McCain outlined war views in 1974 paper

June 15, 2008 at 5:50 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 15 (UPI) -- GOP presidential hopeful John McCain wrote in a 1974 essay that he believed in the United States' Vietnam War policies, the recently released paper reveals.

The New York Times reported Sunday that the Republican U.S. senator from Arizona submitted the 40-page treatise to the National War College. In it, McCain, a former Vietnam prisoner of war, wrote about why he thought some of his fellow prisoners decided to collaborate with the North Vietnamese?

"The biggest factor in a man's ability to perform credibly as a prisoner of war is a strong belief in the correctness of his nation's foreign policy," McCain wrote. He said prisoners who questioned "the legality of the war" were "extremely easy marks for Communist propaganda."

McCain said Americans forces captured after 1968 were more susceptible to North Vietnamese pressure because they "had been exposed to the divisive forces which had come into focus as a result of the antiwar movement in the United States."

Asked if he still held the views expressed in the paper, McCain said he still believed the anti-war movement had hurt the morale of some prisoners. But the vast majority "performed their duty with courage and resolve irrespective of how controversy about the war influenced their view of it," he added.

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