The selection of Senator John McCain as a candidate for president has made it difficult for his Democratic opponents to charge the former Vietnam prisoner as being incorrect on military matters. To any charge that he lacked knowledge of military affairs, the Arizona Senator’s immediate response is prefaced by, “when I was a prisoner in Vietnam…” However, about 100 veterans of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, who were not captured in combat, are marching on the Republican convention in order to express their hostility to the war policies of Bush and McCain. They are particularly angry at failure of McCain to strongly support the Senator Webb bill for a new G.I. Bill of Rights and claim Republicans are less than enthusiastic in supporting medical treatment for those who have PTSD.
As former Army Spc. Vincent Lenart said, “we have a little more credibility because we were in the service” and have seen war first hand. The issue is more significant as to whether someone was or was no in the service. Any intelligent person has a more coherent approach to Iraq and Afghanistan than John McCain who lacks any awareness of the political ramifications of reliance solely on military solutions to complex economic, social and religious factors. As former General Wesley Clark put it, being a prisoner during a war does not automatically classify an individual as an expert on warfare.