To the Editors:
The media has distorted a statement we made March 30 about the returning US prisoners. Our statement was as follows:
The POWs are lying if they assert it was North Vietnamese policy to torture American prisoners. They are hypocrites because they are trying to pose as heroic victims when they were responsible for killing countless Vietnamese. They are pawns of the Nixon Administration propaganda effort to justify the war and discredit the antiwar movement. We did not want to make these POWs an issue. But the Administration is coordinating a massive campaign to turn them into heroes, and if the American people are taken in by this campaign we will be guilty of glorifying a criminal aggression in Indochina. We must help these men, and all our people, see what we have done—so that it never happens again….
We do not deny each and every claim of brutal treatment being made by the POWs. We were not there, and brutality toward prisoners is not justifiable. But it is a lie, an orchestrated lie, to give the impression that the general Vietnamese policy was to torture….
We are developing an investigative report on the treatment of the POWs which will be made available to the public. Anyone with information, or interested in receiving the final report, can contact the Indochina Peace Campaign, 181 Pier Avenue, Santa Monica, California 90405. Thank you.
Santa Monica, California
July 19, 1973