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A shiny car with three military officers comes to your front door; sometimes you first get a call, other times a letter, but there’s a chance they may just show up. The officers are in dress uniforms; they are sad, but professional, and they tell you that your husband, son, mother, or daughter has been killed in action on such-and-such day, in such-and-such a place. Your heart is broken, your soul is forever damaged, and you are lost in a grief that only time can diminish, but never heal. You are changed in ways you do not yet know.

However, when your loved one is missing in action, it may actually be worse. You are in limbo. You are scared and alone with grief; the military will not be able to tell you any details because they usually do not know. Hell, if they knew, then your loved one would not be missing. The other soldiers in the unit are also in limbo; they are soldiering on, but worrying about those missing. For their dead comrades, they’ll have a service to honor them. They plant a weapon, bayonet down with dog tags hanging, to remember them. For the missing, there is no such symbol.

In the case of the three soldiers that have been taken this past week, can you imagine what the families are going through? Kidnappings happen for two reasons: to get money, or to make some statement. However, when soldiers are taken by kidnappers, they know they are not going to get any money from the U.S. government. Therefore, the three soldiers’ kidnapping was totally political in nature.

This should remind us all of the many still missing from other wars, like Korea and Vietnam. We should be demanding accountability of all those brave men, all of them.

Al Qaeda took these soldiers order to gain maximum public attention and to intimidate. The U.S. will be made to look impudent to the many in the Muslim world, who already hate us. We have over 4,000 soldiers, dozens of air force air craft, hundreds of Special Forces and spies looking for these three soldiers. It is important that they are found; however, all of these assets would be doing other things — not as important for sure — but other things, in this war if they weren’t missing. So if we are not doing things in order to find these soldiers, Al Qaeda wins again.

It’s the not knowing that keeps you up, that worries you, that makes you bend like a willow in summer. When a soldier dies, at least you know that he or she is gone. You bury them, you mourn them, you continue your journey without them, and you cry.

When a soldier is missing, you are in limbo. You worry, you want details, you want to know what is being done to find them, you fear the worst, hope for the best, and nothing is settled. Your life is on hold; all around you is doubt, and you’re overcome with fear and hope when the phone rings. Knocks on the door make you cry. You’re just waiting for the ultimate other shoe to drop.

In many ways MIA is worse than KIA.

May God bless and protect these and all who serve.

May God bring those who have been taken home.

May all who took them find their own special and massivley painful hell.

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Colonel David Hunt, U.S. Army (Ret.), is a FOX News military analyst and the author of the New York Times bestseller They Just Don’t Get It. He has extensive operational experience in counterterrorism, special operations, and intelligence operations. He has trained the FBI and Special Forces in counterterrorism tactics, served as the security adviser to six different Olympic Games, testified as an expert at many major terrorist trials, and lectured at the CIA, the FBI, and the National Security Agency. You can read his complete bio here.