Monday, September 08, 2008

E tu, Brute?

That is the pain many POWs of the 4th Allied POW Wing feel when they read the words of one of their members as he slanders another POW to serve a political cause.

LT Phillip Neal Butler, USNA Class of 1961, was shot down in 1965 and was not released until 1973. It would be 1967 when Lt Cdr John McCain, USNA Class of 1958, was shot down. They both were prisoners of the North VietNamese. So Butler's voice is a voice one should give a moment to. But if the below are typical of his words, then his minute is well and truly up.

And on one occasion he took me with him to escape "over the wall" in the dead of night. He had a taxi cab waiting for us that took us to a bar some 7 miles away. John had a few beers, but forbid me to drink (watching out for me I guess) and made me drink cokes.

First rule of sea stories is to finish them so we all can laugh. First rule of providing a story that bolsters your case is to finish it. Butler fails on both counts. Did they make it back to Annapolis uncaught? If so, then Butler was bound by the USNA Regulations to put himself and McCain on report. If they were caught, was the demerits funny or drudgery like using a toothbrush on the goat statue?

I and many others have speculated that the main reason he did graduate was because his father was an Admiral, and also his grandfather, both U.S. Naval Academy graduates.

What does this prove? Oh right, the argument McCain is special. Something like US Navy royalty. Class warfare tactic? McCain's own father graduated near the bottom of his class, only 20 or so from the Anchorman, and still made Admiral. Captain McVay, USS Indianapolis, was from a family steeped in naval service and yet he was still court-martialed for losing his ship. Its overgrown with barnacles, but merit and competence still matter in the US Navy.

Was he tortured for 5 years? No. He was subjected to torture and maltreatment during his first 2 years, from September of 1967 to September of 1969.
Has anyone really made the assertion McCain was tortured for the whole five years? It seems with this sentence, Butler is trying to diminish what McCain actually suffered. Two years of having your arms yanked around after your torturers have failed to properly set them I would think would be sheer hell. Plus all the kicking and rifle-butt hits.

But my point here is that John allows the media to make him out to be THE hero POW, which he knows is absolutely not true, to further his political goals.

Ah, McCain is using his POW status to further his career. How sad that Butler stoops to this attack. Back in 2004, McCain came out and told the Swift Boat Vets and fellow POWs like Bud Day that Kerry's military service was off-limits to attack.

But it must be known that many POW's suffered similarly, not just John. And many were similarly exploited for political propaganda.

Thank you Butler for laying to rest another mantra that McCain betrayed his country with those broadcasts. Some like Bud Day held out, if you don't mind your ass being turned to hamburger to make you sign something against your country. Others like Overly folded quickly and babbled everything they knew. McCain falls somewhere in between.

Among all of us, decorations awarded have recently been totaled to the following: Medals of Honor -- 8, Service Crosses -- 42, Silver Stars -- 590, Bronze Stars -- 958 and Purple Hearts -- 1,249. John certainly performed courageously and well. But it must be remembered that he was one hero among many -- not uniquely so as his campaigns would have people believe.
Has John McCain's campaign painted him in anyway as a super POW? I don't recall that. And every time I have seen McCain talk about his captivity, he has never made it out that way. He talks of being this cocky brash pilot, self-centered, who enters hell where the self-centeredness is literally kicked out of him by his brutal captors.

We experienced injuries and malnutrition that are coming home to roost. So I believe John's age (73) and survival expectation are not good for being elected to serve as our President for 4 or more years.

Oh dear John McCain may keel over while being President so lets not vote for him. Specious argument at its finest. Each and every one of us could possibly drop dead at any time. So using Butler's argument against McCain, no one can run for President. A bit of a sticky problem isn't it? And oh yeah, some of the Bataan Death March survivors are still alive.
I can verify that John has an infamous reputation for being a hot head. He has a quick and explosive temper that many have experienced first hand. Folks, quite honestly that is not the finger I want next to that red button.

Here Butler, who is a Doctor in sociology, denies the remote chance of a person learning self-control and wisdom as they get older. And what is with that old movie cliche of a red button, everyone knows its called the 'football' with the launch codes carried by a military officer who's allegiance is to the Constitution and not to the President. Plus those codes require two people to make it a legitimate order. For such a bright guy, very elementary mistakes here.
I'm disappointed to see John represent himself politically in ways that are not accurate. He is not a moderate Republican. On some issues he is a maverick. But his voting record is far to the right. I fear for his nominations to our Supreme Court, and the consequent continuing loss of individual freedoms, especially regarding moral and religious issues. John is not a religious person, but he has taken every opportunity to ally himself with some really obnoxious and crazy fundamentalist ministers lately. I was also disappointed to see him cozy up to Bush because I know he hates that man. He disingenuously and famously put his arm around the guy, even after Bush had intensely disrespected him with lies and slander. So on these and many other instances, I don't see that John is the "straight talk express" he markets himself to be.

Ah, the real reasons why Butler won't support a fellow POW emerges. He fears John McCain is a right-wing loose cannon that will carry on the Bush Administration policies. But I guess I should not be surprised since Dr. Butler now works for Veterans for Peace. This is an organization that wants President Bush impeached and has testified to such in front of Rep. Kucinich's House Committee that wants to impeach President Bush also.

It seems Dr. Butler is willing to betray a friendship that was forged in a hell called the Hanoi Hilton for ideological reasons. Compare this to McCain's friendship with George 'Bud' Day. Both men were badly injured due to their ejections and torture. They were nursed back to health by an Air Force officer named Overly. And even though they were on opposite sides of the question about Kerry's military service; you saw at the Republican Convention, Col. George 'Bud' Day, one of those MOH recipients, endorsing his best friend John McCain for President. Same with Orson Swindle, another charter member of the 4th Allied POW Wing.

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