a KY-set with a thermite attached to it tended to make this not quite so funny as it seemed back at the operating base....

I have no problems with the ad, which I have seen. The POW experience is an integral a part John McCain as similar experiences are for others -- being a Lurp and Ranger in combat (and managing to survive more due to their poor marksmanship than any tactical brilliance on my part) totally changed my life, just as it did for others.

Keep in mind that one of those few who stood up for John Kerry when the "Swift-boating" took place was John McCain. That should say something right there about the man.

Posted by: E75Ranger | April 16, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: jimelyyes | May 1, 2008 7:54 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: jimelyyes | May 5, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: jimelyyes | May 7, 2008 1:15 AM | Report abuse

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