A reader writes:
Your sense of John McCain's betrayal of the country, the conservative cause, and rational common sense has come to overwhelm your ability to speak about him in any kind of reasonable way. Reducing his service to getting shot down, tortured, and "cracking" is … well, snotty and dismissive. That's not a tone you usually adopt, except for when there's a personal beef there.
McCain chose Sarah Palin, which was cynical and dangerous. He has not done all he could do to bring justice to torturers like those who mangled his own body. He disappointed me as much as any politician out there. But his war record demonstrated that he would refuse release, after years of torture, when he thought it wasn't right to be treated differently from other prisoners.
Do you think he bragged about it? Do you think that means he shouldn't question anyone else touting their record? Maybe so. But don't get so pissy about a foolish quote from a man you dislike that you discount the truly incredible testament to perseverence and, yes, character that his war record represents. I'd rather vote for the man who refuses special treatment in hellish conditions, than the "war hero" who "killed someone." I don't know if I have the strength to do either, but I guarantee you the former is more difficult than the latter.
I apologize for those splenetic words. I do not apologize for the massive irony that a man who has relentlessly bragged, exploited and milked his own military service and heroism now has the chutzpah to argue that "heroes don't brag". He's been bragging for decades. He hired Mark Salter to elaborate and decorate the brag to novelistic proportions.
And one small thing: McCain acquiesced to the Military Commissions Act in 2006 which allowed the CIA to do to others what the Vietnamese once did to him. For a victim of torture to knowingly allow others to be tortured to advance his own career in the Republican party before a mid-term election is not just a mistake. It's a loss of soul.