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8/1/04 - AMERICANS MISSING IN ACTION - 2004-04-06

Of all the fates that can befall a member of the armed forces, one of the most terrible is to be listed as missing in action. Americans killed in action die with the assurance that every possible effort will be made to recover their remains for proper burial, that their families will be notified of their deaths, and that their sacrifice will be remembered by a grateful American people. American prisoners of war knew that their countrymen would never rest until they were free. But the fate of America's missing in action imposes a special obligation on the United States.

The U.S. is bound by law and morality to account for each and every American still listed as missing in action from armed conflicts. If possible, the remains of M-I-A’s confirmed to be dead must be found and properly interred. And so long as the possibility exists that missing American servicemen may still be alive, the U.S. must make every effort to find them and bring them home.

It was for this purpose that the U.S. Congress passed the Bring Them Home Alive Act of 2000. More than eight-thousand Americans are still missing from the Korean War and almost two-thousand are unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. The law provides asylum to "any alien who is a national of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, China, North Korea, or any of the independent states of the former Soviet Union who personally delivers into the custody of the United States government a living American serviceman" listed as missing in action from either the Korean war or the Vietnam war. The law also provides asylum for the families of those who assist American servicemen in reaching U.S. authorities.

Since the end of the war in Vietnam in 1975, there have been reports of sightings of American servicemen said to be held in Southeast Asia. But so far, no such reports have been confirmed.

Anyone with information concerning Americans listed as missing in action should contact U.S. authorities.