July 2008 POW/MIA Testimony:
|No one from the National Alliance, Task Force Omega, Rolling Thunder, The Last Firebase, or any other "activist" crowd was invited.|
|No Roger Hall, no Billy Hendon, no Ted Sampley, no Earl Hopper, not a single "activist."|
Here are the statements from the two officials who did testify. Read these at your convenience.
Statement of The Honorable Charles A. Ray, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs (DPMO), before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, 10 July 2008:
Statement of Rear Admiral Donna L. Crisp, Commander, Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, 10 July 2008:
When I was in DPMO and, before that, in the DIA Special Office for Prisoners and Missing, every testimony started with the statistics -- the "live-sighting reports," remains recovered or returned, remains identified, and other numbers and stats. Our testimony always included the comment that, while we have no evidence the US POWs remain alive in SEAsia, we cannot rule out the possibility.
Note that the testimony from DASD Ray and RADM Crisp contains:
|Not one word about "live sightings."|
|Not one word about US POWs still in captivity.|
|Not one word about how we "cannot rule out the possibility."|
Now, granted this is August 2008 and I have not been associated with the POW/MIA issue since I retired in April 1995 -- that's a long time. Why, then, do I consider who did NOT testify and what was NOT said to be important, even remarkable?
Because the testimony delivered by DASD Ray and RADM Crisp is reality-based.
These are the points I consider important.
We know there were no US POWs left alive in captivity after Operation Homecoming in the spring of 1973. We know there is no cover-up by the US government of abandoned POWs. We know those who are considered "missing in action" are, in fact, dead -- either they died in their loss incident or they died in captivity (and the died-in-captivity are very few).
By no longer giving lip service to the "live prisoner issue," DASD Ray and RADM Crisp and -- most important -- Congress -- finally has recognized what we have known all along.
We know the "activists" have nothing to offer but nonsense, phony claims, rip-offs, and scams. All the testimony I ever witnessed by "activists" and "concerned citizens" was a waste of time. In my view, it's a good thing that the Committee did not invite any "activists" to waste their time with nonsense that never changes.
Note that the hearing was held before the Military Personnel Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee. Not the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; not the House Foreign Affairs Committee; not the full HASC, but the Military Personnel Subcommittee. This fact shows Congressional recognition of reality -- we are dealing with a graves registration and remains recovery issue, not intelligence, not counterintelligence, not a weighty foreign affairs matter.
Now -- because it's been 13 years since I was involved with the MIA issue, it could be that this 10 July 2008 hearing was not the first in which the "activists" did not play a part and in which the "live prisoner" myth was not aired. No matter -- the nature of these recent hearings suggest to me that the adults are finally in charge.