reply to post by xpert11
Prisoner of War. So you have been captured on the battlefield and you have been interrogated, ignored fake Red Cross forms etc. and you have arrived
in a POW camp. As a POW even if you are fortunate enough that your captors obey the Geneva Convention you may not receive Red Cross parcels or have
regular contact with your family. Putting aside the possibility that you could be tortured for a moment, escape would be extremely difficult given the
fact you would be under constant surveillance.
When the US was attacked in World War 2, it had already sent a substantial contingent of US Army forces to the Philippines along with our retired
former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Douglas MacArthur. The better trained and equipped Japanese Army rather handily prevailed over the rag-tag defenders
at Corregidor Island, a fortified point controlling ingress to Manila Bay just off the Bataan peninsula. The survivors were force marched 135 miles
back to Manila for internment. 3,000 men died on the march which gave it the name of Bataan Death March. (OTOH 10,000 Cherokee died on the Trail of
Although stories of harsh treatment and summary executions abound, it is notable that a very large proportion of the prisoners survived the war. A
recent movie based on the story of the exquisitely planned and well executed rescue of several 100 civilian prisoners held near Manila showed the POWs
scurrying about gathering their meager belongings in old cardboard suitcases. The point is, the POWs had personal belongings and the means to carry
This is not to say I would ever volunteer to be a POW - I would not - but it is to say that I observe many if not most people who become POWs do in
fact survive. Many captured people are injured from either the combat or in the case of aircrew, in the action that brought down their aircraft.
Senator McCain for example, suffered broken limbs in the shoot-down of his Navy attack bomber. He was then assaulted by civilians and suffered a
broken shoulder before the NVA took him into custody and probably saved his life.
More than one downed American pilot was beaten to death by the locals. (That also happened in Europe in WW2). That's not surprising to me if you keep
in mind that only 20% of iron bombs hit the intended target. Hospitals, schools and private dwellings are among the structures frequently hit by the
80% of "missed the target" bombs. We label that as "collateral damage." Bombing private residences - whether or not intentional - is not a
practice likely to endear the bomber to the bombed-out populace. The wonder is that ANY downed aircrew survived.
Another famous prisoner - not of war but of the NKVD - was the Russian defector Alexander Solzhenitsyn who recounted his story in a best selling book,
The Gulag Archipelago
. I have seen Mr. Solzhenitsyn on the tv and he looked to be in remarkably good health for a person who claimed to have
been imprisoned for 10 years (1958-1968) in Siberia. It Is said 80%+ of the persons sent there do not return. IE, they die there. You may have
gathered I am NO fan of Solzhenitsyn and I don't like him. I have read his book. He does not explain HOW he managed to survive. I must assume he was
a collaborator. For which actions I cast no shame on him, but he offers himself in a very different role. As a determined resister. Unlikely!
Korean War. 1950-1953. We captured 10s of 1000s of Chinese and North Korean prisoners in the Korean War. Yet I never hear about us capturing ANY
prisoners in the Vietnam War. 1962-1974. We sustained the loss of about 20,000 soldiers taken prisoner by the other side in Korea, yet I never hear
about any prisoners in Vietnam except the 600 or so aircrew held at the former French prison nicknamed “Hanoi Hilton.” There is a lot to be
learned about prisoners on both sides held in Vietnam as opposed to those held in Korea. OR, did we have a "take no prisoners" mantra in
During WW2 the US forces were told to give only their “Name, Rank and Serial Number.” After the brainwashing episode in Korea where about 23 US
types stayed behind voluntarily, the rules for captured personnel were changed. I believe the current rule is to resist if you can or if you want to
but resistance is not required. The only real restraint is you should NOT betray your fellow prisoners.
In fact, the persons most likely to become POW types know either nothing or next to nothing of great value to the enemy. Technical information is
better found in Janes and in the appropriate technical journals than derived from a person who can only operate the equipment. Strategy is easily
discernible if not publicly declared. Tactics are what each side encounters every day on the front line. Knowledge of spies and double agents is not
likely to be in the purview of persons engaged in mortal combat at the front.
We have a lot to learn about prisoners of war in Vietnam. Itself - the War - a subject most Americans studiously avoid.
[edit on 6/18/2008 by donwhite]