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Judi's avatar

What prisoners did we exchange for John McCain?

Asked by Judi (39784points) June 6th, 2014 from iPhone

When John McCain was released from Vietnam, who did we give back in order to free him? I know there was an exchange, I’m just curious what rank of prisoner we released.

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19 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Who knows.
But we know what you traded for hostages during the Iran Contra operation

August 20, 1985 – 96 TOW anti-tank missiles
September 14, 1985 – 408 more TOWs
November 24, 1985 – 18 Hawk anti-aircraft missiles
February 17, 1986 – 500 TOWs
February 27, 1986 – 500 TOWs
May 24, 1986 – 508 TOWs, 240 Hawk spare parts
August 4, 1986 – More Hawk spares
October 28, 1986 – 500 TOWs

That puts trading a few alleged terrorists in a different light, does it not?

jerv's avatar

@ragingloli That doesn’t count; it was a Republican administration.

Pachy's avatar

All of the rest of us Blues, who are prisoners tortured daily by his war-mongering and anti-Obama rantings.

filmfann's avatar

@ragingloli Reagan didn’t trade those weapons for hostages. He SOLD them to Iran, in exchange for the hostages. He then used that money to support right wing death squads in Central America, even though that was illegal.
It’s okay when Reagan violates the law, because he loved America. Obama is black, therefore a muslim socialist who is trying to tear down America. When he violates the law, or has the appearance of violating the law, that is impeachable.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

Anyone who would compare these two prisoners has to educate themselves on what happen to Mc Cain (who was a true war hero) and was tortured the whole five years during the war. He turned down being set free to stay until all his fellow soldiers were released.

I’m not even a very big Mc Cain fan, but to compare him with this soldier who was released recently for five high level terrorists is stupid beyond belief.

I debated attaching some links about P.O.W. John Mc Cain but decided why bother. Apparently this thread is meant to blame Republicans for telling the truth. BTW along with many Democrats who feel the same way about this recent release. carry on…..

educate yourselves before posting.

ragingloli's avatar

the moment mccain decided to stay, he was no longer a prisoner, but a collaborator.

filmfann's avatar

McCain came from a military family, but he was a total screw off. When he was captured, it was the result of his not taking his situation seriously. Even he has admitted this.
Yes, McCain was tortured. I suspect that Bergdahl has as well, though not as badly as McCain.
McCain approved of this swap 4 months ago. Now that it has happened, he has come out opposing it. This guy is a joke.

ucme's avatar

I thought Rambo got him outta there, “talk to me Johnny”

dappled_leaves's avatar

All I can find is that Nixon released “a number” of North Vietnamese prisoners of war when McCain was returned. I have the feeling no one would even have bothered to report the names in those times. We didn’t have the endless cycles of cable news time to fill with details like this. Nor would anyone have particularly cared who those prisoners were or what they had done, specifically.

But of course there was an exchange. Americans don’t leave prisoners of war in the hands of their captors if they can help it. Republicans know this, which is why they were originally for the exchange until FoxNews told them not to be.

jerv's avatar

@dappled_leaves As an aside, another side effect of “endless cycles of cable news time” and the Information Age is that people are suddenly aware of (and outraged by) things that were previously ignored, while crimes that are actually on the decline (kidnapping, pedophilia…) are made to seem like new and growing epidemics. Bad things have always happened, it’s just that few noticed or cared until recent years with their advances in information dissemination.

Judi's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat, McCain never should have been in the air. He had pilot error accidents that would have grounded any other pilot. Because of his powerful father he was allowed to continue flying. He was an entitled brat and had no business flying the day he was shot down.
The circumstances of Burghdal“a capture have yet to be adjudicated. We have not heard his side of the story. Hopefully this IS America and he is innocent until proven guilty. Even if he proves to be a deserter, we still had a responsibility to get him back.
My take after listening to an interview by a soldier he served with was that he was a sheltered homeschooled kid who went to Afghanistan seeing himself more like a missionary going to help the Afghan people. When he realized the horrors of war he thought he could just walk away. It would still make him a deserter but I see the sad, almost suicidal kid feeling lied to his whole life.
If he thought what we were doing was horrific I’m sure he got a wake up call when the Taliban hot a hold of him.
Still, the truth about everything WILL come out. Everything now is just speculation. We still had a responsibility to get him home and when wars end we always exchange prisoners.

Jaxk's avatar

There are several issues here that seem to get all jumbled together in order to create a partisan argument. I don’t know who or even if POWs were swapped for McCain. I feel fairly confident that if there was a swap it was for POWs. I’m not sure that’s the case here. The five Taiiban were criminals. Obama wanted to prosecute them in NY and the Republicans wanted them prosecuted in a military tribunal. Either way they were to be prosecuted for war crimes. Prisoners of war don’t get prosecuted. So we traded 5 high level war criminals/terrorists for Bergdahl. Honestly I would have done the deal but I would have been conflicted about it. The desertion is a separate issue. It may turn out that we brought him back just to shoot him for desertion but we still needed to bring him back.

I hear a lot of folks arguing that we shouldn’t rush to judgement on this guy. Unfortunately, that is what Susan rice did when she said he served with Honor and Distinction. It is also what Obama did when he held that Rose Garden press conference. I wont even bring up the times Obama has done this like with Zimmerman and the Cambridge police. And finally you have the issue of the law. Hell Obama signed it so he can’t even blame anyone else for it. Simply put, he broke the law by not notifying congress. That’s a crime, an impeachable crime.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I agree with what @BeenThereSaidThat said above. Regardless of what McCain became after the war, after becoming ultra-conservative Barry Goldwater’s protege, he did stay with his comrades. He was never traded for NVA or VC prisoners. He was released as a result of the 1973 Paris Peace Accords. If he was exchanged, it was for territory gained by the NVA/VC as a result of those accords (the territorial control that allowed the North to launch their final offensive two years later that ended the war in American defeat). McCain still refused to leave. McCain had to be ordered home by an admiral close to his father, who was also an admiral.

Regardless of how I felt about this war or the man McCain has chosen to become, he was the type man I want in our military services.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk Quite so. But every President has committed impeachable offenses, so being POTUS pretty much means that half the nation with want to lynch you merely for winning the election.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

We didn’t. He was released in one of the large groups of releases toward the end of the war. There was no exchange for him the way I understand it.

Judi's avatar

I found plenty of articles saying there was an exchange, just none saying what prisoners we gave up to get him.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Mccain was released 3–14-73 as part of the 1–14 cease fire agreement.

The New York Times 3–15-73.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

This is a bit off subject, but this is in social, so I guess it’s OK. The article was interesting as it confirmed how I remembered this release going down. The reporter mentions a guy named Bobby Joe Keesee. About a week before the release, it became known that there was an American civilian being held on criminal charges in a separate part of the prison from the rest of the POWs. Initially, he wasn’t going to be released because the deal didn’t include civilian criminals, but the other prisoners insisted Keesee be released once they became aware of his existence.

Supposedly Keesee had gone to Thailand as an American civilian a couple of years before and rented a plane from a small air transport company owned by a Thai prince on the premise that he wanted to fly around scouting out film locations. He flew directly to North Vietnam, ran out of fuel and was forced to land on a beach just south of Hanoi. Thus he was captured. He had been in captivity for a little more than two years when he was released along with the others on the McCain flight. Immediately upon landing at Clark Air Base he is sequestered by a State Department Official.

Turns out Keesee was a Korean War vet: bronze star, purple heart. After the Vietnam War, in separate incidents, he was involved in an assassination attempt on the president of Mexico, was accused of kidnapping and conspiring to kill a U.S. diplomat, he hijacked another plane to Cuba, was arrested for posing as a CIA agent, arrested for posing as a FEMA official, and has been involved in a plethora of other international crime and scams.

Finally, in the late 1990’s, he meets a guy from Lake Havasu City, AZ., to buy his plane. Days later the plane is found abandoned with a pool of blood in the rear seat with Keesee and his wife Hildgund, a former East German national, gone missing. In 2000, Keesee was convicted on charges of air piracy and murdering the owner of the plane and received two life sentences to be spent in Federal facilities.

Wierd. There’s no Wikipedia on this guy, but he is all over the net, tucked away as a footnote in little niche databases, like the POW Network, etc.. I’ve never heard of him before. He was either another Sydney Riley, or just really off the bloody leash. How did he excape prison for so long if he was just another nutcase? Fascinating.

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