Copyright John T. Reed
Regarding Trump’s comments about McCain not being a war hero for getting captured.
McCain said essentially the same thing. I saw him introduced once on TV as a war hero and he responded sheepishly with, “How does getting shot down make you a hero?”
When he ran for office I said he deserves our sympathy for what he endured when he got shot down and imprisoned, but I thought giving him medals and calling him a war hero was dubious.
McCain said in his book he was trained to take evasive action when he heard a certain tone in his headset. It meant a radar guided SAM was locked into on him. He said out of some “mad bravery,” he did NOT take the evasive action. That’s stupid, not heroic, and I surmise the McCain who wrote the book would agree.
Both his shoulders were broken when he ejected. I never ejected but I was a paratrooper in the Army. We were taught to keep our elbows tight against our body and legs tight together to avoid injury when the chute opened. “Get compact” was the phrase they used. I suspect McCain was taught something similar but ignored it. My logic? He is the only pilot I have ever heard of who got both shoulders broken when he ejected. To paraphrase General Patton, you don’t get to be a hero by breaking your own shoulders.
The media makes much of his being offered release by the North Vietnamese if he would renounce the war. He declined. That is not heroic. It is compliance with the Code of Conduct. He did not refuse to leave. If the North Vietnamese wanted to release him they could have taken him to a neutral country and said goodbye. He would have had no say. What he did was turn down a deal to give aid and comfort to the enemy, treason, in return for a release.
I put all this in an article back during the 2008 campaign. http://www.johntreed.com/McCain.html.
The article about Trump finally answered a question I have long had. Why didn’t Trump serve in the U.S. military? He is the same age as me and I am a Vietnam vet. He got a medical deferment for a bone spur. He does not remember which heel it is on. He was a rich kid. I suspect a lot of less shrewd families’ sons with the same bone spur served. Why a medical deferment? Why not, “I went in for my Army physical and flunked it?”
The story here is not that Trump said another thing that was more or less accurate but more worded for provocation than precise accuracy. It is that 100% of the media and other candidates denounced him. I think that is a manifestation of our becoming a nation of draft dodgers. The other candidates—except for Perry and Graham—never served in the military and therefore are afraid to criticize military personnel, especially our modern VICTIM vets rather than the old World War I and II VICTOR vets.
Trump is not the first presidential candidate to destroy his candidacy by commenting accurately about McCain hype. Wes Clark was not even allowed to attend the 2008 Democrat convention because he pointed out—accurately—that McCain never commanded troops in combat. His only command job was to be in charge of a training company, a job so low that even I had it once.
Ronald and Nancy Reagan were McCain fans—until he cheated on his first wife and married his current one. But they made no public comment.
McCain is a piece of crap, but you can’t say it because he is a “war hero.”
If McCain had any class, character, or integrity, he would say now what I’m quoting him as having said previously above. He should say he does not think Trump should be president, but that Trump’s comments that becoming captured by the enemy per se does not make you a hero are correct.
What you were doing before or when you were captured may have been heroic. Heroism may have been the reason you were captured. And what you do while in captivity can be heroic. But just being captured per se is no evidence of heroism.
The plain facts of McCain’s case are he was shot down while doing his job. Military jobs are often extremely dangerous, but we are not supposed to give out medals for doing your job, even when it is extremely dangerous. He was probably shot down because he disregarded training and orders—a complication in his story that increases the evidence that it was not evidence that he is a hero.
I am not aware of anything heroic he did as a prisoner. Maybe his fellow prisoners can tell us of something. I have not seen quotes from any of them yet.
McCain has played his POW status for all it was worth and continues to do so, to his discredit. If he had not been shot down, we would not know his name. In other words, if he had followed his training and taken immediate evasive action we would not know his name. Thus, he is famous for disregarding training and orders.
In short, Trump is basically correct about McCain.
I do not care for Trump. He spoke to us in person at the recent FreedomFest. I thought he acted like a mouthy ten-year-old.
I just heard them play the WHOLE Donald Trump original comment about McCain on my local conservative talk radio station. I never heard the whole thing before. Thought I had.
Trump was responding to McCain saying Trump’s audiences were composed of crazies. Trump took umbrage a all 15,000 of the people in one of his recent audiences being described as crazies—not unlike how all the veteran victims groups are now taking umbrage at saying all POWs are undeserving of the title war hero. (He only spoke about McCain.)
Furthermore, in the original statement, Trump said McCain may be a war hero. That’s what I have been saying since 2008 about McCain’s time in prison. The media only runs the part where Trump said McCain was NOT a war hero.
When he spoke to us at FreedomFest, Trump complained bitterly that the media keeps taking what he said and cutting out the portions that are reasonable or that explain the other portions. He has a point. They did it with the McCain comments. ALL of them, including Fox News.
I hope Trump sticks to his guns on the McCain comments and starts quoting McCain himself saying the same thing as I did below and in my 2008 McCain article.
Trump is a braggart and a overly reckless with his words. He is also all over the board not only on both sides of many issues over time but also angrily denouncing both sides.
But there is no doubt Trump is far more accomplished than McCain. McCain is a politician whose career is based totally on his having been shot down.
If you could buy Trump for what he’s worth and sell him for what he claims he’s worth, you would have a substantial capital gain. But it must also be said that Trump has accomplished an enormous amount in his life. No military service and a number of failures like his airline, USFL, Atlantic City casinos, and his once-upon-a-time $900 million net worth, true, but….
In one publicity stunt, Trump noticed that NYC was taking forever to repair and reopen the Wolman skating rink in Central Park. Repairs had been scheduled to take 2.5 years. Six years later, with no progress, Trump volunteered to do it. He did so in just three months. McaCain did not ever do any such thing, and would not know how. McCain has never so much as run a candy store and probably would fail if he tried. Trump has built a multi-billion-dollar business.
Trump has no military experience, getting shot down or otherwise, but that does not rank him lower on any reasonable overall life accomplishment ladder than McCain.
McCain married the boss’s daughter, whom he started dated secretly while still being married to his first wife. His military career success, which was quite limited, was largely attributable to his being the son and grandson of two top admirals. Other than spinning his failure to evade that SAM as heroism, McCain has never accomplished a single thing in his life.
This is a quote from the 1970 movie Patton.
“No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.”
I do not recall everyone in America demanding they stop showing the movie because it demeaned those who had died for their country. No one demanded that the Patton statue at West Point be torn down because he said that all those who were killed in all America’s wars were conceived out of wedlock.
You can substitute the words “getting shot down for his country” instead of “dying for his country.” It is equally valid in both cases. The object of war is to kill the enemy, not to become a victim of the enemy. Sometimes, because of the fortunes of war, you become a victim or a POW in spite of your best efforts.
Other times, people get captured or wounded or killed because they specifically failed to do what they were supposed to do or did something they were not supposed to do.
Heroes get captured. And sometimes people act heroically during captivity. But being captured alone does not make you a hero. You may have been shot down as a result of your virtue but getting shot down is not itself evidence of virtue. That was the focus of Trump’s comment.
As I did in 2008, Trump acknowledged that McCain may have been a hero subsequent to being captured.
There are fairly precise definitions of heroism. One is written in the criteria for the Silver Star: “gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States.” McCain got one for “resisting extreme mental and physical cruelties ” inflicted upon him by his captors while a POW. The key word there is “resisting.” Enduring alone is not heroism.
Eight POWs in Vietnam were awarded the Medal of Honor. More got the DSC or Navy Cross, the second highest medal. The Silver Star is third. Not McCain.
I wondered whether any of his fellow POWs ever commented on his conduuct as a POW. One did and it is pretty damning: http://www.alternet.org/…/i_spent_years_as_a_pow_with_john_…
In particular, I draw your attention to item number 3 in that article.
Last night O’Reilly had a clip from a 2008 Chris Rock comedy routine where Rock said McCain, who was then running against Obama, was a hero because he got “captured.” Rock said he preferred guys who did NOT get captured.
Apparently this is where Trump got the lines he spoke recently. At the time Trump said them, I thought the word “captured” was odd. “Shot down” is what is usually said, including by McCain himself.
Another angle on this is addressed when it’s Christie, but strangely not when it’s Trump.
It has been said that Christie’s Jersey, tough-guy act probably won’t travel well in a national campaign. I’m from NJ. Trump is from NYC which I think even my fellow New Jerseyans would admit is a tougher tough guy act than Jersey’s.
It’s more accurately described as a Notheastern or Midwestern big-city act. Any show of disrespect must be met with a fast, aggressive come-back. The content matters little compared to the speed and the attitude. Robert Diniro’s cinematic “You lookin’ at me” scene is an excellent example. Not a Pulitzer Prize-winning composition, but the right speed and attitude.
This is similarly the case, albeit at a lower level than New York, in Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago where Barack “punish our enemies and reward our friends” Obama is “from”—carpetbagger “from.”
Part of what is now called black culture—instant, belligerent response to disrespect—is really nothing but old-time, white, big-city culture. You can see it in the old movies like those about the Bowery Boys. And “Yo mama’s so fat…”
“No mothers, man.”
When you keep that context in mind, you can see that Trump’s response to McCain calling Trumps supporters crazies was nothing but the big-city’s boy’s instant return-fire reflex.
To claim that it means Trump does not respect veterans and all that is obvious bullshit. That is why the public may still support Trump after all the faux politician and media outrage has passed. They know that Media Matters and opposition research have turned politics and even public life into a sort of Simon Says game. Say the wrong word or phrase and your career is over.
They got Wes Clark when he noted that McCain never commanded troops in combat. They go Mitt Romney’s father when he used the word “brainwashed.” They got Ed Muskie when he shed a tear. It has become almost a national sport. There are creepy little people who listen to every word Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity etc. say every day so they can run to the phone and call their keepers to say we got him. The parent organization then puts out statements and appearances full of faux outrage and indignity demanding the resignation or firing of the person who, to use a phrase from the old Groucho Marx Show, “said the magic word.”
At this point, it would serve the Republicans right if Trump ran as a third-party candidate and elected Hillary. Picking a president ouht to be a more serious activity than playing Simon Says.