Don't Question McCain's 'Nam Heroism

Mac was an inspiration to fellow POWs
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2008 4:24 PM CDT
This Oct. 26, 1967, photo provided by the Library of Congress shows Navy fighter pilot John McCain, center, being captured by Vietnamese civilians in Truc Bach Lake near Hanoi, Vietnam.   (Photo/Library of Congress)
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(Newser) – There’s plenty wrong with John McCain, but questions about his heroism in Vietnam just don’t stand up, biographer Matt Welch writes in the LA Times. McCain “gave great strength to his fellow POWs,” and “unless you think that inspiring your fellow prisoners to resist and cope with unbelievable acts of torture isn't heroic, then ‘hero,’ at least, is one description McCain deserves.”

Although a recent Rolling Stone article quotes a fellow POW describing McCain as unexceptional, Welch says the record indicates otherwise. It's true that McCain was seriously injured when he was captured in Vietnam, and like many wounded soldiers, offered his torturers more information than permitted by military code. “As would I, and certainly any writer for Rolling Stone, in about 5 seconds,” Welch writes.