Ray Mosby – Guest Columnist 7/28/2015

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 28, 2015

One Trump over the line

Ray Mosby
Guest columnist
ROLLING FORK—On a stage in Iowa last week, Donald Trump told a group of gathered conservatives that John McCain was not really a war hero.

Donald Trump said that about John McCain.

And ultimately, that is all you really need to know about Donald Trump.

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Being a bully is one thing; being a boor is another thing; but being a bullying boorish fool is quite another thing altogether. And anyone with the outrageous audacity to stand in front of a room full of people and quite seriously say that John McCain is not really a war hero—that he is thought to be one only “because he got captured,”—is a fool, because some truths really are self-evident.

And one need not be a fan of either John McCain personally, nor of his politics to recognize that. Affection is not required for the kind of admiration that courage demands from the decent.
Donald Trump, the son of a wealthy businessman, says that he didn’t much care for the Vietnam War, and he managed to avoid it through a series of student and medical deferments. To John McCain, son and grandson of naval officers, there was no such decision to be made; it was simply a matter of family tradition.

So, he became a Navy flier, piloting A-4s off the deck of a carrier to bomb targets in and near Hanoi, until one day in 1968 when on a bombing run his plane was struck by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile, and as Trump so cavalierly stated, “he got captured.”

McCain described that trifling little event in his book, Faith of My Fathers: “I radioed, ‘I’m hit,’ reached up, and pulled the ejection seat handle. I struck part of the airplane, breaking my left arm, my right arm in three places, and my right knee, and I was briefly knocked unconscious by the force of the ejection.”

He landed in a shallow lake, in the middle of the day, in the middle of Hanoi. And then the real fun began:
“I came to when I hit the water. Wearing about fifty pounds of gear, I touched the bottom of the shallow lake and kicked off with my good leg. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t move my arms to pull the toggle on my life vest. I sank to the bottom again. When I broke the surface the second time, I managed to inflate my life vest by pulling the toggle with my teeth.”

When he came to a second time he was, “being hauled ashore on two bamboo poles by a group of about twenty angry Vietnamese. A crowd of several hundred gathered around me as I lay dazed before them, shouting wildly at me, stripping my clothes off, spitting on me, kicking and striking me repeatedly. I felt a sharp pain in my right knee. I looked down and saw that my right foot was resting next to my left knee at a ninety degree angle… Someone smashed a rifle butt into my shoulder, breaking it. Someone else stuck a bayonet into my ankle and groin.”
An then McCain spent the next five and one-half years as a prisoner of war in the infamous prison camp known as the Hanoi Hilton.

Oh, he could have gotten released earlier, after his father became the Chief of Naval Operations in that war Trump didn’t much care for, but he refused, as that would have broken what was for him and his fellow prisoners the sacred Code of Conduct for American POWs.
But none of that impresses Trump. None of that is heroic.

Donald Trump has refused to apologize to John McCain.

That fact speaks volumes about him.

But the fact he doesn’t recognize the need to says much, much more.
(Ray Mosby is publisher of The Deer Creek Pilot in Rolling Fork.)