It is not obvious that there are soldiers missing in action from the war in Iraq. It is said that the Arabs do not take prisoners, do not leave Americans alive. So the horror of a category of men archived by the subjunctive, neither real nor unreal, neither past nor present, neither recognizable nor localizable is an emotion associated with Vietnam, not Iraq. This is a mistake.
First, imagine the kind of paranoiac, legalistic, calculating Soviet Russia which could nurse a wounded Marine, but could not admit to his presence in the Soviet Union. Not without confirming their (illegal) presence in Laos. Not without confirming his (illegal) entry into the Soviet Union. Not without confirming his (illegal) imprisonment.
Second, imagine that news of this missing soldier arrives in Washington, but the soldier himself does not. Thirty years after Vietnam, a nosy busybody Jewish-Polish CIA hacker hag, with the chutzpah of someone who’s been around the block on heels, makes friends with a CIA boyscout and helps him find out why.
Iraq is not yet Vietnam, but wait.