Editor’s note: Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady is a recipient of the United States military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor. He is former president of the Medal of Honor Society.
I wonder if my fellow veterans are as fed up with John McCain as I am.
I say that as one who rode McCain’s bus and campaigned for him – at his request. My comments are not shaded by the fact that his campaign stiffed me for some of my expenses.
I am sick of his hero stuff and McCain being the gold standard of torture and those who demonize Gina Haspel in his name. The moral preening of those questioning Haspel on the fact that she obeyed the law is nauseating, as is McCain’s slandering of this good woman. Elect these people, and watch the swamp turn into a sewer.
McCain hates President Trump, supposedly because Trump dared to challenge McCain’s hero credentials for being shot down. Trump was right. McCain was not a hero for being shot down – but for his actions as a prisoner of war, a heroism he shared with hundreds of other prisoners. His vicious vindictiveness against Trump comes before doing what’s right for his party and his country.
I know a lot of heroes. But I know of no true hero who thinks they’re a hero, or who is offended by anyone who doesn’t think they’re a hero.
Let me tell you about a true hero – not because he got shot down or was tortured – who disagrees with McCain and would make a far better gold standard on torture or, for that matter, on heroism.
His name was Col. Bud Day, a Medal of Honor recipient (and many other medals for heroism) who is now deceased. Col. Day, who spent almost seven years in the Hanoi Hilton, was outraged that President Obama, in outlawing enhanced interrogation, branded “our country as a bunch or torturers when he has no idea what torture is.”
Bud provided examples of torture: More than 300 strokes with a car fan belt that cut open his scrotum, hanging upside-down, pistol-whipped in the head, kneeling on concrete while being beaten so long that he could see his knee bones. I could go on. He, and other POWs, deny that waterboarding and waving panties in front of Arab prisoners are torture. They know torture.
As for torture, it works. Ask a POW. But we don’t torture.
Waterboarding is part of the training for some of our troops; perhaps some members of SEAL Team Six endured it. Would we torture our own troops? Torture is often in the eye of the victim (being locked up and forced to listen to today’s music would make me cave immediately), but pain is indispensable. I am told waterboarding doesn’t involve pain but induces panic and may be the most effective non-torture method of interrogation. It got us Osama bin Laden.
I am with Bud, who said, “Hurrah for the guy who poured the water.”
I don’t know who we are anymore, but I know who we should be. Put me in the school of people who believe it is immoral not to use enhanced interrogation to save American lives.
Terrorists need to know we will use it, and they need to know it turned their heroes into finks.