I hate to pick on a kid but really ….

Greenwich Time is running a series of articles by a young nitwit named Sarah Lipman who is touring Asia on the cheap and, while I admire her free-spirited adventourousness, I’m appalled at her ignorance.

The Hao Lo Prison is more famously known for the inmates American POWs it held during the Vietnam War in the 1970s, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and the United State’s first ambassador to Vietnam, Pete Peterson. Known by them as the Hanoi Hilton, it displays how American POWs — while prisoners — were still treated fairly, with access to packages from home and Christmas dinners.

What interested me most about the prison, and will continue to interest me throughout my stay in Vietnam, is the stark contrast between how as a U.S. student I learned about the war in Vietnam and how the “American War” will be portrayed in museums throughout the country.

Uh huh – great education you got there, Sarah.

There’s this, for instance:

Torture began in earnest the following day, when he was brought before three interrogators and about a dozen soldiers. He initially tried to stick to the textbook answers: name, rank, serial number, date of birth. But then the real pain was applied.

In a steady voice, Swindle described his torturers applying tourniquets to his arms with parachute cord. “They took the cord and cinched it so tightly above my elbows that it literally caused my hands to contract because of the pressure on the ligaments,” he said.

And that was only the beginning. Next they tied his arms behind his back with three men applying pressure on each side. “(They) pulled against each other until my arms, they folded them up my back and my hands went back to my neck,” he said.

Next the torturers wrapped cord around his body so it looked like he had no arms. They tied parachute cord around his thumbs, which were at the back of his head, and hoisted his body off the ground by throwing the cord over the rafters. Swindle said the technique pulled his shoulders out of socket.

“And it’s about that point where you think you’re insane, ’cause this is hurting quite badly, and there’s not a soul in the world that can help me,” he said.

That’s when he learned to lie, figuring he could give them just enough truth to make his lies believable. When the interrogators wanted Swindle to name the men in his squadron, he told them he couldn’t think in such pain. They’d have to loosen the ropes to get anything out of him. When they started to loosen his bindings, he gave them the names of his high-school football coach and assistant coach, saying that was is squadron commander and executive officer.

When they loosened the ropes some more, he gave them the names of his entire high-school football team as his squadron’s pilots. Swindle chuckled as he recalled a welcome-home gala several years later in his small south-Georgia hometown. “All those guys were in the audience,” he said. “And I said, ‘You better not ever go to North Vietnam, because they’re looking for you.'”

Swindle said the experience with the ropes from his second day in captivity was repeated four or five times before he was moved to the infamous Hanoi Hilton prison camp in late December of that year. The lies were all about coping. Prisoners learned many different ways to cope in their tortured captivity. “You give in,” he said. “So don’t think you don’t give in. But it’s how you do it and what you give them.

Or John McCane’s own experience at Hanoi Hilton:

In August 1968, a program of severe torture began on McCain.[45] He was subjected to rope bindings and repeated beatings every two hours, at the same time as he was suffering from dysentery.[33][45] Further injuries led to the beginning of a suicide attempt, stopped by guards.[33] After four days, McCain made an anti-American propaganda “confession”.[33] He has always felt that his statement was dishonorable, but as he later wrote, “I had learned what we all learned over there: Every man has his breaking point. I had reached mine.”[46][47] Many American POWs were tortured and maltreated in order to extract “confessions” and propaganda statements, with many enduring even longer and worse treatment;[48]virtually all of them eventually yielded something to their captors.[49] McCain subsequently received two to three beatings weekly because of his continued refusal to sign additional statements.[50]

McCain refused to meet with various anti-war groups seeking peace in Hanoi, wanting to give neither them nor the North Vietnamese a propaganda victory.[51] From late 1969 onward, treatment of McCain and many of the other POWs became more tolerable,[52] while McCain continued actively to resist the camp authorities.[53] McCain and other prisoners cheered the U.S. “Christmas Bombing” campaign of December 1972, viewing it as a forceful measure to push North Vietnam to terms.[47][54]

Altogether, McCain was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for five and a half years. He was released on March 14, 1973.[55] His wartime injuries left McCain permanently incapable of raising his arms above his head.[56]

But they got Christmas cards from their families!


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19 responses to “I hate to pick on a kid but really ….

  1. Xyzzy

    Um isn’t she saying it’s intersting how they portray the war vs how the Americans portray it. I didn’t take it as get saying they were being honest when they ignored the torture

    • christopherfountain

      “Known by them as the Hanoi Hilton, it displays how American POWs — while prisoners — were still treated fairly, with access to packages from home and Christmas dinners.”
      The girl is a moron.

  2. ld

    She clearly has a future in Big Media – arrogant and ignorant, and full of both contempt for the US and its military and sympathy for our enemies and their lies.

    • christopherfountain

      I’m sure she’s a great kid but sadly, a product of today’s higher education. Cultural suicide.

  3. My 23 year old son spent three and a half weeks backpacking in North Vietnam over Christmas break. He talked to several older locals about the war and came back with an impression diametrically different from that formulated by this poor, naive girl.

    The placards explaining many of the displays in the “American War” museums, including those in the Maison Centrale, were so blatantly inaccurate that he was prompted to frequently chuckle, much to the puzzlement of the guides, most of whom kept offering him allegedly high grade weed during the tours.

  4. Anonymous

    stupid is still stupid.

    given her lack of any critical thinking skill, at least she is easily indoctrinated.

    Jane Fonda lives.

  5. Priapus

    Total fuking retard.
    Our schools teach nothing. Not even a whiff of skepticism.
    Wanted: Student retard to work for Keith Olberdouche, willing to accept anything at face value a must. Only dopes named Sahrha need apply.

    Thanks to the brave, our morons in the land of the free get to report this crud.

  6. Anonymous

    “Known by them as the Hanoi Hilton, it displays how American POWs — while prisoners — were still treated fairly, with access to packages from home and Christmas dinners.”

    She reports on the museum’s portrayal of the prisoners’ treatment. She does not say or imply that she judges that it’s an accurate portrayal.

    On the contrary, the next paragraph of her article says, to me anyway, that she will reveal her opinion of these museums’ portrayals “over the next few weeks.”

    “What interested me most about the prison, and will continue to interest me throughout my stay in Vietnam, is the stark contrast between how as a U.S. student I learned about the war in Vietnam and how the “American War” will be portrayed in museums throughout the country. Stay tuned for a column on the museums in Ho Chi Minh City within the next few weeks, where the majority of American War museums are located.”

    She’s just a kid and maybe didn’t choose her words well enough to suit you. I don’t think she meant what you guys are saying she meant, and you’re piling on her like a bunch of thugs:

    “stupid is still stupid”
    “arrogant and ignorant”
    “Total fuking retard”

    All of this nasty, anonymous, vituperative venom directed at a schoolgirl who maybe isn’t expressing herself all that well? You ought to be ashamed of yourselves!

    Or, at the very least, “stay tuned” as she suggests and allow her to clarify herself in the future column that she promises.

    • christopherfountain

      ANON, I do realize she’s still a kid (albeit a college graduate) and that’s why I was so restrained. But unlike you, I don’t expect her “clarification” to be any better. She’s going to need 20 years of self-education to get there after her indoctrination at U Del.

  7. GWChase

    Great writing – accurate reporting! Quick – get her resume to the New York Times!
    (POW – MIA think about them!)

  8. prosperityfollowsdynamite

    I really think that you are being too kind. This woman is an idiot. Her kind is all too familiar-willing to travel(re: vacation) half way around the world in an attempt to find herself, slum with the locals in a quest to find nobility in a misery and poverty she will never have to experience yet unwilling to do any intellectual heavy lifting. She should go back to whatever college she attended and ask for a refund and then crack a book to learn some real history. She reminds me of a twentysomething ardent Obama supporter I met during the last election. His comment: “Like what’s up with McCain’s arms man, why is someone always reachin up to pull down the microphone for him?”

  9. XYount

    CF, you call that restrained? I’m with Anonymous on this one. The rest of you are like hyenas at a kill.

    There’s nothing erroneous about what this young traveler reports. She plainly declares the museum’s biased account, and how it jars with the one she was taught. She also has limited newspaper space in which to convey her impressions.

    What thrill do you get being so harsh, CF? How would you feel if your readers gave the same treatment to your daughter blogging about insect bites? Obviously, that’s not going to happen when sycophants like the above are chiming in.

    Seriously, CF, are you aware you’re sounding nastier and nastier every day?

    • christopherfountain

      22 is old enough to think – and failure to do so should yield a harsh response. Good Lord, I received (and deserved) far worse studying under some of my professors and somehow survived. Besides, complaining about insect bites isn’t quite on the same level as praising commie torturers, do you think? And if you do, well then, you’re just wrong – period.

  10. anonymous

    totally off subject, but this all reminds me of a discussion i had with my sister, a brilliant liberal PHD student. She tends to befriend people that have dropped out of college, that can’t hold down a job, have children out of wedlock, smoke a lot of pot, and kind of wander aimlessly from place to place. In fact, she was very impressed with a guy she met that was a “squatter”. (are you kidding me?)

    In any case, we were talking about healthcare, and she went off on an idealistic speech about how “all her friends really want health care”, and how they are victims bc they don’t have it. I then asked her, would they be willing to pay anything at all for healthcare? Or do they just want free healthcare at other’s expense who are actually willing to hold down a job? Because I seriously doubt that even if our government offered them healthcare for $50/month, that they would ante up. They would use that money for pot or concert tickets, but they would in now way use that money for healthcare.

    I don’t get how people sit around so anti-USA, and think they are entitled to things like free healthcare. Who is going to pay for that? If you don’t work, you think others should work hard to pay your share? What is it with these academics that they want to constantly make lazy unmotivated people into victims? GET A JOB. DO SOMETHING. STOP COMPLAINING AND GROW UP.

    anyhow, just a thought.

  11. Stanwich

    Her writing and viewpoint are so unoriginal it is painful. I can smell the Howard Zyn in her words.

    If she is a typical little over-achiever she can look forward to a pathetic, non-productive “career” at some think tank, esoteric journal, or maybe even an activist group.

  12. Arouet

    Guys. Think about it. Any time you tour a war museum you get the narrative favored by those who finance the site. You expect a war museum in Vietnam to dislay an American viewpoint—and yet you call this young girl naive? History is written by the sponsors.

  13. out looking in

    Pathetic writer…..Dumb Ass Community College grad no doubt (or perhaps harvard)…

  14. Sarah

    Eesh Dadio, a little harsh don’t you think?