From the nightmare world

I was looking right at the Ohio delegation sitting in front of the stage as Governor Palin saluted Tom Moe in her speech last night. Moe himself is a member of the Ohio delegation. Moe’s colleagues in the Ohio delegation jumped out of their seats when Moe’s name was mentioned. It was a moving moment.

Governor Palin referred to “the nightmare world” in which John McCain and his fellow POWs served the United States, and then invoked Moe’s recollections:

A fellow prisoner of war, a man named Tom Moe of Lancaster, Ohio, recalls looking through a pin-hole in his cell door as Lieutenant Commander John McCain was led down the hallway, by the guards, day after day.

As the story is told, “When McCain shuffled back from torturous interrogations, he would turn toward Moe’s door and flash a grin and thumbs up” – as if to say, “We’re going to pull through this.” My fellow Americans, that is the kind of man America needs to see us through these next four years.

(The passage occurs at about 37:00 of the video posted with the text of Governor Palin’s speech.) Earlier this year the Dayton Daily News caught up with Moe in articles here and here. The second of the two articles describes the conditions of Moe’s detention:

Moe was forced to huddle on a stool in the same position 24 hours a day for 10 straight days. Guards stuffed a rag into his mouth, draped another rag over his mouth and slowly poured water onto his face until he thrashed in panic and passed out. They shackled him so tightly his arms turned black. They beat him so badly his kidneys shut down, ribs cracked and eyes swelled shut. Six feet tall, his weight dipped below 100 pounds.

Moe spent nine months without seeing, hearing or talking to another American. He lived in a 6-foot by about 4-foot concrete cell. In his head, he made lists, designed homes, derived mathematical formulas, reviewed the German he had learned in college. Anything to pass the time.

“Nightmare world” captures it perfectly.

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