“O.K, I’ll give you military information”
By David H. Hackworth
John McCain is being hailed by the press as a “genuine war hero.” But is he a war hero in the conventional sense like Audie Murphy and John Glenn?
Or is his “war hero” status the creation of a very slick publicity campaign that plays on flag, duty, honor and country?
For sure, McCain has the fruitsalad a Silver Star, a Distinguished Flying Cross, three Bronze Stars, two Commendation medals plus two Purple Hearts and a dozen service gongs.
On a purely medal count basis, he outweighs Murphy and Glenn, who both for years repeatedly performed extraordinary deeds on the ground or in the air against an armed enemy.
McCain’s valor awards are based on what happened in 1967, when during his 23d mission over Vietnam, he was shot down, seriously injured, captured and then spent 5 1/2 brutal years as a POW.In an attempt to find out exactly what the man did to earn these many hero awards, I asked his Senate office three times to provide copies of the narratives for each medal. I’m still waiting.
I next went to the Pentagon. Within a week, I received a recap of his medals and many of the narratives that give the details of what he did.
None of the awards, less the DFC, were for heroism over the battlefield where he spent no more than 20 hours. Two Naval officers described the awards as “boilerplate” and “part of an SOP medal package given to repatriated (Vietnam era) POWs.”
McCain’s Silver Star narrative for the period 27 October 1967 the day after he was shot down to 8 December 1968 reads: “His captors… subjected him to extreme mental and physical cruelties in an attempt to obtain military information and false confessions for propaganda purposes. Through his resistance to those brutalities, he contributed significantly towards the eventual abandonment…” of such harsh treatment by the North Vietnamese.
Yet in McCain’s own words just four days after being captured, he admits he violated the U.S. Code of Conduct by telling his captors “O.K, I’ll give you military information if you will take me to the hospital.”
A Vietnam vet detractor says, “He received the nation’s third highest award, the Silver Star, for treason. He provided aid and comfort to the enemy!”
The rest of his valor awards issued automatically every year while he was a POW read much like the Silver Star. More boilerplate often repeating the exact same words. An example: “By his heroic endeavors, exceptional skill, and devotion to duty, he reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Naval Service and the United States Armed Forces.”
Yet McCain’s conduct while a POW negates these glowing comments. The facts are that he signed a confession and declared himself a “black criminal who performed deeds of an air pirate.” This statement and other interviews he gave to the Communist press press were used as propaganda to fan the flames of the antiwar movement.
Accounts by McCain and other writers tell of the horror he endured: relentlessly beatings, torture, broken limbs. All inflicted during savage interrogations. Yet no other POW was a witness to these accounts.
A former POW says “No man witnessed another man during interrogations… We relied on each other to tell the truth when a man was returned to his cell.”
The U.S. Navy says two eyewitnesses are required for any award of heroism. But for the valor awards McCain received, there are no eyewitnesses, less himself and his captors. And they’re not talking.
Our POWs in Vietnam were treated appallingly. The Viets would either break a POW or kill him. POWs provided info beyond name, rank and serial number or they didn’t come back.
Based on these stalwart men’s horrific experiences, the Code of Conduct has been changed. A POW says, “Now the training is to give them something… don’t risk permanent damage to health, mind or body.”
McCain refused an early release. An act of valor? Three former POWs told me he was ordered to turn it down by his U.S. POW commander and he “just followed orders.”
McCain certainly doesn’t appear to be a war hero by conventional standards, but rather a tough survivor whose handlers are overplaying the war hero card.
David H. Hackworth died in June 2005, he was a much-decorated and highly unconventional former career Army officer who became a combat legend in Vietnam. Col. Hackworth received 78 combat awards — including a Distinguished Service Cross, a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and eight Purple Hearts — during his 25-year military career which spanned the Korean and Vietnam wars..
While nobody knows for sure if they would be able to hang tough in the face of the ministrations of vicious Vietnamese interrogation professionals, none of us are running for Commander in Chief. And we all know what John McCain did: he sold out America to the communists and was then rewarded, first by them and then by the US government. McCain was not just anybody, and certainly not a working class draftee; the son and grandson of United States Navy admirals, John McCain was a highly trained Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy when he broke the code of honor and gave the communists information in exchange for favors. (He also has said he is “ashamed” of his http://www.wvwnews.net/story.php?id=3138 the United States again through “legalizing” millions of illegal aliens?
McCain’s actions in Vietnam dishonor the many POWs who stood tall and refused to break their honor code. For a look at how real men dealt with their imprisonment, see Werner Herzog’s excellent films based on the experience of Dieter Dengler, 2007’s Rescue Dawn and the 1997 documentary Little Dieter Needs to Fly. Dengler was a German immigrant who decided he wanted to be a pilot after surviving the bomb attacks on civilians as a child in the Second World War. As a US Navy pilot, Dengler was shot down over Laos and taken prisoner. Not only did he refuse to sign a “confession” demanded by the communists, but after being tortured and thrown into a POW camp he organized a prisoner uprising and mass escape.
U.S. MILITARY CODE OF CONDUCT
I. I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.
II. I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.
III. If I am captured I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and to aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.
IV. If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information or take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them up in every way.
V. When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am bound to only give name, rank, service number, and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause.
VI. I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.