September 2, 2008, Los Angeles, CA – Dr. Philip Butler on McCain: “I think I can say with authority that the Prisoner Of War experience is not a good prerequisite for President. John McCain is not somebody I would like to see with his finger near the red button. Dr. Philip Butler, a highly decorated combat veteran who was imprisoned alongside John McCain at the infamous ‘Hanoi Hilton’ prison in Vietnam, has gone on record with his opinion of the GOP presidential candidate in a short video interview with Brave New PAC.
Click here to watch the video of Philip Butler.
Dr. Butler was shot down over North Vietnam in April, 1965 and was brought to the Hanoi Hilton prison, two and a half years prior to McCain’s arrival. He spent eight years in captivity. Butler is critical of McCain’s habitual use of his P.O.W. story to advance his presidential campaign. “John has allowed I think the media to make him out to be the P.O.W., the hero, and in fact there were over 600 just like him who performed just as well.” Echoing a similar assertion from General Wesley Clark two months ago, Butler continues, “I think I can say with authority that the Prisoner Of War experience is not a good prerequisite for President of the United States.”
Having lived across the hall from John McCain at the U.S. Naval Academy prior to combat, Butler was a close witness to McCain’s famously volatile temperament. “He was very sensitive and touchy and just easy to anger,” says Dr. Butler. “John McCain is not somebody I would like to see with his finger near the red button.” Butler continues, “John McCain’s temperament makes it clear that he is not cut out to be President of the United States.”
Butler points to the health risks faced by former Prisoners Of War as another cause for concern about a McCain presidency – a concern publicly heightened in recent days by McCain’s selection of a political novice as a running mate. “The data show that the Prisoner Of War group are dying at an earlier age and that we suffer lots of residual things that non-P.O.W. group really doesn’t have to deal with. And it’s imperative that we have someone who is healthy and can stand the rigors of that job.”
Other military veterans agree with Butler’s criticism of McCain’s exploitation of his P.O.W. story. Writes Brandon Friedman, a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan and author of ‘The War I Always Wanted’: “To see McCain resort to playing the POW card when answering legitimate questions, in my mind, cheapens that experience. And by cheapening his own experience in war, he degrades all of our experiences in war. He turns the horrific incidents we’ve all seen, touched, smelled, and felt into a lame excuse to earn political points. And it dishonors us all.”