About a year after his release from a North Vietnamese prison camp, Cmdr. John S. McCain III sat down to address one of the most vexing questions confronting his fellow prisoners: Why did some choose to collaborate with the North Vietnamese?Now this is just plain sad. I feel for him, and for other POWs. No one should have to go through what they went through, though my willingness to empathize is sharply reduced when victim so completely morphs into perp, as the now torture-lovin' Maverick has (and what he and his friends are doing sounds fully worthy of the Hanoi Hilton). It should come as no surprise that he is still fighting the last war -- or perhaps 3 or 4 wars back. But in addition to demonstrating how McCain's world view was frozen in amber 40 years ago, this story shows an incredible self-centeredness in his approach. He was a POW; free speech made his job as a POW harder; ergo the problem is free speech.
Mr. McCain blamed American politics.
“The biggest factor in a man’s ability to perform credibly as a prisoner of war is a strong belief in the correctness of his nation’s foreign policy,” Mr. McCain wrote in a 1974 essay submitted to the National War College and never released to the public. Prisoners who questioned “the legality of the war” were “extremely easy marks for Communist propaganda,” he wrote.
Americans captured after 1968 had proven to be more susceptible to North Vietnamese pressure, he argued, because they “had been exposed to the divisive forces which had come into focus as a result of the antiwar movement in the United States.”
To use the interrogation techniques employed against men who never should been in harm's way to begin with as justification for limiting or muzzling in any way the voices of those who tried to bring them home is truly to look at the world through the wrong end of the telescope.