by Ron Unz: Was
Six days ago,
we released our cover story presenting Sydney
Schanberg’s stunning account of the American abandonment of
hundreds of POWs in Vietnam, their presumed later death at Communist
hands, and the decades-long
governmental cover-up which thereafter ensued.
time, hundreds of websites have reprinted the articles in our symposium
or otherwise discussed the topic. Based on the known traffic figures
for the larger ones, I would guess that some hundreds of thousands
of politically-oriented readers have now become first acquainted
with this long-buried story, and the voluminous evidence which stands
behind it. I can well imagine the shocked and horrified reaction
of so many of those individuals.
the near-absolute silence on the other side of the case is quite
deafening in its own implications. Neither anyone from the John
McCain campaign nor from among his many erstwhile admirers in the
media commentariat has seen fit to deny or dispute any of the devastating
charges of his leading role in cover-up, charges leveled by an eminent
Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. Keeping silent is always the
best course of action when you have no remotely plausible case to
The sole exception
to this wall of silence actually tends to confirm this impression.
Two days after the release of our magazine, a prominent neoconservative
website called FrumForum.com
blasted back, with a front-page banner-headline piece denouncing
smears” being resurrected to impugn John McCain’s heroism. Interestingly
enough, the 1000-word essay, followed by another 500-word
piece soon after, constituted a classic “non-denial denial,"
in which much vague verbiage was expended touting McCain’s heroic
war-record and personal patriotism, while almost completely avoiding
any mention of the very specific charges being made against him,
let alone the massive evidence behind those charges. All in all,
a rather curious attempt at seeming to refute an extremely serious
accusation without actually discussing it.
still was been the identity of the author of that piece, John McCain’s
sole visible defender in the media and the blogosphere: Peter Worthington,
an eighty-three-year-old Canadian journalist, is almost totally
unknown to Americans. Although Worthington is David Frum’s stepfather-in-law,
he is hardly a noted expert on our politics or our history. Why
hypothesis presents itself. Once McCain’s supporters became aware
of the gravity of the case facing him, they quickly went to their
numerous friends in the media and the neoconservative movement,
seeking public support in their time of need. And all these journalists
and pundits, who have written so many glowing tributes to their
maverick war-hero hero over the years, then sat down and began to
read the 15,000 words published in our magazine under the heading
“McCain and the POW Cover-up…" and quickly decided that silence
was the better part of valor.
if Schanberg’s extensively documented claims are correct then John
McCain played a central role in perhaps the greatest act of national
treachery ever committed in American history. And any American political
figure or journalist who now associates his name with that of McCain
stands an excellent chance of being completely destroyed as well,
dragged to the bottom by the same boat-anchor. Thus, all of McCain’s
previous legion of neocon fans have now run for cover, never once
looking back. But since eighty-three-year-old Canadian writers have
relatively slender American reputations to protect, poor David Frum’s
elderly stepfather-in-law was dragooned into action instead.
consider some of the names and reputations weighing in the other
side of the ledger. A few weeks ago, Potomac Books, a small Washington
press, published a collection of Schanberg’s war writings entitled
the Killing Fields, in which his presentation of the Vietnam
POW-MIA cover-up constituted one of the longest sections. The dustjacket
of that book carries a glowing endorsement by David Rohde, a two-time
Pulitzer Prize winner currently at the New York Times, who
declares: “Sydney Schanberg is one of the greatest war correspondents
of the twentieth century.” Russell Baker, who also won a Pulitzer
at the New York Times, is similarly lavish in his praise
of the book. So counting the author himself, we may reasonably say
that Schanberg’s POW theories are now backed by the credibility
of four New York Times Pulitzer Prizes.
David Frum has an elderly second cousin living in New Zealand who
can now also be enlisted to help even up this score by publicly
defending Arizona Senator John McCain against such dire accusations.
I attach below
links to some of the aforementioned pieces, as well as a link to
Cockburn’s long column on the same topic, published as Counterpunch’s
weekend lead item. Given that the FrumForum piece defended McCain
against what it characterized as a “rightwing” smearjob, I suppose
that the editors must know something of Cockburn’s politics which
the rest of us do not.
perspectives on this story, visit the links below:
media breaks the big stories
doesn’t stack up
Iraq be forgotten as well?
D.C. media covers for the establishment
conspiracy theories are true
Unz is a Silicon Valley software developer and publisher of The