Vietnam War POW/MIA Issue - in The 2000s

In The 2000s

Schanberg would return to the POW/MIA subject during John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign in a series of articles for The Village Voice; he claimed that Kerry had shredded documents, suppressed testimony, and sanitized findings during his time as chairman of the committee. Kerry denied these allegations and responded overall by saying, "In the end, I think what we can take pride in is that we put together the most significant, most thorough, most exhaustive accounting for missing and former POWs in the history of human warfare."

In 2007, the former Congressman Bill Hendon published his book An Enormous Crime, which chronicled his view of the history of American soldiers abandoned in Southeast Asia following the war and the circumstances that left them there. A companion website allows readers to examine actual intelligence reports and decide if the Defense Intelligence Agency acted properly in dismissing each case. The book ranked to #34 on the New York Times Best Seller list.

A year later, Schanberg would again publish articles, this time for The Nation and The Nation Institute, during John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, in which he recapped his previous arguments and additionally claimed that McCain had helped cover up the long suppression of evidence concerning live prisoners. Former Congressman LeBoutillier was also vocal in his opposition to McCain, in part due to McCain's failure to acknowledge what he saw as evidence of live American POWs left behind. However, while the group of activists on the topic still felt very strongly about it, the matter had largely faded from the American public, and McCain's actions with regard to the POW/MIA issue never were a factor in his eventually losing campaign.

By the late 2000s (decade), the remains of over 700 Americans killed in Southeast Asia had been returned and identified. Efforts continued to recover nearly 1,800 Americans who remained unaccounted for. Working jointly, American and Vietnamese experts focus on “Last Known Alive” cases, which involve missing Americans whom the U.S. believed might have survived their initial loss incident. Outcomes of these investigations helps resolve the live prisoners question. The U.S. has identified 296 individuals as Last Known Alive cases in all of Southeast Asia, and following full investigations, the Defense Department has determined that more than 190 are deceased.

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