""Laura and I were talking about — we were talking about how amazing it is we’re here in Vietnam," Bush said. "And one of the most poignant moments of the drive in was passing the lake where John McCain got pulled out of the lake. And he’s a friend of ours. He suffered a lot as a result of his imprisonment, and yet, we passed the place where he was, literally, saved, in one way, by the people pulling him out."
In fact, according to McCain, who broke both arms and his right knee while ejecting from his A-4 Skyhawk, he was hauled out of the lake on two bamboo poles and beaten on the shore by an angry mob.
In his autobiography, "Faith of My Fathers," McCain wrote that the crowd, shouting wildly, stripped his clothes off, "spitting on me, kicking and striking me repeatedly." A woman, possibly a nurse, intervened, and a Vietnamese army truck arrived "to take me away from this group of aggrieved citizens who seemed intent on killing me," McCain wrote.
He described subsequent repeated beatings and torture at the hands of his captors in the notorious Hoa Lo prison, known to American POWs as the "Hanoi Hilton."" Washpost
Bush’s comments are a "tale told by an idiot."
Now, maybe it is understandable that the inhabitants of Hanoi wanted to kill this enemy pilot who had fallen into their hands. Bad things often happen in the heat of battle, but for Bush to torture this long past event into something with which he can feel good about McCain’s agony and the people of Hanoi is reprehensible.
I understand that he has also held communist Vietnam up as an example of what Iraq may become "if we do not quit." Has he missed the fact that there is no real freedom in Vietnam now? Has he missed the fact that, having deprived the peoples of Vietnam of their religious rights, the government is now giving those rights back as privileges? Has he missed the fact that the non-Vietnamese Montagnard peoples of Vietnam are still treated as sub-human by the Vietnamese and their government? Has he missed that?
The Viet Minh would easily have unified Vietnam in 1954-55 after the defeat of the French. They had defeated all their native competitors. Only the growing political and then military intervention of the United States prevented that until 1975. Unity was not a problem in Vietnam. The government that Bush seems to admire had no serious problem in "bringing the country together" after we left.
Maybe we should get out of the way so that another "unity" government that Bush can praise can take over in Iraq.