Missing in action: Service members and Contractors left behind
The DPMO website cites 4 men as missing – see below. And yet, other contractors are known to still be missing.
More than five years later, Altaie’s case remains unsolved and has been turned over to the missing personnel office, along with those of three missing defense contractors: Kirk Von Ackermann, lost since 2003; Timothy Bell, lost since 2004; and Adnan al-Hilawi, lost since 2007
Politico February 9, 2012
With U.S. combat troops out of Iraq and a time frame for a pullout set in Afghanistan, an ominous question looms: Who will we have left behind?
In Iraq, at least one U.S. service member is currently listed as missing, along with three defense contractors. And in Afghanistan, an Army sergeant is believed to be captured by the Taliban.
“Even if there’s only one, that’s one too many,” said Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), who for years has advocated better accounting of America’s lost service members.
Since 1993, King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and a member of the House Intelligence Committee, has been pushing for legislation that would establish a panel to investigate the handling of missing-in-action and prisoner-of-war cases from past conflicts. The latest iteration of his bill is stalled in the House Rules Committee.
King is especially concerned about World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, which together claim more than 83,000 unaccounted-for U.S. service members, according to the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office.
“It’s never been the political issue during either of the Iraq wars or in Afghanistan the way it was in Vietnam,” he said in an interview with POLITICO. “It was such an emotional issue for so many Vietnam veterans, and I believed a full investigation was required.”
Asked why his bill hasn’t gained traction, King said Pentagon officials oppose it. “They feel it would open up too many sensitive records,” he explained. “I feel that there are enough serious questions that they should be opened up to finally resolve them and that there are so many veterans who feel so strongly about this.”