Life Imitating Cinema
Unfortunately, Rambo had already endorsed McCain.
Sydney Schanberg of The Nation wrote the article that I always knew was coming: How John McCain, the man who's trying to win the presidency from a bamboo cage, is actually the opposite of the public perception of him being a heroic figure of the Vietnam War.
Schanberg starts off his article thusly:
John McCain, who has risen to political prominence on his image as a Vietnam POW war hero, has, inexplicably, worked very hard to hide from the public stunning information about American prisoners in Vietnam who, unlike him, didn't return home. Throughout his Senate career, McCain has quietly sponsored and pushed into federal law a set of prohibitions that keep the most revealing information about these men buried as classified documents. Thus the war hero who people would logically imagine as a determined crusader for the interests of POWs and their families became instead the strange champion of hiding the evidence and closing the books.
Almost as striking is the manner in which the mainstream press has shied from reporting the POW story and McCain's role in it, even as the Republican Party has made McCain's military service the focus of his presidential campaign. Reporters who had covered the Vietnam War turned their heads and walked in other directions. McCain doesn't talk about the missing men, and the press never asks him about them.
Eerily telling are these two paragraphs (emphasis mine):
Included in the evidence that McCain and his government allies suppressed or sought to discredit is a transcript of a senior North Vietnamese general's briefing of the Hanoi politburo, discovered in Soviet archives by an American scholar in 1993. The briefing took place only four months before the 1973 peace accords. The general, Tran Van Quang, told the politburo members that Hanoi was holding 1,205 American prisoners but would keep many of them at war's end as leverage to ensure getting war reparations from Washington.
Throughout the Paris negotiations, the North Vietnamese tied the prisoner issue tightly to the issue of reparations. They were adamant in refusing to deal with them separately. Finally, in a February 2, 1973, formal letter to Hanoi's premier, Pham Van Dong, Nixon pledged $3.25 billion in "postwar reconstruction" aid "without any political conditions." But he also attached to the letter a codicil that said the aid would be implemented by each party "in accordance with its own constitutional provisions." That meant Congress would have to approve the appropriation, and Nixon and Kissinger knew well that Congress was in no mood to do so. The North Vietnamese, whether or not they immediately understood the double-talk in the letter, remained skeptical about the reparations promise being honored - and it never was. Hanoi thus appears to have held back prisoners—just as it had done when the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and withdrew their forces from Vietnam. In that case, France paid ransoms for prisoners and brought them home.
You read that right. John McCain is doing his level-headed best to suppress information on 1205 fellow POWs, thereby allowing the North Vietnamese government to continue using those men as hostages for war reparations (until those poor guys outlived their usefulness and were summarily executed). We're failing to this day where the hated French had succeeded over half a century ago, even though it meant paying ransom money to a Red Chinese puppet government.
(You think it's been lost on McCain, the irony that, had he not been among the 521 POWs who were released in good faith, he too would've been forgotten? My guess is abso-fucking-lutely.)
McCain isn't just promising to extend the Bush legacy: He's also promising to extend Nixon's own cynical legacy of dirty tricks, CREEP redux. Nixon and Kissinger knew damned good and well that their pledge of three and a quarter billion dollars didn't mean jack shit when a hostile Congress held the purse strings. After all, that same year Congress had cut off funds to the South Vietnamese government, the single biggest reason why our part in the war would end in two years.
And the press, as Schanberg points out, timorous at best at the prospect at questioning a war veteran with a hair trigger temper, is aiding and abetting a possible war criminal now running for the White House by refusing to question something that is obviously a matter of public record, the same press, I think it bears mentioning, that gave credence and leverage to the Swift Boat Veterans in their sliming campaign against John Kerry.
That's why, as a former Navy man myself and someone who still loves his country, I am getting more and more enraged seeing John McCain getting away with murder (or conspiracy to aid and abet kidnappers) and trading on his POW status while doing his damnedest to make us forget the others. Continuing to do so, and the MSM continuing to let McCain continue to do so, is a slap in the face of every relative of every POW-MIA (which McCain once called "dime store Rambos").
Col. Trautman was forced into retirement. Rambo turned Republican and supported the same guy who's a real-life counterpart to the ultimate mercenary in Rambo II. There's no Col. Trautman, there's no John Rambo. There's only John McCain and his cabal of co-conspirators. And even if there was a Rambo, McCain wouldn't even let him take the fucking pictures.