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Book Review

Tiger Cage: An Untold StoryTiger Cage
An Untold Story
D.E. Bordenkircher as told to
S.A. Bordenkircher
Abby Publishing
ISBN 0-9661771-4-2
Library of Congress 97-93396
Copyright © 1998 by S.A. Bordenkircher

When the authors sent this book to us for review and we thumbed through it, our first thought was,"What does this have to do with the POW/MIA issue?"

Well, we started reading this book. And what we found was an effort by the United States at alleviating the conditions that our POWs suffered through at the hands of the communists by improving the conditions of the prisons in South Vietnam; the prisons that held criminally or civilly incarcerated inmates.

Don Bordenkircher was hired by the United States Agency for International Development - Office of Public Safety, (USAID/OPS), from the administrative ranks of San Quentin Prison in 1967 as Senior US Advisor to the [South Vietnam's] Director of Corrections to implement the improvement of South Vietnam's prison system.

Some of South Vietnam's 41 prisons did hold Communist prisoners. But they were not considered POWs.

One of these prisons was located on the island of Con Son in the South China Sea. At this particular prison there were isolation cells where the more disruptable inmates had been placed. These cells had bars on their ceiling with a catwalk for the guards, or jailers, to view the inmate.

As part of his job, Don Bordenkircher recommended that these particular cells be abandoned and a special segregation unit built in their place. The South Vietnamese decided to allow the families of the jailers to use the cells as their temporary homes because these cells were better than their homes!

At one point, in excess of 300 troublesome female communist inmates were moved to Con Son Island because they rioted at every other prison that they had been placed and Con Son was better equipped to segregate these females from the male population.

Enter Don Luce, (journalist), and then Congressional aide Tom Harkin [who is now Senator Harkin]. Harkin, together with Luce and Congresmen Hawkins and Anderson demanded to see Con Son Island, arrogantly violating security by walking amid the prisoners; purposely delayed the departure time which had been prearranged with Air America and started a lie within the Congress of the United States that would overshadow US efforts at getting more humane treatment for US POWs held by the communists by exaggerating alleged brutal treatment of those held at Con Son.

Interstingly, Harkin was paid $10,000.00 for his story, in advance of his leaving on this Congressional Delegation.

William Colby, who was in charge of USAID/OPS, would not allow the free press to view Con Son because as he saw it, this was a "bone" he could throw to the American Congress to get them from their focus on his Pacification Program.

Don Luce was, in our opinion, an opportunist who wanted to influence American involvement away from Vietnam.

This book will make you angry, but it is important that you read it. It shows how our own government treated people they felt were expendable.

Don Bordenkircher together with his co-workers should be commended for the job that they did in Vietnam for the 5 years he was there.

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