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Grandpa Fred Thompson just stood before the rightwnig freaks at the republican convention and claimed that McCain declined the offer of medical treatment from his North Vietnamese captors in exchange for McCain's disclosure of military information.  Thompson's claim is a complete lie.  McCain admitted, first in his 1973 article in U.S. News & World Report and then in his memoir "Faith Of My Fathers, that he revealed military information to the North Vietnamese in exchange for medical treatment.  McCain's ordeal in Vietnam doesn't give Thompson license to lie.  Obama's campaign won't want to touch this, but we shouldn't hesitate to point out to our somnolent mainstream media that Thompson was feeding pure bullshit to the rightwing freaks in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Here's what Thompson said:

They took him to the Hanoi Hilton, where he lapsed in and out of consciousness for days. He was offered medical care for his injuries if he would give up military information in return.

John McCain said "No".

Here's the link to the text of Thompson's prepared remarks:

Here's McCain's account from the 1973 U.S. News & World Report article:

I think it was on the fourth day that two guards came in, instead of one. One of them pulled back the blanket to show the other guard my injury. I looked at my knee. It was about the size, shape and color of a football. I remembered that when I was a flying instructor a fellow had ejected from his plane and broken his thigh. He had gone into shock, the blood had pooled in his leg, and he died, which came as quite a surprise to us—a man dying of a broken leg. Then I realized that a very similar thing was happening to me.

When I saw it, I said to the guard, "O.K., get the officer." An officer came in after a few minutes. It was the man that we came to know very well as "The Bug." He was a psychotic torturer, one of the worst fiends that we had to deal with. I said, "O.K., I'll give you military information if you will take me to the hospital."

This is intended in no way to demean McCain's suffering, or criticize his decision to offer military information in exchange for medical care.  It is merely to demonstrate that Fred Thompson completely misrepresented McCain's story when he claimed that McCain rejected the North Vietnamese's offer of medical care.

Here's McCain's account from Faith Of My Fathers.  

On about the fourth day, I realized my condition had become more serious.  I was feverish, and was losing consciousness more often and for longer periods.  I was lying in my own vomit, as well as my other bodily wastes.  Two guards entered my cell and pulled the blanket down to examine my leg.  I saw that myknee had become grossly swollen and discolored.  I remembered a fellow pilot at Meridian who had broken his femur ejecting from his plane.  His blood had pooled in his leg, and he had gone into shock and died.  I realized the same thing was happening to me, and I pleaded for a doctor.

The two guards left to find the camp officer, who spoke some English.  He was short and fat, with a strangely wandering right eye that was clouded white by a cataract.  The POWs called him "Bug."  He was a mean sone of a bitch.

Desperate, I tried to bargain with him.  "Take me to the hospital and I'll give you the information you want."  I didn't intend to keep my word, reasoning that after my injuries had been treated, I would be strong enough to deal with the consequences of not holding up my end of the bargain.

McCain then recounts how he indeed offered military information to the North Vietnamese, information he contended was not particularly important, but information that went well beyond the limited information he was permitted to disclose under the U.S. Military Code of Conduct.

Again, this is not to demean McCain, his suffering or his sacrifice.  It is Fred Thompson who demeaned it when he felt it necessary to exaggerate and distort McCain's experience.  Thompson's insistence that McCain refused the North Vietnamese's offer of medical care in exchange for information implies that McCain's conduct was wrong or shameful, when instead it was merely a human response in the face of extraordinary circumstances.

I linked to the text of Thompson's remarks above.  I'm sure the Youtube video will be available shortly.  It will demonstrate that Thompson invented an account of McCain's fourth day of captivity in North Vietnam that flatly contradicts McCain's own account.  Please take the opportunity to let others know, particularly the media, that it was Fred Thompson that disrespected McCain, disrespected the republican national convention, and disprespected his millions of viewers when he spun his fairy tale in a foolish and sad attempt to turn John McCain into John Wayne.

Shame on Fred Thompson.  Shame, too, on the McCain campaign for letting Thompson say things about McCain's POW experience that it knows are untrue.

Originally posted to Thomas C on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 07:53 PM PDT.

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