Prisoners of Hope:: Exploiting the POW/MIA Myth in America

Susan Katz Keating, Author
Susan Katz Keating, Author Random House (NY) $23 (276p) ISBN 978-0-679-43016-2
Reviewed on: 10/31/1994
Release date: 11/01/1994
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The POW/MIA ``industry,'' according to the author, has long nurtured a powerful myth that Americans listed as missing in action since the Vietnam War are still alive and being held captive. One supposedly supporting argument is the apparent precedent that the Vietnamese held French POWs long after the first Indochina war ended in 1954. Keating points out that the two situations are not comparable and that U.S. prisoners would not be likely to have survived the torture and starvation the Vietnamese traditionally inflicted on POWs. She describes how the POW/MIA myth has been encouraged by profiteers, do-gooders and self-appointed commandos such as James ``Bo'' Gritz, whose private-sector forays into Southeast Asia have fanned the hopes of MIA families for years, along with bogus reports of ``live sightings.'' Keating reviews the cycle of government investigations that have failed to turn up solid evidence, and supports the Senate's Kerry Committee conclusion that the U.S. did not knowingly abandon any troops in Southeast Asia and that there has been no government conspiracy of concealment. This is a first-class investigative report that may make a difference. Keating is a reporter for the Washington Times. Author tour. (Nov.)
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