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Monday, April 21, 2003

Hitting the POW jackpot

Posted: April 21, 2003
1:00 a.m. Eastern

By Resa LaRu Kirkland

© 2003

They saved Pfc. Lynch. She was a POW, and the powers that be received reliable information she was alive and being held against her will by enemy forces, so they did the logical thing and rescued her. It is a remarkable story – one filled with hope, determination, heroism and the glory of doing the undeniable right thing.

Apparently, however, it is the right thing only if you are a female POW.

I am absolutely against women in front-line combat. The vast majority of women are not suited for such things. This is in no way meant to demean Jessica Lynch. In spite of being placed in harm's way by Political Castration run amuck, she performed exactly as a warrior for right should. The condemnation is not hers to wear. But the rightness of women on the front lines is not the topic of this article.

The rightness of POW rescue is not the topic either, for that isn't even debatable. The hypocrisy of "preferential rescuing" regarding females over males is the topic of the day.

Nature has endowed certain triggers within the male psyche – triggers designed to encourage the male of the species to love and protect the female. The shorter female stature, the soft, round female build, the higher female voice – all are a deliberate design to elicit a specific response within the male that ensures the survival of the female, within whom resides the next generation, thus ensuring the survival of the species.

This is the basis for the biggest problem with women in front-line combat – it is asking men to ignore nature, which, in fact, is asking them to deny all things logical and reasonable. But our government – in a gutless cow-towing to political castration – has done just that. Men must by law defy logic and reason, or face court martial. Except, it appears, when a woman is taken as a prisoner of war – then, the cry of "But she's a woman!" holds meaning.

Now, please understand: This is in no way against our front-line men. They did the right thing. This is not against Jessica Lynch. She did the magnificent thing. Our men proved it could be done, and so did the young private. No, this sin is the hypocrisy of a system which will go all out to save a woman on the word of an enemy civilian, but ignores the life of a man on the word of an enemy general. This is the evil of Political Castration and deliberate denial.

Case in point: Philip Mandra. Sgt. Philip Mandra was a proud young Marine, still a child in World War II, but a man in the Korean War. As part of D Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Regiment, 1st Marine Division, he was wounded in fierce fighting in July 1952, after grabbing an automatic weapon and maintaining his position in the face of massive enemy fire, maneuvering his firing team around the enemy outpost, and killing in hand-to-hand combat an intruder determined to bring them all down. He was awarded the Silver Star, which his sister later accepted on his behalf, because only a scant month later – Aug. 7, 1952 – Sgt. Philip Mandra disappeared while fighting on Bronco Hill, along with four other Marines.

Then began the 50-year-and-counting agony of his sister, Irene. Imagine that … 50 plus years. Jessica's family knew that anguish for less than two weeks. Seeing their suffering on FOX News every day, sharing their suffering – I can't help but wonder: How is one to endure for 50 years!? That painful question becomes more excruciating given what has come to pass since for Irene and her family, and is best told by Irene herself:

In September of 1993, a Russian colonel contacted the American Embassy in Russia. He heard a radio broadcast that the U.S. government was looking for Americans who were brought into Russia as prisoners of war. Anyone with information was asked to contact the USA Task Force. In the meanwhile, Task Force Russia was absorbed into Defense POW-Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) and this reorganization essentially dismantled the task force as we knew it.

The U.S. task force visited a Col. Malinin in the Soviet Union, who spoke of seeing an American POW in a prison in Magadon, Siberia in 1962. When the task force showed Col. Malinin an album of approximately 100 pictures of missing men; the colonel picked my brother's picture out twice. Two different pictures – one when he was young and a computerized age-enhanced picture of Phil at age 60.

Col. Malinin told the story of visiting a prison which was part of his job and going into the commodore's office and looking out the window. The colonel observed a man who was brought out of his cell and walked in the court yard. The colonel asked the commandant, "Who was this man?" The explanation given was that "He is an American," sent to him "from the Gulag." This took place in 1962, and Col. Malinin saw the same American in 1965 when visiting the prison, again.

When I learned this news, I packed and left for Russia. I met with Col. Malinin and he told me that as he was leaving the prison, he heard three prisoners yelling out the window, "I'm American." He couldn't see their faces, but he heard what they were yelling. The colonel again identified my brother's face as the prisoner that he saw in that courtyard. I showed him other pictures of my brother and his reply was he could never forget that lone prisoner who was kept in solitary confinement and not allowed to be with other prisoners walking in that courtyard.

I also visited the commandant, who claimed he didn't remember my brother and denied that there were any Americans in that prison. I spent two weeks in Russia searching for answers, but hitting many a brick wall.

My oldest brother Sal, accompanied me to this frozen land. Sal and I gave interviews, visited prominent people, made a video. Our story appeared in the local newspapers in Moscow, but the major newspaper, Izvestiya promised to write our story, but never published it. The media claims that Russia is no longer communist, I disagree. The Russians were polite, but gave no information except the names of people involved in my brother's case, (which, I might add, my government refused to give me).

While I was in Russia, Vice President Gore was there. I visited his hotel and left a note for him asking for his help and explaining who I was and what my mission was about. I never heard from our vice president. I wrote Vice President Gore a letter, when I got back to the states, asking for his help in finding my brother again and getting cooperation with Russia. I received a letter back from him that was so cold and heartless, it enraged me so, that I sent it to my congressman.

– Irene Mandra
Coalition of Families

Reliable evidence given by a Russian general that Americans were being held in gulags more than a decade after the declared cease fire. And this doesn't even include defectors from North Korea – as recently as 1991 – who have spoken of a dozen very old black and white men still being held just north of Pyongyang.

My question is: Why is Philip Mandra counted as less than Jessica Lynch? He wasn't even given the courtesy of being a footnote on the evening news. Lynch is having her entire college education paid for by her home state. No one wants to dirty their hands by keeping Philip in the public eye; Jessica was rescued in a daring caper that put a dozen other men in harm's way. Philip is ignored, re-buffed, and counted out of the game; Jessica is getting free trips, prizes and money. Jessica hit the POW jackpot; Philip the POW received jack.

And I haven’t even mentioned the most famous and recent POW case from the famous and now historic Gulf War I – Capt. Scott Speicher – the man who made military history by having his status changed from KIA-BNR (that’s Killed In Action Body Never Recovered) to MIA, and this past October given the official status of POW. The evidence it took to get the Department of Defense to make so momentous a change amounted to a helluva lot more than a pharmacist at a checkpoint.

There can be only one conclusion. Put aside our real-time news coverage, our instant access and embedded reporters who show us what our front-line men see and feel. Somebody has to say it, because truth must be leant if it is to be acknowledged and accepted. Jessica counted more because she is a woman – Philip was only a man. So much for "equal under the eyes of the law." This is feminism's ultimate and evil goal come to fruition: to be treated the same as men, except when it comes to the hard, painful stuff – then, by God, to be treated better.

They didn't save Sgt. Mandra. He was a POW, and the powers that be received reliable information that he was alive and being held against his will by enemy forces, so they did nothing. It is a wretched story, one filled with denial, lies, cover-ups, abandonment and the evil of doing the most miserably wrong thing.

Apparently, however, it is the right thing only if you are a male POW.

Keep the faith, bros, and in all things courage.

Resa LaRu Kirkland is an avid military historian, with her main focus being on the Korean War and its forgotten warriors. She has been given many names by her beloved Korean War Vets, her favorites being "The Pitbull," "Rambo Brockovich," "Hellraiser," "Tiger" and "D-Day."

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