The latest issue of Marie Claire magazine carries an interview I had with Cindy McCain, and left-wing commentators are having a field day over comments she made about her husband's POW experience. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann was particularly exercised, calling McCain's comments "a mendacious attack on the troops" and "callous."
So what was her offensive comment? Here's the interview transcript:
MC: You met your husband after his POW days. To what extent is that still with you — or is it a part of history?
CM: My husband will be the first one to tell you that that's in the past. Certainly it's a part of who he is, but he doesn't dwell on it. It's not part of a daily experience that we experience or anything like that. But it has shaped him. It has made him the leader that he is.
MC: But no cold sweats in the middle of the night?
CM: Oh, no, no, no, no, no. My husband, he'd be the first one to tell you that he was trained to do what he was doing. The guys who had the trouble were the 18-year-olds who were drafted. He was trained, he went to the Naval Academy, he was a trained United States naval officer, and so he knew what he was doing.
Sorry, but I fail to see how this disparages soldiers or makes light of post-traumatic stress syndrome.
Is it really that far-out to suggest that a gung-ho fighter pilot might be more mentally prepared for war's uglinesses than soldiers who were drafted?
Before complicating his rant by interviewing a liberal veteran, Olbermann himself acknowledged as much: "Even if we grant some element of truth here—that training might mitigate psychological impacts of injuries and combat experience and captivity—what should we make of Mrs. McCain's statement there?"
My suggestion: that there's some element of truth there.