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<My address omitted>

March 8, 2000

The Honorable Rick Santorum

120 Russell Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Santorum;

I am writing in regards to some news I heard recently through the National Alliance of Families and I am extremely concerned about plans by the Department of Defense to discontinue their efforts in demanding a full accounting of missing American military personnel from the wars that we have previously fought in.

It is my understanding that the National Alliance of Families was provided with a set of briefing slides which outlined the long term plans of the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO). According to the brief, there was no indication that any funds had been set aside for the Joint Task Force -- Full Accounting (JTF-FA) past the year 2004.

Moreover, on page 4, under the title "POW/MIA Accounting" was the following statement, captioned VISION: "By the end of the year 2004, we will have moved from the way the US government conducts the business of recovery and accounting to an active program of loss prevention, immediate rescues, and rapid post-hostility accounting." If I am interpreting this statement correctly (and I believe that I am) than the US Government has decided against any further plans for actively pursuing and repatriating any more of Americas heroes past the year 2004. This could not possibly be true -- could it?

I'd like to take a moment to remind you and your colleagues of Article VI of the Code of Conduct. It states "...I will trust in my God and in the United States of America." If, what I fear is true, than our service personnel can keep faith and trust that they will be abandoned by our government if taken captive in future wars and engagements. Furthermore, Air Force Pamphlet 50-34 (Vol. 1, Ch 7, Pg. 136, Para. 4) states that "Just as you have a responsibility to your country under this code, the US Government has an equal responsibility -- always to keep faith with you and stand by you as you fight in its defense. If you become a POW, you may rest assured that your government will care for your dependants and will never forget you. Furthermore, the government will use every practical means to contact, support, and gain release for you and all other POWs."

Is there some unwritten (or omitted) statement or law that places a 'statute of limitations' on active accountability of and/or actively pursuing our missing fathers, husbands, sons, brothers, and loved ones -- our heroes?

The above passage does not appear to have a statute of limitations tied to it and would apply to those who still remain classified as POW/MIA from WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf War, etc... -- therefore, I feel we have a classic example of a government going back on its promise to American military personnel...again!

At the end of both the Korean war and the Vietnam war, our government made the mistake of accepting and acknowledging lists of POWs provided by the opposition -- when in fact our own intelligence indicated that those lists were far to short to be the truth. Will we once again have to rely upon the near-sightedness of economically-driven, self-minded politicians and greedy communist nations? I ask you to keep in mind that North Korea recently put a price tag on several sets of American remains that they had supposedly uncovered in the Unsan region of North Korea.

In closing, I appeal to you to take the necessary actions afforded by the powers of your office and position; in ensuring that the appropriate funds are provided to fully account for missing American military personnel. Additionally, the United States can not afford to blindly allow DoD and DPMO to forever close the book on those who currently remain POW/MIA. For all their pain and suffering, we owe our POW/MIAs so much -- and they ask for so little; that their country bring them home. Anything less is just not acceptable.

Sincerely yours,

John M. Blades



[ Notable Books ]

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Leave No Man Behind by Garnett "Bill" Bell with George J. Veith

Kiss the Boys Goodbye : How the United States Betrayed Its Own P.O.W.S. in Vietnam by Monika Jensen-Stevenson, William Stevensen

A heart-ripping autobiography of Colonel Jim Thompson, America's Longest-Held Prisoner of War.

by Frank Anton , Tommy Denton (Contributor), and Frank Anton

One Day Too Long by Timothy N. Castle

Five Years to Freedom by James N. Rowe

Code-Name Bright Light: The Untold Story of U.S. POW Rescue Efforts During the Vietnam War by George J. Veith



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