The Daily Mail: “Iran hostage Arthur Batchelor’s admission that he cried himself to sleep after his captors likened him to Mr Bean and stole his iPod was scorned as a national embarrassment. Yet just days after a barrage of criticism for selling his story, the 20-year-old reveals just how little he has learned from the whole debacle. This picture shows the Operator Mechanic staging a tasteless re-enactment of his 13 days in captivity as he celebrates his home-coming in a Plymouth nightclub. He laughs as he pretends to be held at gunpoint, his ordeal – and his fellow servicemen’s vitriolic response to his behaviour – seemingly a long way from his mind.”
New York Sun via Power Line: “The Medal of Honor, which is impossible to alloy, is usually awarded for acts that disclose the courage of an individual in a few split seconds – in the time it takes to save the lives of one’s comrades by throwing oneself on a grenade, say, or by leaping from a foxhole to attack an enemy machine-gun nest. Such medals are worth no less for the fact that the character that won them was glimpsed in an instant.
Admiral Stockdale’s courage, however, was disclosed over and over again, and was sustained for the entire span of the seven and a half years he spent in the infamous prison known as the Hanoi Hilton and other dungeons, where he was held four years in solitary confinement and two with his legs clamped in irons. He was a prisoner of one of the most savage enemies America has ever fought. It was Stockdale who invented the code prisoners used to communicate, and he told other prisoners, as Los Angeles Times put it, to defy their captors at every turn and never act like helpless captives.
The Medal of Honor citation refers to Stockdale’s efforts at “self-disfiguration to dissuade his captors from exploiting him for propaganda purposes.” In plain English, what he did was use a wooden stool to beat his face to a pulp so he couldn’t be used in an enemy film. One reason that he is so admired by his fellow prisoners is that, when he inflicted what the citation calls “a near-mortal wound to his person in order to convince his captors of his willingness to give up his life rather than capitulate,” the enemy backed off in its torture and harassment of other Americans it was holding.
Which of these two would you rather have standing in the gap in the defence of your country, a little sniveling self server, or a man of moral character, selflessness and determination……?
I’ll choose the latter and give thanks for his long years of service, may he rest in peace. *L* KGS