Friday, August 22, 2008


By Libby Spencer

A lot of people are thinking that McCain may have thrown down the POW card one too many times yesterday when the campaign pushed back against the reaction to his house gaffe by saying, "This is a guy who lived in one house for five and a half years -- in prison," referring to the prisoner of war camp that McCain was in during the Vietnam War." The best take on it I've seen is by Brandon Friedman at Vet Voice.

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.

Read the rest for yourself. Another really good point he makes that has been little remarked is how McCain seems to forget that over 150,000 homeless vets, many of whom also served in combat in Vietnam, live on America's streets. The only "houses" they own are cardboard boxes under a bridge. So maybe instead of voting against legislation to help war veterans and banging the drum for more wars, McCain could be doing something to help those war heroes who also served honorably.

(Cross-posted at The Impolitic.)

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