In 1974 Thesis, the Seeds of McCain's War Views





About a year after his release from a North Vietnamese prison camp, Cmdr. John S. McCain III sat down to address one of the most vexing questions confronting his fellow prisoners: Why did some choose to collaborate with the North Vietnamese?

Mr. McCain blamed American politics.

“The biggest factor in a man’s ability to perform credibly as a prisoner of war is a strong belief in the correctness of his nation’s foreign policy,” Mr. McCain wrote in a 1974 essay submitted to the National War College and never released to the public. Prisoners who questioned “the legality of the war” were “extremely easy marks for Communist propaganda,” he wrote.

Americans captured after 1968 had proven to be more susceptible to North Vietnamese pressure, he argued, because they “had been exposed to the divisive forces which had come into focus as a result of the antiwar movement in the United States.”

To insulate against such doubts, he recommended that the military should teach its recruits not only how to fight but also the reasons for American foreign policies like the containment of Southeast Asian communism — even though, Mr. McCain acknowledged, “a program of this nature could be construed as ‘brainwashing’ or ‘thought control’ and could come in for a great deal of criticism.”


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Randll Reese Besch - 6/18/2008

That when the North Vietnamese allowed hem to leave 5 years early he couldn't due to how it would look. I can't verify but it would explain his temper on certain subjects.

As for his changed views well he is lead in a war and torture party so he had to go along to get along didn't he?


Robert L Miller - 6/16/2008

It's possible that McCain has a different perspective on things now. So this tells us what he thought, but not necessarily what he thinks now. For example, in the same document he regards stress positions and sleep deprivation to be torture. He doesn't think so anymore.


Robert L Miller - 6/16/2008

It's possible that McCain has a different perspective on things now. So this tells us what he thought, but not necessarily what he thinks now. For example, in the same document he regards stress positions and sleep deprivation to be torture. He doesn't think so anymore.