I really have to wonder, is the Webb family just out to get us? Althought it has been made clear that the infamous Johnie Webb at JPAC and James M. Webb, a retired investigative team leader who worked on the ground in SEA in both Detachment 1 and 2 from 1989 to 2003, are not related, they both obviously have the same goal – to make a living off of us for as long as they can.
Johnie has a record that those who know the Issue do not need to hear again, and still today he continues to quietly mislead family members and make excuses for investigative shortcomings. Yet now, we have a new nemesis in James M. Webb. It would appear that now he has retired from active military service and did a stint in the Middle East, this adrenaline junkie wants to cash in on the POW/MIA Issue, that means cash in on us. He along with a few others have marketed the following website, http://www.powmiainsider.com/ as “the untold story”. They have an e-book available, The POW/MIA History 101, which, interestingly enough you can download but not print for easier reading, an instant red flag. The information in the e-book is nothing new to any of us and unless you are looking for a refresher course, it is old news. They are also selling, for the low, low price of $29.95 plus shipping and handling, a 3 DVD interview with James M. Webb himself which advertises as “The Untold Story”. The DVD also eludes to a book that will soon be published, “Last Known Alive”, as well as the JTF-FA Team Commander’s Handbook.
I had some preconceived notations before viewing the DVD, expecting it to be as riveting and well made as the Dumas production of “Missing Presumed Dead”, I was sorely mistaken. As the title of this entry states, this is just another attempt to fleece those who hold the Issue near and dear to their hearts. The entire interview takes place in Tailand in front of an elephant herd carved in stone with a small cocktail table as the setting for the approximate two and a half hour interview. Neither the interviewer or Webb move from this site nor is there any additional footage, maps or even photos shown to the audience. It is merely these two men talking into the cameras for the whole length of the presentation. The interview seems contrived at times and at other times it appears that the questions weren’t even really discussed in details beforehand. The general topics were obvious but the viewer gets the sense that both the interviewer and the guest are constantly searching for words and that very little prep time was spent on the interview.
The actual content of the interview has literally nothing that even the newest POW/MIA activist wouldn’t already know and much of the information has no bearing on the issue either. Webb is simply telling stories about his time in SEA. He comes across as unpolished and somehow thinks that his stories about his time in the field have some real bearing on the Issue. Aside from wearing a suit, which he appears to be very uncomfortable in, this interview would have been much more appropriate taking place in a bar, unscripted.
He makes no mention of specific cases and gives the impression that each of these missions he refers to were simply that to him, missions, devoid of the human element that drives those of us, family members in particular. He does speak about the Garwood case specifically but gives no new information or insight that isn’t out there already in books like “Spite House” or “Kiss the Boys Goodbye”. He also give some detail to the shredding incident which he took part in but really doesn’t appear to be all that broken up about the lives that were lost and the families that were destroyed by such a callious act. He gives the impression that due to the fact that the new Detachment head didn’t really know what was in those files, it was a rookie mistake. Yet the version he tells of the story gives an almost Lorel and Hardy touch as the shredding was ordered, then stopped, then started again, then stopped. The Ambassador was even in on the mixed orders. It should be noted here that his take on this shredding incident is that they were only following orders. The simple fact that such total and complete disregard was taken with sensitive documents that pertained to the cases of our loved ones and in particular live sighting reports, makes the excuse of “only following orders” one that I personally cannot accept.
In closing, don’t waste your time, money and effort purchasing the DVD and there is even some question as to the status of the “Last Known Alive” book that the website makes reference to. The sooner we can shut down Webb’s fleecing operation, the better it will be for the Issue as a whole. He expresses no real passion for the Issue and his infrequent references to how much the Issue means to him were telling indeed.
Until Next Time,
The POW Warrior