The Norman Transcript

Breaking News

Opinion

July 14, 2013

Missing are mismanaged

NORMAN — In the urgency and chaos of battle, the fallen are often left behind.

That’s certainly been true in earlier eras of warfare, when transportation options were limited and the ability to deal with comrades killed in battle interfered with ongoing missions.

This is why the number of Americans listed as missing in action in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam War totals 83,348. For various reasons, the remains of most of these soldiers never will be recovered.

But some are. And in fact the United States government has an aggressive program that strives to locate and identify the remains of those killed in action, and return these soldiers to their families.

It’s a noble, if frustrating, goal that has limited success. For instance, at the end of the Korean War, 8,200 Americans were listed as missing in that conflict. Today, that number stands at 7,910, indicating minimal progress.

The effort to recover the remains of fallen soldiers is a somber mission for the military. It’s something you might suspect is undertaken with the utmost determination and aggressiveness.

Then how do you explain a recent internal report from the Pentagon that describes the MIA recovery program as “acutely dysfunctional,” full of waste and mismanagement?

This document, authorized by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, paints a troubling picture of a system that is slow to assess evidence, relies too little on science to confirm its finding and even allows itself to be victimized by foreign governments running scams.

A key example of this in the report involved North Korea, where it was determined battle sites were “salted” with the remains of dead Americans. Later examinations showed the bones recovered from these sites had drill holes in them, indicating the North Koreans had been using the skeletons for lab specimens.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Dancing forward

    The official motto for Mike Fowler’s chairmanship of the Norman Chamber of Commerce is “Moving Norman Forward.” But after Thursday night’s annual banquet, the sub-theme should be, “Let’s Dance, Norman.” More than 500 chamber members and ...

    April 19, 2014

  • NRA members need to step up

    Please, Mr. Bloomberg, leave the checkbook open, but step away from the podium. Your efforts to curb gun violence and improve safety are notable. The National Rifle Association thanks you....

    April 19, 2014

  • Local control or not?

    Oklahoma lawmakers are a fickle bunch when it comes to issues of local control. Sometimes they want it and other times they do not....

    April 19, 2014

  • Norman should act wisely

    Editor, The Transcript: The fact that the city of Norman sells water for oil/gas drilling (or any other purpose) for less than half what they pay Oklahoma City when buying water, and while Norman residents are on rationing, is an act of ...

    April 18, 2014

  • There’s no need to fix system that’s working

    Lawmaker attempts to alter the way judges are selected are being challenged by the state’s lawyers. More than 1,800 signatures on a state bar association petition urging a “no” vote on Senate Joint Resolution 21 have been gathered in just ...

    April 18, 2014

  • On the side of openness

    Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has been criticized for failing to release emails and other information sought by press outlets who believe it was covered under the state’s Open Records Act. Now, Fallin is coming down on the side of keeping the ...

    April 18, 2014

  • A raise for troopers, but what about others?

    Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers could see an increase in their paychecks during the state’s next fiscal year, which begins in July....

    April 17, 2014

  • Fallin should help residents

    Editor, The Transcript: I see this week that our empty skirt of a governor asked the federal government (small business administration) for much money. She is concerned about the suffering of the business owners in Lexington and Purcell ...

    April 17, 2014

  • Top honors for NPS

    Top honors keep rolling in for both of Norman’s high schools. The district learned this past week that Norman High School and Norman North High School have been recognized as two of the most rigorous high schools in the country and in the ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Wind power bursting

    There are a few wind generators dotting the Norman skyline, but western and northwestern Oklahoma makes up for the deficit here. An industry group this week said Oklahoma ranks fourth nationally in the amount of wind-generated ...

    April 16, 2014