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Thread: Today I unwittingly stumbled upon a reason to loathe McCain

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    A woman said to write like a man. Plot Device's Avatar
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    Today I unwittingly stumbled upon a reason to loathe McCain

    I never disliked the man before today. I had a general amount of respect for him. I had admiration for his war service and his commitment to serving this country. And his sincerity always seemed genuine.

    But now this.


    http://www.nationinstitute.org/p/schanberg09182008pt1


    [For those of you not familiar with Sydney Schanberg, he's the author of the book that eventually became the Oscar-winnning film called The Killing Fields. ]


    McCain and the POW Cover-up
    The "war hero" candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam

    Research support provided by the Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute. This is an expanded version, with primary documents attached, of a story that appears in the October 6, 2008 issue of The Nation.

    By Sydney H. Schanberg
    September 18, 2008

    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.




    Now, if THAT sparked your interest, then please read on.






    The Pentagon had been withholding significant information from POW families for years. What's more, the Pentagon's POW/MIA operation had been publicly shamed by internal whistleblowers and POW families for holding back documents as part of a policy of "debunking" POW intelligence even when the information was obviously credible.

    The pressure from the families and Vietnam veterans finally forced the creation, in late 1991, of a Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs. The chairman was John Kerry. McCain, as a former POW, was its most pivotal member. In the end, the committee became part of the debunking machine.


    ...


    Included in the evidence that McCain and his government allies suppressed or sought to discredit is a transcript of a senior North Vietnamese general's briefing of the Hanoi politburo, discovered in Soviet archives by an American scholar in 1993. The briefing took place only four months before the 1973 peace accords. The general, Tran Van Quang, told the politburo members that Hanoi was holding 1,205 American prisoners but would keep many of them at war's end as leverage to ensure getting war reparations from Washington.

    Throughout the Paris negotiations, the North Vietnamese tied the prisoner issue tightly to the issue of reparations. They were adamant in refusing to deal with them separately. Finally, in a February 2, 1973, formal letter to Hanoi's premier, Pham Van Dong, Nixon pledged $3.25 billion in "postwar reconstruction" aid "without any political conditions." But he also attached to the letter a codicil that said the aid would be implemented by each party "in accordance with its own constitutional provisions." That meant Congress would have to approve the appropriation, and Nixon and Kissinger knew well that Congress was in no mood to do so. The North Vietnamese, whether or not they immediately understood the double-talk in the letter, remained skeptical about the reparations promise being honored - and it never was. Hanoi thus appears to have held back prisoners—just as it had done when the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and withdrew their forces from Vietnam. In that case, France paid ransoms for prisoners and brought them home.

    In a private briefing in 1992, high-level CIA officials told me that as the years passed and the ransom never came, it became more and more difficult for either government to admit that it knew from the start about the unacknowledged prisoners. Those prisoners had not only become useless as bargaining chips but also posed a risk to Hanoi's desire to be accepted into the international community. The CIA officials said their intelligence indicated strongly that the remaining men—those who had not died from illness or hard labor or torture—were eventually executed.

    ...

    In Paris, where the Vietnam peace treaty was negotiated, the United States asked Hanoi for the list of American prisoners to be returned, fearing that Hanoi would hold some prisoners back. The North Vietnamese refused, saying they would produce the list only after the treaty was signed. Nixon agreed with Kissinger that they had no leverage left, and Kissinger signed the accord on January 27, 1973, without the prisoner list. When Hanoi produced its list of 591 prisoners the next day, US intelligence agencies expressed shock at the low number. Their number was hundreds higher. The New York Times published a long, page-one story on February 2, 1973, about the discrepancy, especially raising questions about the number of prisoners held in Laos, only nine of whom were being returned. The headline read, in part: "Laos POW List Shows 9 from US —Document Disappointing to Washington as 311 Were Believed Missing." And the story, by John Finney, said that other Washington officials "believe the number of prisoners [in Laos] is probably substantially higher." The paper never followed up with any serious investigative reporting—nor did any other mainstream news organization.



    ...

    Even in the Executive Summary, the report acknowledges the existence of clear intelligence, made known to government officials early on, that important numbers of captured US POWs were not on Hanoi's repatriation list. After Hanoi released its list (showing only ten names from Laos—nine military men and one civilian), President Nixon sent a message on February 2, 1973, to Hanoi's Prime Minister Pham Van Dong. saying: "US records show there are 317 American military men unaccounted for in Laos and it is inconceivable that only ten of these men would be held prisoner in Laos."

    Nixon was right. It was inconceivable. Then why did the president, less than two months later, on March 29, 1973, announce on national television that "all of our American POWs are on their way home"?

    ...


    Maybe Nixon and Kissinger told themselves that they could get the prisoners home after some time had passed. But perhaps it proved too hard to undo a lie as big as this one. Washington said no prisoners were left behind, and Hanoi swore it had returned all of them. How could either side later admit it had lied? Time went by and as neither side budged, telling the truth became even more difficult and remote. The public would realize that Washington knew of the abandoned men all along. The truth, after men had been languishing in foul prison cells, could get people impeached or thrown in jail.




    This seems to be a case of too much self-righteousness and delusions of grandeur as far as how it's impossible for America to be blackmailed or made to pay war reparations.

    How dare those Vietnamese think they can make US pay war reparations?

    And then as the years wore on, the embarassment of even admitting that we still had boys (now middle-aged men) still behind the bamboo curtain loomed before each successive president as too much of a liability. And the need to keep it all a secret was more important than the lives of those soldiers, and the grief of their families.







    .
    Last edited by Plot Device; 10-25-2008 at 08:04 AM.
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  2. #2
    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't The Nation Institute affiliated with the left-leaning The Nation magazine? I'm not opining on any of the facts in the article or the journalist (who is highly respected), just the source.
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    A woman said to write like a man. Plot Device's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeowGirl View Post
    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't The Nation Institute affiliated with the left-leaning The Nation magazine? I'm not opining on any of the facts in the article or the journalist (who is highly respected), just the source.

    Yes it is.

    So take that source --and the credibility of Sydney Schanberg-- for whatever value you feel inclined to assign to it (and him).
    It's NOT the end of steam, it's the end of CHEAP steam.
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    On that writing-a-new-story high. Monkey's Avatar
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    I've read McCain's stance on POW's in various places at various times. From what I've gathered, it comes down to this: McCain believes we should ignore POW's, because acting as if they are a big deal gives our enemies power over us. To his credit, he apparently believed this even when he was a POW.
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    Banned dmytryp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monkey View Post
    I've read McCain's stance on POW's in various places at various times. From what I've gathered, it comes down to this: McCain believes we should ignore POW's, because acting as if they are a big deal gives our enemies power over us. To his credit, he apparently believed this even when he was a POW.
    Unfortunately he is also correct (as many of Israel's deals for prisoner exchange show over the years). This is the constant struggle between "no man left behind" and the price you have to pay for bringing him home.

  6. #6
    in a van down by the river eldragon's Avatar
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    McCain seems to me to be the type of man who handles alot of things with red-faced sarcasm and anger.

    Perhaps he has "survivors guilt."
    Pam

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    A woman said to write like a man. Plot Device's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eldragon View Post
    McCain seems to me to be the type of man who handles alot of things with red-faced sarcasm and anger.

    Perhaps he has "survivors guilt."

    If this story is true, then I'd say it's the ultimate example of survivor's guilt, multiplied out to the power of ten.
    It's NOT the end of steam, it's the end of CHEAP steam.
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    Snow? Already? Shadow_Ferret's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monkey View Post
    I've read McCain's stance on POW's in various places at various times. From what I've gathered, it comes down to this: McCain believes we should ignore POW's, because acting as if they are a big deal gives our enemies power over us. To his credit, he apparently believed this even when he was a POW.
    If this is his reasoning, as a veteran myself, I can't fault him for it.
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    What happened to my LIFE?! Captshady's Avatar
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    #
    Non-profit entity closely linked to for-profit magazine The Nation
    #
    Sponsors leftist conferences, fellowships, awards for radical activists, journalism internships, and many other things
    #
    "Our graduates…constitute an informal network operating in the mainstream media.
    One Institute "project" is RadioNation, a weekly syndicated radio program uplinked to satellite via a National Public Radio (NPR) transponder. The show is hosted by Laura Flanders, who has also worked for Air America Radio and Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. It features a wide range of writers and editors from The Nation and thereby promotes this for-profit magazine's newsstand, subscription, and related enterprise sales. Before Flanders, the program host was Marc Cooper, Contributing Editor to The Nation magazine.
    The Nation Institute is also involved in giving out at least $130,000 each year in awards and prizes to leftist activists. Moreover, it endows "journalism fellows," almost all of whom already have places on the masthead of The Nation magazine. Recent and ongoing Institute "fellows" include Tom Hayden, William Greider, Eric Alterman, Katha Pollitt, Jack Newfield and Jonathan Schell. This offers a way to pay with tax-exempt dollars those whose writing produces the for-profit Nation magazine.
    The Nation Institute since 1978 has worked in conjunction with The Nation magazine to recruit, train and influence journalism interns who will carry the Institute's leftist politics into the mainstream. Former Nation interns have worked at such media outlets as the New York Times, Harper's, the Christian Science Monitor, Time, Ms., Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Village Voice, AP, UPI, ABC, PBS-Frontline, and The News Hour with Jim Lehrer.
    Source

    In the news columns of The New York Times, the celebrated Sydney Schanberg wrote of Cambodians that ``it is difficult to imagine how their lives could be anything but better with the Americans gone.'' He dismissed predictions of mass executions in the wake of a Khmer Rouge victory: ``It would be tendentious to forecast such abnormal behavior as national policy under a Communist government once the war is over.'' On April 13, 1975, Schanberg's dispatch from Phnom Penh was headlined, ``Indochina without Americans: for most, a better life.''
    Source

  10. #10
    On that writing-a-new-story high. Monkey's Avatar
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    For those of you who doubt this information because of its source, try typing
    "Vietnam veterans against McCain" POW MIA
    into Google and clicking on some of the links. Much of what was said above is addressed repeatedly by a lot of different POW/MIA groups, many of whom are decidedly not left-leaners.

    Also, can you find actual sources that contradict the information given?
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    What happened to my LIFE?! Captshady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monkey View Post
    For those of you who doubt this information because of its source, try typing
    "Vietnam veterans against McCain" POW MIA
    into Google and clicking on some of the links. Much of what was said above is addressed repeatedly by a lot of different POW/MIA groups, many of whom are decidedly not left-leaners.
    Actually, what I saw was the ONE group, which appears to be a group of unknown size and origin. Their website, and many leftist blogs quoting them. Their own website links to "proof" that McCain is not an American citizen, to Sydney H. Schanberg's (the leftist) article, and a claim that he was subjected to 5 ˝ years of Soviet driven "brain perversion techniques."

    I also couldn't find where any representative claimed, let alone proved a prior party affiliation.


    Quote Originally Posted by Monkey View Post
    Also, can you find actual sources that contradict the information given?
    So anyone can make an accusation, and it's true until someone provides proof of it being false?

    Quote Originally Posted by Monkey View Post
    McCain stance POWs MIA

    Put into Google gives another sampling of articles, blogs, and what-have-you backing up the OP.
    Actually a sampling of them backing up the single solitary article, claimed by a single, solitary group who's membership hasn't been given. Not even numbers.
    Last edited by Captshady; 10-24-2008 at 04:14 AM.

  12. #12
    Awwww rats!!!! cethklein's Avatar
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    [quote=Captshady;2880726




    So anyone can make an accusation, and it's true until someone provides proof of it being false?[/quote]

    Apparently so according to you. I believe just the other day you told us all that all Muslims were extremists and unfit to be president until it was proven they could be leaders by them leading other Democratic states.

    for the record I oppose the idea of guilty until proven innocent. I opposed it when you said it and I oppose it in regards to the subject of this topic as well.


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    What happened to my LIFE?! Captshady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cethklein View Post
    Apparently so according to you. I believe just the other day you told us all that all Muslims were extremists and unfit to be president until it was proven they could be leaders by them leading other Democratic states.
    Nice twist, but no. I said that I wouldn't vote for a Muslim, ever, because no country exists without Sharia law, where Muslims are the majority. After that posting, you first insulted me, then you gave an incorrect list of Muslim dominated countries free of Sharia law.

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    you didn't come and help me kuwisdelu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cethklein View Post
    Apparently so according to you. I believe just the other day you told us all that all Muslims were extremists and unfit to be president until it was proven they could be leaders by them leading other Democratic states.
    Quote Originally Posted by Captshady View Post
    Nice twist, but no. I said that I wouldn't vote for a Muslim, ever, because no country exists without Sharia law, where Muslims are the majority. After that posting, you first insulted me, then you gave an incorrect list of Muslim dominated countries free of Sharia law.
    Stay on topic, please; there's no need to bring in other threads or ad hominem arguments. You can make your point just as well without resorting to that.
    Last edited by kuwisdelu; 10-24-2008 at 05:43 AM.

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    All Living is Local Don's Avatar
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    This is actually old news. It was discussed during the primaries, but never gained any traction in the national press, although several efforts were made to bring it to their attention.
    I wrote a blog.

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    I am a zebra... willfulone's Avatar
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    He refused to leave free when offered a chance (his fellow POWs reported such to U.S. News & World Report) as there were other POWs who were ahead of him in line that should have been sent home first (they were captured before him). He placed value on them above himself/above his own life. That he refuses to serve/show weakness to our enemies (if this report is to be believed) that is okay. He has proven his position by offering to stay and die for another to leave free. Telling, very telling. He cares about POWs.
    ...amid a herd of horses.

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  17. #17
    A woman said to write like a man. Plot Device's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willfulone View Post
    He cares about POWs.
    Cares enough to lie about their very existence?
    It's NOT the end of steam, it's the end of CHEAP steam.
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  18. #18
    I am a zebra... willfulone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plot Device View Post
    Cares enough to lie about their very existence?
    If you are going to decide based upon politicians NOT lying, you cannot vote for anyone in politics. EVER. For, there is not one politician that has not lied on some thing, at some point for some reason (good or bad). If there is one, show me. I won't hold my breath - you cannot.

    And yes, I think his actions speak louder than any words someone wishes to stuff in his mouth. IF he did such, lied about such, there may have been an agenda that he had to follow - regardless of his opinion/desires.

    When dealing with terrorists or enemies, showing any weakness bad. Thus, at times, it must be shown that one is not. Even if one must lie to do it.

    And, I do not feel confident that what I have searched and what has been linked here is proof positive of him lying.

    Again, though, I will state that words are words, his actions show much more than anything he can say. He offered his life for you, for me and he offered it in place of fellow prisioners. If you cannot see the good in that for what you believe a lie that changes your opinion of the man, that is fine. I cannot dismiss his sacrifice (or offer of it) for some political spin. I cannot. His actions show his character (on this topic) more than any words can say.

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  19. #19
    practical experience, FTW
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    I'm skeptical of this article. Like all conspiracy theories articles, the motivations of all involved seem confused and, at times, almost contrdictory. Don't get me wrong. I do know that there are conspiracies in recent history that are documented and proven, but the motivations behind these always make sense.

    Does it make sense that if Hanoi was going to hold PoW's to leverage war reparations they would keep it a secret? Hanoai fully understands that its best chance of forcing war reparations from the United States, if this was the tactic they were going to use, would be to make thw PoW's a well publicized and well known fact. The best advocate they would have would be the American public and they would know that.

    No. Like all conspiracy theories, long on coincidence and innuendo and short on verifiabel facts.

    The money for reparations that the congress would have to approve and, supposedly didn't, would have to be put before congress for consideration. And I can't see that remaining a secret for long.

    No. I'm a leftie and I don't buy it.

  20. #20
    Whiskey Rebel whistlelock's Avatar
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    If it's true, just one more chapter of tragedy in the long book of the Vietnam war.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricetalks View Post
    I'm skeptical of this article. Like all conspiracy theories articles, the motivations of all involved seem confused and, at times, almost contrdictory. Don't get me wrong. I do know that there are conspiracies in recent history that are documented and proven, but the motivations behind these always make sense.

    Does it make sense that if Hanoi was going to hold PoW's to leverage war reparations they would keep it a secret? Hanoai fully understands that its best chance of forcing war reparations from the United States, if this was the tactic they were going to use, would be to make thw PoW's a well publicized and well known fact. The best advocate they would have would be the American public and they would know that.

    No. Like all conspiracy theories, long on coincidence and innuendo and short on verifiabel facts.

    The money for reparations that the congress would have to approve and, supposedly didn't, would have to be put before congress for consideration. And I can't see that remaining a secret for long.

    No. I'm a leftie and I don't buy it.
    I agree. I'm no supporter of John McCain, but my opinion of him has nothing to do with this conspiracy theory. The idea that Vietnam was holding numbers of POWs never made sense to me, and for years I felt that our government was unfairly stringing families along, giving them hope by showing an interest, when there was no hope.

    Nope, this one want stand up to critical analysis.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by AncientEagle View Post
    I agree. I'm no supporter of John McCain, but my opinion of him has nothing to do with this conspiracy theory. The idea that Vietnam was holding numbers of POWs never made sense to me.
    I agree entirely. Vietnam has had no reason to hold American POWs since we got out in 1975. Excuse me now, for I have to go out for my nightly watch for Bigfoot.

    caw

  23. #23
    Disgruntled Scientist dgiharris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blacbird View Post
    I agree entirely. Vietnam has had no reason to hold American POWs since we got out in 1975. Excuse me now, for I have to go out for my nightly watch for Bigfoot.

    caw
    Did the Vietnamese hold French Troops after their conflict?

    Did the Vietnamese sell back these hostages to France?

    I believe the answer is yes.

    If so, can you think of a reason to hold 400 people hostage, 400 people who belong to the wealthiest nation on the planet?

    This would be a logical reason.

    Another one (not to dive into conspiracy theories).

    If I were Russia, i'd urge Vietnam to hold some hostages--- keep America occupied, bloody their noses more, make them lose face, weaken their world presence, or hell, just out of spite.

    In conclusion, there are logical reasons to do so.

    Mel...

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgiharris View Post
    Did the Vietnamese hold French Troops after their conflict?

    Did the Vietnamese sell back these hostages to France?

    I believe the answer is yes.

    If so, can you think of a reason to hold 400 people hostage, 400 people who belong to the wealthiest nation on the planet?

    This would be a logical reason.

    Another one (not to dive into conspiracy theories).

    If I were Russia, i'd urge Vietnam to hold some hostages--- keep America occupied, bloody their noses more, make them lose face, weaken their world presence, or hell, just out of spite.

    In conclusion, there are logical reasons to do so.

    Mel...
    What's illogical is that Hanoi would keep it a secret. Why? It''s like kidnapping someone and refusing to send the ransom letter.

  25. #25
    On that writing-a-new-story high. Monkey's Avatar
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    McCain stance POWs MIA

    Put into Google gives another sampling of articles, blogs, and what-have-you backing up the OP.
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