After the panic, we should ponder what we're losing.
April 9, 2009.
In this Presidential Proclamation, President Barack Obama wrote:
American prisoners of war exemplify the courage and sacrifice that define our men and women in uniform. These brave warriors have paid a massive share of the costs of freedom, and our Nation will be forever in their debt. Today we honor all prisoners of war by recognizing the tremendous sacrifices made and the hardships endured by those who fight for our freedom.One of those detainees in the Hoa Lo Prison (among other places in Vietnam) was Arizona Senator John McCain. You can read his account of his own time as a POW here. You really should read it. It's horrible. As much as I might have disagreed vehemently with his political positions in 2008 (and I did) what he went through in Vietnam was horrible. Torture, disease, mistreatment don't begin to describe what he went through for more than five years.
American prisoners of war have experienced extreme conditions across the world and many have made the ultimate sacrifice. Sixty-seven years ago, in the midst of World War II, nearly 12,000 Americans and 76,000 Filipinos were captured while defending positions on the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines. As prisoners of war, they endured the Bataan Death March, suffering starvation, torture, and unspeakable conditions. Thousands were randomly executed and many perished on this journey. During the Korean War, more than 1,600 Americans died under grave conditions at the Pyok Tong camp. In Vietnam's Hoa Lo Prison—the infamous Hanoi Hilton—Americans endured torture and other forms of inhumane treatment.
There are countless tales of the bravery of American prisoners of war—of the burdens borne, of the acts of heroism. These individuals have made great sacrifices and have demonstrated an enduring faith in themselves and in the United States. Their commitment calls out to all Americans to live up to our Nation's highest ideals and to serve our fellow citizens with equal selflessness and honor. We will never forget their sacrifices. Their spirit of service will inspire the American people for generations to come.
He was awarded a Silver Star and a Bronze Star (pages 8-9 of 19) for his time in captivity.
Agree or disagree with his politics afterwards, the man's a hero for enduring what he endured and should be honored. POWs suffered in ways that none of us can comprehend. Recognizing their commitment to the country is an honorable action that's above politics. It's a necessary and decent thing to do.
And yet on July 18, 2015 this happened:
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump slammed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a decorated Vietnam War veteran, on Saturday by saying McCain was not a war hero because he was captured by the North Vietnamese.Nine months later, Trump said this:
“He’s not a war hero,” Trump said. Sarcastically, Trump quipped, “He’s a war hero because he was captured.” Then, he added, “I like people that weren’t captured.”
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Wednesday said he doesn’t regret the controversial comments he made about prisoners of war last summer, suggesting it led to a rise in his poll numbers.Mocking a brutalized POW for the sake of a jump in poll numbers - that's Donald Trump. That's disgusting (and we an now all agree that he's disgusting, right? If you don't think so, just reread this blog post).
“I don’t, you know — I like not to regret anything,” Trump said on the "Imus in the Morning" radio show.
“You do things and you say things. And what I said, frankly, is what I said. And some people like what I said if you want to know the truth. There are many people that like what I said. You know, after I said that, my poll numbers went up 7 points."
Not for nothing, but the disgusting Trump sat out the war with multiple academic and medical deferments.
This is the disgusting excuse for a human being who'll be sitting in the Oval Office in a few days - placed there by millions of our fellow citizens (with a much needed push by Russian Intelligence) OK with (among other things) his disrespect for the military and his obvious lack of simple human decency.
Time to ponder yet again what we're losing in this country.