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American Pravda: Was Rambo Right?
Hundreds of POWs may have been left to die in Vietnam, abandoned by their government—and our media.
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In the closing days of the 2008 presidential campaign, I clicked an ambiguous link on an obscure website and stumbled into a parallel universe.

During the previous two years of that long election cycle, the media narrative surrounding Sen. John McCain had been one of unblemished heroism and selfless devotion to his fellow servicemen. Thousands of stories on television and in print had told of his brutal torture at the hands of his North Vietnamese captors, his steely refusal to crack, and his later political career aimed at serving the needs of fellow Vietnam veterans. This storyline had first reached the national stage during his 2000 campaign, then returned with even greater force as he successfully sought the 2008 Republican nomination. Seemingly accepted by all, this history became a centerpiece of his campaign. McCain’s supporters touted his heroism as proof that he possessed the character to be entrusted with America’s highest office, while his detractors merely sought to change the subject.

Once I clicked that link, I encountered a very different John McCain.

I read copious, detailed evidence that hundreds of American POWs had been condemned to death at enemy hands by top American leaders, apparently because their safe return home would have constituted a major political embarrassment. I found documentation that the cover-up of this betrayal had gone on for decades, eventually drawing in a certain Arizona senator. According to this remarkable reconstruction of events, the average teenage moviegoer of the 1980s watching mindless action films such as “Rambo,” “Missing in Action,” and “Uncommon Valor” was seeing reality portrayed on screen, while the policy expert reading sober articles in the pages of The New Republic and The Atlantic was absorbing lies and propaganda. Since I had been believing those very articles, this was a stunning revelation.

But was this alternate description of reality correct? Could this one article be true and all the countless contrary pieces I had read in America’s most prestigious publications be false, merely the presentation of official propaganda endlessly repeated? I cannot say. I am not an expert on the history of the Vietnam War and its aftermath.

Yet consider the source. The author of that remarkable 8,000-word exposé—“McCain and the POW Cover-Up,” published on The Nation Institute’s website—was Sydney Schanberg, one of America’s foremost Vietnam War journalists. His reporting won him a Pulitzer Prize, and his subsequent book on Cambodia was made into “The Killing Fields,” an Oscar-winning movie. Schanberg later served as one of the highest-ranking editors at the New York Times, with a third of the reporters at our national newspaper of record working under him. A case can be made that no living American journalist can write with greater credibility on Vietnam War matters. And he had labored for years researching and exhaustively documenting the story of American POWs abandoned in Indochina—a story that if true might easily represent the single greatest act of national dishonor ever committed by our political leaders.

He presented a mass of evidence with names, dates, and documentary detail. Many of the individuals mentioned are still alive and could be interviewed or called to testify. Sealed government records could be ordered unsealed. If America wishes to determine the truth, it can do so.

Yet what I found most remarkable about Schanberg’s essay were not its explosive historical claims but the absolute silence with which they were received in the mainstream media. In 2008, John McCain’s heroic war record and personal patriotism were central to his quest for supreme power—a goal he came very close to achieving. But when one of America’s most eminent journalists published an exhaustive report that the candidate had instead served as one of the leading figures in a monumental act of national treachery, our media took no notice. McCain’s public critics and the operatives of his Democratic opponent might eagerly seize upon every rumor that the senator had had a private lunch with a disreputable corporate lobbyist, but they ignored documented claims that he had covered up the killing of hundreds of American POWs. These allegations were serious enough and sufficiently documented to warrant national attention—yet they received none.

All of this might seem unimaginable except that it falls into a strong pattern of the press avoiding stories of overwhelming importance. Consider how many of the national disasters of the past few years have been caused by the unwillingness of our major media to question official truths or the widespread beliefs of our elites. The Iraq “cakewalk” to eliminate Saddam’s WMDs, the nationwide housing bubble, and the Madoff swindle might have been prevented or would never have reached such massive proportions if reporters and editors had been willing to investigate and present claims contrary to the soothing blandishments of the powerful. Instead, it has become the norm for press outlets simply to repeat, with a few word substitutions, stories indistinguishable from those previously published by dozens of other press outlets, without ever examining any contrary evidence that might raise doubts about this perceived reality. Truth has come to mean the lies that everyone believes.

A couple of years ago, in one of my last exchanges with my late friend Lt. Gen. Bill Odom, who ran the National Security Agency for President Ronald Reagan, we agreed a case could be made that today’s major American media had become just as dishonest and unreliable as the old Soviet propaganda outlets of the late 1970s. At the time, we were discussing the coverage of our road to the Iraq War, but subsequent events have demonstrated that this national illness is far more advanced than either of us had suspected. Whether or not Schanberg is proven correct, the shameful cowardice of our mainstream media is already proven by the wall of silence surrounding his work.


In an attempt to breach that wall, we present Schanberg’s account of how his remarkable story was buried, as well as his explosive original article. TAC has also convened a symposium of critics drawn from military, political, and journalism backgrounds to explain how this report could have failed to reach a mass audience. A small political magazine does not have the resources to investigate the detailed evidence of Schanberg’s case, but we can hold a mirror up to America’s major media and force them to see what stories they now regard as completely non-newsworthy.

And if Schanberg’s claims are indeed correct, they reveal the lethal consequences of America’s overweening national pride. After all, his history is a simple one. Following the battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954, the Vietnamese refused to return their French POWs unless Paris agreed to pay financial compensation for the war. The French leaders paid the money and got their men back. Similarly, the Vietnamese refused to return their American POWs unless the U.S. government agreed to pay reparations. Nixon signed a document promising to do exactly that, but the Vietnamese, being cautious, kept many of the POWs back until the money was delivered. Then Congress refused to authorize the funds because “America doesn’t lose wars.” Nixon and later U.S. leaders never acknowledged the fate of these captives lest the American people become outraged. And as the years and decades went by, and various schemes to ransom or rescue the POWs were considered and rejected, their continued existence became a major liability to numerous powerful political figures, whose reputations would have been destroyed if any of the prisoners ever returned and told his story to the American people. So none of them ever came home.

Ron Unz is publisher of The American Conservative.

(Republished from The American Conservative by permission of author or representative)
• Category: History • Tags: American Pravda, McCain/POW, Vietnam 
The American Pravda Series
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  1. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I read with knowing interest your article! I like many Vietnam veterans have a personal interest, an undying interest! I am a life time member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, and I have an interest! There are many more veterans like myself that have an interest! What are the facts, and who suppressed the facts! I, and other veterans have always felt that the Democrats, and even Richard M. Nixon, did not push hard enough for the timely return of or missing brothers! Perhaps its time to present the facts of Schanberg’s account of how his remarkable story was buried, as well as his explosive original article! A reprint could be made in our different veteran magazines! Do it!

  2. donut says:

    ” to explain how this report could have failed to reach a mass audience.”

    Jesus , what a waste of time . Get your hand out of your pants . How could have so many stories have failed to reach a mass audience , the USS Liberty for one ? Is it really a mystery to you ? This ignored story is why so many people have turned to the internet for their news . And yet it still makes no difference . The oligarchy will not be deterred .

    • Replies: @Epaminondas
    , @Will
  3. donut says:

    What I mean to say in a less offensive tone is that it’s been a pattern for as long as I can remember for the media to cover up for the shotcallers in this country . Even today questioning the official version of things gets you at best odd looks and rolling eye balls .
    The chances of changing that are nil . Before the internet age one had to take a real interest in a subject to get a more accurate idea of what was going on . I’ve got my own hobbyhorse which helped wake me up to the idea that we’re being deceived daily by the Fourth Estate .
    In the present we aren’t limited to three TV news channels and the local paper yet most people I encounter don’t seem to be more than slightly interested in the official version of things let alone an alternative version .
    The main media outlets set the tone and decide what can be debated . Every opposing voice is lost at the edges of the crowd . ” I clicked an ambiguous link on an obscure website and stumbled into a parallel universe.” I had the same experience of stumbling across that story somewhere and had pretty much the same response , I just wasn’t surprised that it wasn’t picked up by MSM . McCain’s opponents have just as much of a stake in keeping the truth hidden as he does and know that once it starts to come unraveled who knows where it will stop.
    I’ve long ago gotten use to being considered a crackpot. It gets easy.
    This maybe OT but back in the 80’s I had minor connection to two stories that were big at the time ; the “Challenger” disaster and the big oil spill in Alaska in March of “89 . I wasn’t directly involved , I was just a pair of hands on deck , but I spoke to people who were and it was eye opening to see how the media handled both of those events . I thought at the time that if two random events that I coincidentally know about are deliberately misrepresented in the media what else ?

    • Agree: anarchyst
    • Replies: @Steve Naidamast
    , @m___
  4. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:

    Sydney Schamberg….Abbie Hoffman’s second cousin….functioned as an apologist for the JFK-Johnson-Nixon-Kissinger-Solarz destruction of Vietnam. Noam Chomsky had him pegged for what he was:a state worshipping toadie-mandarin….just like Henry Kissinger. Your chasing the ghosts of another discredited conspiracy theory. Your conclusions are pre-ordained from the start…that’s not how science works.

  5. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:

    Since this thread involves the larger issue of US Foreign
    Policy during the Cold War Era….as a fanatical opponent of Democratic-Republican wars of aggression, I want to state my utter disgust with English Foriegner Peter Brimelow’s recenty stated enthusiasm for wanting to continue the vicious economic sanctions against Cuba(Brimelow’s post yesterday on and his enthusiasm for carpet bombing Vietnam into oblivion(in a post a month ago,)

    Sydney Schamberg never showed up to debate Vietnam Veteran Bruce Franklin…a very well know major critic of the POW-MIA conspiracy theory….back in 1994 at a public forum.

    Congressman Steven Solarz was a well known enthusiast for using US tax \$\$\$\$\$\$\$\$\$\$ to subsidize Pol Pot….subsidized for ten years by the US!!!

    Sydney Schamberg functioned in much the same way that Judith Miller did during Iraq War 2:a propagandist and enthusiast for mass murder…Schamberg provided the retroactive justification…our intentions are Noble!!… for the JFK-Johnson-Nixon-Kissinger-Solarz destruction of Vietnam(and later, Iraq’s destruction by Solarz)….and Native Born White American Teenagers from The American Heartland whose names can be found on the Vietnam War Memorial in DC…

    • Replies: @Dahlia
  6. kikz says:

    Ross Perot seemed to think so, at least until his family was threatened.

  7. Adar. says:

    “the Vietnamese, being cautious, kept many of the POWs back until the money was delivered.”

    NO! A thousand times NO!

    The North Vietnamese weren’t just cautious, THEY were EVIL! As with all communists.

    And that money, reparations or whatever you want to call it, WAS TO BE PAID ONLY IF THE COMMIE KEPT THEIR PART OF THE BARGAIN, AND THEY DID NOT!!

    • Replies: @Herald
    , @obwandiyag
    , @Kali
  8. Priss Factor [AKA "K. Arujo"] says:

    Movies like RAMBO hurt the cause of truth because they associated the missing POW issue with war porn fantasy. A lot of sensible people assumed that right-tards were just exploiting the issue to re-fight the Vietnam War on the big screen and ‘win this time’.

    If this POW story is true, it’s time for everyone to come clean.
    I wonder why Oliver Stone hasn’t touched on this issue? In his sympathy for the Vietnamese–who really did suffer greatly as the result of globalist meddling by super-powers–, does he think the POW issue is of secondary importance? (If the communist regime was imposed on North Korea by USSR–with the blessing of the US that took over the South–, a case can be made that Ho Chi Minh was the rightful liberator and leader of all of Vietnam. Unfortunately, he was a Leninist, but he had devoted his entire life to driving out the French, and people all across Vietnam recognized him as their true leader. In a real free election after WWII, he would have won. So, it was wrong for the US to butt in on Vietnam.)

    Did the Liberal media remain mum on this issue because reigniting it might restart more involvement in SE Asia or other parts of the world like Latin America, especially during the Cold War?

    But why the silence even after the Cold War? Are the Liberal Media ashamed that they sided with North Vietnamese and Viet Cong that treated American POWS horribly? If this story comes out, not only will Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and McCain end up with eggs on their faces but so will the media that had Americans believing that Vietnam would be a happy place following communist victory and unification. But if it turns out that the communists did something terrible to POWS, it makes Liberals in the media of the Vietnam era look like a bunch of useful idiots.

    If the fault of the media during the buildup to the Iraq War–and during the Gulf War and Panama Invasion–was too much credulity with government talking points, their fault during the Vietnam War was constant subversion of US efforts and aiding & abetting the enemy. New York Times had aided Castro to power earlier as well. There were many communist-sympathizers if not actual communists in the US media. And they overly romanticized people like Castro and the Viet Cong, not least because American Liberals were swept up in the fashionable anti-Americanism of the period.
    But then, the communists really did win in SE Asia and turned Vietnam into a vast gulag and turned Cambodia into the Killing Fields. And truths that came out about communist China in the 1980s were truly harrowing. Communists were less noble idealists than ruthless radicals.

    It’s one thing for US media to admit that communists did horrible things to their own people, but it would hit closer to home if it turned out that communists also did horrible things to helpless American POWs.

    So, it seems both the right and the left have reasons to bury this. They’ll all end up with eggs on their faces.

    RESCUE DAWN is a relevant film on this issue.

  9. I subscribe to American Conservative. I saved that issue as shown in article. The other issues I leave at a clinic at an army base.
    I remain confused about this POW issue.
    It is certain that Bill Blizzard is correct about the names on the Vietnam Wall. I was in the Marine Corps and vast majority of men in the 60s were of European heritage and we had Afro Americans serving in numbers representative of their population in the USA. I cannot even remember the names of many Poles and Slavs whose names ended in ski- and other endings. But it is very clear that if you look for Anglo names, they are all over. They died in numbers greater than what they should have. They believed in America. They joined and they were drafted. Just look for Wilson, Williams, Johnson and so many other common Anglo names. The largest numbers dying were teens and young men of European heritage. The mainstream media cannot lie about this anymore. They tried both in the press and in movies.
    It is very sad that many of our greatest young citizens die in forgotten wars while the children of the rich and elites party and play, and so many USA socialists who avoided US military service (and still speak out with constant hate against their country) are now very powerful in federal, state, and local governments and run the mainstream media..

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  10. War isn’t a board game, where at the end, all the black pieces return to their side of the board, and all the white pieces return to their respective side. The idea that you can lose a war, and expect 100 percent of your POWs to be returned to you, is a childish fantasy.

    • Replies: @Really-
  11. Dahlia says:
    @War for Blair Mountain

    So if Schamberg is an ideologue and a journalist ala Judith Miller, what is the character and background of the vet, Bruce Franklin? And what reason did Schamberg give for not debating Mr. Franklin?

  12. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:

    H Bruce Franklin is an Historian at Rutgers University…one of the Nations leading Historians on the Vietnam War. Moreover, H Bruce Franklin was an US Air Force intelligence officer during the Vietnam War. H Bruce Franklin wrote a book on the MIA-POW issue…hyper-documentation…point by point rebuttals. I think this why Sydney Shanburg decided not to show up at the debate.

    Is there any evidence that Sydney Schanburg ever went after Congressman Steven Solarz in his NYT columns for his enthusiasm and his role in the US Congress for funding Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge for Ten Years?.

    The whole function of the MIA-POW mythology is to whip up hatred in the American Public for torturing Vietnam…a Nation that was wrecked beyond repair by JFK-Johnson-Nixon-Kissinger-Solarz.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  13. Ron Unz says:
    @War for Blair Mountain

    I try to avoid interjecting myself into comment threads, but I’ll make an exception here…

    H. Bruce Franklin was indeed an academic, but also an extreme radical ideologue. As a revolutionary Communist leader at Stanford, he organized the destruction of a campus building as an anti-war protest and as a consequence was fired from his tenured position, something almost unprecedented in modern American academic life.

    However, leaving aside his extremist political views, the problem with citing him as an authority on this matter is that his academic specialty is “American cultural studies,” especially movies and television. In 1991 he had published a lengthy cover-story in The Atlantic intended as the definitive debunking of the POW/MIA claims being made by Ross Perot and others. I read it at the time (along with a similar TNR cover article) and it helped to persuade me that the theories were total nonsense.

    However, after reading Schanberg’s 8,000 word article in 2008, I naturally went back and reread those contrary 1991 pieces and discovered just how extremely thin they were in factual content, with Franklin’s article mostly being a negative critique of the various Rambo-type movies for their absurd plot-lines and his ridiculing of the various rightwing fringe-figures leading the POW/MIA cause. Presumably, attacking the absurd plot-lines of various WWII films could be used to discredit the notion that WWII ever occurred.

    Ironically enough, one fascinating detail I discovered in my second, much more careful reading of Franklin’s long article cut in exactly the opposite direction. Franklin claimed that President Reagan was absolutely sure the POW/MIAs did indeed exist and had undertaken various negotiations with Hanoi to have them safely returned, though these negotiations ultimately failed. The Reagan Administration had also organized abortive rescue attempts that were eventually called off when the location of the POW/MIAs could not be determined with certainty. Since Franklin “knew” that the POW/MIAs theories were total nonsense, he cited these accounts as a means of ridiculing Reagan and his officials as idiots and ignoramuses. However, it seems to me that the president of the U.S. might have access to better intelligence information than a defrocked Communist professor of television studies.

    I don’t know anything about a supposed Schanberg/Franklin debate, which doesn’t really seem relevant to anything. I think Gene Siskel or Robert Ebert would have been more appropriate debate opponents for Franklin.

  14. There is no doubt that many were left behind, Robert Garwood in proof. This POW escaped in 1979 only to be charged as a deserter and collaborator, rather than a hero. The book “Buzzsaw” covers this topic, and how our corporate media reported whatever Uncle Sam told them as a fact. Here is a summary from another book.

    That being said, many were “sheep dipped” GIs turned CIA contractors working secretly and illegally in Laos. They were not left behind GIs, but cowboys who got arrested. And the talk that we should restart the war in an futile attempt to save them with the loss of thousands more American lives is idiotic. Nixon did a great job extracting the USA from the Vietnam disaster, which is one reason the CIA and its war profiteers removed him from office. They lied, but only to keep the warmongering crazies away.

  15. anon • Disclaimer says:

    The use of “may” or “could” in a headline almost always means the that the article is engaging in speculation or feckless editorializing.

    The only reason I frequent this rag of a website is Sailer.

    • Replies: @Wally
  16. Adar. says:

    By that amount of remittances from American families as sent to someone in Saigon it is estimated that about 1,000 or so American deserters were being harbored by Chinese ethnics in the Cholon district. NONE of those persons were ever seen again. Sightings of Americans in Vietnam after the war probably to some extent include those deserters?

  17. Dahlia says:

    “The whole function of the MIA-POW mythology is to whip up hatred in the American Public for torturing Vietnam…a Nation that was wrecked beyond repair by JFK-Johnson-Nixon-Kissinger-Solarz.”

    I don’t know what this means; the fault is surely mine as I wasn’t alive during this and my only family involved was my father-in-law.

    I live in a mostly blue-collar (Southern) neighborhood and have two neighbors who fly that MIA POW Vietnam flag, one woman even goes so far as to have a kneeling soldier plywood silhouette on her front lawn as well as other Vietnam, military yard accoutrements. I got to know her and she and the other family seem like conservative, generous, honest. salt of the earth people. Not the sort to be taken in by the Hate America crowd.

  18. @Ron: Don’t forget to mention the role of Songbird McCain’s dad, Dadmiral McCain, in suppressing the investigation of the USS Liberty. They are a bloodline of treason.

  19. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:
    @Ron Unz

    Ron Unz

    Invite H Bruce Franklin on for a debate. By the way, the whole MIA-POW issue came out during the Nixon-Kissinger negotiations with the North Vietnamese to end the war. Kissinger most definitely did not negotiate in good faith and the Vietnam War was prolonged another four years….many more dead Vietnamese Civilians….and more many more dead American Teenagers from the American Heartland. How’s that for extremism?

    As far as conspiracy theories go in general…I take them on a case by case basis…otherwise, conspiracy theories become conspiracism, another religious belief system.

    Have a good day…..

  20. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:

    Southern Evangelical Baptists such as your family really ought to get out of the canon fodder line of work for the Neocon-Empire-Military Industrial Complex. Your people might want to consider medical school careers..engineerig careers. They people who pack your teenage sons off to be delimbed-mutilated across the globe hate your people with every fiber of their neocon being.

    Vietnam posed 0 threat to your Southern Evangelical White Baptist Family. You are an example of the effectiveness of the relentless MIA-POW propaganda in generating intense revenge hate towards a nation that posed 0 threat to your family….its become the US Deep South version of the “Holomodor”. How much more Agent Orange do you want to dump on the Vietnamese Civilian Population?

    Appalachia is my favorite region of America….Oh Shennandoah!!!!!

    Hope you have a good day….

  21. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:


    Off topic:how bout inviting Noam Chomsky on to Unz Review to present his views on The 1965 Immigration Reform Act and post-1965 Immigration Policy…it would be lots of fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!..if you can’t get ol Noam…there is always Aviva Chomsky…I would prefer the way more intelligent Noam though….do it!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just think how much fun fans would have!!!!!

  22. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:
    @Carlton Meyer

    No it doesn’t….proof by induction…which is what you are doing in the Garwood case…only works in the realm of math. Your rage and anger should be directed at the notorious War Criminals…such as JFK….who ordered the invasion of Vietnam and…..escalated the Vietnam War…Irish Catholic Filth JFK again(because that’s what JFK was).

    Be a JFK hater!!!!…it’s the right thing to do you know…..JFK was a much greater threat to the American Male Teenage population born right after WW2 than the Vietnamese ever were!!!!..and that’s a fact Jack!!!!!!

    Say no to the JFK…ISM Religious Cult!!!!!

  23. A discussion of POW issues that does not contain a reference to “Kiss the Boys Goodbye”? This is a comprehensive work by Monika Jensen-Stevenson and William Stevenson. Do NOT read this book if you have even a shred of belief in the US Govt. or its agents/apologists.

  24. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:

    Sydney Shanberg and Abbie Hoffman related through common uncle:Uncle Schmuly

    Back to conspiracies… is a very real one:the billions spent on HIV causes AIDS research scam…I was convinced after reading the late great Yale Mathematician Serge Lang’s website about HIV causing AIDS that there was most definitely a monumental conspiracy going on. It’s an obsession of mine because HIV-AIDS hogs billions of research \$\$\$\$\$\$\$\$ that could otherwise go to many small market diseases such as Lou Gherigs-ALS-pick your family members small market disease…there are all horrific-gruesome diseases.

    Divine Edict to Unz Review:start a discussion about the HIV causes AIDS Conspiracy Theory. This discussion could actually save lives!!

    The HIV causes AIDS debate comes down to this:Does HIV cause AIDS..or…Has HIV had ever been isolated. It’s a perfect match for Unz Review readers because many of the commenters on Unz Review seem to have a tech-stat background. Small market disease victims continue to linger in agony..

    It’s the Scientific Fraud Conspiracy of the Century!!!!!

    Since I mentioned Serge Lang…..he went after the linked-lists algorithm Inventor Herbert Simon…Lang accused Herbert Simon of very serious Scientific Fraud….Herbert Simon never got to be a member of the prestigious National Academy of Science because of Serge Lang…

  25. Ron Unz- it is indeed very good that you wrote a comment about Franklin in reply to Blizzard. Ron- you did show the agenda of Franklin. It is only these interjections that will prevent bias and lead to truth.
    Unz Review is certainly not a rag as someone wrote. It is a damn good site. I appreciate what some people go through to get at truth. Thanks.

  26. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:

    For a critique of Monica Jenson’s book….Kiss the Boys Goodbye….have a look at the MIA FACTS website…

    Underlying ideological framework of the MIA-POW Movement:Vietnam War…. Good War to have..Our intentions are Noble!!!!…. North Vietnamese subhuman uncivilized scum!!!!…..should I mention Guantanomo?

    Whether or not Rambo…chickenhawk draft dodger who starred in pornos when the Vietnam War was at its peak….is right about POW-MIAs….poison the Vietnamese Civilian Population with Agent Orange…..burn Pre-Teen Vietnamese girls with Napalm doesn’t put you in a position to lecture the North Vietnamese about morality

    No US invasion of South Vietnam… MIA-POW issue……kind of obvious!!!!

    • Replies: @Kiza
  27. Kiza says:
    @War for Blair Mountain

    The nation I come from has been exposed to the tender mercies of cluster bombs of the good ol’ USA. Therefore, I can only side with Bill Blizzard and his Men on this one. It appears to be “America can do no wrong” crowd versus “America haters”, whilst the military-industrial complex fatcats are counting godzillions of dollars earned from wars and laughing all the way to the bank they own. “America can do no wrong” crowd is what they love, because it increases profits and the expense of blood and treasure of these poor dumb f’s.

    Regarding US war crimes in Vietnam and elsewhere, yes there will be big reparations once the US weakens. At the moment, the US military is too powerful for the US to have to pay anything. The US is still taking instead of returning and repaying the damage. But the time will come. Whether “America can do no wrong” crowd knew about the US crimes makes no difference, pay it will.

    To come to the main topic. Perhaps the issue of POW left behind would have been less of an issue if the army was voluntary as now, because being POW and being mistreated is part of war – it is a professional risk. But those individuals were drafted (by the blood and treasure collection authorities) and to leave them behind would have been the ultimate insult added to injury (and a crime).

    Left-behind-US-POWs, in my personal view, after reading the original article and this article, low probability, but possible.

  28. Mr. Kiza: While I agree with most of your reply it is a fact that the overwhelming majority of POWs were volunteers. Mr Blizzard I checked the site you mentioned… position is read Kiss the Boys Goodbye…The people such as “Red McDaniel and “Bo” Gritz were combatants with impeccable reputations among those who actually fought the war. I stand with Ms Stevenson’s book as the definitive text on the matter.

    Many of the comments on this site seem to be fed by MSM articles many of which are completely Bravo Sierra. Rambo not withstanding, most of the men I served with had the highest regard for the tenacity and courage of the enemy we faced….when I returned in 2oo7 I found that ‘the enemy’ also had the highest regard for us.

    I first set foot in Viet Nam as an eighteen year old with a few months of military training; I left 21 months later much older and wiser. We are all pawns in this great game and I seldom meet anyone who cares much about that fact, forget about being willing to contribute to any real change.

    • Agree: anarchyst
  29. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:

    Sparrow Hawk

    Have a look at H Bruce Franklin’s book also. The larger issue involved:One either opposes the invasion of South Vietnam by JFK-Johnson and the subsequent nearly complete destruction of Vietnam by Nixon and Kissinger or one doesn’t. The MIA-POW North Vietnamese prisoner issue arose during the Paris Peace Negotiations between the US and North Vietnam…Kissinger sabotaged the Peace Negotiations by playing games about the actual number of POWS being held captive in North Vietnam…the Vietnam War was prolonged by 4 years…many more obliterated American Teenagers…many more napalmed pre-teen Vietnamese girls.

    Since you mentioned Bo Gritz..keep in mind that post-Vietnam War, there have been many Vietnam Vets who have been to Vietnam on Peace-Reconcilliation Missions….many of them who have done this are very hostile to the MIA-POWs being held by the North Vetnamese in dark-dank dungeons propaganda. Bo Gritz is a dirt-bag Soldier of Fortune type who was-is an enthusiast for the total obliteration of Vietnam.

    When H Bruce Franklin waged his revolt on the Stanford Campus..triggered by the Nixon-Kissinger maniac bombing of Laos…..Nixon enthusiastically agitated for the nuking of North Vietamese Dikes…the transcript of this has been made public….If Kissinger hadn’t restrained Nixon…you and I with high probability wouldn’t be alive today having this discussion. H Bruce Franklin’s criminality…he was defended by a young Alan Dershowitz….doesn’t even register on the “Richter” scale of criminality compared to what Nixon and Kissinger were doing… Things need to put into their proper context in order to gauge the scale of criminality.

  30. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:

    Some History….The Vietnam War Memorial….right after the big DC Vietnam Veterans March in in the fall of 1982…was cynically used by the Reagan Adminstration to promote the MIA-POW issue with a renewed viciousness with the intent of preventing normalization of relations with Vietnam…..and…get this:to justify funding Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. The leaders of the MIA-POW lobbyist crowd were all on board with this. As far as I am concerned..this completely discredits morally the MIA-POW crowd.

  31. freeman says:

    I did a lot of research into the POW coverup back in the late 80’s
    and had the chance to see mccain at a Republican rally about 1989.
    I asked him about what efforts were being made to bring the
    Vietnam POWs back home. He shuffled his feet, looked down and
    to the left, covered his mouth with his hand, changed the tone of
    his voice, mumbled that “there are no POWs left in Vietnam”, looked
    at someone else, and changed the subject. In short, he showed multiple
    “tells” that indicate that a person is lying.
    He knows the truth.
    And it isn’t what he tells the media.

  32. I left my comment with a bit of praise of Ron Utz because it is always important to know the character and agenda of people and thus I could see better where Franklin was proceding from and where Shanberg was coming from. If Utz didn’t show how Franklin ticked then it would be hard to know what Franklin’s agenda was.
    I am looking for truth. I never trusted the NY Times so I had little trust in Shanberg. I would not know who the attention seekers are in the world but with time they become more obvious. Most of the big shot antiVietnam activists loved the limelight- the adulation, their pictures in the newspapers (the ego is massive in many people).
    Most of us on the ground in late 60s (Marine Corps enlisted) were uneducated and uninformed and no one gave us attention anyway. We never asked for any nor were we the killers that the haters say we were.
    Many of us do know what the crazy world just south of the DMZ was like.
    We didn’t like the Vietnam War. Most did not last their tours if they were riflemen. But according to the mainstream media there was nothing good about servicemen even when Marines were protecting orphanages. It is as though VC and NVA never went around executing anyone. I guess the ultraliberal Bolshies of the NY Times felt that VC and NVA executions were OK just as Israeli executions of Palestinians were OK, just as killing defenseless unborn babies was OK. Some killers are better than other killers according to the NY Times.

    I no longer care what “know it alls” about Vietnam think. I keep quiet. Some people know what the checkpoint game was all about and the day to day heat and thirst and so on. But the NY Times and the libs never cared. The US serviceman was the object of the mass media’s hate but it was OK for Israeli Zionists to steal land and bomb Palestinians. That was always OK with all the dedicated Vietnam haters. Those of us who stood the most to lose didn’t like Vietnam but we were either drafted or joined.
    These people that showed their hate for the servicemen of the 60s and 70s also hated anything traditional about America. They talked about compassion while they pushed for the vivisection and cutting up of defenseless unborn babies. Such heroes they were. They condemned cigarette smokers but it was always OK for Israelis to drop white phosphorus on Palestinians especially women and children.
    I am not going to kiss anyone’s ass especially those who love Noam Chomsky. I have no use for the Chomskys of the world. He was very selective about who he criticized and he always knew he was protected. He was out there marching as an activist. He had the love of the socialist editors of the NY Times. He had coeds who adored him. When nightfall came he did not have to sleep in a hole he had to dig. He did not have to go on LPs. He went to nice hotels. He always knew that as a professor at MIT he would never be fired. He had the MSM protecting him.
    Chomsky never had what is known as real courage- he never spoke out about what Israel was doing to Palestinians nor did it bother him when Israel killed American sailors in 1967.
    Most people will not venture beyond their safety zones and Chomsky was one of them. He never got fired from a job for his activism. He knew he had it made. Chomsky didn’t have a whole lot to say with the 2003 immoral invasion of Iraq. Chomsky was deep down a real gutless man who had an agenda and of course he knew who ran the American media.
    Netanyahu was delighted with the 2003 invasion. I never heard a whisper from Chomsky and the rest of his type. Chomsky didn’t scream at Wolfowitz and Perle and all those who had a hand in drawing up PNAC in the 1990s. Chomsky was the typical coward- he made sure his family lived comfortably and that he would never get fired from a job, therefore say nothing bad about Israel and all the other politically correct causes. Say nothing about Israelis stealing homes and blowing tens of thousands of Palestinians into pieces.
    Some readers may feel they have the light but I feel better knowing that Utz showed us how Franklin ticked.

  33. I reserve my sympathy for the 2 plus million victims of American aggression in Vietnam, not their murderers.

    • Replies: @Bruce D
    , @Lost american
  34. Lost American good job. Mike 3/5 USMC and anti-war all the way, but not so smart at seventeen. Some folks think anti-war means pacifist……not so; although I have no interest in serving the state I am inclined and equipped to protect my family and community.

    Semper Fidelis

  35. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:
    @Lost american

    Shanberg’s Cambodia reporting provided the retroactive justification for the JFK-Johnson-Nixon-Kissinger murder of Vietnam. Shanberg is a War Criminal!!!

  36. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:
    @Lost american

    Franklin’s protest at Stanford was a reaction to the maniac bombing of Laos by Nixon-Kissinger….same time period that Nixon was openly contemplating nuking North Vietnam.

    Noam Chomsky is very good on the Ukraine Crisis and the Bombing of Serbian Christians in the Balkans…by the way..looks like the repellant bulldyke Hillary Clinton has manage to impose homo filth on the Serbian Officer corp. The Serbian Military Officer Corp is now a Monty Python Skit with Graham Chapman in a pink ballerina dress issuing commands to his subordinates.

    Bad Chomsky…speaking at the University of Arizona all this week encouraging the gut-level-racial-tribal nationalist instincts of young highly racialized Hispanic Yuts at the University…Noam doesn’t support the right of return for Palestinians…Noam supports a Jew-pure Israel though!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  37. I appreciate feedback. I didn’t disagree because I didn’t know what was going on all those years. I knew I could not find truth in the mainstream media so I go to American Conservative and other magazines instead of Time magazine. Then I found computer sites.
    Some people”s outrage over the injustices in the world only extends to where they don’t sacrifice their nice lifestyles . Now that I am older, should I blame them? But I remember the Marine Corps and many years later a civilian job where you can go through the fire for speaking out.
    I remember pretty well the days of the Vietnam protests but because I spent some years in the military I certainly was not present for these protests. There was always the tone of hate. We should have sat at a table with Ho Cho Minh in the 50s but the USA didn’t and the USA went to war. Uninformed kids figured the USA stood for the good what with all the movies we saw. They were drafted or joined the military.
    Chomsky did some decent things but never did he put himself in a position to lose his security in life unlike the rest of us or many of us where we had to hustle to find a job or often work two jobs in an America that became expensive to the point of a major sin or crime.
    Chomsky enjoyed his celebrity status while hundreds of young men were being treated at say St. Albans Naval Hospital in Queens, NY. The common man in America was laughed at and degraded as though he were some ignorant work beast out of Ireland or England or Poland , Italy, Serbia, and so on- take your pick. Abby Hoffman, Jerry Rubin were seen as bright revolutionaries. Nelson Mandela was deified. The mainstream media treated the man of European heritage as though he were a deplorable ape, and yet it was this deplorable ape who saved France and other countries and liberated people from concentration/work camps. How the mainstream press in the USA degraded the man of European heritage. But, hey, Israel was OK- let’s never even suggest that they are stealing ancestral lands and killing people for the sake of taking property. Where were you Chomsky? Why didn’t you say something? You had an opinion for every other conflict in the world. You had an opinion about rampant capitalism.
    And still, people like Golda Meir and Nelson Mandela were made to be saints by our USA mainstream media. Hate the neighborhood common man but praise those socialists running the mainstream media.
    Well, I have my heroes and they are not who the NY Times and mainstream media says they are.
    They are all these little men from European heritage and other heritages and damn the NY Times and the rest for what they did to the USA. In my value system Chomsky did not have COURAGE. He played it safe and loved being a celebrity. He liked hobnobbing with MLK and Mandela and all the rest.
    The movie Fury is about a tank crew in WW2. It has some sickening parts but what WW2 men went though is what is known as courage or else some were just crazy, and a few were low level psychopaths. Courage is about protecting your neighborhood or even the prospect of losing your job and lifestyle for being a whistle blower of sorts.
    Semper Fi- I can only mention how great those enlisted guys were. The unit names ring a bell. It takes me hours sometimes to recall things but the 3/5 came back to me. Two different worlds, that of 1st MarDiv and 3rd.

  38. BenjaminL says:

    I’m confused.

    Schanberg’s work is certainly staggering. But I don’t get the sense that he pays much attention to the need to rebut counter-arguments. For example, this site:

    argues against the Schanberg position. Some of Schanberg’s key witnesses, like Dolores Alfond, come off looking worse than in S’s account.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
    , @Anonymous
  39. Ron Unz says:


    The problem is that anyone can put up a website saying anything. After I read Schanberg’s shocking 8,000 word article I went back and reread the 12,000 word 1991 cover story from The Atlantic which had so strongly persuaded me otherwise, authored by the academic considered the top POW/MIA debunker and excerpted from his book on the topic. As I mentioned upthread, if anything, the Franklin article convinced me that Schanberg was very likely correct.

    Looking over that personal website, it seems rather poorly organized and difficult to read and navigate, with much of the material being attacks on various people I’ve frankly never heard of. I’m really not an aficionado of all those decades of POW/MIA disputes.

    Sydney Schanberg is by far the most prominent journalist who has written on the topic and he’s also gathered the largest quantity of persuasive material over the last 25 years. Therefore, I typed “Schanberg” into the website’s searchbox and essentially nothing came back, which makes me rather suspicious. If the fellow who produced the website is simply ignoring the most comprehensive and credible collection of pOW/MIA material and focusing all of his attacks on obscure conspiracy-mongers among the numerous POW/MIA advocates, that really doesn’t help his standing.

    There seem to be an enormous number of completely independent and quite persuasive pieces of evidence in favor of the POW/MIA Hypothesis, and the only real piece of evidence on the other side is that both Washington and Hanoi publicly said all the POWs had been returned. Governments sometimes lie, and in this case their lies made perfect sense from a political perspective. There’s also considerable evidence that at least both Nixon and Reagan *believed* the opposite and that Politburo Memo seems to indicate the same about Hanoi.

    After the Politburo Memo came out, former National Security Advisors Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brezinski were interviewed on the PBS Newshour, and they both admitted that the memo seemed quite persuasive and the POWs had indeed probably been left behind.

    It’s easy to see why prominent officials would *deny* the reality of the POW story, including someone who held an official job to do that for years. It’s very difficult for me to see why any prominent officials would say otherwise, unless they strongly believed it were true.

  40. Marissa says:

    God bless you both, sparrowhawk and lost american. I was born more than a decade after the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam and in public school it was covered in 15 minutes on one of the last days in class. I learned about it from listening to veterans and reading books from Keith Nolan and others. While I don’t think the U.S. had any business in that part of the world, I still sympathize for the men who lived in some of the most hellish conditions imaginable. The common infantrymen is not at fault here and I save my bile for the commanders of the military and leaders of this country.

    From what I’ve read, I too believe that POWs were left behind and it’s a damn shame that it was swept under the rug. There was no reason not to send commando teams to rescue these men. Vietnam is such a complicated situation and the U.S. government had no desire to win, whatever winning actually entailed. It was an intentional waste of blood and treasure, for the profit of that very complex Eisenhower warned us of.

  41. Is there really any piece of filth who believes the murder of the Vietnamese was anything other than the biggest war crimes sinse Dresden?

    • Replies: @Really-
    , @byrresheim
  42. Antiwar7 says:

    @Ron Unz
    What is your take on Gareth Porter’s reply to Schanberg? I have a lot of respect for Porter’s writing. But it seems to me Porter attacks only two pieces of Schanberg’s body of evidence. Even without them, there a lot left. What is your take on this?

    Many thanks for hosting these articles.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  43. Ron Unz says:

    Exactly. And if you carefully read what Porter claims the Hanoi officials emphasized during the meetings, it sounds *exactly* like they were strongly hinting they would return the remaining POWs if America paid the money it owed, i.e. they would fully comply with the one section of the peace treaty if America fully complied with the other section.

    Bear in mind that the Hanoi officials were part of a perfectly normal government, a centralized Communist state. They simply couldn’t imagine that the American negotiators they were meeting had never been told by Kissinger or the other top former Nixon officials that there were POWs still being kept. They simply assumed both sides were circling around a possible deal without explicitly tying themselves to certain facts.

    Also with regard to Porter’s complaints about the Politburo document from the Kremlin archives, just consider how many different translations it must have gone through, starting with Vietnamese, before it was found by that American researcher. It’s easy to imagine that very minor details might have been corrupted along the way.

  44. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    What eventually swayed me against the miafacts site is that it literally disputes EVERYTHING on the issue. A little too convenient, in my opinion. Bill Hendon’s book, “An Enormous Crime”, is worth a read for more on the subject.

    • Replies: @LSJohn
  45. Bruce D says:
    @Bill Jones

    2 plus million victims of American aggression

    Victims of American aggression? How about all those massacred by the NVA and VC. The Americans went there to save the Vietnamese from communist aggression. With 20/20 hindsight, I don’t think the U.S. should have gotten involved since it never was in our national security interests.

    But don’t go excusing the VC and NVA murderers. Read the writings of Ho Chi Minh and Mao Tse Tung where they justify terrorism as a legitimate tool of the revolution. Murder of civilians by the VC and NVA is well-documented.

    Where’s freedom of speech in South Vietnam today. North Vietnam was aggressing upon the south and finally imposed a communist dictatorship which exists today. When South Vietnam and Vietnam generally is free, then talk to me about American aggression.

  46. Really- says:
    @Kevin O'Keeffe

    The war being over, why would you keep them? Are we secretly holding Japanese or German POWs against their will these last 70 years? What is in your head?!? I can’t even figure out whose boots you’re trying to lick, let alone why.

    • Replies: @LSJohn
  47. Really- says:
    @Bill Jones

    Well, I think the plight of the boat people at the hands of the communist regime was awful, but as Dresden was totes legit I don’t get the comparison.

  48. As a military historian, I saw Ron’s article as a well thought out piece that was not providing a definitive co0nclusion to the mystery of left-behind Vietnam POWs but instead promoted the very real possibility that Sydney Schanberg’s piece was a correct analysis of a very real situation.

    However, there doesn’t appear to be a recommendation from anyone that the piece be revisited with historical inquiry to determine it”s accuracy. Instead we have an interesting set of opposite points of view on the matter where some consider this simply another peg in the conspiracy theory amalgamation that has been building since the end of World War II or that there were POWs left behind.

    Unfortunately, we do not have enough credible source material to prove Schanberg’s contentions either way. Nonetheless, based upon the description of Schanberg’s quality of journalism, the inquiry would have to attempt to prove the hypothesis since we have little to go in the public domain.

    As to the comments made about the NY Times, you will receive no argument from me. However, back in the 1960s and 1970s that paper was a lot different than it is now.

    One thing is for certain that piece does accurately suggest… In war there are always prisoners…

  49. Meimou says:
    @Carlton Meyer

    CIA and its war profiteers removed him from office. They lied, but only to keep the warmongering crazies away.

    The CIA wanted to keep the warmongering crazies away eh?

  50. Herald says:

    After being bombed with more high explosives than used in all of WW2, napalmed, Agent Orange(d), Operation Popeye(d) and also My Lai(ed) by a country who had no business whatsoever to be in Indo China, you have the audacity to call the (north) Vietnamese evil is truly cringeworthy. You are indeed a hopeless case.

  51. LSJohn says:

    Hendon’s “Enormous Crime” is superior to Jensen’s “Kiss the Boys Goodbye.” I don’t criticize anyone for admiring Jensen’s book. Her shortcomings were understandable and I think the errors were that, rather than conscious spin.

    There are very good books by Jim Sanders, Mark Sauter, and John Brown.

    I knew Schanberg indirectly but his only work I was able to critique from my own knowledge is this one. He’s almost spot on. His only error, I think, was accepting too quickly the claim of a CIA source who had been reliable for him in the past, that all the US POWs who remained alive into the mid ’80s had been executed once the Vietnamese became convinced that they would never be ransomed. It may be true — despite continuing claims by refugees about seeing European types there — but I have to reserve judgment simply because that CIA claim is consistent with CIA’s agenda on this issue from the beginning.

  52. LSJohn says:

    “The war being over, why would you keep them?”

    Apparently you missed reading that the Vietnamese retained their French prisoners after the pullout from Dien Ben Phu, and the government of France ultimately had to (chose to) ransom them out.

    Kissinger delivered a letter to Paris with Nixon’s promise to pay \$3.25 Billion in “Post-war reconstruction aid” and (I think it was) \$1.25 billion in additional “humanitarian aid. ” The money was never paid. The Watergate controversy was exploding around this time and the other problem was that congress opposed paying the money.

    But don’t feel bad. “Why would they keep them” is the most common question I was asked for 5 years.

    • Agree: PV van der Byl
    • Replies: @PV van der Byl
  53. Anonymous[128] • Disclaimer says:

    I am grateful for one thing. At least the prisoners of war left there did not, and perhaps do not know what their government had done to them.

    And who is to say that they are dead, even now. Those who fought in the Vietnam war today are between 68 and 80 years old. Some may still be alive as I write this. I am going to write to Trump.

  54. Wally says:

    “The only reason I frequent this rag of a website is Sailer.”

    Quit faking it. This topic is not Sailer’s, but you are here … posting.

  55. Anonymous [AKA "Joe Smythe"] says:
    @Lost american

    I am not a leftist by any means and I am a few years too young to have been of the age to be sent to Vietnam, but I have heard about it all my life and empathize with the veterans and can understand the thinking of the draft dodgers who went to Canada, Sweden etc. Always having been an independent thinker, even when I was young, I probably would’ve been a draft dodger or a conscientious objector. Having the hindsight of today, I can say that the draft dodgers did the right thing. I am sure there were intelligent conservative minded young men who were able to see through the obfuscating smoke from the right and the left and were draft dodgers and conscientious objectors who probably would’ve served in a war that they considered an actual threat to their country, such as an actual invasion of the United States by a foreign power.

  56. Will says:

    You’re out of line, friend. Your point is well-taken but lacking in respect.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  57. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:

    Donut’s comment was posted February 25, 2015.

    But there may be enough other pallbearers over on the Sailer and Karlin threads for a quorum.

  58. George says:

    So let me get this straight. The Vietnamese purposely surrounded and then delayed the collapse of Saigon to allow anyone who the US wanted to get out of Saigon to get out of Saigon, but decided to hold on to 100 mostly nobodies, including blacks and poor whites, called POWs. This meant all the fancy colonial Grandees got out with their children and probably domestic staffs. Leaders of S Vietnam got out. CIA informants. Basically, anyone, the North would be forced to put on trial or execute or use as a hostage was purposely allowed to leave. But, Oh my god, the sneaky red “Asiatics” kept a few hundred low level nobodies, many black and poor white, as hostages.

    The actual names of the POWs is not known, which is impossible. To me they simply don’t exist, never existed, could not exist. If they did exist, which they didn’t, they were not named because they were CIA spies not ‘POWs’. An alternative possibility is they did exist, were CIA, and were returned in exchange for whatever without any public recognition because they were spies.

    POWs? That would be mostly low level conscripts, often black and poor white, that because of their delusional and incompetent commanders were captured. Not especially good hostages in my view, but excellent sympathetic characters especially for the low born, poor prospect, whites John Rambo was meant to appeal to.

    As an aside name someone who refused to accept a Nobel Peace prize? OK, somebody other than Jean-Paul Sartre. Le Duc Tho. Those hard line reds don’t think like you do. So they didn’t take hostages because they didn’t want jack from the capitalist pigs like us. For the true Reds hostages would have been a nuisance. Think about it Le Duc Tho left the easiest money a Y#ll%w man ever earned on the table plus a trip to Norway, a fancy ribbon and any women they might send to his hotel 5 star lux superior suite. Maybe Le Duc Tho was gay? Or Celebate, ha ha ha ha …

  59. I’d write a long comment on the nefarious history of Treason Johnny McStain, but that’s been done so many times here at to become trite. Plus I’m very busy this morning finalizing my business plan to set up a ticket booth at his place of internment. You guys can help. How much can I reasonably charge for tickets to take a piss on Treason Johnny’s grave? Should ex-POWs get in free? How about families of Americans killed by illegals? Families of soldiers killed in Treason Johnny’s wars too?

  60. @Bill Jones

    Seems there is.
    But then:

    Don’t feed the trolls!

  61. @LSJohn

    the Vietnamese retained their French prisoners after the pullout from Dien Ben Phu

    Of those French POWs captured at Dien Bien Phu AND ultimately released, the last came home in 1970.

  62. Here is the story of James “Bo” Gritz, on which the character of Rambo was based…

  63. @Ron Unz

    Ron Unz- thank you for your knowledge of Franklin and Schanberg. If not for better informed people then those commenters who write as though they are experts would have us believing false information. For years I have been telling people (myself included) to always find out the characters and beliefs of those who write books and articles. Unfortunately , the majority of people believe whatever they read.
    My friend of 60 plus years has daughters who are leftist SJWs. They believe whatever the lefties print.

    And for those always harping about good old Ho Chi Minh, he was still just a Communist – ends justify any means you use including mass killings in villages. General Giap cared nothing about wasting men. He was not the grand tactician that the mainstream media made him out to be.

    Those days in the 60s and early 70s were terrible despite what the MM harps. Those of us who came off the urban streets and were always working never saw any great meaning to the phony flower power people. Most of their antiwar stuff was not from good motives. It seemed they loved to hate those of us who didn’t think the Communists were swell people. It seemed they cared more about their radical gatherings than helping the Vietnamese people.

    It seems the lefties and apologizers for all things American never talk about the North Vietnamese “reeducation” camps, nor about the boat people-why hundreds of thousands would risk all to leave a situation.
    We probably should not have widened the war in 1965, but to say nothing decent about South Vietnam and all those US men who gave their lives fighting Communists is getting annoying. It seems all those with totally one sided views live for their ideologies. And I do not belong to a political party. I watched most of those New York and New England hippies and activists go back to their nice homes and upscale apartments while we the generic trash went back to our row houses.

    • Replies: @Franz
  64. @Bill Jones

    So Bill Jones – do your murderers also include the North Vietnames Army and VC who in the late 1940s throughout the 70s went all through Vietnam murdering and wiping out villages and killing thousands of school teachers and other educated types?
    I guess ideologues like you feel it was fine for the NV government to kill somewhere between 30,000 to 60,000 South Vietnamese in their reeducation camps after they took over in 1975.
    I am not one of those reactionaries or “Evangelical” Zionists. I do not belong to a political party.
    Print your statistics about Vietnam war dead and show where you got them from.

    I was against the 2003 Iraq invasion but it is ridiculous how so many in the MM and those on computer sites say that 1 million Iraqis were killed in 2003-04. One would have to truly be a bigoted idiot-liar to come up with the one million figure. It defies common sense but leftist ideologues are always pushing nonsense and the dramatic. The best study from Johns Hopkins gave a number from 18,000 to 35,000. That is still a lot of people but it makes sense compared to the nonsense always spewed out by leftists and lovers of papers like the NY Times.

    I don’t feel the USA should have widened the war in 1965 . You seem to have selective judgement. Maybe you should research Communist/Bolshevik methods and atrocities.

  65. Anonymous [AKA "Thom.exam"] says:

    “Hell no we won’t go,” was the correct response by the more intelligent members of the public to the Vietnam war and conscription. It was a criminal war, orchestrated by the criminals who ran and still run the country. The ones who joined to “serve,” “fight communism” and so on were among the vast numbers of our rather unintelligent, brainwashed, racist, and violent population. My Lai was just one instance; then there was the criminal behavior of Abu Ghraib, without mentioning the numberless crimes and horrors that characterize all our rather disgusting predatory history.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Jeff Stryker
  66. @Anonymous


    Pop came from an average middle-class German-American background and Vietnam happened when he was halfway through college. He was born in 1946.

    In those days, when America was still a decent country, evading the draft could still ruin your life. Deserters from the military could be executed (Private Slovic).

    My father, like every other college student, understood that Vietnam was bullshit. But he was going to be drafted and he joined the Army as a Combat Medic to avoid simply being a “warm body” who would “get his ass shot off”.

    Dad ended up in as an army medic. He served six years. He hated every day of it, he told me.

    But one has to understand that unlike Iraq, it was not a volunteer war. Anyone with a career who had voted for Gore could sneer at Bush-a moron.

  67. Arioch says:

    What weird there is the Vietnamese position after the war.

    So, ok, Vietnam wants USA to rebuild all they destroyed, understandable.
    Vietnam also want public admission form USA of their huge wrongdoing, which paying out compensations would be,

    USA backtracks.

    Why won’t Vietnam made it public 2-3 years later?
    Repeat the demand but by public channels.

    Those few slaves would never work out all the American debt anyway.

  68. Anonymous [AKA "A Vietnam War Vet"] says:

    During Vietnam I served in the Air Force at Utapao AFB in Thailand. My roommate, who came to Utapao from Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Vietnam told me a story about his roommate there. The guy was adventurous sexually and went to sick call for VD. About a week later, in the middle of the night, they were woken up by what appeared to be a group of black ops guys who came into their room and took his roomate out by force, along with all of his belongings. They basically told him to shut up and forget he had ever seen anything. A short time later my roommate went on his two week R&R to Hawaii and learned while that there that his roommate who had VD and had been taken was officially listed to his family as MIA.

    The scuttlebutt going on at the time was there was an incurable form of VD going around called Black Syphilis that the Vietcong was using to infect GIs. Guys who caught it were MIA’d, since they couldn’t be let back into the general population.

    I only had his word for it, but he was still shook up about it months later after his transfer to Thailand and he appeared truthful about the incident.

    Vietnam War Veteran who lost a brother there.

  69. Brant says:

    Re: “If America wishes to determine the truth, it can do so.”

    Just who the fuck is “America”?

    Is there a more disgusting, rotten, perfidious, predatory, and psychopathic country on earth than the US?

  70. @Priss Factor

    One good thing that Eighties Vietnam movies did was to restore respect for veterans who were spit on by arrogant, war-avoiding, Sixties activists. The veterans didn’t make the policy, but they got all of the disrespect, while the policymakers got rewarded for their bad, war-time decision making with six-figure think-tank positions, multi-million lobbyist contracts after holding high office and MSM laurel wreaths galore.

    As a nineteen or twenty-something leftist—every bit as rabid as the ones today, but without the racism, sexism, xenophobia obsession—I actually had a subscription to The Nation magazine, and I do not remember any articles about POWs. I do remember the Savings-and-Loan hearings on C-SPAN, where McCain was the token Republican, criticized a bit for frolicking with speculative banking lobbyists. It changed nothing in the rigged system. The Keating Five hearings changed about much as these show trials of Paul Manafort & Michael Cohen will change in the Swamp. A few decades later, the housing collapse of 2008 ensued.

    The MSM’s most glaring propaganda task is cheerleading for the economy, regardless of which neoliberal in which party is in office, ignoring things like 95 million citizens sidelined from the labor force and the fact that the average employed person in the USA works only part time. The mainstrean media is a corporate propaganda wing, and it is a propaganda wing of politicians inasmuch as they are lobbyist-controlled employees of corporations.

    I did not know that McCain played a role in suppressing information about American POWs. That is horrific if true. But I still think it is more heroic that anything I would do to stay in a Vietcong prison for years if a high-placed parent gave me the opportunity to leave. Either way, the McCain of 2008 wanted more war in a war-weary nation, and he denied the horrible state of the housing-collapse economy in 2008, poo pooing the suffering of millions of voters like a totally out-of-touch multi millionaire. That is why he lost. It was not Sarah Palin.

    So, we got Obamacare, and while as a cross-over voter, I actually do understand how Democrats feel like that was a good thing to do, regardless of how the program works at the ground level. That is how they are about all social programs. Democrats give all social programs unconditional love, no matter how unfair they are.

    McCain’s unpopularity might be partially due to the fact that white life expectancy has gone down 3 years in a row—post-Obamacare. Elites attribute that to the opioid epidemic, a convenient scapegoat that the top 20% uses for everything that is wrong with the economy and the rest of the rigged system for the bottom 80%.

    No, elites, most of those screwed by Obamacare haven’t been within 100 miles of an opioid, ever.


    However awful that epidemic is, there’s not enough drug-addicted Americans to explain millions upon millions of underemployed and out-of-the-labor-force Americans and an unprecedented, 3-year decline in life expectancy in a First World country.

    We cannot blame it on the fact that women are more than half of the doctors now. Since they are always married to high-earning men, they are better off than any other group of medical professionals in US history. But just because people in the top 20% of dual-earner households have never lived such lavish lifestyles, we can’t set high expectations, not when moms are burdened with balancing work and home life, even when at-their-beck-and-call grandparents often accomodate both their work schedules and their copious, posh, overseas-vacation schedules.

    Grandparents do it when low-wage daycare workers or low-wage babysitters with NannyCams don’t. Many of those babysitters and nannies lack health insurance. I know one who died at a young age—in her 20s. She was raising the kids of very wealthy dual-high-earner parents who did not pay her health insurance. They could not afford it, but they can afford a lot of frivolous vacations for busy-working parents.

    Most of the doctors are moms, and in every workplace I have seen, family-friendly hours are the due of all professional moms, no matter how high (or low) their pay is. Moms at the top and the bottom of the career ladder are 100% above critique in the womb-centric feminist era. Lower life expectancy rates for whites cannot be the fault of any professionals who have had w9mb-productive sex.

    It works the same way with unlicensed Obamacare sales moms, hired over licensed agents since they can work cheaply due to major household bills covered by spousal income, child support or multiple welfare programs that cover everything from rent to food and up to \$6,431 in yearly, refundable child tax credit cash. They dominate all of the insurance back-office jobs with benefits, in addition to many sales-related jobs except the harder ones with straight-commission pay and no benefits. They dominate all but the pyramid-scheme jobs, taking off a ton of time for kids in “voted-best-for-moms” back-watching gangs.

    Moms in all professions cannot be criticized for failing to meet quotas due to pronounced absenteeism. They have had womb-productive sex and are 100% above-criticism. That’s feminism.

    We cannot blame the lowered life expectancy for white Americans on Obamacare, either, even though 30 million citizens of the USA are still uninsured. All that matters is that every single mom, with free EBT food, free housing, monthly cash assistance, electricity assistance and up to \$6,431 in refunable child tax credit cash now also has free health insurance beyond the Medicaid she always got, the minute she presented pregnancy test results to a government caseworker up until 6 months after each birth. The mommas got that Obamacare, as did the kids under 21. And every illegal alien birth is free to the momma, compliments of the US government, as is (and was) all healthcare for every member of an illegal alien household, even prior to Obamacare.

    But doctors who take most of the Medicare patients—the ones who always got less compensation even before Obamacare—got their compensation cut after the passage of Obamacare.

    Although things like this do not matter in pay-per-birth socialist America, illegal alien mommas, another group enjoying layered welfare benefits including free healthcare, did not pay one dime into the system that Medicare recipients paid into from every paycheck, paying high premiums in the hundreds each month even after getting on Medicare at 65.

    All doctors get paid way more than most Americans, but it is highly skilled work and just human nature to resent pay cuts for a higher volume of work. The American population is aging. The doctors taking Medicare patients now have heavier workloads. Heavier work loads should command higher pay, while lesser work loads should command less pay. That is not how it works in many professions in this upside-down economy. Corrupt politicians just cut Medicare more, even though it is mostly older people who paid into the system for decades who need so much healthcare in the first place.

    There are a lot of things wrong with Obamacare that make what looked like compassion from a dying McCain look different to some Republicans, including many of the self-employed citizens that Obamacare was supposed to help. It didn’t. I have heard healthy, older or middle-aged, single, childless citizens—a group qualifying for in public assistance of any kind, regardless of how low their income is—say that their premiums for the lowest, no-frills Obamcare plan were between \$160 and \$300 per month.

    These are the single, childless citizens with one low income stream to cover unaffordable rent that are dumped on with higher rates for everything that isn’t sold on a shelf—from insurance, to mobile phones, to rent. No family discounts for those covering all bills on one, earned-only income stream. No child tax credit money to use on beach hotels with boyfriends. They are rarely the ones going on elaborate vacations, unlike these cash-strapped “working families.”

    But if you add up all of the people to cover in non-group-rated, non-employer-provided health insurance in a self-employed household with 4 members, the basic, bare-bones Obamacare plan that covers very little is far out-of-reach for many families.

    Self-employed people never know what their fluctuating income will be each month. While my sympathy is limited for the many boldly discriminatory, above-firing, back-watching and often frequently absentee dual-earner parents—taking two jobs with household-supporting wages and benefits out of an underemployed economy—the self-employed ones with kids often do not have two income streams to cover housing and everything else, including premiums for multiple household members that are ridiculously high. They just have the business, and business income can be sporadic.

    There should be a cheap—I mean cheap—form of health insurance for healthy people that covers unexpected, catastrophic expenses. The self-employed have to pay huge amounts, even after paying huge monthly premiums, if they ever use their health insurance, making it useless to them. No, mos5 of them do not have extra cash to dump into the tax shelter of health savings accounts. They pay more, getting little value for it, while dual-earner crony parents dominate all the jobs with benefits, keeping two above-firing jobs with benefits under one roof, no matter how much time they take off beyond their PTO and pregnancy leaves.

    I still respect McCain’s service, but I can easily see why many people are not too impressed with that selectively compassionate gesture on Obamacare.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
  71. @Priss Factor

    During WW II the French occupying Vietnam handed the country over to the Japanese. While the French Colonialists conspired against the Allies with the Japanese, the Vietnamese fought against them. As soon as WWII ended the Vietnamese saw themselves liberated and began work to establish a Democratic Republic. The French wanted their former colony back and were not going to allow them to form an Independent Sovereign Nation. After French acts of aggression, Vietnam looked towards the US for help, only to be ignored. Ho Chi Minh starting sending letters to the US President and the American people expressing Vietnam’s commitment to the Allied cause.

    Ho Chi Minh would eventually lead not one, but two successful wars of independence to liberate his country. In his formative years, Ho traveled widely as a sailor and lived in Paris, Harlem, and Boston, where he worked as a cook, baker, and did menial jobs. In his travels, he made contact with other colonized people, communists and nationalists, and saw the Vietnamese under France as part of an international system of empire.

    Returning to Vietnam to expel the French colonizers and emancipate his homeland, Ho Chi Minh looked to the United States, once a colony of the British, as a model—the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence is clearly modeled on the United States Declaration—but also as a potential ally. Ho wrote numerous times to American audiences, presidents and the American people, reaching out for support. But American elites, seeing France expelled and wary of independence movements “infecting” their own colonies, decided to punish Vietnam and engaged in a decades long war of almost unthinkable violence.

    From 1945 until 1967 he sent letters and in 1968 Johnson finally responded with a request to stop the war. The War could have been prevented, if only the US had supported Vietnam’s Independence in 1945 and not the French Imperialist aggression, but we know the US interest is not American interest..

    Looking back at every war the US has particpated in, one finds that US deception was used to engage people and nations in every war, not one exception. From the Indian Wars (breaking treaties), to the Mexican War (disputed border), to the Spanish War (sinking of the Main), to the Civil War (Slavery), to WW I (sinking of the Lucetania), to WW II (Pearl Harbor) to the Vietnam War (Gulf of Tonkin), to the Iraq War (Weapons of Mass Destruction), and many many more.

    Everyone of those aggressions that started those wars have been documented and presented to the American people and not one person has faced criminal charges. Millions of people murdered, countries destroyed and lands taken by these conflicts. People have lost their inheritence, their loved ones and their way of life so Americans can prosper from them. The Anglo/Zionists have done a pretty good job feeding you propoganda, flouride and fake news to the point that you actually believe Osama Bin Laden blew up the Twin Towers. And now you are mad because they deceived you 60 years ago, give me a fucking break! They do it every day and you sit back, complain and forget…until they do it again.

  72. @donut

    This has been going on in the United States since 1898 when the US first became an imperialist power.

    “Yellow Journalism” as it was often called (I guess for the concept of the coward’s journalism.) has often been at the vanguard for suppressing realities in favor of the agendas of the elites. However, the McCain story here actually has gotten some traction as I have known about McCain’s duplicity for quite some time now.

    In any event, this will never change because no one in the United States has the courage to do what needs to be done and those that do simply do not have the backing of the people in general.

    A war is coming…

  73. I posted the H. Bruce Franklin Counterpunch piece on the thread attached to the Schanberg article without realising that, on this thrwad, unlike the other, Franklin’s views had been mentioned, albeit not refuted. The most interesting idea that Franklin persists with is that Nixon built up the MIA/POW issue as a way of stalling negotiations to end the war. He points to Trump still appealing to the MIA/POW base built up in the 70s by attacking McCain. See

  74. Franz says:
    @Lost american

    Those days in the 60s and early 70s were terrible despite what the MM harps. Those of us who came off the urban streets and were always working never saw any great meaning to the phony flower power people.

    True indeed, very sadly true.

    The “Sixties” were stolen from the people who lived in it long, long ago.

    The guys who came from the urban zones, farm and factory towns, whatever, went back to them and faced the inflation and glum years ahead, but we’ll be seeing the same BS flower power clips for the next century as if that were the whole show.

    Even Herbert Khan at Sanford and the Hudson Institute admitted that “The 1960s were a pretty rotten decade for the LMC,” by which Khan meant the “lower middle class” of farmers, foundry men and small business owners who were hosed off the map during the stagflation of the 1970s. Official history never mentions it.

    Those who served in the military had it double-worse, since the draft dodgers ended up at daddy’s law firm and helped draft pro-feminist and pro-immigrant laws that made sure those who were already down never got up.

    History is a lie. So easy to expose, but then we’d have to expose the winners for what they are. Wasn’t allowed back then and won’t be now.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  75. Thank you Franz. I appreciate what you say. I won’t forget it.

    I see the same screamers here who yell about Vietnam are the same types who love the smug Bill Maher MM types.

    We should not have widened the war but these phony screamers wouldn’t even serve in Cold War Germany in the 60s.
    They despise those of us who served but they wouldn’t dare even go to Cold War Germany where the Army was more than happy to send those draftees with higher GT scores.
    I had “friends” who wouldn’t go to Germany as Army cut them a deal. Instead, they found ingenious ways to stay out of the military.
    It was the ground pounder in Vietnam who knew his young life was over but these vicious hate artists at home were happy to curse at him just like they curse on this site.
    They ought to do this in front of me.

  76. @Franz

    I think you have some vague memory of Herman Kahn when you refer to “Herbert Khan” of “Sanford” do you not?

    • Replies: @Franz
  77. @Adar.

    Whew. You’re a genius!

  78. @Endgame Napoleon

    What about respect for the 3 million murdered in Southeast Asia?

  79. In an American movie, if the Vietnamese had killed 3 million Americans, you would be cheering the torture of Vietnamese POWs.

  80. m___ says:


    “Get your hands out of your pants”

    What I mean to say in a less offensive tone is that it’s been a pattern for as long as I can remember for the media to cover up

    …in return for making a living, a gig specialized in by a part of our middle classes. Presumably to us, before that niche shrinks further.

    …By being less harsh (@donut), you risk being less well understood. The fairy tales do not come soft-spoken either, at the least as far as their content is off-set. You are being polite as to the deceit and timing of the article. Ron Unz was taking a slack day.

    The bends (shakes, crookedness in the presentation, the articles, the pieces, the narratives) are there always, “respectable editor”, of “respectable so and so media source”, looks very much like Chris Hedges proning the End of Civilization and peaceful resistance on the same page. After being referenced by the intro to every spit of his, to the Establishment. Is the New York Times a hoax or a genuine source, can’t be both. Can be the same in turns to both ailes, Dems and Republicans. Left and Right. The Alts and the Conventionals. At once make a category for the “converts”?

    The real “meat” of this extensive tweet (longer thus rather more serious), his Reverence McCain, is …dead. Whether his victimes, are seems less relevant to us, the Elites could not care less.

    There are a full pleitoria of Establisment figures alive and sucking blood. Eric Prince (mythologically vivid and his sister?), if you want to go slow, a semi-slumbering Obama, if you are future oriented, Chelsea Clinton, if one wants a one night star to gnaw at, Ilhan Omar, if one is in to “mature” maybe Hillary. The more relevant as to beyond boundaries for pay are abundant.

    What a pile of distractions, obfuscations, outs of focus, loops, contradictions, Mr. Unz, you built yourself some audience to swallow that sea of washing waves.

  81. Franz says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    “Herbert Khan” of “Sanford” do you not?

    Yeah, I meant The Hudson Institute and should have kept it there. Posting when tired, boo.

    I think it was in Jerome Agel’s 1973 book Herman Kahnsciousness: the megaton ideas of the one-man think tank that Kahn’s whack on how lousy things were for the LMC came from, but he wrote tons and it’s hard to say. I’m sure he at least mentioned it, Agel was re-capping all the things that Kahn had said during the era and touched on a bit of everything.

    But it was fairly well known at the time that from the steel strike in the late 50s to the trucker’s envelopment of Washington D.C. in the early 70s that American management had had it up to here with native born workers, and Kahn was only repeating it.

    I should have said “Kahn of Kubrick” because it really is true he met with Stanley Kubrick and gave him the idea of a Doomsday device that spiced up the end of Dr Strangelove. Whether Kahn was “the real Strangelove” has been debated but if you ever wrestled with On Thermonuclear War it’s hard to imagine why not.

  82. Kali says:

    That doesn’t make logical sense.

    Why would the Vietnamese prefer to hold onto a bunch of POWS, with the headache of deciding exactly what to do with them, rather than have a large sum of money with which to repair and rebuild their country?

    I know which I’d rather have.

  83. All of this might seem unimaginable except that it falls into a strong pattern of the press avoiding stories of overwhelming importance.

    Almost as if 99% media was controlled by a special interest group serving itself and not the goyim.

  84. Denying the existence of missing POWs makes life easier for the personnel of the Federal Government; it reduces their workload because, then they don.t have to do anything to return people who don’t officially exist.

    • Replies: @Dan-0-lee
  85. Dan-0-lee says:
    @kerdasi amaq


    although, it was cheaper for them to pretend that the POWs sent back by Vietnam were all there were.

    Why give Vietnam all that money when they had spent so much blowing it up in the first place?

    it really shows what Washington D. C. really thinks about its citizen soldiers.

  86. How many of those missing in action ended up in the Soviet Union?

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