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Vietnam vets stirring up a McCain mutiny

Monday, August 25th 2008, 4:00 AM

Sen. John McCain commands support at many VFW halls across the country. But a squadron of Vietnam vets and POW/MIA advocates is strafing him with decidedly unfriendly fire.

Two-tour Green Beret Ted Sampley, who helped "Swift Boat" Democrat John Kerry in the 2004 presidential race, is now gunning for the GOP White House hopeful.

The organizer of Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain claims the Purple Heart-winning former POW has "never admitted the full extent to which he cooperated with his captors." Sampley also charges that, in the 1990s, the "unstable" McCain, whom he calls "the Manchurian Candidate," ignored "credible evidence" that American POWs were still alive in Southeast Asia.

"He wanted to normalize relations with Vietnam," Sampley tells us. "He took away the only leverage we had for getting those soldiers back. Why? He was paying back the Vietnamese for keeping quiet about him."

McCain has called Sampley a profiteering "enemy of the truth" and "one of the most despicable people I have ever had the misfortune to encounter." (Sampley was jailed after beating up McCain aide Mark Salter outside McCain's Senate office in 1992.)

Though he's no fan of Barack Obama, Sampley says Fox News producers haven't invited him on to bash McCain the way he bashed Kerry. But Sampley is finding other comrades. Former POW Phillip Butler asserts that McCain "allows the media to make him out to be the hero POW, which he knows is absolutely not true."

Former GOP Congressmen Bill Hendon and John LeBoutillier, who both served on the House Task Force on POW/MIA Affairs, write on Sampley's U.S. Veteran Dispatch that McCain "abandoned American POWs."

"He's totally dishonest," says LeBoutillier, who contends that, to win over the religious right, McCain "cribbed" his recent memory of a kindly guard leaving "a cross in the dirt" from Jeremiah Denton, another POW-turned-senator who told a similar story.


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The repubs ate it up about Kerry so they shouldn't question the guys credibility now, should they?

No more than Democrats who decried these same tactics four years ago should now cozy up with this guy.

But by all means, keep thinking that there is actually any tangible difference between the two parties and the lengths that they will go to win.

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these are not real soldiers!!! people never talk to real soldiers!! they like to pull these phony soldiers that come up out of the blue & talk to liberal driveby media attacking mccain!! if you talk to real soldiers they are proud of mccain!! they want to be over in iraq & they understand there sacrifice & they're willing to sacrifice in iraq for mccain!!! this guy obviously is phony soldier!!!

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