Thursday, September 17, 2009

Michael J. Allen

From a Q & A with Michael J. Allen, author of Until the Last Man Comes Home: POWs, MIAs, and the Unending Vietnam War:

Q: Why was and is there such a dogged search for Vietnam War POWs and MIAs? How is the Vietnam War different from other wars in this aspect?

A: Because the United States lost the war. The plight of American POWs and MIAs became a way for Americans to understand how and why that defeat happened, and the effort to recover these men offered those averse to that outcome the ability to do something about it.

Q: How did this obsession with recovering POWs and MIAs affect the war and its outcome? How did it affect the American people?

A: It fueled the hostility so many Americans harbored toward the communist enemy while at the same time contributing powerfully to the war-weariness that sapped popular support for the war over the long-term. Sooner or later all parties to the conflict came to see the return of American POWs as among the most powerful inducements for U.S. withdrawal from the war.

Q: Who did Americans choose to blame for the inability to recover these men? Why?

A: Initially, most blamed...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue