Much has been written about Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured in Afghanistan and has been held captive by the Haqqani network ever since. I would say that not enough attention is given his cause. I believe the plight of others also warrants attention. Some people refer to Sgt. Bergdahl as the only American prisoner of war still living. That he was captured at all and is still a prisoner of war is more than bad enough to me.

But is he the only living American POW?

Let’s not forget that the Korean War technically never ended. Armistice was declared in 1953, but that did not stop hostilities or violence. I had once written about David Mills, who was captured during the Korean War when he was only seventeen. He was rescued in 1953, but sixty years later, North Korea hasn’t stopped detaining foreigners- and often in very harsh conditions.

Kenneth Bae, aka Bae Jun-Ho, was caught with pictures of starving North Korean orphans in November, 2012. For that, he was charged with plotting to bring down the North Korean government and sentenced to fifteen years hard labor. After several months, he was moved to a “special prison” due to his deteriorating health, but he is still being held prisoner.

The latest would be the capture of eighty-five year old Korean War veteran Merrill Newman, who was taking an officially authorized tour of North Korea and wished to, as he said, “meet any surviving soldiers and pray for the souls of the dead soldiers.” For that alone, he was accused of “hostile acts” against North Korea. He also was shown on video reading a “confession” in often rather broken English to various “offensives” committed some sixty years ago, “offensives” such as killing civilians.

When a man who speaks fluent English apologizes for “offensives” rather than “offences” and reads statements like, “I want not punish me,” that smacks of a false confession to me. I hate to wonder what was done to compel him to read that.

Similarly, I also hate to wonder about the 516 South Koreans who were abducted since the armistice and are still being held prisoner in North Korea.

I think they all qualify as prisoners of war. My own thoughts and prayers are with them, as well as with my fellow Idahoan Sgt. Bergdahl.

May they all come home to the warm welcome they deserve.


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