August 20, 2008

Sullyboating, Swiftboating, sandals, sticks, stickage, and strawberries.

Sullyboating. It's not Swiftboating.
Let's see if I get Sullivan's argument - McCain's memory of a cross in the dirt is not a story about his courage or in his military record, and he may or may not have invented it in 2000 for political purposes; therefore, critics are not engaging in "Swiftboating" when they pick at it.
(Via Instapundit.)

Sullivan has tried to justify himself by displaying a campaign ad — an effective one — and noting that, there, we see the cross drawn in the dirt with a stick, but McCain has said the guard drew the cross with his sandal.
Could the campaign confirm that the ad itself is visually incompatible with the Salter story? Or were they unconcerned with such detail, assuming no one would be foolish enough to question a war hero's unconfirmable anecdote - and eager merely to show the deeper (and true) point that McCain relied on God to survive the unimaginable?

This incident is not part of McCain's military service - certainly not one he thought was in any way salient in his first 12,000 word account of his experience. It is part of his 2000 and 2008 campaigns and the religious mythology they coopted in order to appeal to a very specific audience. If a blogger cannot raise factual questions about a campaign ad and a campaign narrative, he's not really worth much.
My response:

1. If Sullivan's distinction bothers you, maybe you just don't have the appreciation for nuance that it takes to vote for a Democratic presidential candidate these days.

2. I think most people would laugh at the argument that a particular type of attack is legitimate so that bloggers will be worth more. What if the National Enquirer justified its publication of sneak pictures of a candidate in his hotel room on the theory that otherwise supermarket tabloids are not really worth much?

3. Wouldn't it be easier to say that what the Swift Boaters did was okay?

4. It can't help Obama to show that McCain ad over and over again for the purpose of arguing about a stick and a sandal. I think ordinary people — who aren't dumb enough to think we're looking at the original footage (or stickage, if you will) — would regard it as weirdly disproportionate to obsess over the detail of sticks and sandals. So let's take a film break:

80 comments:

Fen said...

Blowback. I'm happy to see the loony wing of the Democrat party fall victim to their own propaganda re "swiftboating".

Sloanasaurus said...

I still don't get the point of Sullivan's criticism. McCain recalled this event after he was tortured. Let's say tt's plausible that McCain made it up. Sullivan could just as easily argue that the guard didn't draw the cross, but that Christ appeared to McCain in a vision and McCain recalled the vision as the guard drawing the cross.

Either way it does nothing to the point that McCain endured 6 years in a horrible prison camp where he maintained his honor and dignity. He passed a test that most would not.

Does Mccain's experience qualify him to be president? No. But, Mccain has experienced something that most of us has not. What it is like to have your liberty and humanity taken away by a totalitarian regime. This is important because most of us take freedom for granted. Obama is like most of us - he takes freedom for granted too because he doesn't know what it is like not to have it.

There are millions of people in the world like McCain who know what it is like not to have freedom. Most of them live somewhere else. Thankfully, we still have some here like McCain to remind us.

Fen said...

/starts popcorn machine and makes tequillas in preparation for the Moonbat arrival to this thread

/preps for "debate" by researching the Steeler defensive line

gophermomeh said...

Details, schmetails - a stick or a sandal? Who was the quarterback of those Green Bay Steelers again? Exaggeration, pandering and voting for bears? Details? Who ever said details were important.

A much simpler ad and more to the point.

Trevor Jackson said...

"There are millions of people in the world like McCain who know what it is like not to have freedom."

There are millions of Iraqis who are dead or displaced because of McCain, who would go out of his way to get into a fight.

"Next stop, Moscow!"

AllenS said...

Some people are making such a big deal out of such a small insignificant event that happened a long time ago. I served in Viet Nam 1967-68, and have been to quite a few reunions with men that I served with. We can talk about any series of events, and everybody's recollection is different. Are we all lieing? No, our recollections all differ. It was a long, long time ago. This Sullivan character is a distraction. He's making Obama supporters look cheap and childish.

Meade said...

What, you mean you don't see Stick'NSandalgate written all over this?

Salamandyr said...

Drawing a secret symbol in the dirt to identify your Christianity to others goes back to Roman times. It's where the Fish symbol (the one on the back of all the cars) comes from.

It did not originate with Solzhenitsyn, but I strongly doubt he made it up; and I see no reason why McCain would have either.

mcg said...

A good point brought up by others, elsewhere, is that this story really doesn't do anything to elevate McCain. Rather, it gives his captors (or at least that one) a dose of humanity. Torturers can be people too I guess! What it's not is a self-promotion story like a Christmas in Cambodia. (Not that he doesn't have plenty of those, I'm just sayin').

Wally Ballou said...

Mr Sullivan has been childish for quite some time. I never read him anymore, but I see his febrile idiocy refuted constantly by people I respect more. Why bother, really? Is he really influential?

BTW, I certainly hope that nauseating picture of Polyester Pamela Anderson will not be gracing this blog forever.

The Exalted said...

so this whole "democrats attacking mccain" thing comes from andrew sullivan?

more like "obscure british blogger attacks mccain"

Brian said...

Who cares what SUllivan thinks about anything?

Plus, what makes me laugh is that Mr. Sullivan has AIDS and has for years and is kept alive by the wonderful drugs created by American companies through the beauty that is the free market. He supports the guy that would stifle American ingenuity and would mandate equal healthcare for all. Equally crappy.

Michael_H said...

Andrew Sullivan? I thought people stopped reading his whiney drivel years ago. Not worth the time.

And the semi-annual begging for money? Good grief, man, get a real job and stop demanding alms.

Mateo said...

Makes me think of this (sorry I couldn't find a video clip):

The Incredibles (2004)

Principal: Thank you for coming in, Mrs. Parr.

Helen: What is this about? Has Dash done something wrong?

Bernie Kropp: He's a disruptive influence and he openly mocks me in front of the class.

Dash: He says.

Bernie Kropp: Look, I know it's you! He puts thumbtacks on my stool.

Helen: You saw him do this?

Bernie Kropp: Well, not really... No, actually not.

Helen: Oh. Then how do you know it was him?

Bernie Kropp: I hid a camera. And this time I got him.
[Plays tape]

Bernie Kropp: See? See? What, you don't see it?
[rewinds tape]

Bernie Kropp: He moves! Right there! Wait, wait... Right *there*! Right as I'm sitting down! I don't know, I don't know how he does it, but-but there's no tack on my stool before he moves, and after he moves, there's a tack! Coincidence? I think not!

Principal: Uh, Bernie...

Bernie Kropp: Don't "Bernie" me! This little rat is guilty!

Principal: You and your son can go now, Mrs. Parr.

Bernie Kropp: You're letting him go *again*? He's guilty! You can see it in his smug little face. Guilty, I say! Guilty! Guilty!

Zach said...

I don't see the point. Suppose McCain completely invented this story -- how would you possibly prove it? Are you hoping for a Scooby-Doo ending, where he admits everything while twisting his mustache?

Second, it's a really odd story to invent, isn't it? There's nothing directly self-glorifying in it. McCain is the passive recipient of a moment of kindness from his guard -- it's ambiguous whether the guard is a good person caught in a bad situation, a bad person in a good moment, or whatever. From McCain's perspective, it's about recognizing the humanity of his torturers, which is an odd thing to invent an elusive parable about.

McCain inventing the story implies that he also intentionally made it as ambiguous and elusive as it is. Does he strike you as a man with that kind of literary insight?

EDH said...

I wore sandals on my feet one sunny day and, miraculously, white crosses appeared on my feet.

What, Sully, you don't believe me?

Hoosier Daddy said...

He's making Obama supporters look cheap and childish.

Well if the shoe fits...

Joe M. said...

We've seen a lot of idiocy in this campaign (the notorious N.I.G., anyone?), but this has to rank among the top 5 stupidest criticisms.

A stick instead of a sandal! Oh no!

Ann Althouse said...

Brian, I don't see the point of that. Sullivan is very supportive of the drug industry.

And generally, Sullivan is a terrific blogger. He's just gone ga-ga for Obama.

Palladian said...

"He's making Obama supporters look cheap and childish.

Well if the shoe fits..."

Obama supporters would never wear cheap shoes. Cheap shoes are for the Walmart-shopping McCain voters.

And as for sticks and sandals, you'd better watch out: Obama supporters do know their sandals. They could tell Birkenstocks from Rawganique Organic Hemp Sandals at 200 paces.

Palladian said...

"Plus, what makes me laugh is that Mr. Sullivan has AIDS and has for years and is kept alive by the wonderful drugs created by American companies through the beauty that is the free market."

I don't believe that Sullivan has AIDS. I think he's only HIV positive with a very small or undetectable viral load. I strongly dislike Sullivan but that's unfair.

Zach said...

It's interesting to compare the "Green Bay Steelers" story to the "Cross in Dirt" story.

In the Green Bay Steelers story, McCain is himself performing a heroic action -- he's refusing to give up military secrets. There's one actor -- himself -- doing one thing, and that thing is unambiguously heroic. Some version of that story is quite believable -- in I'm no Hero, Charlie Plumb tells of beating the interrogation in the same way. He also gave wildly inconsistent stories in different interrogations, and found that the interrogators didn't check up on the inconsistencies. The detail of which misinformation McCain gave might be subject to dispute, though, if you were foolish enough to dispute it.

In the "Cross in Dirt" story, McCain doesn't do anything. He receives a moment of kindness from a guard, and later the guard scratches a cross in the dirt. Neither man is a hero, there's no action that is unambiguously good. It's more of a parable than an actual story.

For a man of McCain's character, isn't the first story much more likely to be the kind of detail that he would change than the second?

Peter V. Bella said...

Sandal or Stick? Who cares? I want to know who stole the strawberries.

Original Mike said...

Sully. Stop digging.

garage mahal said...

He's making Obama supporters look cheap and childish.

So a blogger questioning an account of a candidate that frequently either forgets, or embellishes stories is cheap and childish, but the actual candidate himself can call his opponent a Celebrity Traitor and that's...? Grown up?

Britney Hussein Obama Spears!

Joe M. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mcg said...

I recently attended a talk by another Hanoi Hilton POW, who actually arrived at the camp a few weeks before McCain. He apparently used a similar tactic as McCain says he did---using the names of a sports team when asked to reveal the others in his unit.

After they were finished with him his brain just wasn't working, they had tortured him so much. He couldn't keep his thoughts on any one thing. He was very worried that he wouldn't be able to remember which lies he told if the Vietnamese came back to "confirm" some of his stories---that he'd be caught in his lies and tortured further.

He also said that the first thought pattern he was able to focus on again was the 23rd Psalm. That despite falling away from his faith many years before it proved to be his only source of comfort in that moment.

There was a lot more and it was all very interesting. I have a feeling there are a lot of familiar themes in these POW stories. If you were pathologically cynical you could argue that perhaps over the course of reunions and commiserations many of these stories have blended together and many of them have adopted other POW's stories as their own. But I think it is also safe to say that there are simply many commonalities across their experiences, too.

mcg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mcg said...

Now I don't much care for Sullivan's hysteria, but really?

joe m.: You may not like what Brian said but Dowdifying his quote doesn't make you look any better.

Palladian said...

"joe m. and others"

Others? Do you mean me? Because I didn't "dowdify" anything. Brian stated that Sullivan has AIDS which is not, as far as Sullivan has revealed, true.

Furthermore, even bringing it up at all is a cheap, nasty tactic. It makes the person who does it look, in your words, stupid.

Original Mike said...

Who was the quarterback of those Green Bay Steelers again?

Bart Bradshaw, IIRC.

William said...

Was Bogart's Capt Queeg a sly parody of Richard Nixon? Is Sullivan doing a clever, nuanced imitation of a self-important reporter whose meticulous research leads him to discover that Republicans' support of lower taxes will favor Republican supporters in high tax brackets? This is a baggy pants version of All The Preseident's Men. The fact that Sullivan is not in on the joke, makes it an even better joke.

downtownlad said...

I think it's pretty obvious that McCain made this story up. And yes the attacks on the story have been effective, because I'd bet a lot of money that you won't here McCain tell it again.

And McCain was never tortured. Sullivan has proven that point as well. He simply underwent some "enhanced interrogation techniques". Really nothing worse that frat boy pranks or being forced to take a "hot bath".

mcg said...

Others? Do you mean me? Because I didn't "dowdify" anything. Brian stated that Sullivan has AIDS which is not, as far as Sullivan has revealed, true.

Comment edited, Palladian. I realized my error after the fact. Sorry. I do agree that Brian's comment was factually incorrect as well.

Seneca the Younger said...

A good point brought up by others, elsewhere, is that this story really doesn't do anything to elevate McCain. Rather, it gives his captors (or at least that one) a dose of humanity.

I don't know how it looks from where you sit, but to me, McCain recognizing the humanity of his captors does quite a lot to elevate McCain.

Original Mike said...

mcg coined: pathologically cynical

Challenging the unimportant story (as others have noted, how does McCain gain from the cross story?) of a man who was tortured for 6 years 40 years ago strikes me as a new low. They don't call them moonbats for nothing.

Original Mike said...

You have a point, Seneca.

daredevil-66 said...

What's so sad about this for sully is it only further diminishes his reach or potential reach to other readers. Maybe he is in poor health? What else could explain this odd attachement to a non-story? Sandal, stick or twizzler stick it doesn't matter and sullivan says as much. SO why is he still pushing this? That's the weird part.

gophermomeh said...

Zack – I get that what he was doing was heroic. Part of my point was, that in his own retelling of this particular (Packer/Steeler) story, the details were incorrect. He admitted the mistake. The other part of my point, is that that’s what got covered and what’s getting remembered – at least, by the opposition. Swiftboating doesn’t require accuracy, just results.

downtownlad said...

Although I do believe Ann that McCain will win. I've said for a while that America will never vote for a black man.

Economy in a recession. Hopeless war. McCain wants to start three more wars (Iran, Russia, China). Doesn't matter. White America will never vote for a N*gger.

Joe M. said...

joe m.: You may not like what Brian said but Dowdifying his quote doesn't make you look any better.

You're correct. That's the beauty of politics.

Let me make amends ...

Joe M. said...

What makes me laugh is that Mr. Sullivan has AIDS

Joe M. said...

There we go. All better.

V the K said...

It's weird how the left always has to "get back" at the right in some lame, pale, pathetic imitation of a right-wing victory.

Dan Rather got taken down by phony TANG memos. The NYT was knocked down when it was revealed Jayson Blair was a fabulist. So, the left had to "get back" by outing third-rate reporter Jeff Gannon.

Clinton gets impeached, so the Democrats make a circus of coming up with ridiculous charges with which to impeach Bush.

So, now, the left has to have it's version of the SVFT ... and it's as weak and lame as their other greatest hits.

memomachine said...

Hmmmm.

@ dtl

1. "And McCain was never tortured. Sullivan has proven that point as well. He simply underwent some "enhanced interrogation techniques". Really nothing worse that frat boy pranks or being forced to take a "hot bath"."

I think if you asked McCain if he'd prefer to have his arms ripped out of their sockets, his arms and legs broken repeatedly and his ribs broken from constant beatings vs getting waterboarded, that he'd choose waterboarding in a heartbeat.

2. We only waterboarded 3 terrorists.

3. And rendition, where terrorists are shipped off to third party countries to actually be tortured, was implemented by Bill Clinton.

So do you have a point? Or are you simply pointless as usual?

Bill White said...

Sheesh! I just spent an hour following links from The Caine Mutiny to Lee Marvin to the old Combat! teevee series. This blog is a dangerous place ;^)

Crimso said...

"So do you have a point? Or are you simply pointless as usual?"

One point he seems to have is that whites will never vote for a black. In other words, he's a racist.

Barlycorn, John said...

McCain was not my first choice, and a lot of my friends were flirting with staying home, but I knew that you loonbats would come to the rescue and rally the troops. By attacking him exactly the same as you would have attacked a third run by Bush, when we know he is a completely different politician, well, it shows a certain lack of "nuance." If you had actual evidence that McCain was a liar, besides the fact that he is running as a Republican, it might hurt him. But calling him one without evidence other than your bigotry? Just helps him.

downtownlad said...

Memomachine - At LEAST 21 detainees that the US government "interrogated" died. That's also called homicide.

Please describe how McCain was "tortured". Because he VOTED to allow the U.S. government to use ALL of the techniques that were used against him. Guess they couldn't have been that bad.

downtownlad said...

Let's also not forget that Ann NEVER said anything disparaging about the Swiftboaters in 2004 (glad to be pointed out that I'm wrong there) and she has only had supportive comments to say about them.

Hairy said...

Best comment on this discussion I've found and about the election in general is by Sanjay found here. (ht Justoneminute)


Scroll up from here. It's the 8:50 pm comment

Joe M. said...

DTL:

21 detainees died? Oh no! Like you, I'm shocked to discover that death follows naturally upon life.

Joe M. said...

Sorry, that should read "shocked and outraged."

memomachine said...

Hmmmm.

@ dtl

1. "Memomachine - At LEAST 21 detainees that the US government "interrogated" died. That's also called homicide."

Got a link?

2. "Please describe how McCain was "tortured". Because he VOTED to allow the U.S. government to use ALL of the techniques that were used against him. Guess they couldn't have been that bad."

Got a link? Because I find it hard to believe that John McCain 'VOTED' to any thing of the sort.

Not that this justifies any other bit of nonsense you've written. But this assertion is rather absurd so I'd like to see what underpins this.

The Drill SGT said...

MCG said...I recently attended a talk by another Hanoi Hilton POW, who actually arrived at the camp a few weeks before McCain. He apparently used a similar tactic as McCain says he did---using the names of a sports team when asked to reveal the others in his unit.

The dirty little secret from SERE training is that everybody talks. sooner or later. What the training is about is to:

1. make sure you keep back info that is militarily useful until such time as its value has expired.
2. give the enemy useless stuff when you cant take it any more
3. keep the faith, your self esteem, rally and fight again the next day

Peter V. Bella said...

downtownlad said...
Memomachine - At LEAST 21 detainees that the US government "interrogated" died. That's also called homicide.



Actual sources to the numbers please. BTW, homicide is not a crime. Its usage is generic to imply the crime of murder. It is a medico-legal definition of a type of death- the killing of one human by another human being. There are many forms of homicide including, but not limited to, intentional, unintentional, premeditated, reckless, and JUSTIFIED.

Just so you know.

Trevor Jackson said...

Thanks for that link, Hairy. I'm more inclined to side with "cw" who posts not long after Sanjay. In that, while McCain's experience as a POW shows his strength and character 40 years ago, it doesn't follow that he still possesses those qualities today or even that his performance as a POW will translate into good performance as president. (Personally, I think someone who's experienced as much torture and deprivation as McCain did is actually fundamentally broken in a psychological way that makes him UNfit to serve as president, but I recognize that that's speculation.)

More important, there is plenty of evidence from the last 8 years that McCain no longer employs the strength of character he once showed. To just take one example, I'm not sure how someone goes from calling Falwell an "agent of intolerance" to pursuing the endorsement of guys like Hagee.

Todd said...

downtownlad said "Let's also not forget that Ann NEVER said anything disparaging about the Swiftboaters in 2004 (glad to be pointed out that I'm wrong there) and she has only had supportive comments to say about them."

Sorry but what should Ann have said? Stop it boys, stop telling the TRUTH! It will hurt his feelings! or something to that effect? What the left keeps forgetting or choosing to ignore is that SwiftBoating is telling the truth that a candidate does NOT want told. To CORRECT the record, not make it up. Big difference there.

jum1801 said...

I'm surprised that in all the talk of Sullyboating vis a' vis Swiftboating that no one has pointed out the essential differences between the two.

The Swiftboaters were fellow officers and sailors of Kerry, most of whom served with him in Vietnam. The affidavits they supplied were based on their personal knowledge and observations. Otherwise Swiftboaters testified as to their personal knowledge of US Naval policy, protocol and practice regarding service in Vietnam, the awarding of decorations, recordkeeping and medical treatment.

"Sullyboating" on the other hand is not supported by a single fellow POW of McCain, and has instead is the creation of a single web pundit with a well-known animus against the Republican Party. In addition the "accusation" arises not out of the personal knowledge of any person, but is instead based on the fact that McCain, in giving details over the years of his captivity as a POW, at times mentioned various experiences and at other times overlooked them. From that the pundit leaps to one conclusion after another: that the reason McCain did not mention a particular event is not only suspicious, but damning, and that it can mean only that McCain's story is a cynical and recent concoction, intended to draw support from evangelical Christians.

Space does not permit an examination of the delusion, bias and tangled logic necessary to believe that the purported lie could have in any way benefited McCain with the supposed target group.

Suffice it to say that the distinctions between Swiftboating and Sullyboating are many and striking. With the Swiftboaters there was substantial credible evidence given under oath by several unrelated individuals about matters within their personal knowledge and observation.

The Sullyboater on the other hand has read some transcripts, and then leaned back in his chair to let his mind become "a raging torrent flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives."

jum1801 said...

I'm surprised that in all the talk of Sullyboating vis a' vis Swiftboating that no one has pointed out the essential differences between the two.

The Swiftboaters were fellow officers and sailors of Kerry, most of whom served with him in Vietnam. The affidavits they supplied were based on their personal knowledge and observations. Otherwise Swiftboaters testified as to their personal knowledge of US Naval policy, protocol and practice regarding service in Vietnam, the awarding of decorations, recordkeeping and medical treatment.

"Sullyboating" on the other hand is not supported by a single fellow POW of McCain, and has instead is the creation of a single web pundit with a well-known animus against the Republican Party. In addition the "accusation" arises not out of the personal knowledge of any person, but is instead based on the fact that McCain, in giving details over the years of his captivity as a POW, at times mentioned various experiences and at other times overlooked them. From that the pundit leaps to one conclusion after another: that the reason McCain did not mention a particular event is not only suspicious, but damning, and that it can mean only that McCain's story is a cynical and recent concoction, intended to draw support from evangelical Christians.

Space does not permit an examination of the delusion, bias and tangled logic necessary to believe that the purported lie could have in any way benefited McCain with the supposed target group.

Suffice it to say that the distinctions between Swiftboating and Sullyboating are many and striking. With the Swiftboaters there was substantial credible evidence given under oath by several unrelated individuals about matters within their personal knowledge and observation.

The Sullyboater on the other hand has read some transcripts, and then leaned back in his chair to let his mind become "a raging torrent flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives."

jum1801 said...

Damn that double post!

jum1801 said...

I'm surprised that in all the talk of Sullyboating vis a' vis Swiftboating that no one has pointed out the essential differences between the two.

The Swiftboaters were fellow officers and sailors of Kerry, most of whom served with him in Vietnam. The affidavits they supplied were based on their personal knowledge and observations. Otherwise Swiftboaters testified as to their personal knowledge of US Naval policy, protocol and practice regarding service in Vietnam, the awarding of decorations, recordkeeping and medical treatment.

"Sullyboating" on the other hand is not supported by a single fellow POW of McCain, and has instead is the creation of a single web pundit with a well-known animus against the Republican Party. In addition the "accusation" arises not out of the personal knowledge of any person, but is instead based on the fact that McCain, in giving details over the years of his captivity as a POW, at times mentioned various experiences and at other times overlooked them. From that the pundit leaps to one conclusion after another: that the reason McCain did not mention a particular event is not only suspicious, but damning, and that it can mean only that McCain's story is a cynical and recent concoction, intended to draw support from evangelical Christians.

Space does not permit an examination of the delusion, bias and tangled logic necessary to believe that the purported lie could have in any way benefited McCain with the supposed target group.

Suffice it to say that the distinctions between Swiftboating and Sullyboating are many and striking. With the Swiftboaters there was substantial credible evidence given under oath by several unrelated individuals about matters within their personal knowledge and observation.

The Sullyboater on the other hand has read some transcripts, and then leaned back in his chair to let his mind become "a raging torrent flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives."

Patm said...

Poor Sullivan. When Daddy Bush came out against gay marriage, he completely lost his mind and his perspective, and he's never gotten it back. He's a good writer when he's not whacked out, but he's more whacked than not, lately.

Kirk Parker said...

DTL, don't be pathetic. Colin Powell would have been a very credible candidate in 1996 or 2000.

Kirk Parker said...

jum1801,

Commenters can delete their own comments, so go ahead and clean up your extraneous ones.

veni vidi vici said...

"And McCain was never tortured. Sullivan has proven that point as well. He simply underwent some "enhanced interrogation techniques". Really nothing worse that frat boy pranks or being forced to take a "hot bath"."

The saddest thing about posts like these coming from the most pedestrian and predicably partisan pissant posters, is that they don't know what they're talking about, and thus, when to stop.

The record is pretty clear from the last 8 years (at least) that McCain has been rather staunchly against the US/coalition use of and/or condoning torture in any official (or unofficial) capacity. He's been one of the most outspoken critics of the practice on our captives from the Iraqi and Afghan theatres.

The lame attempt to tar and feather him with the "torturer" label will thus ring hollow with most of the electorate for two reasons. First, most people aren't foaming-at-the-mouth raving partisans; and second, the media's coverage of the torture "debate" included orgiastic celebration of McCain's anti-administration stance on the matter. They made a lot of hay at the time, iirc. During the hotter moments of the debate, it seemed the MSM liked nothing more than to invoke the word "McCain" like some sort of talisman that would bring shame upon all those torture-mongering Republicans out there.

I wish them luck trying to put that genie back in the bottle.

btw, Fen's early post about popcorn, etc. was about as right-on as anything that's followed in this thread. I thought this horse was pretty soundly beaten yesterday, particularly by the bloviating cy pinkthing, whose posts lapsed into self-parody after awhile. Comedy gold!

SK said...

The big problem I think Sullivan's having with the commercial is the painfully obvious question that McCain's people are avoiding-- Namely, who was holding the camera when that cross-in-the-sand photo was being taken? Was it McCain? Wasn't he too sick? And who gave him the camera, for that matter? I mean, I wouldn't think his captors would have been allowing all sorts of photography, much less sending out the film to a lab?! Obviously, the photo was a complete fake, and Sullivan's on to you people!

Trevor Jackson said...

"I wish them luck trying to put that genie back in the bottle."

VVV, McCain put the genie back in the bottle himself. In 2005, you're right: he fought the Bush administration's attempt to exempt the CIA from the Army Field Manual's rules prohibiting waterboarding among other measures. Three years later, when needing to shore up his pro-torture base to win the primary, he voted against a bill that banned the CIA from waterboarding.

John McCain: against torture before he was for it.

link from 2005

link from 2008

The Exalted said...

"The record is pretty clear from the last 8 years (at least) that McCain has been rather staunchly against the US/coalition use of and/or condoning torture in any official (or unofficial) capacity. He's been one of the most outspoken critics of the practice on our captives from the Iraqi and Afghan theatres."

In words, not in legislative actions.

And Swift Boat defenses? Sweet Jesus. How moderate!

TRundgren said...

I still haven't read a substantial refutation of the Swiftboaters original charges against Kerry.

Swiftboating indeed.

Gabriel Hanna said...

I don't understand the criticism "McCain voted for the techniques used on him".

Where is the law that authorizes breaking arms, or teeth above the gum line?

I can understand why some people think waterboarding is torture, though I don't agree. But it does not remotely compare to what McCain suffered.

The reason the left is trying to discredit McCain's time in the POW camp is because Obama, in his life, has never done anything but go to the best schools and write a book.

anomdebus said...

Follow the gourd!

Hank said...

Trevor Jackson says that McCain was on record as opposing waterboarding, but to win primary votes earlier this year, he "voted against a bill that banned the CIA from waterboarding." Presumably Mr. Jackson knows that the bill in question involved much more than waterboarding, even though he does not admit it.

In voting against the bill that would have limited the CIA's interrogation techniques to those permitted by the Army Field Manual, McCain clearly repeated his opposition to waterboarding and other techniques prohibited by existing law, but explained that more aggressive techniques than the AFM permits should be available to the CIA.

The AFM, which was written to guide military personnel who interrogate uniformed enemy soldiers captured in the field of battle, was not meant to instruct trained intelligence interrogators on how to question captured terrorists in all circumstances. The use of techniques such as subjecting the detainees to sleep deprivation, temperature extremes, and Barry Manilow music can be useful and necessary in some circumstances, even if the AFM does not permit them. McCain understands that, and was not afraid to say so.

But evidently such a position is too "nuanced" for Mr. Jackson and others on the far left, for whom anything other than a polite request for name, rank, and serial number constitutes "torture."

hollywood wags said...

"has never done anything but go to the best schools and write a book."

Well, he also got to hang with some famous leftist radicals and blow a ton of cash trying to "improve" Chicago schools. He also was at a nutbag church before he was at that nutbag church.

That's gotta count for something.

Trevor Jackson said...

Look, Hank, McCain can say he's still against waterboarding, but the administration said in its veto that the CIA may still use it in the future. The Attorney General said as much.

McCain said that he trusted the DOJ and CIA's "good faith interpretation of the statutes that guide what is permissible."

Pardon the rest of us for having some doubts. McCain doesn't get to have it both ways. There's no nuance here. He voted to allow this administration to continue torturing.

Revenant said...

Pardon the rest of us for having some doubts. McCain doesn't get to have it both ways. There's no nuance here.

If you want to reject nuance, the objective truth is that McCain has never voted in favor of allowing torture. Your claim that McCain is "for torture" is, objectively speaking, a lie.

If you squint your eyes and pile on the nuance, you can concoct a scenario in which McCain "voted for torture", in that he refused to swallow the poison pill of banning effective non-torturous techniques just to get a waterboarding ban passed. But you could just as legitimately say that the Democratic senators who decided to ban all non-AFM interrogation were in favor of torture, since they knew that overreach would cause the bill to fail.

Methadras said...

downtownlad said...

I think it's pretty obvious that McCain made this story up.


And you can prove this how? Once again you make a claim you can neither substantiate nor refute, but put it out there as if it were a fact because you 'think it's pretty obvious'.

And yes the attacks on the story have been effective, because I'd bet a lot of money that you won't here McCain tell it again.

This is why you are a moron. Most vets and most POW's don't tell their stories of being POW's at all. To anyone. A close friend of mine was a POW from 1970 to 1972 and I asked him once about his experience and he looked at me with a look that said, "Please don't ask me because I just won't tell you" and I never did again, even to this day. But even the ones that do, if they are legitimate, like McCain shouldn't have their recollections besmirched by a pair of shit-stabbers like you and Golden Knee-Pad Sullivan.

And McCain was never tortured. Sullivan has proven that point as well. He simply underwent some "enhanced interrogation techniques". Really nothing worse that frat boy pranks or being forced to take a "hot bath".

Does the word pillory mean anything to you. Have you even seen the techniques that he described and other have described being used on him during his tenure with the VC? You're just a delusion sociopath at this point. Maybe a cunt, but that might even be too good for you at this stage.

boinky said...

You guys are missing the point.
Obamas answer was typical "Jesus saved me" evangelical pablum that he expands to justify socialism quoting Matthew.

McCain's story is about a guard showing simple charity. That guard's charity was explained to him later with the cross in the sand. One result of the guard's charity was that years later, when President Clinton planned to reestablish ties with Viet Nam, and was under seige by a rabid right, McCain stepped into the breach and helped. This personal show of forgiveness in the 1990's was impressive to all, helping VietNam get out of it's communist economic quagmire and by his example, helping many Nam vets to move on.

Years later, he did meet that guard in his travels to VN...someone in the press needs to look up the story.

vbspurs said...

Most vets and most POW's don't tell their stories of being POW's at all.

Vets never tell war stories to their families, PERIOD.

It's the salient characteristic that bridges every generation of vet in the 20th century -- war is hell.

You do it because it's your duty. But your anecdotes are your own, and no one else's.

Synova said...

I think the determining element is... the bad stories aren't told to anyone who hasn't been there and can't understand... and they've been there and understand without having to be told.