The following quotes are from the Sept. 12, 2008 edition of KCRW's To The Point. Listen to the entire program, including a host of pro-McCain guests, by clicking here.
These quotes are from Dr. Philip Butler, who was introduced as a highly decorated Vietnam Veteran who was a POW for eight years, the last five of which he spent with John McCain. He also spent about a year with McCain at the Naval Academy.
Butler responded to a question about offers of early release that were given to Vietnam POWs: "I was offered early release way back in May of 1965 as were a number of other POWs that I knew of in that time period and later on. Being released early was an absolute no-no for a POW for lots of reasons, reasons of Geneva Conventions, reasons of military regulations and policy, and reasons of all of our senior officers stating that all of us would return with honor at the end of the war and nobody would accept early release."
Butler said that the Vietnamese only granted a release if the prisoner agreed to admit that he was a criminal, that his country was criminal, that he had bombed schoolyards and hospitals and that he had received humane treatment as a prisoner. "It was a no-brainer," said Butler. "You had no choice."
Butler also offered this general observation, "John didn't learn the lessons of Vietnam from his experience as a POW. ... It was clear that we got into that war through lies and subterfuge. The Tonkin Gulf incident engineered by President Lyndon Johnson got us into war when there was really no incident at all. There was nothing happening there, but it was used as a ruse to get us into the Vietnam War.
"John McCain becomes a senator and he goes right back again and supports the same lies and subterfuge of president Bush with weapons of mass destruction and so forth and now here we are again in Iraq."
Butler, who is an activist with Veterans for Peace, discussed many other topics, including his personal respect for McCain and McCain's legacy status in the Navy. Many of his remarks were lambasted by other guests, including McCain biographer Robert Timberg and McCain spokesperson Nancy Photenhauer. Once again, you can listen to the entire program by clicking here.