Vietnam War Hero. Prisoner of War. Victim of the Communist's captors. And, the list of adjectives goes on and on to describe Republican presidential nominee John McCain and his time in Vietnam.
So what do the Vietnamese, Vietnamese Americans and those with knowledge about Vietnam and the war, think of McCain and his time in the Southeast Asian country?
Vietnamese Guy from SF writes in his blog, tinouâ€™s 730 steps, that he supports McCain:
â€œI've called Hillary a “bitch” and McCain a “sell-out”. Obama, he's just annoying with his head tilt. But in all seriousness, between Obama and McCain I have no choice but to support McCain. Here is why:
When I was born, my father was not around. Not because he was a dead beat dad, but because he was in a North Vietnamese “re-education” camp, a euphemism for prison. See, my father had gone to Europe for university then came back to Vietnam to work for Esso (Exxon). This, in the eyes of the Communist North Vietnamese, was traitorous, and deserved punishment. And so I was born without being held in my father's arms while he suffered in his own Hanoi Hilton.
If there had been more John McCains instead of John Kerrys my father might not have languished in that prison camp for years. He might not today wake up in the middle of night, sweating and disoriented, from horrific flashbacks. John McCain is a man of honour and courage. A man who fought for my country, my father and me when his country called upon him. For that, I am forever indebted.â€
The Vietnamese Guy from SF then ties in the Vietnam War with Iraq.
What Barack Obama wants to do today in Iraq is what John Kerry did back then: undermine our opportunity for victory. Barack Obama has never seen war, has never witness the pure evil of Communism, radical Islam and the like. He sits in his Harvard office, strategizing how to withdraw from Iraq instead figuring out how to win the war so that Iraqi fathers and sons will not suffer the same fate as my father and I. When Barack Obama and his friends declare that the war is lost, they are sending Iraqi fathers to labor camps, and making sure that Iraqi sons are born without being held in their father's arms.
John McCain is fighting for those Iraqi fathers and sons. And for that, he has my vote.
Journalist and Hanoi resident Matt Steinglass, writes in his blog that Vietnamese (in Vietnam) wonâ€™t criticize McCain because they are still tired from the war or because of the restraint from the government.
Every member of the press I know here agrees: itâ€™s almost impossible to write a story about John McCainâ€™s time in Hanoi, from Hanoi. This is for several reasons. First, anyone who had actual contact with McCain during his time as a POW will be the kind of person who wonâ€™t tell you anything the government doesnâ€™t want you to hear. Theyâ€™re aging people retired from government-related jobs, with Communist Party ties. Since the government and Party want them to say approving things about McCain (who has been good for Vietnam in the past 15 years), but also donâ€™t want to piss off Obama in case he gets elected, and since the government is also unwilling to admit that Vietnam ever tortured McCain or any other POWs, but doesnâ€™t want to flat-out call McCain a liar (which would be ridiculously unconvincing in any case, since the testimony of POWs that they were tortured is voluminous), most of these old folks simply prefer not to say anything. The exceptions are people like the former Hanoi Hilton [Hoa Lo] commandant, Col. Duyet, who pretends that McCain and he were buddies and says heâ€™d vote for him, while constantly contradicting everything McCain has said or written about his time there (we never put anyone in solitary confinement, we never beat anyone, there were never protests over Christian worship, and so on and so forth). You canâ€™t really do very much with such unreliable testimony.
VietQ News blogger writes about Tran Trong Duyetâ€™s public endorsement of McCain and what the â€œliberal press and liberal bogsâ€ are writing.
Duyet talked about having McCain into his office for private chats. They argued about the war, he said. He called McCain a â€˜frank manâ€™, he said he was â€˜loyal to his country and the American idealâ€™. In other words, he respected McCainâ€™s behavior while in captivity. He confirms that McCain was not disloyal to his country during the years he was a prisoner of war.
What is interesting that the part the liberal press and the liberal blogs pick up on is that Duyet states that he never tortured McCain or any prisoners who were in the Hanoi Hilton. These liberal blogs ignore the obvious contradictions in Duyetâ€™s statements. That he found McCain to be frank and loyal, yet lying about torture. That he has followed McCainâ€™s career with interest, appreciates the work McCain has done to mend ties with Vietnam, but doesnâ€™t know how McCain might react to seeing him again.
The blogger then goes on to write about why the colonel respects his former enemy.
For anyone who knows anything about warriors, you know that even though men might fight on opposing sides, a good soldier understands and respects the qualities of his enemies. World War II vets admired the discipline and tenaciousness of the Japanese and German warriors. The Japanese and Germans admired the shear naked courage of the Americans.
Author Irwin Tang, writes in his blog about McCainâ€™s usage of the word â€œgooks.â€
McCainâ€™s most famous quote among Asian Americans. “I hate the gooks,” John McCain told America, “I will hate them as long as I live.”
John McCainâ€™s decades-long habit of referring to Vietnamese people and individuals as “gooks” in the American mass media. He said that he only applied the racial slur to his captors, which is a lie. He also said that he would stop using the racial slur because he did not want to “feel the fire” for being racist.â€
Tang ends his post that McCain makes similar racial slurs about Iranians.
He has already started the process of “gookification” of people in Iran by singing “bomb, bomb Iran” at rallies and commenting that perhaps the U.S. can “kill them” [people in Iran] through cigarette addiction.