Sunday, July 7, 2013

POW/MIA Search SNAFU, and European Junkets

I have some respect for America's armed forces. They deal with a very unpleasant reality: that occasionally force is needed to protect the lives and well-being of Americans and others.

America's military also, for the most part, deals with and corrects blunders and deliberate malfeasance committed by its members. (January 4, 2009; June 30, 2008)

That said, this reeks:
"...The internal report by Paul M. Cole was never meant to be made public. It is unsparing in its criticisms:

"--In recent years the process by which JPAC gathers bones and other material useful for identifications has "collapsed" and is now "acutely dysfunctional."

"--JPAC is finding too few investigative leads, resulting in too few collections of human remains to come even close to achieving Congress's demand for a minimum 200 identifications per year by 2015. Of the 80 identifications that JPAC's Central Identification Laboratory made in 2012, only 35 were derived from remains recovered by JPAC. Thirty-eight of the 80 were either handed over unilaterally by other governments or were disinterred from a U.S. military cemetery. Seven were from a combination of those sources.

"--Some search teams are sent into the field, particularly in Europe, on what amount to boondoggles. No one is held to account for 'a pattern of foreign travel, accommodations and activities paid for by public funds that are ultimately unnecessary, excessive, inefficient or unproductive.' Some refer to this as 'military tourism.'

"--JPAC lacks a comprehensive list of the people for whom it is searching. Its main database is incomplete and 'riddled with unreliable data.'

"--'Sketch maps' used by the JPAC teams looking for remains on the battlefield are 'chronically unreliable,' leaving the teams 'cartigraphically blind.' Cole likened this to 19th century military field operations.

"Absent prompt and significant change, 'the descent from dysfunction to total failure ... is inevitable,' Cole concluded.

"He directed most of his criticism at the field operations that collect bones and other material, as opposed to the laboratory scientists at JPAC who use that material to identify the remains. Cole is a management consultant and recognized research expert in the field of accounting for war remains; he still works at JPAC...."
(Associated Press, via (July 7, 2013))
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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.