Thursday, September 11, 2008

McCain release footage unearthed in Sweden

Here it is at a Swedish site. Apparently a Swedish cameraman had left his camera behind with a Vietnamese photographer, asking him to film the release of POWs, and buried in all that footage was McCain, who of course was at the time just another brave, battered young man returning home.

When I was in Korea, one of the few English language TV channels I got was AFN -- American Forces Network, run by the DOD for servicemembers overseas. Instead of commercials, we got to watch military PSA's, including one reviewing the Code of Conduct that kept McCain and his fellow POW's sane and strong.

Could you imagine how quickly they'd have been broken had they not been taught that they were capable of maintaining their dignity and honor even in the darkest of circumstances?

I sent an email once to Ashli at The S.I.C.L.E. Cell about how our society, rather than build young women up to deal with challenges, bombards them from infancy with messages about how they can't cope with an unplanned pregnancy, about how they're just too weak, too incapable, how nobody could possibly be expected to bear up under the strain of having a baby when they hadn't planned to, or when their circumstances are tough, or when it turns out that the baby might be sick or have a disability.

Imagine how fast the abortion rate would fall if we spent time instead reminding young women that they are capable of courage and resourcefulness.

How long would McCain had lasted, how long would his fellow POW's have lasted, if the Code of Conduct has stated, "It's too hard to withstand ill-treatment if you are captured. Just betray your fellows. Spill your guts. Tell the enemy everything he wants to know. It's your life."

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

McCain wasn't "just" another brave, battered young man -- he was the son and grandson of well-known military commanders (I think 4-star generals or admirals?). Anyway, when the Vietnamese found out who he was, they offered to let him go, as a sort of good-will gesture to the Americans. But John McCain refused to go -- it wasn't his turn -- someone else had been a POW for longer, and it was "first in, first out". He could have gotten out and avoided 3 years of torture, but he chose to stay behind, rather than to break the code of honor. Now *that* says something about his character -- something Barack Obama can never say.

-Kathy

GrannyGrump said...

In making that choice, McCain was just following the Code of Conduct, which all his fellow POWs were following.

Not to reduce what McCain suffered, or to dismiss the temptation that he was tormented with by his captors. But to reinforce that they were all bravely facing up to horrors the likes of which others can't understand.

It would take me a while to explain the full context of a saying: "Level 1 is bottomless." Just because you can think of something worse doesn't mean that the situation in question isn't appalling.

McCain was subjected to an extra temptation. He did not cave in. But we don't know what additional temptations were used to try to break the other POWS. Their stories don't get told as often or in as bright a forum.