As Clinton lifts Vietnam embargo, American Spectator reveals new POW scandal

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(Washington, D.C.): The Center for Security Policy decries President Clinton’s decision today to lift the nineteen year-old embargo against communist Vietnam. There is reason to believe that this action was cynically accelerated lest it be derailed by burgeoning evidence that gives lie to Mr. Clinton’s professions of solidarity with and sympathy for "the men about whom we are uncertain" — i.e., the unaccounted for Vietnam-era POWs and MIAs — and their families and former comrades.

This evidence is to be found in the enormous quantities of heretofore classified official U.S. documents that are beginning to come into the public domain. It is increasingly clear — as the Center has long contended — that the American government under both Republican and Democratic administrations, but most especially under the Clinton presidency, has deliberately concealed what it knew about unaccounted for POWs and MIAs. Worse yet, public servants have lied about their knowledge and effectively colluded with the Vietnamese to discredit those who suggested the truth.

Such conclusions are powerfully put forth in an explosive cover story in the February edition of the American Spectator — the magazine whose investigative reporting rocked the Clinton Administration last year with stunning revelations about Mr. Clinton’s scandalous personal conduct. This article, entitled "The Men We Abandoned — The MIA Cover-up" finds that:

"A terrible truth is now emerging: Recently declassified documents and other sources show that America’s MIA-POW policy has been disfigured by denials, half-truths, and evasions. More important, they also suggest that American prisoners are still crying out in Vietnam. For two decades, a cover-up has been in progress, sustained not so much by conspiracy as by government ineptitude, a bureaucratic unwillingness to draw obvious conclusions from incontrovertible facts, and a failure of national resolve…."

The Center believes that this article — carefully researched by John Corry, a highly respected journalist long associated with the New York Times — is likely to be but the first of many analyses that reach similar findings. As more and more such information comes out, the Clinton decision to normalize relations with Vietnam will inevitably be seen for what it is: the ultimate cover-up. Far from promoting real transparency about America’s unaccounted for servicemen, it is a desperate and cynical bid to create economic disincentives and diplomatic impediments to full disclosure of the facts.

Even so, comments made on 1 January 1992 by the then-chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Sen. David Boren (D-OK), continue to apply:

"A lot more information is going to come….Piecemeal decisions over a ten year period of time. [U.S. officials] always thought ‘Well, I [will] hand this on to the next guy to admit we really made a big mess.’ Those who knew the truth kept handing it on. There are people, obviously, in the military and otherwise, in the foreign policy establishment, who feel they are going to be embarrassed if this comes out. And so, they keep it secret. It has to come out, and it will." (From an interview published by The Oklahoman daily newspaper.)

The Center for Security Policy salutes Mr. Corry and the American Spectator for its effort to get the truth out. It comes too late to: deter Mr. Clinton from becoming even further mired in an odious new scandal; prevent today’s tragic setback to genuine "full accounting"; or preclude U.S. economic life-support from flowing to Hanoi’s communists, condemning the people of Vietnam to further, open-ended suffering at the regime’s hands. Still, it makes an indispensable contribution to the reckoning that will come, in due course. Accordingly, key excerpts of the Corry analysis are attached.

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