Let Us Talk

June 25, 2008

John McCain Wasn’t Tortured In Vietnam?

   When John McCain was my captive, “we never tortured him”.

So says Tran Trong Duyet – a sprightly retiree and amateur ballroom dancer – must rank as one of John McCain’s more unlikely supporters.

Four decades ago, during the Vietnam war, Mr. Duyet was in charge of the notorious Hoa Lo prison – the place where Mr. McCain says he was brutally beaten and tortured during five-and-a-half years as an American prisoner of war.

“McCain is my friend,” said 75-year-old Mr. Duyet as he feeds the caged birds he now keeps in his garden in this coastal city.

“If I was American, I would vote for him.”

Informal chats

Navy pilot John McCain was shot down during a bombing raid over the North Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, in 1967.

He ejected from his aircraft and parachuted into a city lake – only to be dragged out by an angry crowd, barely conscious, and with two broken arms and a broken leg.

From there he was taken to Hoa Lo prison, known to its American military inmates as the “Hanoi Hilton”.

McCain has since described enduring months of solitary confinement and systematic torture which drove him to try to kill himself.

“I don’t know how he’d react if he met me again,” said Mr. Duyet, flicking through old black and white photographs of himself and his American prisoners at Hoa Lo.

“But I can confirm to you that we never tortured him. We never tortured any prisoners.”

Mr. Duyet reminisces instead about how he often summoned the future US presidential candidate to his private office for informal chats.

“We used to argue about the war – about whether it was right or wrong,” he says.

“He is a very frank man – very conservative, and very loyal to his country and the American ideal.”

“He had a very interesting accent and sometimes he taught me words in English and corrected my accent. I have followed his career since he left prison.”

Rapprochement

So is Mr. Duyet implying that that Senator McCain lied about his treatment at the Hanoi Hilton?

“He did not tell the truth,” he says.

“But I can somehow sympathize with him. He lies to American voters in order to get their support for his presidential election.”

But Mr. Duyet’s propaganda-perfect version of events is impossible to verify – and should be treated with caution in a country where the Communist authorities still keep a tight control over the media.

Relations between Vietnam and the United States have improved dramatically in recent years, following the normalization of ties between the former enemies in 1995.

Mr. McCain played a crucial role in bringing about that initial rapprochement – a fact which helps explain Mr. Duyet’s enthusiastic support for the McCain presidential campaign.

“I wish him success in the presidential election,” he says.

“Of course the Americans started the war in Vietnam and killed so many people – but now we want to leave the past behind.

So now I consider John McCain my friend because he did much to mend relations between our two countries. And if he becomes president he will do more to improve those ties.”

By Andrew Harding
BBC News in Haiphong, Vietnam. 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7459946.stm

This does not change the fact that John McCain was a POW for 5 1/2 years and is still a hero.  But this is an interesting read.

Paulette

 

 

 

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14 Comments »

  1. Sure, we can trust a communist, POW commander to tell the truth. Certainly. Commies don’t lie. Oh, by the way, see the news a couple days ago, out of China, finally admitting to having kept Korean War POWs after the truce?

    Comment by handsomesmitty — June 25, 2008 @ 12:29 pm | Reply

  2. […] John McCain Wasn?t Tortured In Vietnam? By Paulette When John McCain was my captive, ?we never tortured him?. So says Tran Trong Duyet – a sprightly retiree and amateur ballroom dancer – must rank as one of John McCain?s more unlikely supporters. Four decades ago, during the Vietnam war, … Let Us Talk – https://letustalk.wordpress.com […]

    Pingback by Todays Current Events in Politics » Alert - “John McCain” — June 25, 2008 @ 1:52 pm | Reply

  3. […] John McCain Wasn’t Tortured In Vietnam?So now I consider John McCain my friend because he did much to mend relations between our two countries. And if he becomes president he will do more to improve those ties.” By Andrew Harding BBC News in Haiphong, Vietnam … […]

    Pingback by Hai-Phong » Lá đơn xin biểu tình - Khát vọng dân chủ cho VN: Phỏng vấn cô Phạm ... — June 25, 2008 @ 7:23 pm | Reply

  4. he is friends with mccain? i bet the people at the mill would love to see this article

    Comment by jennica — June 25, 2008 @ 10:40 pm | Reply

  5. Hi Jennica, thanks for the info — I submitted to the mill. Thanks!

    Comment by Paulette — June 25, 2008 @ 10:58 pm | Reply

  6. Actually, if it is true, then McCain is no hero. He’d be just a cheap, lying politician who disgraced himself and the uniform by lying about being tortured. In any event, he’s hardly a hero. Heroism requires a positive action of self-sacrifice for others and some degree of nobility. All he did was get shot down and spend five years sitting out another illegal American war in a prison cell where he apparently traded on his father’s admiralty to cut a better deal for himself.

    But no matter what happened back then, he is today a sleazy liar who will say and do just about anything to get his ignorant butt into the Oval Office.

    Comment by Ric — June 26, 2008 @ 3:19 pm | Reply

  7. i would cut the gooks throat

    Comment by john — June 27, 2008 @ 8:03 pm | Reply

  8. […] John McCain Wasn’t Tortured In Vietnam?So now I consider John McCain my friend because he did much to mend relations between our two countries. And if he becomes president he will do more to improve those ties.” By Andrew Harding BBC News in Haiphong, Vietnam … […]

    Pingback by Hai-Phong » Tuyệt vời Xi Măng Hải Phòng !!! - TTVNOL.com — July 5, 2008 @ 3:27 am | Reply

  9. So one side said he was tortured and the other side said he wasn’t. Well, someone is lying. Well how do we find out? Treat it like a crime and ask who has the MOST to gain by lying? An old Vietnamese man that is not in political office of any kind or a man running for the most powerful position in the world? Who stands the gain the most? I think I know the answer.

    Comment by Kita — July 26, 2008 @ 1:24 pm | Reply

  10. Kita – GREAT analysis. If you’re not, you should be a detective! 🙂

    Comment by Paulette — July 26, 2008 @ 1:32 pm | Reply

  11. Interesting, it does not negate the fact Mr. McCain was captured and imprisoned for many years, tortured or not. he is a war hero nontheless. However, the effect of this ordeal on his phychology – evident his temperment – is a major concern.

    Comment by pamela plouffe — October 4, 2008 @ 1:46 pm | Reply

  12. Tran Trong Duyet is a mccain supporter, and recently quoted on the bbc as stating ” if he was an American, he would vote for him.” This is a distortion of the truth. Even Mccain stated that there were some good vietcong that did not torture him in the hanoi hilton. But there were many who did.

    Comment by Sean — October 25, 2008 @ 11:08 am | Reply

  13. McCain is obviously crippled and everyone has seen the pictures of what he looked like in there. If I was the reporter giving the interview, I would’ve probably choked the guy to death as soon as the first lie left his mouth.

    Comment by peterg — October 30, 2008 @ 10:18 pm | Reply

  14. McCain was badly injured in the crash, so yes, he looks a mess in the pics. That doesn’t prove torture.

    Comment by Ric — November 2, 2008 @ 11:50 am | Reply


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