Setting the record straight on Bud Day, and CNN

CNN’s limited description of Col. Bud Day as a former member of the Swift Boat Veterans prompted Greyhawk to review the record. I knew from reading John McCain’s Faith of My Fathers that McCain shared a cell with Col. Day during part of their captivity in North Vietnam. I also knew that McCain’s experience with Col. Day forged a bond closer than blood. But I had forgotten just about everything else about Bud Day, including the fact that he is a recipient of the Medal of Honor and is America’s most highly decorated veteran. Please take the time to check Greyhawk’s post together with its several links (and don’t miss Carl Cameron’s interview with Col. Day here).

Karl Rove met up with Col. Day in April and related this story in a subsequent Wall Street Journal column. Day escaped his original detention in North Vietnam, but was recaptured. Upon recapture, the North Vietnamese conveyed a harsh message:

When he was recaptured, a Vietnamese captor broke his arm and said, “I told you I would make you a cripple.”

The break was designed to shatter Mr. Day’s will. He had survived in prison on the hope that one day he would return to the United States and be able to fly again. To kill that hope, the Vietnamese left part of a bone sticking out of his arm, and put him in a misshapen cast. This was done so that the arm would heal at “a goofy angle,” as Mr. Day explained. Had it done so, he never would have flown again.

But it didn’t heal that way because of John McCain. Risking severe punishment, Messrs. McCain and Day collected pieces of bamboo in the prison courtyard to use as a splint. Mr. McCain put Mr. Day on the floor of their cell and, using his foot, jerked the broken bone into place. Then, using strips from the bandage on his own wounded leg and the bamboo, he put Mr. Day’s splint in place.

Years later, Air Force surgeons examined Mr. Day and complimented the treatment he’d gotten from his captors. Mr. Day corrected them. It was Dr. McCain who deserved the credit. Mr. Day went on to fly again.

(Day discusses this episode briefly at the end of Carl Cameron’s interview.)

When Glenn Reynolds linked to Greyhawk’s post, he flagged it with the comment “some things about Bud Day that don’t make CNN.” CNN was simply telegraphing everything liberals need to know about Col. Day given his support for the McCain campaign. Glenn’s comment in turn elicited this message from Bill Ardolino:

Saw your post on Bud Day. I just happened to finish his biography written by Robert Coram, and all I can say is “wow” and “highly recommended.”

The man was beaten with a rubber strip hours at a time for months during the summer of 1969, and he never gave up any info about his unit to the North Vietnamese. He once ejected from an exploding jet, his parachute failed to deploy, and he lived. And that’s the tip of the iceberg; the story of his life is so incredible, it’s almost hard to believe.

Coincidentally, Victor Davis Hanson elaborates on the role that CNN is playing in the presidential campaign. He reports:

I was watching a rerun of the Anderson Cooper biographical documentaries of McCain and Obama. In the McCain piece here’s what I think we got in the end: Cindy McCain’s a former drug addict, a stroke victim, and fought false rumors their adopted child was an illegitimate offspring of her husband’s liasons, and is the only-child of zillionaires; McCain was knee-deep in the Keating Five, took on and then caved to the Religious Right.

In contrast, in this National Enquirer-type approach, the Obamas were blessed from the beginning—no mention (as there should not have been) of Obama’s admitted drug use, his radical past, nothing about Michelle’s divisive speeches, Princeton thesis.

Result: here is the contrast, a 42 year old who lied about his age married a princess who lied about hers, then lived apart, and then she spiralled downward while he got caught in ethics problems and flip-flops; meanwhile the super couple were drug-free, hardly privileged, and have a true partnership based on their model parenting and meritocratic-based education excellence.

In short, not even the pretense of even-handedness.

As the case of Col. Day suggests, “not even the pretense of even-handedness” seems a bit of an understatement.

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