It is now beyond a doubt that John McCain embellished/made up his story about the cross in the dirt in Vietnam, and he needs to be thoroughly questioned by a prominent journalist on a major network.
McCain's story is so similar to Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn's rendition of his experience in a Siberian gulag that it simply cannot be true. Andrew Sullivan and Mark Nickolas have provided compelling arguments that McCain's story is made up, and it is now up to the mainstream Media to grill the Senator from Arizona.
Why has this not happened so far?
One reason -- and it's the same reason the MSM did not question the lead up to war in Iraq: They are afraid of seeming unpatriotic. John McCain symbolizes everything journalists and liberals fear in America, a right war veteran with impeccable hero credentials.
The right wing smear machine will swing into action if serious questions are asked, and the usual gaggle of talking heads will hurl their tried and tested arsenal of liberal bashing talking points to deflect from the issue at hand.
Think back to pre-Iraq invasion:
Journalist/Liberal: There is no compelling evidence that Saddam has Weapons of Mass Destruction, or that there are ties between Saddam and Al Qaeda. Is an invasion necessary?
Republican Talking Head: Are you saying Saddam Hussein is a good guy? He gassed his own people! Why do you hate freedom and America so much?
And what would happen today:
Journalist/Liberal: John McCain's story about drawing a Christian Cross in the dirt while he was a prisoner in Vietnam is very similar to Alexander Solzhenitsyn's account of his time in a Siberian Gulag.
Republican Talking Head: Are you questioning John McCain's record in Vietnam? Are you calling one of America's war heroes a liar? This is step too far. This goes to show how much Liberals hate the troops. You hate freedom, and you hate America.
Rather than bow to name calling and vilification tactics, the mainstream media
(and Obama's campaign for that matter) should follow the blogosphere on this one, and take it to McCain, who is clearly lying about his experiences in Vietnam to shore up empathy from the Christian voters he dearly needs for this election.
Politicians lie all the time, but this one is particularly shocking as it is about an experience so deeply personal and profound that it defies belief that anyone would abuse it for the sake of politics. It just goes to show how far McCain will go to get himself elected.
Ben Cohen is the editor of www.thedailybanter.com and a contributing writer to www.espn.com and Boxing Monthly Magazine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org