In a tense exchange with protesters at today’s (1/29/150 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Sen. John McCain had harsh words for the hecklers who chanted maligning remarks against former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
Kissinger served as Secretary of State during the Vietnam war years, and worked tirelessly to secure the release of the many American POWs who were held captive in North Vietnam. As the war was winding down, the Vietnamese were looking for an opportunity to show “good faith” by releasing McCain (the son of a high profile US Admiral) ahead of all the other POWs.
In reality, it was nothing more than a propaganda scheme on the part of the Vietnamese. Either way, McCain flatly refused early release, saying that he would take no special favors at the expense of his fellow prisoners. Kissinger equally refused special favor for McCain.
As NEWSMAX reported back in 2013:
McCain had steadfastly refused to be released early, though the north Vietnamese hoped to score points by doing so after learning his father was to be promoted to admiral.”
"After a while, my honor, which in that situation was entirely invested in my relations and the reputation I had with my fellow POWs, became not just my most cherished possession, it was my only possession," McCain said. "I had nothing else left.
"When Henry came to Hanoi to conclude the agreement that would end America’s war in Vietnam, the Vietnamese told him they would send me home with him," McCain said. "He refused the offer. 'Commander McCain will return in the same order as the others,' he told them."
Kissinger knew McCain's early release would be seen as favoritism to his father and a violation of the code of conduct which required POWs be released in the same order in which they were taken, McCain said in his toast.
"By rejecting this last attempt to suborn a dereliction of duty, Henry saved my reputation, my honor, my life, really. And I’ve owed him a debt ever since."
After verbally lashing the protesters at Thursday’s meeting, McCain turned his comments to Secretary Kissinger to once again thank him for guarding his honor and securing his legacy of sacrifice for country and fellow POWs.
McCain was unwilling to lessen his own suffering by placing himself ahead of any other or by leaving any man behind.
There is great honor is sacrifice. Yet that honor can be quickly depleted when one is not willing to go the distance.
Imagine, if Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane had insisted that God remove the cup of suffering from Him and deliver Him from the hands of His captors?
What if, on the cross as the the crowds mocked Him to save Himself, He had gone ahead and called upon “ten thousand angels” to rescue Him?
What if, after crying out Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani He then said, “Ah, the heck with this, I’m outta here,” leaving the thief on the cross behind to fend for himself?
Jesus never considered Himself "too good" for all this suffering. "Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal's death on a cross" (Philippians 2:6-8, NLT).
Because of His great humility and willingness to go the distance we now cry out with the holy angels, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain—to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing." (Revelation 5:12).
“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit” (1 Peter 3:18, NASB).