As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Why Does This POW Denigrate McCain's POW Service?

Fellow Naval Academy classmate and POW of John McCain Phillip Butler is shrill.

John was a wild man. He was funny, with a quick wit and he was intelligent. But he was intent on breaking every USNA regulation in our 4 inch thick USNA Regulations book. And I believe he must have come as close to his goal as any midshipman who ever attended the Academy. John had me "coming around" to his room frequently during my plebe year. And on one occasion he took me with him to escape "over the wall" in the dead of night. He had a taxi cab waiting for us that took us to a bar some 7 miles away. John had a few beers, but forbid me to drink (watching out for me I guess) and made me drink cokes. I could tell many other midshipman stories about John that year and he unbelievably managed to graduate though he spent the majority of his first class year on restriction for the stuff he did get caught doing. In fact he barely managed to graduate, standing 5th from the bottom of his 800 man graduating class. I and many others have speculated that the main reason he did graduate was because his father was an Admiral, and also his grandfather, both U.S. Naval Academy graduates [...]

John was awarded a Silver Star and Purple Heart for heroism and wounds in combat. This heroism has been played up in the press and in his various political campaigns. But it should be known that there were approximately 600 military POW's in Vietnam. Among all of us, decorations awarded have recently been totaled to the following: Medals of Honor - 8, Service Crosses - 42, Silver Stars - 590, Bronze Stars - 958 and Purple Hearts - 1,249. John certainly performed courageously and well. But it must be remembered that he was one hero among many - not uniquely so as his campaigns would have people believe.

I furthermore believe that having been a POW is no special qualification for being President of the United States. The two jobs are not the same, and POW experience is not, in my opinion, something I would look for in a presidential candidate.

Most of us who survived that experience are now in our late 60's and 70's. Sadly, we have died and are dying off at a greater rate than our non-POW contemporaries. We experienced injuries and malnutrition that are coming home to roost. So I believe John's age (73) and survival expectation are not good for being elected to serve as our President for 4 or more years.

I can verify that John has an infamous reputation for being a hot head. He has a quick and explosive temper that many have experienced first hand. Folks, quite honestly that is not the finger I want next to that red button.

It is also disappointing to see him take on and support Bush's war in Iraq, even stating we might be there for another 100 years. For me John represents the entrenched and bankrupt policies of Washington-as-usual. The past 7 years have proven to be disastrous for our country. And I believe John's views on war, foreign policy, economics, environment, health care, education, national infrastructure and other important areas are much the same as those of the Bush administration.

Wow. It's stunning to see someone who knows McCain lay this all out so specifically. And he hits everything - the age, the temper, the flyboy antics, the policies right in line with Bush. It's all there.

Dr. Phillip Butler has been writing op-eds for and elsewhere for quite a while. This is not some new arrival to the scene.

Barack Obama today went to the VFW and did the "shame on you" bit, condeming McCain for questioning his patriotism and calling for a real debate, while "honor(ing) Senator McCain's service."

There's a difference between huffing and puffing and targeting shameless Republicans for shame, and telling the truth. Phillip Butler told the truth. And he should have some fun with his newfound not-stardom, with all the not-appearing on news programs and not-being cited in the print media. Because what he said, you can't say on television.

...Butler could have added that McCain's party and his own policies show disrespect for the military and the soldiers.

Mold infests the barracks that were set up here a year ago for wounded soldiers after poor conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center triggered a systemwide overhaul, soldiers say.

Twenty soldiers, who spoke to USA TODAY early last week, said their complaints about mold and other problems went unheeded for months. They also said they had been ordered not speak about the conditions at Fort Sill.

Officers at the Army base last week ordered that ventilation ducts in two barracks be replaced and soldiers be surveyed, anonymously if they wished, about any concerns. Maj. Gen. Peter Vangjel, the commanding officer, said it was "inappropriate" for soldiers to be ordered not to talk about the mold.

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