- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 28, 2010


As a retired military officer, I am concerned that the Department of Defense's POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) and the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on prisoners of war and troops missing in action have failed in their responsibilities to press for full accounting of our lost servicemen.

While fault lies in part with undesirable political developments in Russia, much of what has gone wrong can be found right here at home. Particularly, I note with utter dismay the “absenteeism” from this effort demonstrated by our congressional component, which in years past had been in the forefront of initiatives to place U.S. researchers into Russian archives and in clarifying the fates of many our missing personnel. The fact is that the commission’s Democratic senatorial member, Sen. John Kerry, has not attended a single commission event in well over a decade. I once held the senator in high regard for his stand on veterans’ issues, but not so any longer.

Furthermore, various organizational changes now reportedly under consideration by the Defense Department will eviscerate the commission’s ability to carry out its mission by denying its dedicated staff the needed support to ensure its success. More resources (people and money) are not at issue here. Bungled management and vapid careerism among DPMO leadership have coupled with congressional non-involvement to render an important program effete.

Neither the Congress nor the Department of Defense has comported itself honorably in this matter. Neither has lived up to the expectations of me and my fellow veterans. The American public deserves better than these half-hearted efforts.


Alexandria, Va.

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