292 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 79 PART 2 MARCH 2021
“The Spook Book blows the lid off forbidden technology”, “Buns ‘n’ Guns
Video, see knockout women shooting knockout weapons”. Some are rather
sad: “Asian women desire correspondence”. And some incomprehensible:
“Be a Paralegal—free career booklet”. Can you imagine hiring a paralegal
draped in mace canisters and trained in “the Six Silent Secrets of Japanese
But I don’t want to knock SOF, because I like its manuscript policy. Most
American editors are highly conservative, dedicated to preserving the
“slant” of their mags. Some only use two or three house writers. SOF welcomes
manuscripts from all quar ters, the wackier the better, and often they
get real dillies. Without question the best article I read on the Oka crisis was
in SOF, written by a gung-ho college student who slid across the border
within the reserve and lived two weeks with the Mohawk war rior society.
Even wilder was the story by a retired merchant skipper of how he was
hired during the Gulf War to reactivate a moth-balled freighter and transport
explosives to the Middle East. The ship never went more than a couple of
days without a breakdown and had to be towed halfway across the Atlantic.
Since the U.S. has a very small merchant marine and so a small pool of
trained seamen, he had the greatest difficulty raising a crew. In the end
most of them were elderly retirees like himself—one of the mates was over
80. The ship made it out there but not back. The ship expired at the Italian
port of Genoa. So did the chief engineer, in a brothel, of a heart attack. Only
in SOF will you find jewels like these.
But I must get out of these fascinating side roads and back to my point.
SOF regu larly covers—it personifies really—the POW/MIA movement,
which to me is the quintessence of American bizarre. What is POW/MIA?
The initials stand for Prisoner of War/Missing in Action, and the movement
is dedicated to the strange belief that there are many Americans still held
in detention by foreign enemies, only awaiting sufficient pressure and
interest on the part of the present U.S. government to get re leased. North
Vietnam is supposed to be the principal jailor, but sometimes North Korea
is mentioned too.
To start off, at least, on a note of realism, let me recall that the Korean
War lasted from 1950 to 1953, and the American involvement in Vietnam
from 1965 to 1973. The SOF issue that I am looking at is dated October 1992:
that is 39 years after the end of the Korean war and 19 years after the last
American forces pulled out of Vietnam. Bearing in mind that both those
contests were wholly or in part irregular unstruc tured affairs, bearing in
mind that they both took place in poor undeveloped coun tries where conditions
were harsh, bearing in mind that in both cases America’s opponents