In the past I have written a few articles about the era of the Korean and Vietnam wars. Because I was married to a command pilot who spent a year in each war, as an Air-Sea rescue pilot, flying helicopters, and wrote regularly about his experiences, flying behind enemy lines to rescue American soldiers, pick up wounded and those killed by the enemy.
At this particular time, lo so many years later, I had no plans to write anything further about either war, the captured and the brainwashing techniques used on American soldiers by the enemy.
However, the up-coming presidential election, and the many candidates in the running, has erupted into a brawl, between Donald Trump and the other candidates, with John McCain as the centerpiece of news because he is a United States senator, whose history reveals he was captured and held by the enemy in Viet Nam for five years. Which has brought on a lot of fireworks conversations back and forth from both sides.
My interest stems from love of Freedom and this country and my deep concern about the future of America. It’s in this connection I’m going to write about the history and events of that period as I recall, as I lived through it waiting at home while my husband was an active participant in both wars. I kept abreast of events via the news and regular correspondence with my husband, during the time he served.
Many young Americans fought and died in those two wars. Some were captured and returned. To be informed about that era and events which took place it is imperative to understand brainwashing. It was a term coined during the Korean war, and a word that showed up in the dictionary quicker than Spudnik. 
Those who were released after capture and subjected to brainwashing techniques were sent to a hospital in Japan where a military doctor Meyer treated in a de-programming program. He wrote an interesting paper about it and I obtained a copy of it early on. Not only did I study his reports, several years later living in Japan, I visited the hospital where the returning soilders were treated and de-programmed. I was intrigued by brainwashing techniques from the moment I first heard the term.
I will describe as I recall from memory. When a soldier was captured by the enemy in Korea, and later in Viet Nam, the goal of the enemy was to train the captive against the United States. A number of techniques were used to re-train the mind of the captive to be an enemy of his country he was sent to fight for.
Topping the list of techniques was torture, to gain control of the mind of the captured to hate his mother. They would be blind-folded in a solitary room, while food and water withheld, and trained interrogators took turns around the clock, with a constant barrage of statements demeaning about the captive’s mother. Sometimes there was physical torture, sometimes drugs were given to the blind-folded captive. Deprived of sleep, food and water, while being tortured with constant  derogatives about the mother, until the subject submitted in agreement, with hatred towards mother and country. Then the subject was used for propaganda purposes against the United States. He would do this after being brainwashed into submission to do whatever the captor told him to do.
In order to survive they were tortured to be a willing subject to do whatever the captor ordered. Those who survived had been the subject of these brainwashing techniques before they were released. And those who did survive were sent back to a hospital for de-programming treatment, before released back into society here in the United States.
No American prisoner spent any length of time as a prisoner of war in the korean and Viet Nam war, without being indoctrinated in their brainwashing techniques, to obey whatever their captors ordered. They were trained through indoctrination of brainwashing techniques, to collude with the enemy against their family and country. No exceptions for anyone who survived time spent as a prisoner of war.
Some from those eras, remember, “Tokyo Rose.” Now a firestorm of remarks by presidential candidates has re-kindled conversations and arguments about prisoners of war. All this current propaganda to sugarcoat as heroes, are uninformed about the reality of the brainwashing techniques used on American captives.
There’s an old Southern saying, “One can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” Nor can one make a hero out of the captured in the Korean and Vietnam wars. If one survived, one capitulated, one hundred percent to what ever the captor brainwashed into their minds, body and soul. To be otherwise or do otherwise meant they returned in a body bag.
Inasmuch as my husband participated in both these wars, and I read all the Dr. Meyer reports on brainwashing techniques, I made it my business to learn everything I could about prisoners of war and what took place during their captivity. For anyone to try and sugarcoat the results of survivors of enemy captivity as acts of heroism, is spreading propaganda.
Prisoners of war followed orders of captors and did whatever ordered to do in order to survive. No heroism connected to it, submission was the only way to survive.
Lo these years later to try to re-write history and attempt to sugarcoat submission to enemy as a act of heroism, is hogwash. Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t blame anyone for doing whatever it takes to survive, however upon  fabricating heroic deeds out of survival in enemy captivity as heroic, re-defines the meaning of heroism.
From Thomas Jefferson comes this quote, “Were parties here divided merely by a greediness for office, to take part with either would be unworthy of a reasonable or moral man.”
Let Freedom Ring
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