McCain & Bergdahl: The Contrast in Two Prisoner Releases

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 12.54.03 PMJohn McCain became a prisoner of war in Vietnam on October 26, 1967 when his fighter plane was shot down over hostile territory. McCain would spend the next 5 ½ years enduring some of the toughest conditions of any POW in the now infamous Hanoi Hotel. Suffering from multiple broken bones and a subsequent beating by an angry mob as they pulled him from the water, John was fortunate to survive at all.

His survival was remarkable as were those of the other men who served alongside him as POW’s. The scars of his time as a prisoner in Vietnam are ever present. McCain cannot raise his arms above his head and has a noticeable limp from the break in his leg. Still, when you watch the video of a man who was down 50 pounds to a meager 105, you see a proud service member returning home. McCain even manages to salute as he crosses from prisoner to free man on March 14, 1973.

McCain’s first truly public meeting came a short four days later as he was reunited with his wife and children. Despite his hardship, the obvious physical torture, the years in solitary confinement, John was capable of speaking English and showing his love of country. His fellow prisoners, some of whom had spent 8 years in a Vietnam prison were also able to speak and function.

Then we have Bowe Bergdahl who went missing on June 30, 2009 in Afghanistan. Just short of five years later, Bergdahl was released on May 31, 2014 in a prisoner exchange. Our only photos or video of Bergdahl since his release have come from the Taliban. According to US sources, Bergdahl is unable to communicate in English because of his long exposure to only the Afghan languages of Pashto or Farsi.

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 9.09.33 AMMcCain was out in public speaking in four short days, meanwhile it has been a week and we have not seen nor heard one thing from Bergdahl. The story we are told is that he was near deaths door and was so emaciated that he could barely walk. So, let’s compare some before and after pictures of McCain as a healthy sailor then newly released POW…and Bergdahl as a healthy soldier and as a newly released captive.

Then if these pictures do not demonstrate sufficiently to you the difference between how a POW comes home and how a captive comes home…watch the video of John McCain’s release after 5 ½ years as a Vietnam prisoner of war and the video (courtesy of the Taliban) of Bowe Bergdahl’s release after nearly 5 years. You may also want to google the photographs of how each man was treated during their experiences.

Here we see John McCain:
Here we see Bowe Bergdahl:

How much longer are they going to hide Bergdahl from the world and the serious questions about his actions? When will we find out the truth about how he came to be in Taliban hands and what he did while in their company? American’s have many questions but the administration has no one to answer them…well no one who is credible.

Shannon Grady

South Carolina Politichick Shannon Grady came to the staff in late 2013 with experience writing political pieces on US foreign, domestic, and education policy for Shannon has also been a guest commentator on The PonyTail Patriot BlogTalkRadio show. Shannon brings a unique perspective to European politics as she is able to cover events happening across Europe from the heart of the EU, while living in Brussels, Belgium. Her articles include original coverage of the Memorial Day events at Flanders Field, Belgium and the 70th anniversary D-Day events in Normandy, France. Shannon has a BA in History from the University of South Carolina, a Masters from Webster University, and recently finished her doctorate program at Liberty University where she focused on Educational Leadership and Administration. She currently teaches online AP courses in Macro and Micro Economics and AP US history. She is the wife of active duty Army officer LTC Matthew Grady who is currently assigned to NATO in Belgium and the mother of one rambunctious little boy. Follow Shannon on Twitter: @SGPAExPat

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