December 26, 2006


Troop Push Is Personal For McCain (Senator Calls for Iraq Boost as Son Becomes a Marine (Elizabeth Williamson, 12/26/06, Washington Post)

John McCain's public certainty about Iraq masks a more private and potentially wrenching connection. If more troops go there, as McCain hopes they will, his youngest son could be one of them, taking his place in a line of family warriors that is one of the longest in U.S. history. [...]

A leading contender for the GOP presidential nomination, McCain has been one of the few and among the most vocal politicians pressing for more troops in Iraq. "We left Vietnam, it was over, we just had to heal the wounds of war. We leave this place . . . and they'll follow us home," he said on a news show recently. "So there's a great deal more at stake."

McCain's own father faced the anguish of sending a son to war. Adm. John McCain Jr., who commanded Pacific forces during the Vietnam War, ordered airstrikes on Hanoi even while his son, a Navy pilot, was imprisoned there after being shot down.

McCain was held captive for more than five years, repeatedly beaten and tortured. On more than one occasion, the North Vietnamese offered to release him as a propaganda move to shame his father. McCain, citing a prisoners' code of conduct requiring that POWs be released in order of capture, refused.

During McCain's imprisonment, his father, while privately collecting every scrap of information about his son that he could, "made an ironclad rule that no one would talk about his son around him," said Torie Clark, who was a staffer for the younger McCain and a Pentagon spokeswoman. "He wanted to make sure he made decisions based on what was right for U.S. forces . . . not what would be good or bad for his son.

"I'm not surprised that the current John McCain separates the private from the public."

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 26, 2006 1:09 PM
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