Sydney Schanberg is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who is best known for his coverage of the war in Cambodia. His book, “The Death and Life of Dith Pran, “ covered Dith Pran’s survival in Cambodia despite the oppression of the Khmer Rouge. The book inspired the 1984 film "The Killing Fields", in which Schanberg was portrayed by Sam Waterston.
Schanberg has now turned his sights on John McCain. He makes allegations that McCain, over many years in the Senate, has orchestrated a cover-up of information regarding Vietnam POWs who, unlike McCain, did not return home.
It is a long, but interesting, read. I have an excerpt here, but also provide a link to the complete version below. (Government documents can also be viewed when viewing the article at the link.)
McCain and the POW Cover-up
The "war hero" candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam
Research support provided by the Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute. This is an expanded version, with primary documents attached, of a story that appears in theOctober 6, 2008 issue of The Nation.
By Sydney H. Schanberg
September 18, 2008
John McCain, who has risen to political prominence on his image as a Vietnam POW war hero, has, inexplicably, worked very hard to hide from the public stunning information about American prisoners in Vietnam who, unlike him, didn't return home. Throughout his Senate career, McCain has quietly sponsored and pushed into federal law a set of prohibitions that keep the most revealing information about these men buried as classified documents. Thus the war hero who people would logically imagine as a determined crusader for the interests of POWs and their families became instead the strange champion of hiding the evidence and closing the books.
Almost as striking is the manner in which the mainstream press has shied from reporting the POW story and McCain's role in it, even as the Republican Party has made McCain's military service the focus of his presidential campaign. Reporters who had covered the Vietnam War turned their heads and walked in other directions. McCain doesn't talk about the missing men, and the press never asks him about them.
The sum of the secrets McCain has sought to hide is not small. There exists a telling mass of official documents, radio intercepts, witness depositions, satellite photos of rescue symbols that pilots were trained to use, electronic messages from the ground containing the individual code numbers given to airmen, a rescue mission by a special forces unit that was aborted twice by Washington—and even sworn testimony by two Defense secretaries that "men were left behind." This imposing body of evidence suggests that a large number—the documents indicate probably hundreds—of the US prisoners held by Vietnam were not returned when the peace treaty was signed in January 1973 and Hanoi released 591 men, among them Navy combat pilot John S. McCain.
Mass of Evidence
The Pentagon had been withholding significant information from POW families for years. What's more, the Pentagon's POW/MIA operation had been publicly shamed by internal whistleblowers and POW families for holding back documents as part of a policy of "debunking" POW intelligence even when the information was obviously credible.
The pressure from the families and Vietnam veterans finally forced the creation, in late 1991, of a Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs. The chairman was John Kerry. McCain, as a former POW, was its most pivotal member. In the end, the committee became part of the debunking machine…..
There is much more to the story; the complete text can be accessed here.
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