Dropping the Ball

INEPT, MISMANAGED and wasteful are only some of the words used to describe the Pentagon’s effort to account for tens of thousands of Americans missing in action from foreign wars.

An internal study suppressed by military officials also notes that the Pentagon’s effort risks descending from “dysfunction to total failure.”

The Associated Press recently obtained a copy of the internal study after Freedom of Information Act requests for it by others were unsuccessful.

According to the study, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, also known as JPAC, has been digging up too few clues on former battlefields, relying on inaccurate databases and engaging in expensive “boondoggles” in Europe.

The North Koreans “salted” recovery sites, and JPAC dug up remains between 1996 and 2000 that the North Koreans are believed to have taken from storage and planted in former American fighting positions. What’s more, the United States paid them hundreds of thousands of dollars to “support” these excavations.

Why did the JPAC fail to realize the areas had been salted?

IT’S not surprising the Silver Star Families of America has been extremely critical of the Pentagon, whose ineptness is disgraceful.

Steve Newton, president of the Silver Star Families, early this week issued a statement, noting, “The United States of America has a moral obligation to never voluntarily leave anyone behind. Over 80,000 service members are listed as missing, from World War II, Korea and Vietnam and to let the recovery program fall into such disarray is a national scandal and disgrace.”

And he’s right.

Multiply that more than 80,000 service members listed as missing by thousands of more surviving relatives and friends affected by the sacrifices of those who never came back.

The service members who were killed in action or who died in captivity, for the most part, were young and at the beginning of their adult lives unlike those in Washington, D.C., who had been suppressing the report.

TWO internal memos were obtained by The Associated Press regarding the decision to bury the report. According to AP, “The memos raised no factual objections but said the command would not consider any of the report’s findings or recommendations.”

The suppression and the fact that the command wouldn’t consider any of the report’s findings or recommendations are unforgivable.