[Marxism] Who says the Vietnamese don't have a sense of humor?

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Fri Jun 27 16:19:54 MDT 2008

'Hanoi Hilton' jailer says he'd vote for McCain
By MARGIE MASON, Associated Press Writer 55 minutes ago

John McCain has an unusual endorsement — from the Vietnamese jailer
who says he held him captive for about five years as a POW and now
considers him a friend.

"If I were an American voter, I would vote for Mr. John McCain," Tran
Trong Duyet said Friday, sitting in his living room in the northern
city of Haiphong, surrounded by black-and-white photos of a much
younger version of himself and former Vietnam War prisoners.

At the same time, he denies prisoners of war were tortured. Despite
detailed POW accounts and physical wounds, Duyet claims the presumed
Republican presidential nominee made up beatings and solitary
confinement in an attempt to win votes.

His statements seem to echo the communist leadership's overall line
on America: It insists the torture claims are fabricated, but that
Vietnam now considers the U.S. a friend and wants to lay the past to
rest. Duyet said one of the reasons he likes McCain for president is
the candidate's willingness to forgive and look to the future.

Duyet, 75, grew testy during the interview when repeatedly questioned
about torture and why so many other former POWs say they too were
mistreated. He preferred to talk about McCain as an old buddy.

His photo collection doesn't include one of him with POW McCain, and
he said they have not met on any of McCain's postwar visits to
Vietnam. But Duyet said he often met the young Navy pilot when off
duty, that McCain would correct his English, and that he had a great
sense of humor. And although they never saw eye-to-eye on the war
that killed some 58,000 Americans and up to 3 million Vietnamese, he
said they listened to each others' views.

"He's tough, has extreme political views and is very conservative,"
Duyet said. "He's very loyal to the U.S. military, to his beliefs and
to his country. In all of our debates, he never admitted that the war
was a mistake."

Duyet also talked about prisoner volleyball games and said the
captives were fed the same meals as average wartime Vietnamese in
Hanoi. The same propaganda is depicted in photos of smiling American
POWs displayed at the Hoa Lo prison, now a museum for tourists.

McCain spent 5 1/2 years behind bars in Hanoi. His flight suit and
parachute were recently added to the museum display, which includes a
recording of bombs falling and air raid sirens shrieking.

McCain still bears the evidence of his wounds and has described being
repeatedly bound and beaten by his captors. After his plane was hit
by a surface-to-air missile during a bombing mission over Hanoi in
1967, McCain ejected and suffered a broken leg, two broken arms, and
was briefly knocked unconscious. The Vietnamese mob who found him
smashed his shoulder and he was bayoneted.

He says medical attention was delayed in an attempt to get him to
reveal information and he was held in solitary confinement for over
two years.

Other former POWs also say they were tortured by communist forces at
the jail, and many say they still suffer physical pain from it.

"They are liars. What they said is not true," said Duyet, who was a
jailer at Hoa Lo from 1968 until the POW release in 1973, serving as
prison chief the last three years. Duyet claimed McCain "invented
that story that he was tortured and beaten to win votes."

Asked for a response, the McCain campaign referred The Associated
Press to Orson Swindle, a retired Marine lieutenant colonel who was
imprisoned with McCain. Swindle said Duyet "has no credibility on
every utterance he makes."

"For him to say that no one was tortured, he's a damn liar, and the
history books in the aftermath of Vietnam were replete with stories
of what prisoners went through. I've got friends that died up there
from torture."

"He says John McCain would make a great president. How the hell does
he know? He has absolutely no credibility," Swindle added.

McCain has returned to Vietnam several times and visited what's left
of the old prison, whose pilots' section has been replaced by a
gleaming high-rise of offices, apartments and shops.

McCain was instrumental in pushing for normal relations between the
two former foes, and the friendship was highlighted by Prime Minister
Nguyen Tan Dung's trip to see President Bush at the White House on

McCain's wife, Cindy, was in southern Vietnam last week doing charity
work. She said if her husband wins the election the couple would
delight in paying a presidential visit to the country.

If that happens, Duyet said, "I hope to meet with him again as two
old friends. At that time, I would toast to congratulate him as U.S.

"We would talk about the future, and we would not talk about the

     Los Angeles, California
     Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
     "Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"

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