MIA Facts Site

The Sky
is
NOT
Falling (Part II)

In another article, I outlined how the geniuses at the National Alliance of Families have twisted and distorted the top-to-bottom analysis of the Defense POW-Missing Personnel Office.  I laid out the facts and pointed out that, in spite of their ravings to the contrary, the sky is not falling on present MIAs or on future prisoners or missing.  Now comes the Alliance again, shouting that the sky really is falling.  No, it is not.

The following is part of an article that appeared in the Alliance newsletter of June 2, 2000:

QUOTE

When We Are Wrong... We Admit It - During her Rolling Thunder speech Dolores Alfond spoke of DPMO's new terminology "Isolated Personnel" to replace the designation POW/MIA. We were under the impression that designation was off in the future and she stated the new designation "Isolated Personnel" would be in place by 2004. Wrong!!!!!

The Future Is Now - In a booklet titled "Personnel Recovery and Accounting," published for year 2000, DPMO states their "Vision." The statement reads "Develop, implement, and maintain a joint system for live recovery of isolated personnel, rapid post-hostility accounting and remains identification." You will find those words on page 4 of the booklet. (You can view Page 4 of this DPMO Booklet on our website.)

Another disturbing phrase we must examine is "Operations Other Than War." In the February 12th 2000, edition of "Bits" we wrote - "A Look Into The Future - Bulletin... In OOTW, we have 3 IP's... Translation: In "Operations Other Than War" we have three "Isolated Persons." That's the new terminology. Wars are no longer wars and captured Americans are no longer POWs. They are Isolated Personnel. This terminology comes from the 1999 Department of Defense Personnel Recovery Conference Report dated October 26 - 28, 1999. (When we last checked this report was available on the DPMO web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo If the report is no longer there, we have a PDF file (very large) of the report available for email.) A scan of the body of this report reveals the phrase "Prisoner of War" is used only once, as is the acronym POW. The phrase "Isolated Personnel" appears, by our count , 13 times."

"Operations Other Than War" and "Isolated Personnel," what do those phrases mean to our service personnel? Are "Isolated Personnel" protected by the Geneva Convention? Is the phrase "Isolated Personnel" mentioned anywhere in the provisions of the Geneva Convention governing the treatment of captured servicemen?

You all remember CWO Michael Durant, captured in Somila, Capt. Scott O'Grady, who evaded capture for 7 days in Bosnia and Sgts. Steven Gonzalez, Christopher Stone, and Andrew Rameriz, captured by Serb forces during our "OOTW" in Kosovo. Today, DPMO world consider those men "isolated personnel?"

If this government intends to send servicemen and women into harms way, in "Operations Other Than War" we damn well better be able to protect them and reducing their status from POW or MIA to "isolated personnel" is not the way to do it. This government has done a poor job of recovering its' Prisoners of War, left behind alive as a result of the Korean War, Cold War, and the War in Southeast Asia. What chance do "Isolated Personnel" have?

END QUOTE

The Alliance is missing several points here.

  1. First, the designation "isolated personnel" does not in any way replace the designation of prisoner of war or missing in action.
  2. Second, there is a reason for this designation.  The Geneva Conventions dealing with prisoners of war give the "detaining power" (that is, the side that has captured a man) to hold him until the end of the hostilities.

If we declared every individual who was abducted, kidnapped, or the like to be a "prisoner of war," then the detaining power would have the right to hold him/her until the end of the hostilities.  Now, exactly what what would this mean?  What it means is that we will give every little piss-ant dictator in the world the legal authority to seize an American serviceman or two and hold him/them "until the cessation of hostilities."  After all, we have declared the man to be a prisoner of war and the Geneva Conventions are treaties that allow them to hold our guys "until the cessation of hostilities."  Anyone want to guess just how long that would be?

By not declaring everyone who is abducted, kidnapped, or the like to be a POW, we make it easier to recover the individual. 

The Alliance article makes this statement:  "You all remember CWO Michael Durant, captured in Somila, Capt. Scott O'Grady, who evaded capture for 7 days in Bosnia and Sgts. Steven Gonzalez, Christopher Stone, and Andrew Rameriz, captured by Serb forces during our "OOTW" in Kosovo. Today, DPMO world consider those men "isolated personnel?"  Should I point out that (1) the term "isolated personnel" was in use before we started operations in Serbia,  and, (2) all these individuals were recovered or returned?

Do not expect reason, logic, or fact to slow the Alliance -- they will continue to crank it out.

(June 4, 2000)