John McCain Becomes Critic in Chief of the Trump Administration … Senator John McCain has long had a reputation as a political maverick. But with the rise of a president who has vowed to shatter the old order, Mr. McCain has emerged as an outspoken defender of longstanding Republican verities on foreign policy and as one of his party’s most biting critics of the new commander in chief. – New York Times
Why doesn’t President Trump just confront McCain on his denials that captured troops were left behind in Vietnam? That would be one way to go after McCain and the idea that he is an honorable man. What kind of individual argues for 50 years that there are no prisoners in Vietnam post-war when there possibly were at least a thousand or more?
For decades, McCain has been in the forefront of denying that Hanoi had prisoners it hadn’t released at the end of the war. Hanoi actually kept these troops as bargaining chips subject to further negotiations that never occurred. Now, with both Hanoi and Washington denying such left-behind troops, their chances of their freedom has dwindled to virtually nothing.
Sydney Schanberg back in 2010 wrote what is perhaps the most convincingly argued article for additional POWs retained by Hanoi after the end of the war. It has well over ten points developed in detail rebutting McCain’s claims.
Schanberg has been a journalist for nearly 50 years. The 1984 movie “The Killing Fields,” was based on his book The Death and Life of Dith Pran. In 1975, Schanberg was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting “at great risk.” He is also the recipient of two George Polk awards, two Overseas Press Club awards, and the Sigma Delta Chi prize for distinguished journalism.
More from the McCain article at the beginning of this story:
Newly re-elected to a six-year term and eager to wield the megaphone that comes with the chairmanship of the powerful Armed Services Committee, Mr. McCain has repeatedly pushed back on the White House’s national security policies in its first weeks.
In a star turn at a security conference in Munich on Friday, he delivered a forceful critique of President Trump’s “America First” vision before a receptive audience of experts and allied officials worried about American drift from a seven-decade-old Western alliance.
“Make no mistake, my friends, these are dangerous times,” Mr. McCain said. “But you should not count America out, and we should not count each other out.”
“In many respects, this administration is in disarray, and they’ve got a lot of work to do,” he said.
This is the sort of rhetoric that McCain has been disseminating since Trump got into office. He also challenged Mr. Trump on the issues that media is “the enemy of the American people.” On many issues he comes down opposite to Trump.
This wouldn’t be so bad if Trump’s positions were horrible. But some of his positions are very good if you believe with Trump that globalists ought not to take over America. Overall, Trump abuses the presidency as much as previous presidents by taking powers that don’t belong to him. But in trying to beat back globalist interference he has been better than any president since Reagan.
Right now McCain is the bigger problem because he so obviously believes in much of the globalist agenda. There is little he rejects though he doesn’t come right out and say he is an explicit endorser. But he is.
Trump could rebut McCain in a number of ways but the most convincing might indeed be via the prisoner issue. Many prisoners were probably left behind in Vietnam though many have probably died by now.
In 1990, Col. Millard Peck, a decorated infantry veteran of Vietnam then working at the DIA as chief of the Asia Division for Current Intelligence, asked for the job of chief of the DIA’s Special Office for Prisoners of War and Missing in Action. His reason for seeking the transfer, which was not a promotion, was that he had heard from officials throughout the Pentagon that the POW/MIA office had been turned into a waste-disposal unit for getting rid of unwanted evidence about live prisoners—a “black hole,” these officials called it.
Peck explained all this in his telling resignation letter of Feb. 12, 1991, eight months after he had taken the job. He said he viewed it as “sort of a holy crusade” to restore the integrity of the office but was defeated by the Pentagon machine. The four-page, single-spaced letter was scathing, describing the putative search for missing men as “a cover-up.”
Schanberg is right to raise the issues of the POW’s and McCain is wrong to continue his coverup. On the other hand, there are complicating issues. McCain himself was a POW and quickly and exhaustively cooperated with his captors. There may be personal issues as to why McCain does not want captives returned. He has termed the idea of POWs a “conspiracy theory.”
Conclusion: McCain obviously has deep anger issues regarding POWs. He is also an advocate of globalism. He is consistently on the wrong side of issues as they occur on the biggest questions of the day. Whatever else Trump does or doesn’t do, taking on McCain and effectively removing some of his power would be a big favor. There likely will be an explosion between these two sooner or later, if only because McCain is so angry.