October 17, 2021

PRISONERS OF WAR

POW

  “I was mentally prepared to sustain serious injury or death, but before that day I never contemplated the reality of being captured by the enemy. I thought, “This is going to be hard on the folks,” only to realize that I actually verbalized my thought out loud.
As the English-speaking officer and I walked side by side, he said, “War is terrible, isn’t it?”
Oliver Omanson, Prisoner of War Number 21860

I thought that he was talking about being a candidate for president to gain attention, like he did in every election.   After he surprised everyone by declaring himself a candidate, I believed no one would take him seriously, especially with a double digit number of qualified aspirants.   He threw his first bombshell when he equated all illegal immigrants to harden criminals.   This reckless statement attracted the most radical element of the great number of us that consider that our current system is broken and strict border enforcement, plus a thorough overhaul of our laws, as well as a solution to the millions already here is needed.   Did all his new found support know that two years ago he was espousing an opposite view on immigrants, advocating amnesty?   Of course I am writing about Donald Trump, a savvy developer that as he constantly reminds us “has lots of money”.   What qualifications does he have to become the leader of this country?   Trump is an egomaniac of such a dimension, that he makes narcissists look self-effacing.   The truth is that his only ideology is based on making money and promoting his name, and that he has proven in his past to espouse liberal and/or conservative causes, financing candidates from both political parties’.   The fact that he, at present has support from republican voters only proves the low expectations, ignorance, and poor judgment of our present day citizenship.   If I have decided to write about him, instead of taking the prudent pathway of ignoring him is to strongly rebuke his latest unfortunate statement denigrating the valor of prisoners of war, in his attempt to diminish the prestige of Senator John McCain.   His statement of “I like people who weren’t captured” was personally offensive and proves the dangers that this candidate presents.   I had the privilege of working in the Veterans Administration for over 18 years, and had in our service a specialized program for POW’s.   The stories told to me about these subjects experiences, suffering, torture, and physical emaciation were so horrific that they were almost akin to stories seen in movies.   Japanese war camps were the worse, and North Vietnamese prisons were equally brutal.   In this time in which we are “celebrating” the new found “friendship” with the Cuban tyrants, it is worthwhile to remember the stories told to newspaper reporter Juan Tamayo, about the interrogators sent to North Vietnam by Cuba;

“Almost daily for one year, the man the POWs nicknamed Fidel whipped them with strips cut from rubber tires until their buttocks “hung in shreds, and trussed them in ropes and wires to tear at limbs and cut into flesh. Fidel was one of three Cubans sent to North Vietnam by Havana to deal with American POWs, in what became known as the Cuba Program.

He whipped and kicked one POW so fiercely in 1968 that the American went into a catatonic state and later died, in what a new book on US POWs in Vietnam calls “one of the most heinous and tragic atrocity cases”.

It behooves Mr. Trump to leave his Trump office, and take his Trump plane, stay in one of his many Trump hotels and visit with veterans, hear their stories and apologize, because if not for their valor a “buffoon” like him would not have been able to achieve what he has.

Fernando J Milanes MD

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