The Unz Review • An Alternative Media Selection$
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 Philip Kraske Archive
U.S. P.O.W.s Abandoned in ’Nam
The Symbol of Political Rot
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • B
Show CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

As Ron Unz has noted occasionally in his columns, mainstream publications as one refused to publish Sidney Schanberg’s exposé on John McCain: his unsavory acts as a prisoner-of-war in Vietnam and his efforts to bury the evidence of P.O.W.s left behind after the war. A “parallel universe,” Unz called the article. It cut straight across the mainstream’s fawning narrative of presidential-candidate McCain the noble war hero. But the story of McCain and the evidence that many American prisoners were never returned from Vietnam, which Schanberg summarizes at the end of his article, is far more than a matter of media disregard. Doing research for a novella based on the abandoned-prisoners issue, I found that it concisely describes the incipient rot in American political culture.

The controversy about the left-behind P.O.W.s is decades old now, so here is a brief summary of it. The 1973 treaty that ended the Vietnam War declared in its Article 21 that America would pay war reparations to the Vietnamese. The amount, however, was left unstated. A letter from President Richard Nixon to North Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Van Dong specified that $3.25 billion would be paid by America up front, with an additional $1 billion to $1.5 billion to be paid later, depending on different conditions. (If the U.S. had ended up paying, say, $3.75 billion, that would be $21.88 billion today, roughly double the budget of the U.S. Commerce Department.) The Vietnamese accepted this letter as a binding commitment; the Yankees had a different idea. As Richard Holbrooke told a Senate committee about his 1977 meeting with the Vietnamese, “It was then that I realized that it was more than a negotiating ploy, that they really believed it…The Vietnamese believed the Kissinger-Nixon letter to have standing…Our position was simple:…That letter has no standing….it is an outrageous document…which should never have been sent.” Nixon’s letter was, in true Kissingeresque fashion, kept secret, and when it came to light after Watergate, Congress immediately passed a law saying that America would not pay Vietnam a nickel.

As with the French after the Indochina War, the Vietnamese held back P.O.W.s as hostages until their opponents paid up. The French did and got their men back. The Americans, surely telling themselves that they were made of tougher fiber, refused to pay ransom.

Schanberg’s article was dark stuff: McCain, son of an admiral, had received preferential treatment as a P.O.W., and even made a propaganda recording that was played over and over to prisoners. His guilt over this surely drove him, as senator, to head off the rumors about left-behind prisoners, broadly estimated at 300 to 1,200 men. (The North Vietnamese never published a list of prisoners.) His 1991 “McCain Bill” walled off all intelligence about remaining live P.O.W.s. And along with John Kerry, he stonewalled, ridiculed, and shouted down every line of investigation on the abandoned servicemen. Yet Schanberg’s article, produced as McCain was running for president, went straight on the spike: the Times, the Journal, the Post, all the major news magazines and even Mother Jones turned it down.

The mainstream media’s shunning of the P.O.W. issue probably explains why very few books have tried to penetrate the wall of ashamed silence around it. On, the non-fiction books I found could be counted on the fingers of one hand. And as to fiction, the leading light is the second chapter of the Rambo series: First Blood Part II. The 1985 film capitalized on years of sightings of bushy-bearded prisoners dressed in ragged fatigues – sightings largely by Vietnamese and Laotians then arriving in waves in America – and is worth examining for how, in true Hollywood fashion, it tries to tie off public interest in the subject.

The film is an empty, black-hat-white-hat shoot-’em-up bore that features Sylvester Stallone’s chiseled body and nobody-loves-me scowl. Its only admirable aspect is that much of the action was shot in a roaring downpour: herculean concentration must have been required to turn in a decent acting job. The plot has John Rambo sent back to post-war Vietnam, where he once fought the war as a soldier, and told to seek out and photograph – just photograph – a military camp where American P.O.W.s are allegedly being held. If he finds any, a team will be sent in to liberate them. But Rambo hasn’t built all those muscles just to click a shutter, and when he finds American prisoners, he grabs one in order to bring him back to the American base in Thailand. This angers Rambo’s commanders, who instead of picking him up, abandon him to the Vietnamese.

Yes, it turns out that Rambo’s real nemesis is not the communists – the same soldiers who stymied the American military, now reliably stupid – or the evil Russians that torture him, but Marshall Murdock, the intel agent in charge of the mission. He expects Rambo to find the Vietnamese base empty of prisoners so that he can assure “Congress” that no prisoners remain anywhere in the country; such is Hollywood logic. When Rambo complicates things, Murdock clashes with Colonel Trautman, Rambo’s mentor/commander:

Murdock: Who the hell do you think you’re talking to, Trautman?

Trautman: A stinkin’ bureaucrat who’s tryin to cover his ass!

Murdock: Oh Trautman, I still don’t think you understand what this is all about.

Trautman: The same as it always is! Money! In ’72 we were supposed to pay the Cong four-and-a-half billion in war reparations. We reneged, they kept the POWs… and you’re doing the same thing all over again.

Murdock: And what the hell would you do, Trautman? Pay blackmail money to ransom our own men and finance the war effort against our allies?Do you honestly think somebody’s gonna get up on the floor of the United States Senate and ask for billions of dollars for a couple of forgotten ghosts?

To Murdock’s embarrassment, ultimately Rambo does return to Thailand with some half-dozen P.O.W.s, and the movie ends. Spectators are to finish their popcorn, shake their heads over the perfidy of that “stinkin’ bureaucrat,” and head for the exit. According to, the film grossed 301 million dollars.

The curtain fell, however, just when things got interesting. Does this mean “the United States Senate” wouldn’t spend good money to get its men back? By every account, Washington’s largesse is unlimited where our fighting men are concerned. And what about Rambo’s half-dozen rescuees? Surely someone might notice their returns to Peoria and Podunk, and wonder if there might be more prisoners. Let’s take these two questions in order.

Getting our men back? What men?

The U.S Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, created in 1991, was Congress’ second attempt to deal with the clamor from families of P.O.W.s and M.I.A.s. The committee consisted of two members (Senators Bob Smith and Chuck Grassley) determined to find live prisoners and bring them back from Vietnam, and ten who wanted the issue buried forever. John McCain and its chairman John Kerry led the latter group.

Elizabeth A. Stewart and the late Congressman Bill Hendon, in their book An Enormous Crime, provide a bitter blow-by-blow description of how the committee methodically dispensed with all evidence that American prisoners were still alive in Vietnam, some of which was mentioned by Schanberg in his article. Here’s a greatest-hits list of the committee’s hypocrisy:

  • Hundreds of meticulously-vetted sightings and satellite imagery of P.O.W.s and prison camps were compiled by Hendon and two other staff investigators. Along with the other committee members, Kerry listened to their presentation and said that anyone who drew conclusions from it “ought to have his head examined.” He then ordered all copies of the report collected and burned, and sent his top aide to be sure that investigators deleted all their research from their computers.
  • In Hanoi, Kerry dramatically announced a “surprise inspection” of Bang Liet Prison, then sat down for lunch; you can’t inspect a prison on an empty stomach. When he and the rest of the committee arrived, they found no Americans. It later emerged that Kerry had actually arranged the inspection with the Vietnamese the day before.
  • Messages carved on the land in giant letters – “USA,” identification codes and distress signals – were dismissed by DIA analysts as “shadows and vegetation” or “furrows.” When one analyst stated that they were authentic, he was replaced with a more pliable one.
  • A Secret Service agent overheard President Ronald Reagan, Vice President George H.W. Bush, CIA director William Casey, and National Security Adviser Richard Allen discussing a 1981 offer from the Vietnamese: a cool $4 billion dollars for the remaining prisoners. (Reagan was sympathetic.) Years later, the Secret Service man contacted the committee investigators and offered to testify if subpoenaed. Kerry and McCain lobbied hard against this, though when they saw that they had plenty of votes to defeat it, Kerry voted in favor. Senator Bob Smith thundered, “This is just one more instance in which this committee…has caved in to the desires of the executive branch it was established to investigate.”
  • All types of evidence – satellite photos, witnesses, architectural plans – pointed to a P.O.W. prison under the plaza in front of the newly-built Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. What better place to house the trophies of victory? Kerry and Bob Smith were allowed access to the underground facility, or at least to its antechamber, full of pipes and generators; the Vietnamese, according to Smith, would not let them through any of the doors there. Kerry later declared that they had gone through “tunnels and catacombs” to no avail. Smith said they had done no such thing.

So the committee’s final report stated that no prisoners remained alive, with the exception of a few deserters and perhaps a handful of prisoners held here and there in jungle stockades that Hanoi was unaware of. The Clinton Administration’s emphasis shifted definitively from live prisoners to the search for soldier remains. Neither Kerry nor McCain paid a political price for their conniving. Having proven their realpolitik bona fides, both men went on to become presidential candidates. Burying the P.O.W.s was a true team effort on the part of the political class, the media, the intelligence agencies, and the Pentagon.

And what happens if someone does escape from Vietnam?

As to the film’s other can of worms, the returning prisoners, history offers only one clue as to what might happen to them. In 1979, Marine Private Robert Garwood slipped a note to a European in an international hotel in Hanoi and became the only P.O.W. to ever escape post-war Vietnam. He had been a prisoner for fourteen years. Early on in his captivity, a veteran prisoner had taken him under his wing and taught him to speak Vietnamese; taught him how to take care of himself in the jungle prisons; and taught him the basic rule of prison life: either you made yourself useful to the Vietnamese, or they let you die. Conditions were horrific: the veteran prisoner ended up beaten to death by the guards for an infraction of the rules.

In his years in Vietnam, Garwood had seen other prisoners post-war – some two hundred, he estimates – and that made his return dangerous to the American ruling elite. So he was arrested the moment he boarded a flight for the U.S. and charged with desertion and collaboration with the enemy. He was court-marshaled and ultimately drummed out of the service with a dishonorable discharge, losing fourteen years of back pay. The point was to discredit him so that anything he had to say about remaining P.O.W.s would be dismissed. And it worked. His information about prisoner sightings served mostly as background corroboration. Even today, any Internet comment about Garwood inevitably attracts someone who trashes his reputation, as it will here.

Conclusion: The real root of the cover-up

It was obvious why Sidney Schanberg’s article was ignored: the whole Deep State had put its shoulder to “disappearing” the left-behind P.O.W.s, and in the most notoriously Soviet style. But why? Why so much resistance to paying Vietnam the pledged money? One reason was clearly the principle of not paying “ransom,” about which there was a lot of righteous talk around Washington: “We do not believe that American foreign policy should be shaped by the holding of hostages,” Kissinger solemnly told a group of governors. Another reason, as the “stinkin’ bureaucrat” said, was that the money would “finance the war effort against our allies,” though it’s unlikely that the Vietnamese, their country a shambles, would have shared the joy among brother communists. But this realpolitik sounded very cool, very adult, and it’s surely what everyone grumbled in the Pentagon cafeteria.

But as I surveyed the dirty dealing of the intel establishment, politicians, media barons and mid-level department heads, all fighting like hell to disbelieve the obvious and keep evidence under wraps, it was clear that something else lay behind their collective animus: shame, which after the war wafted like a rotten eggs throughout the Washington elite. A poor semi-medieval nation had driven the United States to the bargaining table and made it grovel. The defeat humbled their understanding of progress, their model of society, their idea of power, their very status as elites.

For even the citizenry turned its back on them. Everyday Americans hadn’t cared about losing; they’d just wanted the war ended, with its ghastly body counts, napalmed children, raging protests, worry about their sons’ draft numbers, and unctuous Pentagon spokesmen defending the importance of defeating communism. American elites, who in their youth had defeated Hitler’s Wehrmacht, now bore humiliation both on the world stage and in the aisle of the supermarket.

And they wanted it behind them; they wanted Vietnam forgotten. They were sickened by the prospect of a steady trickle of returning P.O.W.s “miraculously” turned up by the Vietnamese, first a few hundred, then twelve here, twenty there – news stories of torture and mental traumas, families of the missing clamoring ever more shrilly: “Captain Joe said he saw my son Fred in a jungle camp in May or June 1969! You gotta find him!” To go through that, and pay billions for it? No, that was too much. As Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Armitage told Bill Hendon, “Look, Congressman, it’s over. These men serve at the pleasure of their commander-in-chief, and when he decides it’s time for them to come home, they’ll come home.”


So the Establishment abandoned its soldiers, set its face against the truth, and busied itself getting back at the Soviets in Afghanistan and “winning” the Cold War. Elites “moved on,” a term that once described hardy pioneers pushing west, and now serves as an excuse for the memory hole. They had no time for the hundreds of servicemen from Iowa, Texas and Maine, stifling under their straggly hair and beards, withering away year by hopeless year as macabre mementos of communist triumph. With Vietnam and its aftermath, the bond between rulers and ruled was broken. The abandoned P.O.W.s are a symbol of how empires are won and nations are lost.

• Category: History • Tags: Conspiracy Theories, McCain/POW, Vietnam War 
Hide 121 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. Malla says:

    I remember this guy’s interview whose Dad worked in US military Intelligence during the Vietnam War and he told his son after his retirement one day that “Communism is one big scam, the Vietnam War was all about drugs”. And it takes us to the French Empire itself and the Corsican mafia, Marseilles in Southern France is still big in this trade in Europe. About Operation Phoenix of the CIA, drugging of Vietnamese people as experiments and later pushing LSD on the American people / Western Europeans/ Australians by the CIA.

    • Agree: GomezAdddams, Biff
    • LOL: Ace
    • Replies: @SaneClownPosse
  2. It’s been well documented that the POW/MIA thing was cooked up by the Nixon-Kissinger White House to deflect attention from US war crimes, to discredit the antiwar movement, to bleed the enemy by prolonging the war, and finally to give the US an excuse to violate the terms of whatever peace treaty might finally be made. The accountability the US demanded of North Vietnam was simply impossible to comply with; for example, requiring them to explain the fate of sailors swept off the deck of an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea or to produce the remains of airmen blown to pieces in plane crashes. Franklin’s book M.I.A. or Mythmaking in America (Lawrence Hill, 1992) lays out the evidence of how the hoax was perpetrated; and it is still maintained for the most cynical political purposes.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
    , @Anonymous
    , @Getaclue
  3. Ron Unz says:

    It’s been well documented that the POW/MIA thing was cooked up by the Nixon-Kissinger White House…Franklin’s book M.I.A. or Mythmaking in America (Lawrence Hill, 1992) lays out the evidence of how the hoax was perpetrated; and it is still maintained for the most cynical political purposes.

    Actually, you’re entirely mistaken.

    I haven’t read Franklin’s book, but I did carefully read and analyze his 15,000 word cover-story in The Atlantic that summarized his analysis, and found it extremely unpersuasive, as I discussed here:

    Here are links to several other articles and columns discussing the POW/MIA issue that you might want to consider:

    • Thanks: Bubba, JimDandy, GMC, Rahan, michael888
    • Replies: @Ray Caruso
    , @David In TN
  4. Or maybe the war was about the opium from Burma to the coast and on to Marseille for refining. Why did the French hang in there? Why did Cohen In Action take over after Dien Bien Phu?

    Marine sniper Hathcock did a hit on “the French fag,” some Kurtz-like holdout deep in the jungle, a purported agriculturalist. No, methinks the French fag ‘rupted the Princetonian supply chain, like our friend Noriega.

    The pows were residuals in the big opium pentagon inventory burner called the viet nam war.

    Know also that the U.S. was about to be de-industrialized so that’s why working class kids were drafted, to kill off surplus labor.

    • Agree: Cauchemar du Singe
  5. Anonymous[404] • Disclaimer says:

    I have no problem believing that the US government would abandon POWs and look for any opportunity to dismiss/discredit evidence of their existence. But it’s ridiculous to portray Garwood as some kind of tragic figure who was railroaded. His story has enough holes in it, that it’s reasonable to believe that he was indeed a collaborator/defector, even if his personal account of witnessing abandoned POWs is true. Invoking Garwood here raises some questions about the author’s integrity (as well as his attempts to insulate himself from criticism over it).

    • Disagree: Biff
    • LOL: GMC
  6. anonYmous[146] • Disclaimer says:

    As predicted, observator and anonymous are here with the CIA Big Lie. Observator’s CIA bullshit is quite clever – mildly pejorative but not as despicable and shameful as what CIA actually did – they stabbed President Nixon in the back and abandoned POWs to a life of torture.

    We will get nowhere till we storm Langley like the Germans stormed the Stasi, liberate our records and try the criminal scumbags of the SIS.

    • Troll: AKAHorace
    • Replies: @HorriblyDepressed
  7. There must be former high-ranking Vietnamese who are willing to talk now about what really happened. The Vietnamese government shouldn’t have a problem with this as it doesn’t make them look any worse but really makes the US politicians of the 1960’s bad. It would be nice to see Kerry in jail. It’s time to get cracking because the people in the know are probably getting pretty old now.

  8. Garwood is the hard proof, and ignored.

    • Thanks: GMC
    • Replies: @Mustapha Mond
  9. anonymous[139] • Disclaimer says:

    Neither the US or Vietnam governments seem to want to dredge this subject back up. Name brand items made in Vietnam have been on our store shelves for a while now so we’re doing good business together, communism vs capitalism not being much of a hindrance to this. Hasn’t the US also had some joint naval exercises with Vietnam in some anti-China alliance scheme? A bunch of expendables can’t be allowed to hold back progress, not when there’s deals to be made. This just illustrates how the razzmatazz of patriotism is something for the little people to believe in, sacrificial pawns who never gain anything from it.

    • Agree: Old and Grumpy, Ariadna
  10. @Carlton Meyer

    Thanks for all your efforts in making these very informative, well-made journeys into our collective American past, CM. They never disappoint.



    • Agree: GMC
  11. Jim Given says:

    I can well believe that Sen. McCain rationalized his effort to bury the abandoned POWs as an act of compassion for their widows and families. The Government had abandoned the POWs; the Communists had given them a life sentence in a jungle prison. McCain couldn’t do anything about that. Four billion bucks for the Communist government our GI’s gave their lives to fight against? It would spit on their memory! Wasn’t ever going to happen! So McCain just sought to put at peace the minds and hearts of their families. The POWs were GIs who had given their lives for their countries. They were heroes and their families were the loved ones of heroes. I’m sure McCain convinced himself that in Vietnam he did what he had to do. And afterward, he did what was compassionate for the families of the others. Did McCain ever claim he was a hero? John Kerry may have offered himself as a hero. Not McCain-

  12. America should never have fought in Vietnam. We now know LBJ knew the war was a lost cause before he started it. It cost America dearly in men and money. It let to a flood of Vietnamese in America, the inevitable aftermath of America’s always half baked interventions. For ordinary Americans only one good thing happened. The war killed the draft.

    • Disagree: michael888
    • Replies: @mike99588
    , @rgl
    , @Ace
    , @michael888
  13. Anon[627] • Disclaimer says:

    How about Laos? Nobody returned from Laos. There must have been hundreds of them. Perhaps the Laotian govt would be happy to put everything in the past.

    I was a boy during the war, living in Northern thailand. We lost a number of air America pilot acqaintances.

    • Replies: @mike99588
    , @Robert Bruce
  14. Gizmo880 says:

    My own introduction to this subject came in 1991/92 when I picked up a copy of ‘Kiss the Boys Goodbye: How the United States betrayed it’s own POW’s in Vietnam’ by Monika Jensen-Stevenson and William Stevenson. I was thoroughly convinced by that book that we had indeed left POW’s behind, for the simple reason stated in the article above, namely that we had refused to pay the reparations that had been promised. In the years since I have never forgotten that book and have always tried to keep up with any news concerning this issue, including the Schanberg information and the utter cowardice and betrayal of McCain and Kerry when dealing with this issue. I am now more than ever convinced that we did leave men behind, and for those that might be doubtful, I simply say take an honest look at the evidence, much of which is ignored or discredited out of hand by the ‘Government’.

    • Agree: GMC, Alfred, mike99588
    • Replies: @Ukraine Tiger
  15. Jake Dee says:

    I have been following the Vietnam P.O.W./M.I.A. story for years now, mainly through the alternative press but of course I remember Rambo part II. There is a huge hole in the narrative that Ron Unz and Phillip Kraske give us.
    Put simply, what was the motivation for the Vietnamese government to participate in a conspiracy, not only of silence but positive lies ?
    Certainly holding back some prisoners until the ransom/reparations is paid makes sense, but once the American government reneged on those payments what’s the reason for keeping silent on the prisoners ? Why not shout it from the roof tops ? Names, ranks, serial numbers, dog tags, recent photographs and film along with detailed biographies of those men could be distributed world wide through friendly media outlets.
    Holding prisoners costs money, why keep them when they could be traded for hard currency ?
    Was it for revenge torture and slave labor ? That’s ridiculous, the Vietnamese may have become hardened and bitter by years of war but they didn’t become stupid and they didn’t have a shortage of manual labor.
    For this conspiracy to work it would have required the active participation of the Vietnamese, but why would they do that ?
    Am I missing something ?

  16. @Ron Unz

    I recently met an individual, whom I judge to be sincere and who has no obvious ulterior motives, who claims that during the 1980s US military servicemen privy to particularly sensitive information were cajoled—and if uninclined to do so, eventually forced—to have intercourse with “kids” of both sexes. These acts were recorded with the best technology available at the time and used to blackmail the participants into complete silence. Said individual claims he was one of the few who absolutely refused to do what was urged of him. Instead, he deserted, left the country, and has not been back since.

    If true, this would have been the same demonic military that, for whatever reason, abandoned its servicemen to a hellish fate of unending captivity in the jungles of Southeast Asia. And it’s the same military that today, run by swine Mark Milley, is obviously cooperating in the planned enslavement and genocide of White Americans.

    • Replies: @Johnny Rico
  17. Anonymous[387] • Disclaimer says:

    There were no sailors swept off the decks of American aircraft carriers. The only sailor lost overboard during the entire war was PO2 Doug Hegdahl who was serving aboard the Canberra, a guided missile cruiser, in 1967 when the incident happened. Captured by the North Vietnamese, he convinced them that he was a harmless moron and they released him in 1969, whereupon he became, quite appropriately, a SERE instructor at NAS North Island in San Diego.

  18. antibeast says:

    The US government treatment of US POWs abandoned in Vietnam is nothing compared to that of US servicemen who were exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. Both are hardly mentioned in US history textbooks or in Hollywood movies.

  19. Old Timer says:

    There were units in Vietnam that during their whole tour the only job they did was to look for P.O.W.’s and bring them back. The truth is out there but the difficulty is to get the men to come forward and give their stories. Who would support them now, no one cared when they told their stories in the 70’s. We are all guilty one way or another.
    It is when a person stands for truth even to their own hurt that true justice and liberty will prevail. Who do any of us know that will do that and would we even support them? Look to your right and left and tell yourself who do I know that would support me in such an endeavor? There is danger in it.

    • Agree: Ace
  20. Publius 2 says:

    Imagine the government trying to draft our sons and send them to war involuntary today. Clearly unconstitutional for several reasons. The “greatest generation” and their parents sucked ass.

    Also Epstein still didn’t kill himself.

  21. GMC says:
    @Jake Dee

    Good questions – We have to think about the ” atmosphere ” during the times in the mid 70s. How many BS deals were made and who was involved, and this get complicated, since you not only have the North Vietnamese, but the Soviets, the Chinese, all the allies that backed South Vietnam, Guilty corporations like Monsanto, DuPont, the MIC, CIA, and who knows how many more. We know sort of, that no banks were lending any money to the new country except the Soviets at the time, so revenge on a no payup USA for reparations, make not only the re-education camps for the thousands of ARVNs and any POWs left – pretty torturous. Carlton Meyers may have some answers too.

    I was in Saigon a couple years ago { my first trip back} and I did find some old ARVNs that spent about a decade in the re education camps. They still remembered our english and they told me a whole lot , but unfortunately , I never asked them about our POWs left behind. It was pretty strange , after all those years , tho. I doubt that the Russians I know will talk, but they have records.
    Obviously the Communist Vietnamese got some serious money somewhere, as Saigon is 10Xs bigger and built up as is the rest of the country in the South. Ah Flashbacks.

  22. The (((media))) wasn’t interested in 1200 White and Black boys but in McCain who could be counted upon to do the bidding of their choice, i.e. promoting of the Zionists and their policies vis a vis the world.

  23. Gordo says:

    McCain, son of an admiral

    That would be the same admiral who called back the jets going to the aid of the Liberty.

    • Replies: @rgl
  24. MLK says:

    I’m gratified for this article for several reasons.

    I’ve mentioned previously in other contexts that when it comes to grand conspiracies the devil isn’t in the details.

    The standard means of ab initio dismissal has long been that you couldn’t get one off the ground or sustain it because it requires too many participants not blowing the lid off. Yet as we seen in real time over the last five years, if the stakes are high enough, conspirators find a way. Indeed, to my observation if enough resources are available and deployed conspiracies are practically self-sustaining and self-resuscitating.

    Thus I wasn’t suggesting the details are meaningless but that most condition themselves to forget something about conspiracies found in any Columbo episode, they include planning for the cover-up.

    Am I the only one to have noticed that no one says “That’s unbelievable!” anymore. The brain-lock is all of the Sgt. Schultz (“I know nothing! . . .) variety.

    Yet when it comes to grand conspiracies — remember, high stakes and access to resources in furtherance thereof — the greatest error is a failure of imagination.

    The irony is that once you get a bit of distance as the principals die off, what was not only not believable earlier but seemed capable of wreaking such havoc on all that is good and right nationally and imperially, is utterly obvious to anyone who knows how to fog a mirror.

    This is especially true and especially quickly re the POW/MIA cover-up. Kerry was and remains a garden-varietal striving simp. McCain was a horse of a different color. Psychopathic filth, his rise signaling our great Constitutional Republic was losing its way because if it couldn’t weed out men like him it was going to get it good and hard, which is where we’re at right now.

  25. @Joe Paluka

    Nothing will be done, and why should it? Our veterans are getting the shaft as we speak and nobody really seems to care. Shoddy medical treatment, high suicide/ divorce rates, etc. Yeah you have sporadic articles or even investigative reports on TV, but nothing really is done. The populace at large can’t handle any nasty truths that might otherwise get them to get off their lazy asses and actually do something. That is why Western Civilization is sinking fast. Everyone wants to be comfy all the time. Reality is optional for the average American.

    • Replies: @Joe Paluka
  26. mike99588 says:

    LBJ made money on the war (e.g. companies shares) and paid political debts.
    LBJ’s backers (e.g. the big contractors) made huge money on Vietnam.
    JFK’s body was barely cold as the war plans and ramp up began.

    • Replies: @anarchyst
  27. @Jim Given

    McCain offered himself as living Captain America. Heroism was to be automatically presumed by the peoples. John-boy was a vile selfish excuse of a man. He loved dead Americans, just not living ones. War is wealth creation for those Congresscritters on the Armed Service and Foreign Affairs Committees. He likely laughed daily at the US getting away with the cover up of POWs rotting in Vietnam. John-boy was naval royalty, the rest of the Vietnam soldiers were nothing more than the expendable servant class.

    Same goes for John Kerry, who use Vietnam service and the subsequent protesting as a resume padding internships. No doubt the lessers serving with him were told to keep this John upright or else.

  28. mike99588 says:

    It’s a longer trek out of Laos and Laotians had even more reason to hate our airmen (more bombs). RIP.

  29. @Publius 2

    Biden administration is going after daughters now. Too many boys on psyche meds, hard drugs, and hormones these days. The average democrat was gaslighted into thinking the 2016 election was hacked, BLM riots were peaceful, Jan 6th was an actual insurrection, boys are girls, girls are boys, and an experimental vaccine only works if everyone takes it. The other side of the political aisle was gaslighted via alternative media to trust the plan and Donald Trump was on their side You really think any and all the media can’t convince folks their kids are needed to be enslaved to fight a war?

    Also the greatest generation was drafted to fight WWII. Draft was the norm for them. Epstein was working for Mossad. The didn’t commit suicide thing helps cover for that little tidbit.

    • Thanks: Robert Bruce
  30. Maddaugh says:

    Don’t disrespect Rambo !. When Reagan had his tiff with the Iranians he threatened to send him there. The Iranians quickly backed down when they heard Rambo was coming.

    If China and Russia knew we could unleash him in the event of conflict they would be more respectful.

    As for me I could not bear to see the movie. All that blood, the highly intellectual dialogue, the action. The movie looks like a real nail biter, an edge of the seat thing. I also have trouble understanding Rambo sometimes. He speaks out the side of his mouth, probably a wound received in combat ?

    I think I’ll keep my $15 in my pocket following my philosophy of not supporting the Juice and avoiding the shit that comes out of Hollywood.

    • LOL: InnerCynic
    • Replies: @Ahem
  31. rgl says:

    “The war killed the draft.”

    Annnnnd … it’s back. Only this time, women may be forced to register with Selective Services. After all, there’s a war (with China) to fight.

  32. rgl says:

    Yep. That’d be the one.

    US service(wo)men. Abandoned in Vietnam, abandoned in the East Med. Abandoned by their own Veterans Affairs. Guinea pigs for DARPA.

    This is what US service to country looks like.

  33. LJ says:

    It’s quite possible that the real reason for the war was simply to expand the MIC.

    • Replies: @SafeNow
  34. @Publius 2

    They suck as much ass as we do. In fact we probably suck ass much more than they did. The total stupidity and cowardice the American people have been guilty of since the 70’s is probably unparalleled in world history. We are getting screwed over on a level much worse than the Founding Generation, but we just sit around and bitch. Easily distracted like cats chasing laser pointers, we ignore reality to enjoy our immersion into fantasy land.

  35. @Ron Unz

    I read years ago that Franklin was not only a “Maoist” but an admirer of Stalin.

  36. LJ says:

    As most that read here know, the Global Elites that are HQ’d in Tell Aviv these days, have been calling the shots in Washington for decades, certainly during the Vietnam War.

  37. pindos says:
    @Jim Given

    McCain covered up the POWs while his father covered up the USS Liberty. I’m not sure what his grandfather covered up. You had decades to watch McCain so believe what you like.

  38. @Jake Dee

    Staying quiet is a better long term strategy. It allows Vietnam to maintain two (or more) parallel policies. First, they can claim they are good citizens (recall they invaded Cambodia and disposed of Pol Pot) and today they oppose China. Two, while the prisoners were alive–we are now talking nearly 50 years ago–it gave them a negotiating tool of declining value. The real problem for them was what if they put them on display and all it does it get Americans demanding that their government wind up the bombers and bomb the place back into the Stone Age. Look at how we act today. We send drone strikes and bombers at everyone.

    What is most likely is that there are many things done by the US that are totally buried. This is one of them.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  39. I joined the Air Force in the late 1970s and became a C-141 Crew Chief. One of our pilots was a former POW. He had been shot down while while flying an F-4, spent several years as a POW, and was repatriated in 1973. When he got back he wanted to stay in the Air Force and keep flying fighters, but was physically unable due to injuries suffered during captivity, so he transitioned to the C-141. He didn’t talk much about his captivity, but sometimes, after several drinks, he would open up. He said that he and the other returnees were aware that some of the POWs were left behind, but they had been instructed by higher-ups not to talk about it. He wanted to tell somebody, maybe Congress or the media, but he didn’t want to risk losing his career and pension. He had a wife and kids. I understand that now, because many years later I cross-trained to Intelligence as an Airborne Cryptologic Linguist in a Middle Eastern language, and spent time in Iraq and Afghanistan, and became aware of a lot of nasty stuff that our government and our military does over there, but I won’t talk about it because I don’t want to violate my Non-Disclosure Agreement and risk my pension and health care.

  40. Scha“Nov. 11, 1992, Dolores Alfond, the sister of missing airman Capt. Victor Apodaca and chair of the National Alliance of Families, an organization of relatives of POW/MIAs, testified at one of the Senate committee’s public hearings. She asked for information about data the government had gathered from electronic devices used in a classified program known as PAVE SPIKE.
    ▲▼The devices were motion sensors, dropped by air, designed to pick up enemy troop movements. Shaped on one end like a spike with an electronic pod and antenna on top, they were designed to stick in the ground as they fell. Air Force planes would drop them along the Ho Chi Minh trail and other supply routes. The devices, though primarily sensors, also had rescue capabilities. Someone on the ground—a downed airman or a prisoner on a labor gang —could manually enter data into the sensor. All data were regularly collected electronically by U.S. planes flying overhead. Alfond stated, without any challenge or contradiction by the committee, that in 1974, a year after the supposedly complete return of prisoners, the gathered data showed that a person or people had manually entered into the sensors—as U.S. pilots had been trained to do—no less than 20 authenticator numbers that corresponded exactly to the classified authenticator numbers of 20 U.S. POWs who were lost in Laos. Alfond added, according to the transcript, “This PAVE SPIKE intelligence is seamless, but the committee has not discussed it or released what it knows about PAVE SPIKE.”
    L :et’s look at this.
    First, Pave Spíke was not a sensor at all, but an LD pod–laser designator–and had no relation whatever to air-dropped sensors. Laser pods do not gather information.
    Wikipedia: “The Westinghouse AN/ASQ-153\AN/AVQ-23 Pave Spike is an electro-optical laser designator targeting pod used to direct laser-guided bombs to target in daylight, visual conditions. It contained a laser boresighted to a television camera, which displayed its image on a cockpit screen.”
    The program the MIA/POW folk thought they were thinking about was Igloo White:
    Wikipedia: Operation Igloo White
    This was the operation that dropped sensors. The Wikipedia entry is far too long to cut and paste, but you might find it informative.
    Second: “…the committee has not discussed it or released what it knows about PAVE SPIKE.” The MIA/POW people were thus asking the Senate committee about data collected by devices that did not collect data. That the committee did not question this curious request suggests that they knew no more about Pave Spike and Igloo White than did the MIA/POW people. This too is not surprising. Senators seldom know anything about technology, much less that of classified military programs.
    Third, the idea that Igloo White sensors contained data links of some sort for downed flyers is silly. The long, technically detailed Igloo White Wikipedia entry makes no mention of such rescue gear. In the diagram below of an Igloo White sensor, the absence of keyboard and of commo circuitry is evident.

    Since the “rescue gear” did not exist, the story of the twenty PoWs or pilots and their authentication number is false.
    Fourth, “…a year after the supposedly complete return of prisoners…” The batteries in the sensors lasted less than two months (see Igloo White Wikipedia entry) making the claim that signals were received a year later false.
    Fifth, signals from the sensors had to be picked up by orbiting EW birds and relayed to NKP in Thailand. A year after the prisoners were supposedly returned, how many American electronic warfare planes were orbiting over the Trail?
    The story of the twenty POWs is clearly a fabrication, not a mistake. Having been intimately involved in the MIA fracas, and knowing how journalism works in Washington, I will speculate with some confidence that an interested party fed the PAVE SPIKE-rescue-capability story to the MIA people who, being unfamiliar with military technology (often housewives) believed it because they wanted to believe it. Today, fact-checking a story like this takes a few minutes on Google, but the MIA people had neither the internet nor, it seems, the inclination. The paragraphs quoted at the beginning of this email contain other highly dubious claims but, since they cannot be demonstrated with a link, I pass over them.

    nberg, whom I knew, was a technical illiterate and apparently did no fact-checking. E.g.,

  41. Our government has a long and rich history of crapping on our veterans. They abandoned about 25,000 American POWs in WW2, that were held by the Russians, and 8,000 POWs held by the North Koreans, during the police action in Korea. 1,500 to 2,000 POWs were left behind in SE Asia. That is not worth one minute of time for any member of Congress. They have real work to do.

    Don’t get me started on Agent Orange…….

  42. Ron Unz says:

    I might as well add a couple of paragraphs from one of my 2015 articles:

    However, those new doubts about McCain were still in my mind a few months later when I stumbled upon Sidney Schanberg’s massively documented expose about McCain’s role in the POW/MIA cover up, a vastly greater scandal. This time I was presented with a mountain of hard evidence gathered by one of America’s greatest wartime journalists, a Pulitzer Prize winning former top editor at The New York Times. In the years since then, other leading journalists have praised Schanberg’s remarkable research, now giving his conclusions the combined backing of four New York Times Pulitzer Prizes, while two former Republican Congressmen who had served on the Intelligence Committee have also strongly corroborated his account.

    In 1993 the front page of the New York Times broke the story that a Politburo transcript found in the Kremlin archives fully confirmed the existence of the additional POWs, and when interviewed on the PBS Newshour former National Security Advisors Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski admitted that the document was very likely correct and that hundreds of America’s Vietnam POWs had indeed been left behind. In my opinion, the reality of Schanberg’s POW story is now about as solidly established as anything can be that has not yet received an official blessing from the American mainstream media.

    • Thanks: Rurik, michael888
    • Replies: @michael888
  43. @Jim Given

    Nobody gives their life for their country. Just read Gen Smedley Butler’s book: “War is a Racket.”
    In today’s world everyone is a hero. McCain, if he had any decency would never have run for public office but with help from dark forces he was happy to run knowing he’d never lose if he followed their orders. He never did lose. You make no sense in your comment.

    • Replies: @Badger Down
  44. @Publius 2

    The “greatest generation” and their parents sucked ass.

    Would they have believed that a man in a woman’s dress is entitled to ladies’ washroom?

    • Replies: @Resartus
  45. BorisMay says:

    What do you expect from an administration that let 5 million Prussians be exterminated at the end of WW2?
    What do you expect of an administration that broke every Geneva Convention on war law regarding the surrender of a defeated army in Germany in 1945 that rounded up 7 million ex Wehrmacht soldiers and starved them to death in open prison camps authorised by Eisenhower?
    What do you expect of an administration that took the 100 leading astronautic engineers and used them to launch the US moon project? The most famous of which was von Braun…
    What do you expect of an administration that allowed Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist Germany to move 500 German Jews a week, with all their money, to Israel from 1933 until 1942 and then go along with the Jewish Holocaust scam to defraud the West German taxpayer?

    You people must be nuts to expect this sort of administration will do anything other than betray its own people.

    McCain was a Russian Soviet agent and had the Soviet Union still existed by the time he was elected, he would have betrayed you to the Soviets, just as Biden, who is a Chinese agent is betraying you to China as I write.

    Ask yourself how it is that paedophile Biden Junior, Hunter, has not be arrested for his sex with children exploits? It is because his father and your entire Establishment are also sex molestors of children. These people could not give a pig’s fart for your prisoners of war…better described as ‘Viet genocide’ if the truth were told.

    Communism was just an excuse for drugs, just as protecting women in Afghanistan is an excuse for drugs (and sex with young boys which all Afghan men practice in common with your US Establishment [and every other Establishment in the world] that none of your ever so Christian leaders ever mention.)

  46. SafeNow says:

    “It’s quite possible that the real reason for the war was simply to expand the MIC.”

    At a minimum, spending military money was the major cofactor. The lessons learned were that casualties were far too high, and, having prisoners taken is an irresolvable and prohibitive conundrum. Thus, current deployment requirements are: A huge expense, a peripheral place, and the absence of all actual fighting. Australia, the polar regions, and meandering carrier groups commend themselves.

    As I have previously detailed, the Chinese are playing at bumper boats, a signal that they do not want to fight. As for the Russians, I have played chess against hundreds of Russians, and they tend to favor what chess players call “quiet moves.” I can’t prove it, but I believe this proclivity can be extrapolated to their leaders. The U.S. MIC needs some (expensive) quiet moves of its own.

  47. Anonymous[864] • Disclaimer says:
    @Lake County Laurel

    Do you have a source on the 25K American POWs held by the Soviets after WW2? I know that the Soviets held American pilots who crash-landed in Siberia after bombing raids against Japan as POWs (so as not to violate their non-aggression treaty with Japan), but I didn’t think it was that many or that they weren’t rereleased after Japan surrendered. What’s your source?

    • Replies: @Lake County Laurel
  48. @Anonymous

    “Anonymous” … pfft.

    The United States government is irredeemably evil. Why are you shilling for it? Are you one of its creatures, or are you really that deluded?

  49. @anonYmous

    We will get nowhere till we storm Langley like the Germans stormed the Stasi, liberate our records and try the criminal scumbags of the SIS.

    I agree. I wonder what the CIA goons would do if that happened. I suspect they would nuke the place (if necessary) to keep their secrets.

    • Replies: @lydia
  50. Anonymous[278] • Disclaimer says:

    @Anonymous[404] and @Observator

    Not buying Franklin’s line. The idea that Private Garwood would be a valuable collaborator/defector is just ludicrous. The NVA like the U.S. was not short of cannon fodder.

    This story comes from the only person I really trust, who was working at a restaurant called The Garrett at the corner of 14th & Main St. in Charlottesville, VA in the early 1980s:

    Bobby Garwood came in with his attorney at the time, Jon/John Lowe and ordered a dish that came with rice. He asked if he could have it without rice. Having had his fill of rice, you see.

    @Joe Paluka: “There must be former high-ranking Vietnamese who are willing to talk now”
    I think they all dead by now. Kerry and McCain weren’t “high-ranking” they were young idiots and now Kerry is an old idiot and McCain is a dead idiot. Name a living “high-ranking” U.S. official from the Vietnam era.

    @Jake Dee: The Vietnamese painted themselves into a corner. They couldn’t say “Oh, just a minute we still have a couple hundred of your guys that we were holding for ransom.” Wouldn’t look good.

    @antibeast: “The US government treatment of US POWs abandoned in Vietnam is nothing compared to that of US servicemen who were exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.”
    Wow. You’ve really brought shame upon your teacher, your family, and your village. I’m guessing you’re not a) a POW and not b) an Agent Orange victim.

    @John Q Duped: “McCain, if he had any decency would never have run for public office but with help from dark forces he was happy to run knowing he’d never lose if he followed their orders. He never did lose.”
    Dude, don’t be an idiot. McCain never lost an election?

  51. @Gizmo880

    Absolutely agree. It is guaranteed that a war that raged in the SE Asia jungles for over 10 years could not possibly have resulted in western soldiers not being lost in action and then gathered up and held by the Vietnamese. Of course there were men left behind. McCain was the most despicable man ever to run for president. Kerry is a just a lying cunt. What wonderful choices the USA has had running for president over the years.

    • Replies: @lydia
  52. @Johnny Rico

    If not true, there’s the subject matter of this article, the probable abandonment of POWs. There is the enthusiastic participation in acts of aggression based on lies—among others, against Mexico, Hawaii, Spain, Germany, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Libya, and Syria, as well as new, and demented plots, against both Russia and China. Most damning of all, there is the ongoing collaboration with the genocidal Jew World Order. No young White person should join the US military. Those who do are dishonorable, ignorant, or both.

  53. Phil4Phil says:
    @Jake Dee

    The Author says:

    And admit to the world that they’ve held men for five, ten, twenty years after hostilities? As I mention in my novella, the prisoners slowly turned into as big an embarrassment for Hanoi as for Washington, and by the 90s, Vietnam wanted to get into the world economic system, WTO and all. In the first decade or so after the war, returning the prisoners for pledged money would be seen as forgiveable international behavior. That’s indeed what the Viets did with the French.

    Second, communists love trophies, and U.S. prisoners were sweet ones, especially to the generation that fought the war. There are still shot-down American planes on display in Vietnam. As to the cost of maintenance, that’s hardly an issue. A thousand or so men, kept barely alive till they expired, and spread out over Vietnam and Laos — that’s peanuts. (Cambodia apparently held no P.O.W.s.)

  54. @Anonymous

    I believe the man to be innocent it was McStain by the way that was the traitor.

  55. anon[655] • Disclaimer says:

    Why didn’t the Vietnamese try to embarrass the US by producing some POW’s to hand over as a gesture of good will? They could have proven the story, and explained their deal with the Genocidal Kissinger, or perhaps make a new deal in secret like the sort John Kerry’s good at making.

    As for Burma, there were cia in the Golden Triangle, still is, and even today Eric Prince’s Frontier Group keeps a small outpost in Lao on the border with Myanmar, possibly to manage shipments of opium and meth that’s produced there. Frontier Group is also contracted to protect the Chinese natural gas pipeline from the Indian Ocean to China.

    The CIA was helping student rebels in 1988/9 around the time of the 1988 Uprising. Then there were rumors of an Army Captain living in Rangoon in 2017 who was selling silencers and sniper rifles to Myanmar police and military, and trafficking women to the US through the use of student visa’s. It’s all the sordid same, everywhere.

    • Thanks: Sarah
  56. @Anonymous

    A Christopher Newport College graduate and James City Republican who ran for a seat on the Board of Supervisors in 1979, Sanders believes that more than 25,000 American servicemen who had been German prisoners of war were left behind and held hostage by the Soviet Union after World War II.

    He says that the soldiers were sacrificial lambs for American and British foreign policy who – much like their Korea and Vietnam-era compatriots – are too big an embarrassment for the government to acknowledge.

    Despite the total victory in Europe by Allied forces, thousands and thousands of US soldiers — perhaps as many as 20,000 — were never repatriated from prisoner of war (POW) camps, prisons and forced labor and concentration camps.

  57. @Anon

    Your last sentence basically answered your question about Laos. I am sure our bettors didn’t want any publicity about CIA drug running, etc. We also let the Hmong people down in a major way. Best to sweep it under the carpet so they could keep the MIC/Intel gravy train going.

  58. lydia says:
    @Ukraine Tiger

    we never hear about the POWs in Iraq and Afghanistan except for the shameful war on Bergdahl.

  59. @Lake County Laurel

    Even if that 25,000 number were to be accepted as true, the total number of missing from WWII was about 78,750. So that still would leave 53,750 unaccounted for. The total number of missing from Korea was 8,177. Are you simply assuming that most of them were held prisoner alive after the war when you your 8,000 figure? That is very unlikely. This is what makes most of the POW/MIA stories seem heuristically unlikely. Although it is plausible that some were left behind alive, the highest estimate given for missing after Vietnam seems to be about 2,255. That is small enough that it is easy to believe that all of these men simply died in combat and were never recovered, although it is still possible that a few may have remained as prisoners.

  60. anarchyst says:

    RMK-BRJ was a civil engineering and construction consortium which handled many civil engineering and building projects in Vietnam.

    RMK was a contraction of Robertson Morrison-Knudsen, Morrison Knudsen being the engineering firm and politician senator Absalom Robertson (televangelist Pat Robertson’s daddy) taking “kickbacks” as a “war profiteer”.

    The other half, BRJ was a contraction of Brown and Root Johnson, Brown and Root being the engineering firm and Johnson being non other than President Lyndon Baines Johnson, another “war profiteer”.

    We used to have a saying, “war is big business and business is good”.

    • Agree: GMC
  61. @John Q Duped

    Nobody gives their life for their country

    From a US perspective, this makes sense. But think about it from the point of view of the millions of Asians unfortunate enough to have experienced the sudden arrival of murderous, armed aliens from another continent. Many people have given their lives for their country in an attempt to repel USer militants.
    Naturally, Palestinians want to live in Palestine. They would prefer that to dying at the hands of the “is” invaders propped up by the US. Whether you call it Palestinians dying for their country or “israelis” and USers murdering to steal someone else’s country, it is a robbery-murder.


  63. MarLuc7 says:

    Our Government left behind Military POWs in Vietnam???

    Why is this shocking to anyone?? You, little people, are fucking cannon fodder. We shit on You.
    58,220 Americans died in VietNam. And not one fucking thing changed in that country.

    How many American soldiers were slaughtered trying to take some useless shit hole hill of zero military importance in VietNam? Where are the officers who decided the fate of these men today?

    I often wonder why there is so much Pomp and Circumstance around boarding and exiting Marine 1 or Airforce 1. Why all the saluting upon entry and exit??? What a waste of time and energy.

    But then I realized, this ceremony along with pinning ribbons (shreds of colorful cloth) on your chest are used to create the illusion that your Government gives a rat’s ass about Military men. Military men strut around with a chest full of ribbons, quickly scanning the other’s chest full of ribbons as they walk by. It is very strange in hindsight (As someone who did 20 years in the Military), perhaps a holdover from BoyScouts when collecting merit badges was so much fun.

    I think it was Napolean that first wrote about it in his Diary. “A Soldier will fight Long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon”.

    After all, without the illusion of teary-eyed Patriotism, there would be no volunteer military. Every Military Base would have to be filled with unwilling participants who are only there because they were threatened with imprisonment for dodging a Nation Wide DRAFT. Without our Federal Government’s US Armed Forces constantly meat grinding our young and recruiting more….all adventurism and globalist activities would cease….for it is our Military that completes the “Carrot or the Stick” analogy.

    People never really talk about this movie and it was so stunningly done: 1989, Tom Cruise, “Born on the 4th of July”. What an incredible movie.

    This is the true cost of war. The obliteration of innocence. The US War Propaganda and boot camp Indoctrination flees your young mind, and truth and clarity flood in as your destroyed body lay broken on the ground. So many young men were broken, horribly disfigured, crippled for life, their lives and dreams forever crushed. Back home, all actions by the pentagon were sanitized by our lapdog media. The movie was gut-wrenching to watch.

    Something unique happened during the VietNam War, never seen in other wars. All of America was waking up to the horseshit Propaganda. The American Anti-War movement was not just a bunch of pot-smoking hippies. All of America was puking out the Washington DC and the Pentagon Narrative. It was a MASS awakening. And it scared the shit out of the elites. Military men from all branches simply began refusing to fight (Airforce, Navy, Marines, Army). Mass desertion and hundreds of soldiers disobeying direct orders (Punishable by Death in War Time). American citizens were like…..”Fuck you and Fuck your War”.

    What happens to a country when State-Sponsored Propaganda no longer fills the ranks of its Military? Mandatory Service soon follows. What happens when no one believes the False Flags anymore??? Massive even bigger False Flags and Psy-Ops… fear-based paranoia follows. Mandatory Military Drafts ensue.

    This I know for sure, America will no longer stomach massive casualties in any war. The Citizenry is too well informed. They see behind the curtain. They don’t believe the lies. The ridiculous cartoonish Propaganda of old no longer works on this audience:

    • Replies: @Mulga Mumblebrain
  64. @Harry Huntington

    The real problem for them was what if they put them on display and all it does it get Americans demanding that their government wind up the bombers and bomb the place back into the Stone Age.

    U2 – Bay of Pigs – Pueblo – Iran Hostage Crisis

    They all worked as publicity stunts.

    Iran-Contra blew up though.

    • Replies: @Harry Huntington
  65. @Lake County Laurel

    Our government has a long and rich history of crapping on our veterans.

    But everything for Israeli ‘settlers’ in West Bank and Jonathan Pollard.

  66. What a foul mess of typically racist Yankee shite. Evil Vietnamese, heroic Yanks-the EXACT opposite of reality.

  67. @MarLuc7

    ‘Not one thing changed in that country (Vietnam’)’. Apart from four million slaughtered, millions maimed, disabled, orphaned, widowed etc, innumerable massacres and atrocities, the Operation Phoenix death-squad horror, the greatest chemical warfare assault in history, an ecocide against life in the country, poisoning the soil and the people of the country, the latter for generations etc, not much. Yankee indifference to the suffering of the ‘gooks’ never ceases to outrage and nauseate.

  68. @Lake County Laurel

    ‘Police action in Korea’??!! Do you mean the genocide of four million Koreans, the usual massacres and bombing the country to rubble. The USA has built up more bad karma than any other force for Evil in history, and pay-back is close. Pity it’ll take the world down with it, although that’s already happening in the ecological Holocaust.

    • Replies: @very old statistician
  69. @Priss Factor

    Actually those prove my point because the “stutter” was differently situated.

    (1) U2– it in the short term ended negotiation between the Soviet Union and the US over Open Skies. But once the Soviets proved they could shoot our planes down, we went to “de facto” open skies with Satellites. No one “proved” that could shoot those down. The “agreement” was that you could do a flyover along a known route at a known time–that is what satellites do.

    (2) Bay of Pigs arguable led to the Cuban Missile Crisis and whatever secret agreements are still in place that have blocked US invasion. Also, the US never threatened war when Russian boomers docked in Cuba (which is not much different than parking land based missiles there)

    (3) Pueblo Incident- happened during height of Vietnam war as US began to lose in Vietnam badly. Reminded US that the US had left prisoners in Korea after that war and also that Korea could not be kicked around. Recall, 10 years later Jimmy Carter wanted to pull out of Korea. The North Koreans have since had to developed Nukes to get the US to take them seriously. North Korea has also sunk South Korean navy ships.

    (4) Iran Hostage Crisis– different audience. The audience was not the American public (although the failed rescue mission sent that message loud and clear), the message was all the Islamic Groups who were taught Iran should not be the center of attention and leader.

    Vietnam never had to prove any of those points. Vietnam (1) already had the US surrender (2) was about to fight wars with Cambodia and a border war with China (3) wanted to prove it could be a responsible nation and stand on its own. Rogue nations like North Korea take hostages. Islamic fundamentalists take hostages and stand up to the US — but Vietnam had already defeated the US. Thus, it makes sense of Vietnam to avoid a public embarrassment that would continue the war, but negotiate a ransom. Vietnam plainly could do nothing until after Saigon fell in 1975 and the North and united the country. At that point, the US already decided not to intervene. Vietnam did not want to trigger an intervention which was a live topic in 1975. Thus the earliest Vietnam could do something was 1976 or 1977. Vietnam probably thought Carter would negotiate. By 1980, that window had passed and the cowboy Ronald Reagan was just as likely to send an aircraft carrier. Recall, Reagan bombed Libya over much less. US bombs also hit the French embassy in Libya when France denied permission to overfly France. Recall Reagan had reactivated battleships and the last thing Vietnam wants is for a battleship to park off the coast and blast away with cruise missiles and 16 inch guns.

    With all the examples cited above, the US did not have a good “blast away” option. The US had that obvious option with Vietnam. That is the difference.

    • Thanks: Sarah
    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  70. R.C. says:

    This surely needs some criticism.

    For even the citizenry turned its back on them.

    No! They stupidly believed in America the same way that Vietnam did, and America kept it from them until they were too old to be able to care.
    You are spreading the guilt of awareness from beyond America’s government (and its MSM and PTB) to Ma and Pa Kettle, and you should know that they did NOT know what you’re claiming that they did.
    Each of us, nowadays, has ready access to infinitely more truth than Americans did during the Vietnam War.

    And they wanted it behind them; they wanted Vietnam forgotten. They were sickened by the prospect of a steady trickle of returning P.O.W.s “miraculously” turned up by the Vietnamese, first a few hundred, then twelve here, twenty there – news stories of torture and mental traumas, families of the missing clamoring ever more shrilly: “Captain Joe said he saw my son Fred in a jungle camp in May or June 1969! You gotta find him!”

    Horseshit! My father (Korean War vet) would have volunteered to go there had he have known, and I know that applies to many many more!
    I detect PC BS. The other alternative is that you simply weren’t around America back during the period that you are writing about. May I ask how old you are, Mr. K?

    • Replies: @Phil4Phil
  71. lydia says:

    Tolstoy wrote – God sees the truth but waits. Judging by the signs of the times He isn’t going to wait much longer before the great and terrible Day of the Lord, Judgment Day.

    Whoever calls upon the Name of the Lord will be saved.

    Daniel repented for his whole nation and was heard by God and given a great message of salvation of the world.

    Listen To Magnificient Russian Orthodox Christian Chant – Psalm 50 And 51

    What you are listening to is what Dostoevsky meant when he said beauty will save the world.

    For nothing is beautiful without our Lord Christ.

    • Replies: @Gapeseed
  72. @Harry Huntington

    Also, the US never threatened war when Russian boomers docked in Cuba

    Boomers were dangerous all around.

  73. Getaclue says:
    @Jim Given

    From my research on McCain you are light years off about him — he insulted and bullied the families of POWs in the extreme — this is your “compassionate for the families”? He dumped his wife who waited for him for a rich model whose family could get him where he wanted to go — how’s that fit your “hero” bs? He wore his POW bs on his sleeve and used it constantly — you missed that? McCain was a total and complete POS, a curse to the USA and the POW families — seems like this was true all his life to the very moment he died, quite a “hero”.:

    • Agree: Ace
  74. Resartus says:
    @Old Brown Fool

    Would they have believed that a man in a woman’s dress is entitled to ladies’ washroom?

    Well, the Senior Rulers in the DNC, Biden, Pelosi, Schumer and more are war babies, not Boomers, who had the greatest generation as parents…. Yes, they are the one pushing that meme….

  75. Shue says:

    “American elites, who in their youth had defeated Hitler’s Wehrmacht”

    BS, without Russia, the Germans would have easily won WWII.

  76. RJJCDA says:

    McCain was probably guilty of that carrier fire, etc. Daddy got him sent away to Thailand w/o a hearing.

    Rumors in late nineties that CIA special ops were sent to Vietnam to kill off remaining POWs to prevent the “embarrassment” of them being found. They had been abandoned KNOWLINGLY AND WILLFULLY by elites.

    Myself, and the other Viet vets I know HATED McCain and Kerry.

    • Agree: anarchyst
  77. @Shue

    If the Yanks at D-Day had faced the REAL Wehrmacht, as the Soviets did, they wouldn’t have got off the beaches. The Yanks areslow track bullies, never having defeated a real military peer, but themselves peerless in massacres of civilians, the use of genocidal proxies, bio-warfare, cowardly carpet-bombing, the defeat of victims like Grenada and PanamaCity, and blowing their own horns.

    • Replies: @Hibernian
  78. @Shue

    Please without us , the russians would still be fighting the germans.

    • Replies: @Robert Bruce
  79. @Anonymous

    I remember Douglas Hegdahl. I met him at (yes) SERE school at North Island in the early 1980s. He told his story to many SERE classes. Totally solid guy. Among other things, while in captivity he memorized a long list of POW names… Hundreds of names of guys behind the wire. Gave it all to his debriefers upon return from VN. Numerous of these guys never returned, and the Northerners denied all knowledge. Among Navy people who had first-hand knowledge of POWs, and subsequent Intel pukes who reviewed things, there was Zero Doubt that there were US people left behind. It was a political decision.

    • Thanks: Ace
  80. Ace says:
    @Jim Given

    McCain was one sick, contemptible excuse for a man. It’s ludicrous to say he was ever motivated by compassion. He abandoned his first wife with the speed of a rocket sled on a Utah salt flat. And he was Mr. Hands Across the Aisle any chance he got to betray his Republican colleagues.

  81. Ace says:

    Nixon and Kissinger faced the Toad Posse in Congress who snatched defeat from the jaws of destiny. Wait! That’s not it. Jaws of something.

    The NVA were terrified of Nixon but the Dems were out to get him regardless of the cost to our national honor. Dems couldn’t allow the issue of abandoned POWs to be raised because it would have highlighted the cost of their treachery. No way would they have agreed to provide funds to ransom our men. The Frankfort School, Howard Zinn, Black racism, open borders, deindustrialization, and lunatic feminism, among other things, were just getting warmed up then but the hatred of patriotism and traditional America nevertheless burned with a white hot flame.

  82. Ace says:

    LBJ knew no such thing. He was a disgusting, manipulative grifter who never should have risen higher that precinct captain.

    He devised the disastrous gradual escalation nonsense and did nothing about sanctuaries, cutting the Ho Chi Minh Trail, or mining Haiphong. He micromanaged the war, sometimes choosing bombing targets himself. His rules of engagement were stupid. Not ok to bomb a SAM site under construction but ok after construction was completed.

    • Replies: @GMC
  83. Gapeseed says:

    The $4 billion price tag would have been a bargain. The captives would have surely had stories to tell, perhaps taking down future Senator McCain. More importantly, the exorbitant cost could have deterred future adventurism.

  84. @Mulga Mumblebrain

    You don’t know what you are talking about.

    You sound evil to me.

    Think about it —- you have so much hatred in your heart.

    • Agree: Ed Case
  85. Phil4Phil says:

    The Author says:

    62. I remember delivering the Dayton Daily News with the picture of that napalmed girl running down the street. I remember complete disgust with the foreign policy and military elite, from every quarter: rich and poor, old and young. And this was Ohio, no bastion of liberalism. I could still feel the anger years later studying International Relations at the U of Minnesota. And returning Vietnam vets? Ask one about the reception those guys got.

  86. @anonymouseperson

    The US like most Western countries and China, do not have a Draft. Many countries don’t even have a real military (instead they have the equivalent of our Capitol Police). With its history, Germany is dependent on NATO if there is another war in Europe, or on diplomacy.

    Most Scandinavian countries have universal conscription (women serve as well). Sweden eliminated the Draft, but brought it back in 2017. Switzerland, also nominally neutral, has conscription. Many Southeastern Asian countries have conscription (Vietnam, Thailand, Koreas, Singapore), and Mexico and much of Latin America (to “fight” the Drug Wars), several African countries, and most former Soviets.

    The US has an economic draft, taking Americans with no prospects. Selective service registration is still required, and for “peacetime” military adventures against small, third world countries, a “peacetime” army is all that is needed. If there is a real war you can be sure the Draft will suddenly reappear, as in WWI and WWII. While their sons are safe, Americans will clamor for war, as Kissinger was well aware.

  87. @Ron Unz

    Sidney Schanberg and Sy Hersh were just two of many journalists who did TOO GOOD of a job in their reporting. The Elites made sure their careers ended in the toilet.

    We now have stenographers for the Establishment. REAL investigative journalism is RUSSIAN Misinformation.

  88. @Dingo bay rum

    Not so, a vast majority of their military hardware were Soviet made. At the beginning of Barbarossa, the Soviets had more armor and aircraft than that of Germany and the allies combined. The most valued thing we gave them was the Studebaker trucks. Most of the military hardware we gave them was inferior to what they made themselves.

  89. @very old statistician

    The US State did not murder 20% of the population of North Korea by aerial bombardment and resulting collapse of infrastructure and logistics? The US state did not conduct the Phoenix Program murder operation and the chemical poisoning of Vietnam with Agent Orange? Pay attention and you might see a pattern in which the apparatus of the US state commits unspeakable atrocities in foreign lands when there is no risk whatsoever that such crimes can be committed on US soil against the US population. Global gangsters wrapped in the Stars and Stripes.

  90. GMC says:

    My close Russian Friend {Soviet army }was putting up a Sam site near the triangle { 1973} , when a joint spec. ops team took out his engineer buddies and he got severely wounded . His body deffinetly has the scars to show it . Now Ive known Lev since 08 when we worked together in Yalta and have remained pretty close ever since. It’s a fairly long story and I can confirm he was in Nam then but I’ve never been able to find any American Nam Vets that dealt with the Soviet/NVA missile sites and the spec. ops teams that went after them. Army , Marines or Air force. Those guys never got the heroes welcome either , since the Soviets were pretty cold hearted back then. Good Post – Ace

  91. @Robert Bruce

    Not so America supplied basic materials they needed like food oil etc.. But trucks and half tracks made them more mobile so they could stop germans attacks .Don’t be so dismissive of american weapons. I’m reminded of a story eddie richenbacker told on visiting the Soviet union during the war.He asked why moscow hadn’t been bombed yet. The russian called up a squadron of american mustangs for his view.

    • Replies: @Sparkon
  92. Hibernian says:
    @Mulga Mumblebrain

    We fought the Japanese at Tarawa, Guadalcanal, etc. People who say the things you’re saying forget that.

    • Replies: @Mulga Mumblebrain
  93. Sparkon says:
    @Dingo bay rum

    The first Lend Lease shipments to the Soviet Union did not arrive in Arkhangelsk until Nov. 1941, and that port is about 2,000 km from Moscow.

    The Wehrmacht was defeated in the Battle of Moscow in Dec. 1941 by the Red Army, which was equipped almost exclusively with Soviet-made arms like the T-34 and KV tanks, Katyusha rocket launchers, and 76 mm and 85 mm guns.

    The Battle of Moscow determined the outcome of WWII.

    • Replies: @Dingo bay rum
  94. Sparkon says:

    None of these tragedies in Vietnam would have happened if Pres. Kennedy had not been assassinated, and his NSAM 263 had been allowed to stand. NSAM 263 called for the withdrawal of virtually all U.S. troops from Vietnam by the end of 1965.

  95. @Sparkon

    Not so, there many more battles that if germans had won the russians would have bled to death. As to kennedy getting us out of vietnam BS.This is left wing democrat party tripe.In fact chris mathews(msnbc) says kennedy wanted to increase our involvement there. But it’s nice story and helps keep the draft dodgers happy.

    • Replies: @Sparkon
  96. @Jake Dee

    You’re missing the rage of Yankee racists at being beaten by ‘mere Asiatics’. The same racist pathopsychology motivating the war drive against China. A dying Empire run by Evil sadists, deluded as to their ‘Exceptionalism’ is like a rabid dog in its death-throes.

  97. @Anonymous

    SERE is the training-ground for US torturers. Did he return to Vietnam to work in Operation Phoenix?

  98. @Hibernian

    It would be deluded to call those ‘side-shows’.

    • Replies: @Hibernian
  99. Sparkon says:
    @Dingo bay rum

    I wrote:

    The first Lend Lease shipments to the Soviet Union did not arrive in Arkhangelsk until Nov. 1941…

    Actually, those shipments arrived in the ice-free port of Murmansk, which is almost 2,000 km from Moscow.

    The first convoy of American and British cargo ships steamed into the harbor of Murmansk while the German armies were hammering at the gates of Moscow. Our aid to the U.S.S.R. was relatively insignificant in 1941…

    The Wehrmacht lost every decisive battle against the Red Army in WWII: Moscow in 1941, Stalingrad in 1942, Kursk in 1943, Bagration in 1944, and the Battle of Berlin in 1945.

    As for Vietnam, Pres. Kennedy issued NSAM 263 in early October 1963. You can read all about it in James K. Galbraith’s article in the Boston Review:

    On October 2, 1963, Kennedy received the report of a mission to Saigon by McNamara and Maxwell Taylor, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). The main recommendations, which appear in Section I(B) of the McNamara-Taylor report, were that a phased withdrawal be completed by the end of 1965 and that the “Defense Department should announce in the very near future presently prepared plans to withdraw 1,000 out of 17,000 U.S. military personnel stationed in Vietnam by the end of 1963.” At Kennedy’s instruction, Press Secretary Pierre Salinger made a public announcement that evening of McNamara’s recommended timetable for withdrawal.
    Before a large audience at the LBJ Library on May 1, 1995, McNamara restated his account of this meeting and stressed its importance. He confirmed that President Kennedy’s action had three elements: (1) complete withdrawal “by December 31, 1965,” (2) the first 1,000 out by the end of 1963, and (3) a public announcement, to set these decisions “in concrete,” which was made. McNamara also added the critical information that there exists a tape of this meeting, in the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, to which he had access and on which his account is based.

    Exit Strategy: In 1963, JFK ordered a complete withdrawal from Vietnam

    • Replies: @Dingo bay rum
  100. Ahem says:

    The reason for Sly’s side of the mouth style of speaking was not a war wound but a result of the obstetrician clamping down, with dubious skill and finesse, using humongous metal forceps on the future Rambo skull as he tried to slide clumsily down his mother’s birth canal.

  101. @Sparkon

    And you believe mcNamara. Show it to me in writing or send the tape. As to german armies victories in the east,the opening battle where the germans destroyed the red army and air force. They don’t count.!! Sober up and stop excusing the missing links in moscow. We have enough russian and israeli trolls on this site already.

    • Replies: @Sparkon
  102. Sparkon says:
    @Dingo bay rum

    Show it to me in writing or send the tape

    There is no doubt Pres. Kennedy had decided to withdraw almost all U.S. forces from Vietnam by the end of 1965. See for yourself, if you can.

    If you’ve opened your lying eyes long enough to see, you’ll have noted that NSAM 263 references Section 1 B (1 -3) of the report by McNamara and Taylor:

    The military recommendations in Section I B (1-3) of the McNamara-Taylor report were these: 1) that MACV and Diem come up with what had to be done to complete the military campaign in I, II, and III Corps by the end of 1964 and IV Corps by the end of 1965; 2) that the training program be established so that the South Vietnamese could take over essential functions and permit the bulk of American forces to be withdrawn by that time; and 3) that the Defense Department should announce “in the very near future” the 1,000-man withdrawal.


    Kennedy made McNamara announce his recommendations to the press on the steps of the White House on October 2, 1963.

    As James K. Galbratith puts it in this companion piece, “the evidence is massive and categorical” that JFK had decided to withdraw, had documented his decision with NSAM 263, and had it made public, first by his Secretary of Defense, and then by his Press Secretary.

    Galbraith acquired and has listened to the tapes from Oct. 2 and Oct. 5, 1963.

    JFK was trying to play it low key, but since the self-immolation of Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức in April, he knew we had to get out:

    “We don’t have a prayer of staying in Vietnam. Those people hate us. They are going to throw our asses out of there at any point. But I can’t give up that territory to the communists and get the American people to re-elect me.”

    — Pres. John F. Kennedy

    And so the plan was to have the South Vietnamese take over as the U.S. pulled out, so it wouldn’t appear we were giving up ground to the communists. If only that plan had come to pass…

    The instructions for withdrawal of U.S. Forces from Vietnam were delivered by Maxwell Taylor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to his fellow Chiefs on October 4, 1963 in a memorandum that remained classified until 1997.

    “On 2 October the President approved recommendations on military matters contained in the report of the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The following actions derived from these recommendations are directed: … all planning will be directed toward preparing RVN forces for the withdrawal of all US special assistance units and personnel by the end of calendar year 1965. The US Comprehensive Plan, Vietnam, will be revised to bring it into consonance with these objectives, and to reduce planned residual (post-1965) MAAG strengths to approximately pre-insurgency levels… Execute the plan to withdraw 1,000 US military personnel by the end of 1963…”

    [my bold]

    None of those GIs would have been left behind, maimed, or killed if we’d gotten out by the end of 1965 as JFK ordered in NSAM 263.

  103. @Jim Given

    As a family member of a POW McCain did everything in his power to make sure the POWs never came home. Shame on him! The US government has paid money to the Vietnamese in the way of normalizing relations but did not receive anything in return such as returning our POWs. The US government lied to the public and left the men in captivity to cover their lies. Do you think that is honorable, when the government had a contract with the servicemen in the form of a “Blood Chit” to reward anyone that would return the men to the US control and the US government defaults on that contract. McCain fought the POW family members at every turn! So don’t make excuses for his disgraceful actions concerning the POWs.
    Wife of Col. David L Hrdlicka POW abandoned in Laos

  104. @very old statistician

    When it comes to genocide apologists and jingo racists, you’re right-my heart overflows with hatred for those.

  105. Hibernian says:
    @Mulga Mumblebrain

    I’m trying to figure out if you’re at least half way agreeing with me or if you’re saying that Guadalcanal and Tarawa don’t even rise to the level of sideshows. I tend to think the latter. Nothing could be further from the truth, and of course there were also Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Midway, etc. I’m well aware that we ended the Pacific campaign with the cowardly atrocity to end all cowardly atrocities. I’m no mindless flag waver. I’m a critically thinking flag waver.

  106. @Sparkon

    Of course there were plans to withdraw but what actually happened. There are plans in the pentagon in case we have to fight switzerland.Whom may I ask put the advisors(green berets) in vietnam in the first place hint his initials are JFK. Notice by your hand you say JFK was disgusted with vietnamese but by the same time mention how the president was afraid of coming election and how it would look if there was a failure in vietnam. This was a serious matter for JFK since he screwed up the bay of pigs and kruschev made him look weak in vienna. Remember he pushed the counter insurgency doctrine and vietnam was the testing area. Definitely he didn’t want to fail in vietnam.And I’m inclined to believe chris matthews at that time aide to speaker oneil that he would increase our presence in vietnam contrary to the alibis placed in the pentagon records.

    • Replies: @Sparkon
  107. Sparkon says:
    @Dingo bay rum

    No. NSAM 263 was a National Security Action Memorandum, not a contingency plan, and certainly not an “alibi.” Yours is a very simplistic, right-wing view of the situation in 1963.

    You are of course free to believe what right-wing MSN talking head Chris Matthews has claimed, and ignore both the historical record and the observations of those who were there at the time, like L. Fletcher Prouty.

    For your edification, I would recommend reading these two documents. Short excerpts follow.

    • Discussion of draft of NSAM 273 written on 11/21/1963:

    Again note that the ONLY portion of the McNamara-Taylor (Mission) Report that was approved by JFK was the part recommending a complete withdrawal of the bulk of all US personnel by the end of 1965. There is no indication in this cable that he had changed his mind or that he was re-considering his earlier decision–not even in light of the changed political situation in South Vietnam. That the conference spawned the DRAFT of NSAM 273 while JFK was still the POTUS remains a disturbing and inadequately addressed chapter in American History.

    • From L. Fletcher Prouty’s Letter to Jim Garrison:

    Kennedy undoubtedly saw the beginnings of this serious problem after the Bay of Pigs investigation. At that time he wrote two very powerful National Security Action Memoranda, NSAM 55 and NSAM 57. Both were issued from the White House in June 1961. NSAM 55 was a brief memorandum of greatest significance, which was addressed directly to the Chairman of the JCS and was signed personally by the President. In essence it said that Jack Kennedy would hold the chairman (Lemnitzer) responsible for all action of a military nature during peacetime in the same manner as he would hold him responsible for such action in time of war. In other words, the President was saying that he wanted any and all peacetime operations (military type-clandestine, covert, paramilitary, etc.) to be under the control, or at least under the close scrutiny, of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs.


    This was an unusual memorandum because Kennedy sent it directly to the chairman and sent information copies only to McNamara, Rusk, and Allen Dulles. It should also be noted that Robert McNamara, Dean Rusk, and Allen Dulles knew that NSAM well and understood its full meaning and intent; and they knew exactly what President Kennedy meant by it. In other words, President Kennedy, by the explicit publication of this brief memo, was letting the entire top echelon superstructure above the Secret Team, wherever it existed, know that from that time on there were to be no more such ill-conceived, inadequately planned, and inherently dangerous clandestine operations. If this directive had been followed explicitly and if Kennedy had lived to assure that it was followed as he intended it to be, there is a very good chance that United States involvement in Indochina would never have been escalated beyond the military-adviser level.

    [my bold]

  108. And yours is a very commie like defense of JFK’s foreign foul ups. Of course JFK would withdraw military advisers in two years and the tooth fairy is real. Two years in politics is like eternity .Nobody knows what going to happen the the next day on the world stage much less two years from now. It’s interesting you put the letter to Garrison in butress your argument.Is this the jim garrison of the CIA is behind the killing of JFK fame?As to the government memos and other transmittals your right I shouldn’t used the word albis more like cover my ass if something goes wrong . And it did go wrong in vietnam We can carry this debate on and on if you like.

    • Replies: @Sparkon
  109. Sparkon says:
    @Dingo bay rum

    The debate is over. You lost. NSAM 263 is an established historical fact. I showed you the signed document, and there are draft copies at the JFK Library.

    Pres. Kennedy was pulling the U.S. out of Vietnam. The right-wing couldn’t stand it then, and it still can’t stand it now, but none of your denials, rationalizations or special pleading can make that fact go away. Nonetheless, I know you’ll keep trying, and go ahead on; you make a good straight man.

    Accurate reporting must steer clear of dogma. I am anti-communist and was a Cold Warrior myself, but I strive to be objective.

    I included the letter from Prouty to Garrison for your edification, as I stated, not buttress my argument, but rather to address your claims about the Bay of Pigs. That fiasco was conceived and formulated by VP Richard M. Nixon, and CIA agent E. Howard Hunt in the waning days of the Eisenhower administration.

    The flawed plan for the Bay of Pigs invasion was foisted on JFK less than 3 months after his inauguration when he was still somewhat naive and inexperienced, and after he’d been led down the primrose path with promises of a popular uprising against Castro.

    But it was a pipe dream, and the Bay of Pigs was a swamp.

    The so-called anti-Castro Cubans were never more than a relatively small handful of Cubans, primarily those who’d made their living in the gambling casinos run by the U.S. mob, which were shut down by Castro after his successful revolution. There was never any real chance of a popular uprising against the popular figure of Fidel Castro. That’s why the CIA was trying to kill him with exploding cigars and other crackpot schemes from the cowboys and loose cannons compartmentalized at Langley.

    Rather, the Bay of Pigs operation was devised to force the President to send in the Marines, but Pres. Kennedy wisely refused all calls to take that action, and thereby preserved the peace, but it was probably one of the things that cost him his life on Nov. 22, 1963.

    Before that, in the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs folly, he issued NSAMs 55 and 57 ordering that all future military or paramilitary operations be under control of the military, not the CIA.

    NSAM 263 needs no buttress, but there’s plenty there if it did. JFK had registered his sentiments about Vietnam on a number of occasions, but in truth, NSAM 263 stands on its own as a vivid and irrefutable testament of Pres. Kennedy’s plans to withdraw U.S. forces from Vietnam by the end of 1965, which would allow the popular Kennedy to run for re-election on a platform of Peace and Prosperity in 1964, after the first 1,000 U.S. troops had pulled out by the end of 1963.

    “In the final analysis it is their war. They have to win or lose it.”

    — Pres. John F. Kennedy, Sept. 2, 1963

    • Thanks: antibeast
    • Replies: @Dingo bay rum
  110. @Sparkon

    No you lost .JFK didn.t withdraw the troops. End of the discussion.

    • Replies: @Sparkon
  111. Sparkon says:
    @Dingo bay rum

    Do you really need it explained to you that Pres. Kennedy did not and could not do anything after he was killed? Apparently, you do, but that’s a strawman argument you’re trying to make.

    What I’ve said is before he was assassinated, JFK had given the orders to pull out of Vietnam. If he hadn’t been killed, the military disaster of Vietnam would not have happened.

    “Show it to me in writing…”

    Recall, you challenged me to show you the document, NSAM 263, and I did. Now, you’re trying to move the goalposts, and squirm out of it.

    So squirm on.

  112. RonCharest says: • Website

    I read your article with great interest, but find your “conclusions” laughable. Your high point is mentioning Robert Garwood – the poor mistreated ex-POW who “escaped” and is (still) living proof that America left hundreds of prisoners behind in Vietnam.

    I knew Robert Garwood – he was my neighbor in Mississippi. As his former neighbor I will make your prediction correct about “trashing his reputation.” Within two years of living next door, Robert would destroy my marriage, attempt to smear me with the most vile lies I’ve ever been a victim of, and generally turn my life upside down. My observation is that if Garwood told me the sky was blue – I’d be sure to check it myself to be sure. If you shake hands with him – check to be sure you still have your rings afterwards.

    The reality is that Robert Garwood is a traitor and opportunist. He got caught by the North Vietnamese probably due to his own carelessness (and over-active hormones). Once caught, he turned against the United States and befriended the Vietnamese. He choose to stay after our troops left, and the Vietnamese allowed his to stay as a valued friend. When Garwood got tired of Vietnam (realized he was wearing out his welcome with his Vietnamese benefactors), he found a way to get back to the US.

    Reality check: There were no abandoned US POWs left behind in Vietnam. All sightings of “Bearded White Men” are easily explained by the presence of other foreign nationals working or living in Vietnam. This may come as a surprise to you, but there are White Men native to other countries besides the US in this world.

    I will post a link to my story on meeting, and living next door, to Robert Garwood.

    • Replies: @Phil4Phil
  113. Phil4Phil says:

    The author says:

    It’s a long step from complaining about a neighbor to asserting that no prisoners were left behind in Vietnam, but so be it. By the way, both you and commenter number 10 here fulfilled my prediction that someone would trash Garwood.

    You might try reading “An Enormous Crime,” which thoroughly goes over the evidence for abandoned men. One bit that particularly impressed me was that the CIA had located many P.O.W. camps during the war, but none of the returning men, when debriefed, said they had been in about a dozen of the camps. What happened to those men? It’s clear from that and other bits of information that the North Vietnamese maintained two prison systems: one of prisoners that they would return, and one of men that they wouldn’t return until the ransom was paid.

    As to Garwood himself, two points:

    1. The charges against him were not unusual. Many returning prisoners faced the same, but they were invariably dropped. The rationale was that people do bad things in an extreme situation.

    2. Garwood escaped — years after the war was over. Who else can say that?

    Still, you might take comfort from this: in two or three different places I came across a mention that he had had trouble with his neighbors. History will remember your complaint.

    Lastly, you said that my conclusions, which had nothing to do with Garwood, were “laughable,” but didn’t say why. What conclusion did you object to?

  114. RonCharest says: • Website

    You need to back up your two points with actual references.

    After getting involved with Garwood, I became closely involved with several key players in the “POW” / “Anti-POW” movement. As a Vietnam-Era veteran myself, I brought a level of credibility to the table and got to know these people very well. From my experience, I learned way too much first-hand about the POW issues. Can you say this?

    So, as to your two points:

    1. I have never heard of ANY returned POWs who faced charges of desertion or collaborating with the enemy. Garwood was found guilty on five specifications:

    – That he served as an interpreter for the enemy.
    – That he was camp “mole” and informed on his fellow American POWs to the VC and NVA;
    – That he interrogated US POWs about military topics, including planning for any escapes;
    – That he helped indoctrinate POWs and suggested that they “cross over” to the enemy as he had done
    – That he had served as a guard for the enemy over his fellow US POWs.

    2. Garwood escaped – years after the war.

    On 9 February 1979 the U.S. State department was informed that on 1 February, Mr. Ossi Rahkonen, a Finnish national who worked for the World Bank headquarters in Washington, had been passed a note in the Thang Loi (Victory) Hotel in Hanoi by PFC Robert Russell Garwood, USMC. This started a diplomatic effort between the US Government and the Vietnamese Government. The Vietnamese stated Garwood was their guest, and was welcome to come and go as he pleased. They made no effort to stop Garwood from leaving on a commercial airliner.

    Hardly the type of “escape” a prisoner makes. There is some evidence the Vietnamese were happy to see garwood leave, on account of his womanizing (Asian people are very conservative about “casual” sex), and his involvement in black-marketing.

    Your final conclusion:

    “So the Establishment abandoned its soldiers, set its face against the truth, and busied itself getting back at the Soviets in Afghanistan and “winning” the Cold War. Elites “moved on,” a term that once described hardy pioneers pushing west, and now serves as an excuse for the memory hole. They had no time for the hundreds of servicemen from Iowa, Texas and Maine, stifling under their straggly hair and beards, withering away year by hopeless year as macabre mementos of communist triumph. With Vietnam and its aftermath, the bond between rulers and ruled was broken. The abandoned P.O.W.s are a symbol of how empires are won and nations are lost.”

    Is very poetic, but hardly objective. As pointed out, there is very little hard evidence of prisoners held against their will in Vietnam after the war ended. All you offer is conjectures, speculation, hearsay, and rumors. They may fill your need for conspiracy, but they are not objective.

  115. @Malla

    Afghanistan was about the flow of opium that the Taliban had cut off in early 2001.

    By now they must have setup another source/route for the opium flow.

    Concurrent with Vietnam, there was a concentrated effort to disrupt US society through drugs, sex, and music.

    It’s not a random coincidence that Jim Morrison, the lizard king, was a son of the US Navy Admiral in command of the fleet that was “attacked” in the Gulf of Tonkin, by ghost radar images of North Vietnamese gunboats. For the War on Vietnam they did not have to scuttle outdated vessels, or demolish outdated towers. They just phoned it in.

  116. @Sparkon

    The 1,000 military personnel would not include CIA personnel and their indigenous paramilitaries.

    A date mentioned is the 1963 promise/commitment (by an elected politician up for reelection) to bring the troops home in 1965, which would have been the beginning of JFK’s second term. Was the promise an election trick to get reelected in 1964? After the election, unforeseen exigent circumstances would require an expansion of the war.

  117. @Robert Bruce

    They used a lot of the materiel the US gave them, including P-39s and P-63s, artillery, and the Studebakers, which they copied. Back then US war equipment was often top quality, instead of overpriced, overcomplicated maintenance hogs. They also copied captured B-29s, from which they eventually developed the Bear bomber.

    That’s not to say that Soviet weapons weren’t excellent, especially their planes, tanks, and artillery.

Current Commenter

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone

 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Commenting Disabled While in Translation Mode
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Philip Kraske Comments via RSS
The Surprising Elements of Talmudic Judaism
Analyzing the History of a Controversial Movement
From the Leo Frank Case to the Present Day
Shouldn't they recuse themselves when dealing with the Middle East?
The Shaping Event of Our Modern World
The JFK Assassination and the 9/11 Attacks?