Do We Forgive John McCain?
“I’ll call, right now, my interrogator that tortured me and my friends a `gook,’ OK, and you can quote me,” McCain said (in October of 1999). Adding that all his fellow prisoners of war used the same term, McCain said his tormentors “were cruel, mean, vicious, sometimes sadistic people. And `gook’ is the kindest description I can give them, the most printable.”
Then, after taking a two-minute phone call, McCain returned to the subject unprompted: “I hated the gooks,” he said. “And I will hate them for as long as I live.”
He did apologize the following February:
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“For 5 1/2 years, I was mistreated by Ho Chi Minh’s henchmen. My fellow prisoners were treated even worse,” McCain said in his statement. “Although I will never forgive my prison guards for the atrocities they committed against my cellmates, I have always held the people of Vietnam in the highest regard and have worked in support of the Vietnamese-American community in this country at every opportunity.
“I will continue to condemn those who unfairly mistreated us. But out of respect to a great number of people whom I hold in very high regard, I will no longer use the term that has caused such discomfort.
I deeply regret any pain I may have caused by my choice of words. I apologize and renounce all language that is bigoted and offensive, which is contrary to all that I represent and believe,” McCain said.
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