By HDN staff
"Krauts," "Nips" and "Gooks" are all words used by American soldiers referring to the enemy during times of war. Atrocities of war either on the giving or receiving end are never easy to forget and sometimes even harder to forgive.
Republican Presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, who also happens to be a survivor of the Vietnam War, is taking heat for continuing to refer to his North Vietnamese captors as "Gooks" while on the campaign trail.
McCain, a decorated Vietnam War hero, survived to return from the fabled "Hanoi Hilton" to serve his country as a congressman. Now the Arizona senator wants the American public to make him the leader of the largest free nation in the world.
But many Asian-American groups are calling for McCain to apologize.
McCain has already apologized to anyone who is offended by his use of the word "Gook." But the senator said he has his reasons for referring to his captors with the offensive term.
But the validity of my statement, as I said, it was applied to a small group of sadists and murderers and the kindest word I could use about them was that," McCain said in a recent Associated Press story. "The rest of them (words) are not fit for family reading.''
Other recent racists comments have been making headlines.
Montana's own Sen. Conrad Burns has been known to make racist comments and recently insulted a female who was wearing a nose ring. The Republican congressman asked the woman what tribe she belonged to after seeing her with her nose ring. A Burns spokesman apologized and said the Senator was only joking.
Then there is the John Rocker story as baseball's spring training gets underway in sunny Arizona and Florida.
There is no excuse for what Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker said in a recent Sports Illustrated.
The hot-headed reliever for the Atlanta Braves made several racist statements regarding New Yorkers in a recent Sports Illustrated article. There is no excuse for what Rocker, who is a role model for many youth, said about minorities and AIDS victims. Rocker, who was facing a long suspension from his trade, apologized for his comments. But his comments are still on the pages of SI.
We have no problem with an American soldier using the questionable terms during the heat of battle, but politicians and public figures like sports stars should be very cautious when the cameras are rolling.
We would caution all presidential candidates to be careful of insulting some of our worldly neighbors, too, especially from the high post at the White House.
We also wonder if the McCain controversy would be making headlines if the Republican presidential candidate had been a prisoner of war in a Russian death camp where his captors were white "Ruskies."