Adm. Stockdale in VP Debate has PTSD Flashback
Originally published in The Realist.
In his opening remarks to American's in the 1992 Vice Presidential Debates, the first words out of Admiral Stockdale's mouth was, "Who am I and what am I doing here?" Indeed!
Admiral James Stockdale, former U.S. Vice Presidential Candidate and (Vietnam) Prisoner Of War, owner of chestfulls of medals, badges and other military hardware, among them several Distinguished Flying Crosses and the coveted Congressional Medal of Honor, single-handedly, while in solidarity confinement, handcuffed and in leg irons, prolonged the war in Viet Nam. His heroism deserves billing alongside the likes of LBJ, Nixon, and Westmoreland.
Here's how he did it:
In early August 1964, Commander Stockdale was a "command officer" stationed aboard a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Tonkin Gulf. It was in these waters, at this precise time that the alleged "shelling" of U.S. Naval Ships was supposed to have occurred. It never happened! This was the "Big Lie," the basis for the infamous Tonkin Gulf Resolution which was immediately dildoed through a Congress by "How Many Kids Did You Kill Today" LBJ.
The Tonkin Gulf Resolution authorized the Executive Branch to use armed aggression, i.e. America's advanced weapons systems and it's youth, against the people of Viet Nam. Both nations are still paying for this war.
Commander Stockdale, was privy to the knowledge that there was no attack on U.S. forces or any other kind of aggression on the part of the Vietnamese in the Tonkin Gulf that day, week or month. A year or so later, while on a bombing mission in the North, our hero was shot from the Vietnamese sky's and captured by the Viet Cong (sic).
Imagine, for a moment if you will, that some mighty alien was bombing your little town or village back to the 1960's version of the stone age. One day, you manage to shoot one of these monsters out of the sky and see the pilot's parachute floating towards you. What would you do when you caught up with the guy? Would you, in the old-fashioned American way, tear him limb from limb, proudly leaving bits of his body parts on every tree in the county? Or, would you have some rather rational questions to ask the dude?
It was on his first day as a Prisoner Of War of the Vietnamese (that's the people he was bombing, remember?) that a very much alive and without need of a hearing aid, Cmdr. Jim Stockdale, for the first of thousands and thousands of times, was to hear the original question he recently reworked and made famous throughout the land: "Who are you? What are you doing here?" was all his Vietnamese captors wanted to know!
Replying with nothing more than name, rank and serial number, he didn't provide significant answers then, even after being tortured, by his own account, fifteen times. Twenty-six years later he turned the question around to American voters but didn't say why he was here, or there. He can't blame it on his hearing aid being turned off.
Had Stockdale told the truth to his Vietnamese captors in 1965, Daniel Ellsberg's release of the Pentagon Papers six years later would have been redundant! Had the American people known in '65 what they had figured out by 1971, it may not have been Johnny refusing to go, but his parent's locking him in the house! Had he told the Vietnamese what they and most of the world already knew, construction workers in New York City may have thrown bricks at Nixon instead of their neighbor's children.
Admiral James Stockdale kept the war going while a POW by not telling the truth and received the Congressional Medal of Honor for perpetuating the Big Lie. He experienced hours of torture, in fact got to enjoy the carnal interplay with his captors and yet refused to divulge who he was and what he was doing there. Is there a relationship here between the reception of torture and the covering up of a lie?
LBJ and the military command structure invented, out of thin air, his reasons for being there. Nixon and Kissinger played it out until the Pentagon Papers were eventually published and the American people no longer believed in The Cause. The Clongressional Medal of Honor, the military's highest award went to a man who wouldn't tell the truth then or now. Imagine carrying out the lie to the extent that Americans believe he received these military honors for being honorable! A war hero indeed. What propaganda.
Who are you? What are you doing here Admiral Stockdale? We are not the NLF. Why doesn't he tell us the truth? Sadly, he must be so brainwashed by his conscience to the point where heroid delusions cause him to blame anti-war protestors, miltary veterans, Jane Fonda and a host of other ghosts. What unmitigated nerve! Instead of being tried under the Nuremberg Conventions for war crimes (illegal bombing of civilians, schools, hospitals, etc.) he is given the most prestigious of military honors by President Ford. What dishonor! Then the puppet's masters pull the stings and put him out front in the elections.
So now, twenty-six years later, when faced with stressful situations, it is all to easy for the Admiral to revert to what he has heard so often and blurt confusedly this question in the most inappropriate of circumstances, "Who am I? What am I doing here."
We've not been able to confirm if Ross Perot was able to inform him.