Some background on Senator John McCain.

Senator John S. McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936 to a family with a prominent military background. His father, John S. McCain, Jr., and grandfather, John S. McCain, Sr., both made rank of Four Star Admiral (the only father and son to do so).

After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1958, Senator McCain became a naval aviator and went on to serve a 22-year navy career, retiring as a Captain in 1981. In 1967, he was shot down over Hanoi and was a prisoner of war in Vietnam's "Hanoi Hilton" for five and a half years (1967-73). Senator McCain has received numerous awards, including the Silver Star; Bronze Star; Legion of Merit; Purple Heart; and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

John McCain was elected to the United States House of Representatives, November, 1982.
Re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, November, 1984.

John McCain was elected to the United States Senate, November, 1986.
Re-elected to U.S. Senate for a second term, November, 1992.
Re-elected to U.S. Senate for a third term, November, 1998.

Senator McCain was the National Security Advisor to the Dole/Kemp presidential campaign

In 1997, Senator McCain was named one of Time Magazine's "Top 25 Most Influential People in America".

John S. McCain announced his candidacy for President of the United States, April 14, 1999.

Senator McCain has seven children and four grandchildren. He and his wife, Cindy, reside in Phoenix.

The Controversy ... Hero or Traitor ... What do you think?

On one side, we have McCain's supporters with their version of key events in the Senators life. On the other side, we have the "NO" McCain camp, naturally with a radically different version of the events. Who is telling the truth? (Or more probably, who is telling the most truth) Well, you may already have firm beliefs ("he's a true hero" or "he's a damn traitor"), and you won't be swayed, no matter what you see or hear. Or you may want to become better informed so you can make that decision. To that end, we hope you can find enough information here to either, reaffirm your choice, or help you decide. If you came directly to this page, please take a moment to see what the rest of our site is all about. We are producing the big screen adaptation of Paul Gillette's Pulitzer-nominated play RED RIVER RATS, a story whose characters are Vietnam Veterans, combat pilots who were shot down over North Vietnam and who spent the rest of the war in POW camps. Check out FAR FROM GLORY and get the rest of the story.

"Pro" McCain

"NO" McCain

"He's a good man - the kind of man I'd want to be in a fox-hole with me... He'd be a good president,"
Sen. Bob Dole 

"At a time when America searches for heroes to lead us, it has the genuine article in John McCain. He's been serving his country since he was 17 when he entered the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. And his life is a testament to true courage, integrity and leadership." (from the official McCain 2000 website)

"More important, whatever your political views, if you believe that character, conviction and courage are what count in a leader -- and if you believe that it takes a true crucible to test those qualities -- then John McCain, in this or any other political season, stands as an oak among saplings." Peter Kann, The Wall Street Journal - September 8, 1999.

"John McCain is a proud veteran and the son and grandson of Navy admirals. He believes in a strong, capable military able to carry out the crucial mission of protecting the United States and our interests around the world." (from the McCain Patriots Network website)

McCain's goals as President would be:

Restore integrity to the office
Reform government
And renew the American dream

U.S. Veteran Dispatch columnists and journalists have described Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona as a war hero, they cite his 5-1/2 years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. In 1988 the  Washington Post wrote, "He was a prisoner for 5-1/2 years. Because he was properly obstinate, he was in solitary confinement most of that time . . . Every day for two years, one of his guards ordered him to bow, and then knocked him down." Joseph Spear, a columnist wrote, "McCain is a war hero . . . He was tossed into the infamous 'Hanoi Hilton' prison camp, where he was hung by his fractured arms for hours at a time." ... 

The Vietnamese had offered McCain early release on July 4, 1968, the same day his father assumed command of all U.S. forces in the Pacific, in an attempt to embarrass the United States. As McCain had been in solitary confinement since he was shot down over Hanoi in 1967, he had no idea that his father had attained this lofty position. He nevertheless refused release, not wanting to violate the POWs sacred Code of Conduct that prohibits such behavior.

For this act of defiance, the Vietnamese guards beat McCain for four days: re-breaking his left arm and leaving his emancipated body lying in his own blood and waste. McCain's resolve was broken and after this brutal interrogation, he was forced to write and tape a confession that U.S. jets had targeted North Vietnamese schoolchildren.

"The Vietnamese had broken the prisoner they called 'The Crown Prince,' and I knew they had done it to hurt the man they believed to be king," writes McCain.

When finally freed, he had to come to terms with the father he felt he'd shamed in such a high-profile manner.

McCain's Book "Faith of My Fathers"

"Faith of My Fathers is a gripping story of character and courage: character passed down from generation to generation by sterling examples of family bonds and devotion to duty; courage that ultimately comes from within, as John McCain learned in the brutal prison camps of North Vietnam. This is a sobering and glorious book that you won't be able to put down."
- General Colin L. Powell (retired)

Senator McCain's new book "Faith of My Fathers" sets out some of the things that are really important to him. This is a book about family, a gripping saga of three generations of McCain men. The book chronicles McCain's childhood and his career in the Navy and as a prisoner of war, all in the context of how his life was influenced by his father and grandfather, both four-star admirals.

"The most important relationship in my father's life had been his bond with my grandfather. That cherished bond influenced every major decision my father made throughout his life. Together, they were my first heroes, and earning their respect has been the most lasting ambition of my life.

The United States Naval Academy, an institution I both resented and admired, tried to bend my resilience to a cause greater than self-interest. I resisted its exertions, fearing its effect on my individuality. But as a prisoner of war, I learned that a shared purpose did not claim my identity. On the contrary, it enlarged my sense of myself.

As a naval aviator in Vietnam, I was shot down over Hanoi in 1967 and seriously injured. When Vietnamese military officers realized I was the son of a top commander, they offered me early release. Acting from a sense of honor taught by my father and the U.S. Naval Academy I refused the offer. I was tortured, held in solitary confinement, and imprisoned for five and a half years. "
Sen. John S. McCain

McCain Memoirs to go "Hollywood"

Republican McCain has sold the screen rights to his best selling memoirs, ``Faith of My Fathers'' to USA Films, which is controlled by a Barry Diller, a Democrat.

``I hope that a movie based on my book will help affirm to younger Americans the lessons so eloquently expressed by 'Saving Private Ryan' -- the honor of serving a cause greater than self-interest. The WWII generation surely ranks among the finest and most important in American history. But they need not have been the last American generation to deserve to be called great.''
Sen. John S. McCain

McCain on what he offers over Sen. Bush

"Probably experience. Probably more in-depth knowledge of the issues. A record of service in many areas...Well I mean, I think it's obvious. George Bush was recently elected to office, has had four years as governor of the state of Texas. I've had 16 years in the Congress. Before that, I had service in the military. That's where I think there's some difference in our credentials."
Sen. John S. McCain

"No two people agree on every issue, but as a candidate for President of the United States I owe you my candor. You will always know where I stand. I'm sure you will agree that our cherished democracy can thrive only by vigorous, open, and honest discussion of the issues affecting our country and our lives. Together we can make the 21st Century a time worthy of our highest dreams and aspirations."
Sen. John S. McCain

Some "Pro" McCain Links

John McCain for President Official Site
McCain 2000 WebRing
(to join)
McCain 2000 WebRing
(list of sites)
John McCain for President!
(unofficial site)
McCain 2000 Patriots Network
(official site)
McCain's Book "Faith of My Fathers"

Biography's video: John McCain: American Maverick

USS John S. McCain Homepage

Senator John McCain for President 2000
(unofficial site)

No Manchurian Candidate
(from Joe Schlatter's site)
John McCain in the Crucible
(Adm. Stockdale on McCain)

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McCain has said repeatedly that he was afforded no special treatment while in the "Hanoi Hilton". Yet when he was first interviewed by the North Vietnamese he is shown at a hospital reserved for Vietnamese military and he was seen by Soviet Surgeons. He was drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes while being interviewed. This was a far cry from the way the rest of the POWs were treated.

His wife at the time, was a member of the National League of Families and she fought to make sure that John McCain came home. He rewarded this loyalty by divorcing her after his return.

He was shot down October 26, 1967, and by November 9, 1967 he was giving interviews to foreign correspondents, providing information on his prior command, casualties and tactics, in direct violation of the Code of Conduct. (The U.S. military Code of Conduct is the definitive code specifying the responsibilities of American military personnel while in combat or captivity. Article V of the Code is very specific in ordering U.S. military personnel to avoid answering questions to the utmost of their ability and to make no oral or written statements disloyal to the United States and its allies, or harmful to their cause. Any willful violation of the Code is considered collaborating with the enemy.)

The Communist Vietnamese erected a bust of John McCain beside the lake where he was shot down. His defenders say that this is a tribute to the PAVN gunners that shot him down.

In the interview that he gave on November 9, 1967 to VNA International, he claims when he bailed out and landed in the lake, that locals pulled him out and took him to the hospital. Yet in the U.S. News and World Report - May 14, 1973. McCain is quoted as saying "I think it was on the fourth day (after being shot down) that two guards came in, instead of one. One of them pulled back the blanket to show the other guard my injury. I looked at my knee. It was about the size of a football . . . when I saw it, I said to the guard, Ok, get the officer' officer came in after a few minutes. It was the man that we came to know very well as 'The Bug'. He was a psychotic torturer, one of the worst fiends that we had to deal with. I said, Ok, I'll give you military information if you will take me to the hospital."

While testifying before the Senate Select Committee, the very man McCain claims was responsible for his own torture, his interrogator, "The Bug" was appearing. When the moment of confrontation came, McCain rose from his seat, walked from the podium to the floor and stood face to face with the man who was responsible for torturing him and countless other Prisoners of War...McCain then grabbed the man and embraced him!

He has been a consistent advocate of lenient treatment of Vietnam.

While a member of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs (1991-1993) he referred to POW/MIA Family Members and POW/MIA Activists as whiners, vultures and the lunatic fringe.

Although the Senate Select Committee concluded that we left men behind, McCain crossed party lines to help lift the embargo and normalize relations with Vietnam. "It's very important for us to recognize that the war is over, ... In my view, an improvement in relations between our two countries does a whole of lot things from a practical standpoint, but it also, from a spiritual standpoint indicates that we are ready to close that chapter," McCain said. (Many POWs and families of MIAs would strongly disagree that is time to close this chapter! Improving relations with Vietnam stood to benefit  the McCain's family as they hold a large interest in the Budweiser Corporation. Surprise, surprise Bud was among the first  large U.S. Corporations to enter Vietnam after relations were normalized.)

He ignored a letter from former POW, Capt. Eugene "Red" McDaniel, co-signed by 50 former POWs which asked that the embargo not be lifted and not to normalize relations and still McCain would not be swayed.

When the Missing Service Personnel Act of 1996 came on the Senate Floor for debate, Senator McCain called this bill "un-necessary" and "burdensome" even though the MSPA was sponsored by the then majority leader and the man who had considered asking John McCain to run with him, Sen. Bob Dole.

McCain managed to get the MSPA amended by removing criminal liability and several articles that were important to POW/MIA Family m

McCain voted against campaign-finance reform in 1987/1988.. and didn't support the concept until 1990, just after the Keating story broke.

Until McCain began thinking about running for national office he was consistently anti-gay (he even spoke at a fundraiser for Oregon's anti-gay rights initiative) Now he says they are "not inclusive enough".

Keating Five Scandal

McCain received more than $112,000 in campaign contributions from one Charles Keating (including $54,000 for his Senate campaign). Between 1984 and 1986 McCain and family had vacationed at Keating's home in the Bahamas. (Keating was a corrupt owner of a savings-and-loan empire that ended up costing taxpayers $3 billion.) For these contributions Keating hoped (expected) McCain and four other senators - John Glenn, Dennis DeConcini, Alan Cranston, Donald Riegle, would protect him from federal banking regulators. After a 14 month investigation by the Ethics Committee all McCain received was a slap on the wrist for using "poor judgment"!

McCain's Tasteless Joke

"Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?
Because her father is Janet Reno."

McCain's two-liner gives us some insight into what he considers funny (lesbianism, a young woman's physical looks), especially since this was delivered to a partisan Republican crowd. Remember, this is the same party that champions pro-family values.

That McCain had made this tasteless joke was reported in major newspapers, so was the vain attempt by his press secretary to initially deny that McCain had done anything wrong. But in several major newspapers, the joke itself was kept a secret. When McCain subsequently apologized to President Clinton, the Washington Post, noted the apology but said the joke "was too vicious to print."

Some "NO" McCain Links

No John in 2000 WebRing (list
of sites)
POW/MIA Freedom Fighters
1992 John McCain the Manchurian Candidate

Waffle Iron Award

AII POW-MIA - FaxNetwork
John McCain
John McCain--No Hero

Hanoi Correspondent's Dispatch

Interview with McCain December 1967

Translation of Memorial at Truc Bach Lake

Sen. McCain wants to be president

The Missing Service Persons Act in the 105th Congress

U.S. Ambassador Says Vietnamese Torturers Were "Just Doing Their Jobs"

John McCain, The Dark Side

John Sidney McCain III
(page has a wealth of info, including declassified FBIS reports)

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