Sunday, June 15, 2008

Cockburn's SewerHose

Does it get loonier or more gutter trash than CounterPunch these days? Back in April, Elaine called Alexander Cockburn out on his crazed theories about John McCain as a prisoner of war. This weekend SewerHose published Douglas Valentine's "John McCain: War Hero or North Vietnam's Go-To Collaborator?"

Is this really what the left's come to? On the one hand the Vietnamese are not to be trusted. If McCain was given medical attention (after his plane crashed), he must have been collaborating! Flies in the face of many peace 'leaders' real time statements and smears the Vietnamese but, hey, anything for a vote, eh?

McCain uses profanity. Shocking! McCain was, after all, in the military.

In the midst of his "McCain The Collaborator!" piece, he quotes (surely the go-to for the left, right?) to get Bob Smith on the record saying McCain "used profanity". We are shocked. We are appalled. Profanity. Tsk-tsk. Thank goodness no one serving in today's military uses profanity. Thanks to the Ronald Reagan 1987 provision, all caught using profanity are immediately shot dead. What's that? There was no such provision and cursing still continues in the military? Well, hey, if Doug Valentine can lie, so can we.

Valentine lists McCain's crimes as including providing radio statements. We don't think Jane Fonda did anything wrong with her Vietnam radio addresses (in fact, we miss that Jane as opposed to what she's now become), we're certainly not going to call out John McCain for his. We will note there's a difference, McCain was a prisoner of war, tortured into delivering his. All the same, tortured or not, we're not going to lose any sleep over radio addresses during an illegal war.

While asserting McCain was tortured (he was), Valentine then wants to do something curious with his story allegedly on "collaboration," he wants to quote a Cuban doctor who spoke to McCain in 1970. From 1967 until 1973, McCain was a POW. Fernando Barral ("a Cuban psychologist") interviewing McCain in 1970 would have been a collaborator with those torturing McCain. He would have noticed that McCain had been tortured. (McCain has limited arm movement as a result of his torture. We're sure he has many other injuries as well but we'll note that one because it would have been obvious to anyone speaking with him during that period.) Here's how David Adams (St. Petersburg Times) described Barral this year: "Back in those days, Barral was a committed young communist working for Cuba's Ministry of Interior, the dreaded state security service that has over the years been accused of torture and repression of political dissidents." Are we to expect Valentine to next praise the 'work' of psychologists assisting torture in Guantanamo?

Are there no standards left for the left? Valentine goes on to quote Barral as a respected source. Message to Iraq veterans who have been P.O.W.s, don't run for office as a Republican without expecting left attacks. We can't imagine how the kind of 'dirt' Valentine would create/invent on Jessica Lynch.

This really is despicable and it needs to stop. It's an insult to all who have been held captive (in war or non-war) and assumes that those cooperating with the captors (as Barral was) are to be trusted. We can't imagine what world Valentine (or Alexander Cockburn) lives in that he thinks this is 'reporting' or 'journalism' or anything but smut.

Hey Doug, we heard your father was a war criminal and that the only reason the Japanese spared him -- didn't castrate him, didn't kill him -- was because he collaborated with the enemy!

How's it feel?

Our assertion has about as much basis in reality as Valentine's nonsensical ravings.

None of us are voting for McCain in November, none of us are supporting his campaign. But when someone is tortured, you owe them the respect not to treat the torturers and their collaborators as 'honest brokers.'

That may be the most offensive thing about Valentine's entire piece and CounterPunch, which has regularly decried torture, proves that standards can be dropped at will by running a piece that treats those in charge of the torture as 'reliable' sources.
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