Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), a Vietnam War veteran and former POW, went on Fox News last night and gave credence to bogus claims that the Department of Veterans Affairs has been pushing a pamphlet that encourages disabled vets to commit suicide.
In the video below (start at about 5:20), Sean Hannity tells McCain that the pamphlet, "basically says, well, you know, you don't want to be a burden to society, to your family. Is that the kind of 'death panel' that maybe people were afraid of when they read pages 425 to 430 of the House bill?"
"Yes," McCain said. "But I think they're also concerned because they're well-read ... They know whats happening in other countries where there's a rationing of health care. ... I think it's not just that, it's the example of government-run care in other countries. America is not ready for that."
The "death book" meme appeared last week when a former Bush official wrote an op-ed claiming that the VA was pushing disabled veterans to commit suicide. The book, "Your Life, Your Choices," is information on making an advance directive, such as a living will or power of attorney.
The Obama administration hit back a few days later, explaining that the pamphlet in question was pulled for revision in 2007 and is no longer in use, over concerns that parts were "too negative." But the book, of course, never advocates suicide or euthanasia; it lays out questions to think about when planning for end-of-life care.
The outrageous claims have been giving credence by other conservatives, including Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele.