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Try To Imagine – “Consider the Lobster: And Other Essays” – David Foster Wallace

July 12th, 2011 · No Comments · History, Leadership, Political Communication, Politics, Security Policy, US Politics

In October of ’67 McCain was himself still a Young Voter and was flying his 26th Vietnam combat mission and his A-4 Skyhawk plane got shot down over Hanoi, and he had to eject, which basically means setting off an explosive charge that blows your seat out of the plane, and the ejection broke both McCain’s arms and one leg and gave him a concussion and he started falling out of the skies over Hanoi. Try to imagine for a second how much this would hurt and how scared you’d be, three limbs broken and falling toward the enemy capital you just tried to bomb. His chute opened late and he landed hard in a little lake in a park right in the middle of downtown Hanoi. (There is still an NV statue of McCain by this lake today, showing him on his knees with his hands up and eyes scared and on the pediment the inscription “McCan—famous air pirate” [sic].) Imagine treading water with broken arms and trying to pull the life vest’s toggle with your teeth as a crowd of North Vietnamese men all swim out toward you (there’s film of this, somebody had a home-movie camera and the NV government released it, though it’s grainy and McCain’s face is hard to see). The crowd pulled him out and then just about killed him. Bomber pilots were especially hated, for obvious reasons. McCain got bayoneted in the groin; a soldier broke his shoulder apart with a rifle butt. Plus by this time his right knee was bent 90 degrees to the side, with the bone sticking out. This is all public record. Try to imagine it. He finally got tossed on a jeep and taken only about five blocks to the infamous Hoa Lo prison—a.k.a. the Hanoi Hilton, of much movie fame—where for a week they made him beg for a doctor and finally set a couple of the fractures without anesthetic and let two other fractures and the groin wound (imagine: groin wound) go untreated. Then they threw him in a cell. Try for a moment to feel this.

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