Sunday, October 26, 2008

McCain not tortured? Who can you believe?

I'm not inclined to fully believe the story of John McCain's jail director - Tran Trong Duyet - from the Vietnam War who claims "I never tortured or mistreated the PoWs and nor did my staff" which comes from an article in the Times by Leo Lewis.

John McCain does, of course, have every incentive for hyperbole, but so do those interviewed in the article, including nurse Nguyen Thi Thanh who looked after him. It seems Leo Lewis has forgotten that Vietnam remains a one-party state, with the communist party firmly in power. Those who looked after him are hardly going to confess to torture or mistreatment, and indeed the regime itself does not admit to how it currently treats political prisoners.

In the report there is nothing much other than a statement that “I never tortured or mistreated the PoWs and nor did my staff" and " He was very brave, very manly, he dared to argue with me and he was very intelligent. But all the talk of being tortured is for the sake of votes". In response "The McCain campaign refused to comment on the claims yesterday."

Now it would have been more helpful had others who stayed there spoken up, it would have been even more helpful if others who were on guard were talked to, off the record. However no, we just have a claim by those living and who fought and worked for a communist insurgency that they never tortured, against those who said they did. It's not convincing.

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