For the second consecutive presidential election, a candidate's war record has come under fire from those who served with him. This time, however, it is the Republican candidate who will have to answer serious charges about how he really spent the war.
The charges, which are dubbed "Swift Boat 2: The Revenge" after the scandal that sunk John Kerry's presidential bid in 2004, have been circulating for weeks in the blogosphere but have recently caught nationwide traction following advanced publication of excerpts from a damning book titled "Industrial Light and McCainiacs: the Real Story of the Hanoi Hilton."
Written by noted POW expert Colonel Robert E. Hogan, the book is set to be published in September just after the conventions. The book was slated for publication much earlier but was derailed by the untimely death of Hogan in what some have called a government hit job calculated to look like an ordinary death by influenza and falling down stairs onto several knives and at least three bullets.
Hogan's book alleges that McCain's captivity was actually fabricated by the US government in order to create "the perfect political candidate to prevent any outsiders from ever challenging the establishment and taking the presidency." This candidate, John McCain, would only be used in very limited circumstances, such as the accession of a minority to the presidency or the potential return of liberalism, which the government previously prevented by the assassination of the Kennedy twins.
Hogan's research showed that McCain and his captors, rather than being held in the steamy jungles near Hanoi , were in fact captive on the island of Molokai . While the other prisoners believed they were in a Vietnamese prison, McCain knew the truth, and his long periods in "solitary" were actually spent reading and playing ping-pong in the Officer's Mess.
Many have speculated that this is why he recently stole a Soltzenietsen anecdote as his own, and that his limp is due to slipping on a shuffleboard disc, which, unlike most normal people, he was a fan of long before he became an elderly person.
The retired army Colonel also provides a photograph showing that the head jailer of the reputed prison was, in fact, played by Pat Morita. The photo was declared "true and accurate" by an independent research company, Mapes/Rather Investigative Services.
"The worst injury John McCain suffered in the war was tennis elbow," said a spokesman for the book. "Colonel Hogan proved this, and that's the reason that the government had him killed. But the truth must out, so we're doing our part to let people know what kind of vile man John McCain really is."
But not everyone is convinced. Right-wing sites have been spreading misinformation about the book, particularly by defaming its author. "Everybody knows that Hogan was a pervert," said one angry commenter on the right-wing hate site CNN.com. "He caught bird flu at a chicken orgy and was convicted six times of public indecency with farm animals!"
Democratic Chairman Howard Dean emerged from hiding, where he was hoping the election would not collapse into failure and prove his incompetence, to demand that McCain address the charges. "John McCain needs to come clean with the American people and prove that he didn't actually spend those years in captivity in Hawaii and that there's no gigantic, secret conspiracy that has destroyed every shred of evidence to the contrary. If he can't do that, then he's not fit to lead this country."
Barack Obama, the probable Democratic nominee for president, called the issue "a distraction from the real issues" and called on McCain to "answer them fully and completely with corroborating evidence and faultless timelines so we can focus on debating the future of this nation."