Archive for January, 2007

War’s Necessary Sacrifices

January 30, 2007

Use it Up–Wear it Out–Make it Do!By

John E. Carey
January 30, 2007
This essay appeared in the Washington Times

Three people asked me the same question this week: “If this war is so terrible and so important, how come so few in America are sacrificing?”An older gentleman named Mike asked me the question. Mike recalls World War II and the war in Korea vividly.

He also asked me if I had ever heard of the phrase “Use it Up–Wear it Out–Make it Do!” Mike spoke about his Mom recycling cans that soup and other commodities came home in so that more ships and tanks could be made in support of America’s war effort. He remembers when gasoline was rationed across America. He remembers the town being practically emptied of men as they were called to service. He remembers “Rosie the Riveter,” the nickname that men gave to their ladies as they went off to tough jobs in heavy industries like shipbuilding.

My wife, who is Vietnamese and has seen her share of war and sacrifice frequently asks me a question or points something out from a perspective I had not thought about.

We visited the Civil War battlefield at New Market, Virginia this past weekend. The Battle of New Market was a battle fought on May 15, 1864, in Virginia during the American Civil War.

Cadets from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) fought with the Confederate Army and forced the Union troops to retreat.

In the middle of a film depicting the history of the American situation before and during the battle, the narrator told about the students from VMI, the cadets, some as young as 15 years old, marching 84-mile into war. During one of those days of marching toward battle and for some, death, the cadets had covered 10 miles before noon.

My wife said, loud enough for me to hear, “Who in American will march ten miles before noon today? And who in American that is 15 years old is going to do that? Who is going to march and die the way these young men from VMI did for their country.”

Who indeed, I thought.

The third man to speak to me is a Chinese American named John who grew up in Beijing, China during World War II. He remembers the soldiers who carried the “Rising Sun” flag marching in the land of his birth. He remembers their ugly war against the Chinese.

John came to America after World War II and enlisted in the U.S. Army to pay back the nation that represented liberation to many people across the world. He served in almost every rank in the U.S. Army, from the lowest pay grade to the rank of Colonel. John saw war again during the Korean conflict – but this time he was with the U.S. Army’s Third Infantry Division.

John and I also discussed this issue of sacrifice and how America manages war and how America now supports its soldiers at war.

The point is this: the world is watching America now very closely. And many in the world who would enjoy seeing America fail in its efforts are assessing how much America is willing to give to achieve its objectives.

The price paid by an enemy to defeat America was not the concern of these three that spoke to me this week. They were all wondering about what America is willing to give.

The price paid by America to achieve its war goals seems to be declining.

The Battle of Gettysburg on July 1-3, 1863 showed the true hell of war. The total of the killed, wounded and missing during those three days for the Union side was 23,040. The Confederate estimated a loss of between 20,650 and 25,000.

Despite Union victories at Vicksburg and Gettysburg in July, 1863, the nation still had 22 months of bloody Civil War ahead of it. At the end of the Civil War the nation had suffered approximately 630,000 deaths and over 1 million total casualties.

The Battle of Okinawa, fought on the Japanese island of Okinawa was the largest amphibious assault during the Pacific campaigns of World war II. It lasted from late March through June 1945.

At the end of the Battle of Okinawa, the United States had lost 12,513 dead or missing and 38,916 wounded.

American battle deaths in Korea are estimated at 33,741. The Vietnam memorial wall here in Washington D.C. lists the names of 58,195.

We have the greatest love, respect and admiration for every American man and woman who has participated in the global war against terror and in the fighting in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Every life is precious and we mourn the loss of every family impacted by this war.

And nobody is advocating that America should suffer the kinds of horrors of war and death and destruction that have preserved our freedoms in the past. But we do believe that there is a valid question here for all of us to ponder:

“If this war is so terrible and so important, how come so few in America are sacrificing?”


Eyes on China: Warnings From Several Sources

January 30, 2007

What Do Senator John McCain, Missile Expert Jim Hackett, The U.S. Navy, and India have in Common During the Last Several Days: All Are Issuing Warnings About China….

By John E. Carey
January 30, 2007

On January 11, 2007, China launched a land-based rocket that intercepted and destroyed an old Chinese satellite. This one act indicated that China may have the early stages of a “space denial” weapon system for use against the U.S. in a crisis or war.

This past weekend Senator John McCain said this satellite killing test showed again that China is taking steps toward super-power status. But he said “China needs to act like a super-power” and take on global responsibilities. He added “some of us are disappointed by its lack of maturity.”

McCain also indicated that American interest in trade and economic expansion with China has frequently blinded the United States to many other factors that should be taken into account in our dealings with China.

I like the fact that Senator McCain referred to China as immature. In many ways, China is a blatant bully struggling to cope with the more, shall we say, suave forms of international diplomacy and conduct.

On January 29, Senator Jon Kyl, an important missile defense advocate said, “Key policy makers seem oblivious to the nature and the urgency of the threat. It’s time to start speaking out about this.”

Kyl said the “muted response” in the United States has been due in part to the fierce congressional debate about the war in Iraq, which has drawn attention away from other foreign policy issues.

Kyl also linked the administration’s silence to a “complicated relationship with China, which is difficult to manage under the best of circumstances. There is so much we want to engage with China.”

O n January 28, 2007, well known U.S. missile and defense analyst Mr. James Hackett wrote in The Washington Times about China’s missile test: “China’s test was conducted the day Undersecretary of State Robert Joseph was explaining the president’s new National Space Policy at a forum in Colorado Springs. Mr. Joseph presciently predicted, ‘Others will take advantage of our dependence on and vulnerability in space to seek asymmetrical advantages.’”

Mr. Hackett continued: “He [Mr. Joseph] added that even as our opponents develop such weapons they propose a ban on “space weapons” that would impede our ability to defend ourselves. This is nothing new. For years Moscow and Beijing have called for an ASAT ban, which is echoed in the United Nations, by the arms control lobby and by liberal Democrats. Arms control activists already are screaming we must negotiate a ban on ASATs.”

Criticism of China came from a very unsuspecting region this weekend. A conference in India designed to remind people of China’s abusive conduct toward Tibet seemed to strike a chord with many.

In 1965 Beijing formally ousted Tibet’s ruler, the Dalai Lama in a kind of coup. China set up an Autonomous Tibetan Region, an entity the Dalai Lama has dismissed as having no real autonomy from the central government.

China has claimed that its decades-long occupation of Tibet represents liberation for the Tibetan people, that it saved Tibet from a backward, feudal, oppressed system.

But the system was a freely chosen system of the Tibetans. And Buddhists are not known usually for their violent behavior and sedition. In fact, the hard core Buddhists are usually vegetarians that refuse to kill any other living creature.

Beijing, after appointing its own new Panchen Lama (the second most important office in Buddhism) and seizing the legitimate one, announced in July 2005 that the local government in Tibet would recognize the new Dalai Lama.

In a conference called “2007:Year of intensive support for Tibet” held in New Delhi, India, this last weekend, the organizers pleaded for people to keep aware of the Tibet-China issue. Professor Brahma Challaney, an Indian strategic expert and defense analyst with the Center for Policy Research, said that China had failed to win over Tibetans and Tibet very much remains an alive issue.

China’s major efforts to colonize Tibet with the recent completion of railway projects, has provoked anger in Tibet, India and elsewhere. But by flooding Tibet with Chinese workers, it is uncertain that the “old Tibet” can ever again be recreated.

In fact, after China opened its major rail link to the Tibetan capital of Lhasa in 2006, many analysts said paving the flood of Chinese investment in the poor, remote region could endanger the plateau’s fragile environment and undermine Tibetan culture.

Now it turns out a major factor in the building of the railway by China may have been motivated by something “deeper” than the effort to push Tibet around. Chinese geologists revealed on January 29, 2007 that China has made a huge geologic discovery in Tibet.

The official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that Meng Xiani, director of the China Geological Survey (CGS), has revealed that 16 large copper, lead, zinc, iron iron and crude oil deposits along the railway are expected to yield 18 million tons of copper, and 10 million tons of lead and zinc. One copper deposit on Qulong has a proven reserve of 7.89 million tons, second only to the country’s largest copper mine in Dexing in China’s Jiangxi Province. The CGS believes the copper reserves in Quolong could reach 18 million tons, making it the largest copper deposit in the country.

Meng said China’s economic security would ultimately be endangered if the nation continued to rely on imports of major mineral resources in the long term. He added that the results of the geological survey along the railroad proved it was possible to improve China’s natural resources security.

So China’s decades long abuse of Tibet may have been all about plundering mineral reserves.

In another military incident from China, last October a Chinese Song Class diesel electric submarine crept covertly to within five nautical miles of the USS Kitty Hawk, a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier.

This was hardly seen as a suave diplomatic move. Many Navy people saw this act as a blatant provocation just short of an act of war. The U.S. Navy asked China for an explanation.

This one act said to many naval observers two things: That China intends to patrol further than ever from its shores and that China now can effectively evade U.S. Navy anti-submarine warfare systems and place warships in a position to quickly eliminate the U.S. Navy’s capital ships.

Finally, economist Paul Craig Roberts wrote in August 2005, that “China already is a world power. China holds enough U.S. government debt to have the dollar and U.S. interest rates in its hand.”

Since Mr. Roberts made this dire prediction, the amount of U.S. debt “owned” has been rapidly expanding.

This according to William Schneider in The National Journal: “The U.S. budget deficit is financed by borrowing. More and more of that money comes from China, now the United States’ second-largest lender, after Japan. China’s investment in U.S. government debt has more than tripled in the past five years, from $71 billion in 2000 to $242 billion in 2005.”

The country holding by far the most U.S. debt is Japan which held $644.2 billion at the end of August 2006. China now holds over $1 Trillion in total foreign reserves, of which about $339 billion (as of late last year) are US Treasuries.

These numbers continue to grow.

Some economists are stirring on this issue already but far too few. And I am not economist enough to know for sure that this is a problem — but it sure looks like future trouble to me.

We expect to begin to watch China more closely. We’re glad Senator McCain and others are already speaking out.

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The Big Issue on the Table

January 29, 2007

By John E. Carey
January 29, 2007

I have a friend in Texas. Liberals wouldn’t like him much. Nor he them. He does not believe that the American government is here to fund and take care of every American. He believes strongly in self determination, the strength of family and many other things that are sometimes called American or family values.

He travels a lot in his business and he packs heat too. It is all legal. If his family is threatened by some mayhem or kidnapping he’ll call the police on 911 – but probably after he solves the terror.

Just the other day my friend in Texas said to me: isn’t the first role of government is to defend us as a nation?

He reminded me of one of the great Ronald Reagan quotes: “Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.

This discussion doesn’t come up too often. In many other nations the role of the defense organization and the military is not on the public consciousness at all. In many nations like Sweden, the Netherlands and countless others the government is seen as an organization that distributes services like health care. People in countries like Sweden and the Netherlands are decidedly proud of their nations and their governments. They talk for hours on end on how proud they are of their schools, their government funded day care system, the fact that grandfather had an operation that costs the family almost nothing.

These people: many of them Europeans, also can rant for hours about how misguided America is as a nation. They can dredge up the dirt too. I’ve heard people talk at length about all the ills of American history including slavery.

Rarely do these people stumble upon a few of the things America has done right: like bailing out a bunch of nations in World War II and then rebuilding East and West using the Marshall Plan and by building organizations like NATO and the U.N.

A liberal on an anti-American rant can always recall Hiroshima but never the liberation of Paris or Rome or other places.

I wrote about America’s role in World War II recently and one of my readers could only respond with bile and venom: to him America’s role was miniscule compared to the role of the Soviet Union and the Soviet people.

So sometimes it seems that saying something good about America is a bad thing. Why is that?

I spent a few hours today with a Lebanese-born American citizen. He came here when he was about 20 years old. He came here with virtually no money. Today he is in his seventies and still managing his 50 some stores! Many of his employees are also immigrants. They can’t stop telling people what a great place America is: the land of opportunity.

I am one of those conservatives many people in the world (including, sadly, many other Americans) really hate. I believe that America has a special place in the world. Despite our terrible failures like Vietnam, I still see America as a glass half full.

Driving past an overcrowded U.S. government office where immigrants wait sometimes for hours just to speak to a U.S. government agent about achieving the special status of “U.S. citizen,” a rather naïve passenger of mine said: why do they want to come here?

People from all over the globe have one primary goal in life: to come to America. They want to be citizens. They want the promise of a better life. For many of these people the real goal is a better life – a life filled with promise – for their children.

Many immigrants know there is a system of fairness in America. The justice system works better than most. Corruption is relatively rare. You can call the police for help and when they come they will bring help and not ask for money.

In many countries: people are afraid to call the police because the police are so terribly corrupt. A friend from Thailand talked to me about the terrible traffic congestion in Bangkok. He confessed that he himself drove “like crazy person.” I asked if he ever got a ticket. He said no: although he had been pulled over by the police dozens of time he could always avoid a citation by paying the Thai policeman a few dollars.

Here is my deepest fear: that America will end up in the next few years a beaten loser with little national stature. And that will not mean that the world will be better off. The Muslim world will still be warring against many nations. The Persian Gulf could well be closed to the U.S. No telling where oil prices will be. China could well exert its influence on the U.S. in some unhelpful way. Their booming economy will be used to expand China’s world reach and its vast military. The U.S. economy will deteriorate and the U.S. military will be demoralized and sadly in need of a rebuilding effort that may not get off the drawing board.

That immigrant that came here for a better life for his children will see the “American Dream” not just lost but turned into a nightmare.

The issue on the table that appears to be facing America, it seems to me, is this: will America continue to strive for a better situation in Iraq or will America say “it was all a mistake” and slink away.

Because that prospect will cause loud applause in a lot of places where Imams teach their young children to breed unrest and discord in the world; in Iran where the President wants to wipe Israel off the map (he said so himself), in Venezuela where a President who called the U.S. President “El Diablo” at the United Nations sits, and in a lot of European nations where people like to see America fail. When America fails, all those who hate America take great joy and then reaffirm that their positions on things are correct and justified.

And out of that applause will spring more attacks on the American homeland.

I know I am a salmon swimming up stream here: all of the polls are against me. All of the “pols” seem to be too.

Well, not all. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel, R-Kentucky, told Bob Schieffer on the CBS Sunday program “Face the Nation,” that he still supports President Bush and will work to prevent the Senate from passing any of the various resolutions which oppose the administration’s position.

“What I’ll be doing is trying to appeal to my Republican colleagues to not pass a nonbinding resolution that basically says to the troops who are going there this is a mission that doesn’t have a chance of succeeding,” Senator McConnel said.

McConnell said that Republicans would not filibuster any of the resolutions, but the minority party will ask to vote on all of the resolutions at once – meaning it will take 60 votes to pass any one of them. “I am not certain that any of these will get 60 votes,” McConnell said. “We’ll find out in the coming week or two.”

But let’s be careful that we don’t trade away what seems a terribly misguided and “no win” effort for what seductively seems like peace and fewer casualties.

Because our withdrawal from the war against terror will be seen as a white flag of surrender by millions of people who really want to see America fail.

Which reminds me of another Ronald Reagan quote: “You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness.”

Oh, and my friend in Texas has also mentioned that he believes we should string up some of the politicians that are voicing opposition to the president. But he’s a little to the right of me. And that opposition is part of the beauty of democracy.


The Wife Made Him Beg for Sex

January 29, 2007

By John E. Carey
Updated May 22, 2007

A friend told me recently that his wife made him beg for sex.

Actually on the knees begging.

Now, it is hard for me to think of the appropriate response for this particular confession. This is not the kind of thing one American man tells another.

So I realized only one thing for certain: either this guy has lost his mind or he really values me as a friend to tell me such a thing.

And as a good friend I decided not to comment on his predicament.

I am generally an optimist. I believe most any problem can be resolved. When I hear that a woman says to a man, “The magic is gone,” I always hear the upside. It means “there was once magic!”

My friend said that he had made a mess out of his entire marriage situation by blurting out during an argument that, “You are driving me into the arms of prostitutes again!”

Immediately my brain said: “Bail out. NO UPSIDE.”

And I have two wonderful and very wise other friends that remind me frequently not to accept a problem passed downfield from another member of the human race unless I need to, I have the time to solve it and I can score a touchdown.

Back to “You are driving me into the arms of prostitutes again!” Writers sometimes study every word another chooses in expressing a thought. This sentence is loaded with meaning.

I do offer a few opinions on this sentence. I start by telling my Guy Friend that I can give him the phone number of a really good divorce lawyer. And I ask him if he had ever heard about being unable to “un-ring a bell….”

“You are driving me” means it is all her fault of course. Unless she actually drops him off for his misadventures, I think. I conclude that a woman who wants her own husband to beg for sex isn’t driving him out to spend hard earned community property for the commodity.

I know calling sex a commodity makes me the enemy of all ladies so please do not bombard me with email.

You knew I was an evil male chauvinist pig when you read “The Wife” in the headline. As if she were an object.

Well my friend’s wife once was a sex object. Now I am thinking she has complicated the situation somewhat…..

And, I have concluded, after hearing, “You are driving me into the arms of prostitutes again!” for the first time in this conversation (or any conversation for that matter) that it is high time to admit that my friend is crazy or a moron. Or perhaps the worst form of human on earth: a Crazy Moron.

Then there is that word “again” which sorta indicates he has been up to no good before.

Then he tells me that he gets back at his wife.

“And how us that?” the sage writer says.

He says his wife likes to go out on Friday nights drinking with her girlfriends. This usually concludes with coming home drunk and going to bed.

He told me this is when he “steals sex” from her.

I was unfamiliar with the concept of “stealing sex” so I kept quiet.

I figure this guy will be begging or paying for his pleasures for a long time to come. But that woman called “wife” will be out of the picture and holding his cash. Most of it anyway.

And I need to get some new friends with smaller “issues.”


China is Stirring: Why Now?

January 23, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
January 20, 2007

In the last few weeks and months, two important new military capabilities were apparently demonstrated by China to show the U.S. new — and some say troubling – Chinese military powers. First, in October of 2006, a Chinese Song Class diesel electric submarine crept covertly to within five nautical miles of the USS Kitty Hawk, a U.S. navy aircraft carrier.

This one act said to many naval observers two things: That China intends to patrol further than ever from its shores and that China now can effectively evade U.S. Navy anti-submarine warfare systems and place warships in a position to quickly eliminate the U.S. Navy’s capital ships.

Then on January 11, 2007, China launched a land-based rocket that intercepted and destroyed an old Chinese satellite. This one act indicated that China may have the early stages of a “space denial” weapon system for use against the U.S. in a crisis or war.

Both incidents followed a period of decreased intelligence gathering by the U.S. against China.

Military intelligence officials told us that the U.S. Pacific Commander, Admiral William “Fox” Fallon, had restricted U.S. intelligence-gathering activities against China, fearing that disclosure of the activities would upset relations with Beijing.

Last week the White House announced that Admiral Fallon is now the President’s nominee to succeed General John Abazaid as the Commander of the Central Command.

We asked ourselves, “Why would China be revealing these apparently new, and to some frightening, capabilities at this time?”

We discovered a mixture of reasons after questioning several current and former officials of the State and Defense Departments in the U.S. along with former National Security Council staff members and some well known “China watchers.” We also drew upon the excellent reporting on China by Mr. Bill Gertz of the Washington Times.

–Burgeoning Power. China is the burgeoning superpower of the world. China’s economy, the world’s fourth largest, is likely to enjoy a fifth straight year of double-digit growth in 2007. On January 20, 2007, Reuters reported that “Beijing’s leaders, despite unveiling a slew of policies in recent months to prevent over-heating, are unwilling to countenance a major slowdown because of the need to create jobs for millions of people joining the workforce every year.”

It seems as though every product for sale at your neighborhood Wal Mart or Sears is marked “Made in China.”

Speaking of China’s government leaders, Yuan Gangming, an economist with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a top think-tank, said “As in 2006, they want a growth rate of 10.5 percent or even higher.”

China is spreading its wings and its economic influence the world over.
In China, the sea routes and overland transportation system from China to the sub-Saharan region of Africa is called “The New Silk Road.” The original “Silk Road” was a key trade route comprised of an interconnected series of roads, routes and sea lanes spanning from Korea to the Mediterranean Sea.

“This new ‘silk road’ potentially presents to sub-Saharan Africa – home to 300 million of the globe’s poorest people and the world’s most formidable development challenge – a significant and rare opportunity to hasten its international integration and growth,” author of the study “Africa’s Silk Road: China and India’s New Economic Frontier.”

The author of the book, World Bank Economic Adviser Harry G. Broadman, says that skyrocketing Asian trade and investment in Africa is part of a global trend towards rapidly growing South-South commerce among developing countries.

“Asian exports to Africa are growing at 18 per cent per year, faster than to any region in the world. China and India’s foreign direct investments in Africa are more modest than trade flows, but they are growing rapidly,” Broadman said.

Paul Craig Roberts wrote in August 2005, that “China already is a world power. China holds enough U.S. government debt to have the dollar and U.S. interest rates in its hand.”

Paul Craig Roberts is an economist and a nationally syndicated columnist. He served as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Ronald Reagan Administration (1981–1989). He is a former editor and columnist for Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, and the Scripps Howard News Service.

China “owns” a large chink of U.S. debt – second only to Japan. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are funded largely on “borrowed” money from China.

This according William Schneider in The National Journal: “The U.S. budget deficit is financed by borrowing. More and more of that money comes from China, now the United States’ second-largest lender, after Japan. China’s investment in U.S. government debt has more than tripled in the past five years, from $71 billion in 2000 to $242 billion in 2005.”

Is that a problem? No, says the director of the Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Holtz-Eakin. “Dollars all look the same,” he added. “Their ultimate source doesn’t matter.”

William Schneider is the CNN’s senior political analyst. He is also a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., and a contributing editor for the Los Angeles Times, National Journal, and The Atlantic Monthly.

–“Testing the Waters.” China is “feeing out” the international response to many of its new initiatives. The U.S. Pentagon has asked that China become more open and forthcoming about its military plans and investments for many years. Just recently, China has become more “transparent” about its military spending and its priorities.

Just after Christmas, 2006, China released a new “White Paper” on its defense intentions. “China will not engage in any arms race or pose a military threat to any other country,” the 91-page white paper said. “China is determined to remain a staunch force for global peace, security and stability.”

“The struggle to oppose and contain the separatist forces for Taiwan independence and their activities remains a hard one,” said the report from the State Council, China’s Cabinet.
It indirectly criticized the United States for promising Beijing that it will adhere to the “one-China” policy, “but it continues to sell advanced weapons to Taiwan, and has strengthened military ties with Taiwan.”

As for the navy, it is “working to build itself into a modern maritime force of operation consisting of combined arms with both nuclear and conventional means of operations,” the report said.

Sunanda K. Datta-Ray of the Hindustan Times wrote, “China’s ambitious defence White Paper hard on the heels of its African initiatives warns of a relentless advance to what — shades of the Middle Kingdom! — Hu Jintao calls his country’s ‘historical mission.’”

In his annual threat assessment, Lt. Gen. Michael Maples, head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told Congress on Jan. 11: “Several countries continue to develop capabilities that have the potential to threaten U.S. space assets, and some have already deployed systems with inherent anti-satellite capabilities, such as satellite-tracking laser range-finding devices and nuclear-armed ballistic missiles.”

On the same day, the Chinese destroyed an aging weather satellite using what’s known as a kinetic-kill vehicle sent into space aboard a Chinese ballistic missile. Kinetic-kill vehicles were an integral part of President Reagan’s dream of protecting the U.S. against ballistic missile attacks, a plan critics mocked and still do.

–Distractions of Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and North Korea. China knows that the U.S. is terribly distracted by other foreign policy imperatives. Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea are “sucking the air out of our ability to breathe and concentrate on other, seemingly lesser trouble spots,” a former State Department country officer told us. “Why do you think we don’t pay much attention to Hugo Chavez in Venezuela?”

Last July, at the height of the war between Israel and Hezbollah, the U.S. Secretary of State had a scheduled trip to China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Malaysia. Naturally, in the heat of war, the American Secretary of State scrubbed the entire trip, save the Malaysian piece.Asians we know, were very offended – each nation lost face and all Asia lost face, they told us. The Chinese were particularly concerned that Israel and Hezbollah seemed more important to Ms. Rice than all of China.Making things worse, the U.S. Secretary of State went to Malaysia for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers. Instead of visiting with heads of state in Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul and Hanoi, the Secretary of State went to a club meeting of Foreign Ministers and played the piano for the assembly at dinner (Brahms’ Sonata in D Minor, 2nd Movement).

Worse still, for right or wrong, the Secretary of State rushed back to the Middle East, it seemed, to deal with the troubles of Israel; a small and insignificant nation in the eyes of many in the vast populations of Asia. We, in America, lost face – especially in the calculating minds of the Chinese.

–U.S. Navy is “Stretched,” Showing some “Strain.” The United States Navy has, as best we can determined, contracted form a “goal” during the Ronald Reagan years of 600 ships to about 276 ships now. Every unplanned deployment of Aircraft Carrier Battle Groups or Marine Corps Amphibious Groups exacerbates the “strain” on a service which would have a key role on the vast expanses of the Pacific Ocean should any major Asian crisis come to the edge of hostilities.

When the President made the decision to send an additional Aircraft Carrier Battle Group to the vicinity of the Persian Gulf and North Arabian Sea recently, many writers questioned how the U.S. would account for the loss of that firepower near Japan and Korea or in the event of a crisis near Taiwan.

There are only 12 U.S. Navy aircraft carriers. Typically, four may be engaged in overseas operations or deployments, four are preparing and training for future action and three or four have recently returned from six-months of at sea operations and are in some form of maintenance. One or more may be in an extended overhaul and unavailable for service.

With two aircraft carriers in the vicinity of the Persian Gulf and North Arabian Sea that only leaves one in the entire Pacific Ocean and one covering the Atlantic/Mediterranean operating areas.

China sees this and asks itself: “If we ever need to take back Taiwan by force, we might best do this when the U.S. Navy Aircraft carriers are days or weeks away.”

We didn’t make this question up. It was a gift to us from a People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Admiral.

China is no match for the U.S. Navy, certainly. But a number of advanced warships will gradually come into service in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (P.L.A.N.) in the next few years. The bulk of these ships will belong to two new guided missile destroyer classes called 052B and 052C. The 052C will be fitted with an advanced integrated air defense system, supposedly similar to the U.S. Aegis phased-array radar display, with a high capability to engage multiple targets simultaneously.

China’s surface fleet consists presently consisting of 64 large combatant units: 21 destroyers and 43 frigates. Chinese Navy planners are facing the demanding task of replacing obsolete ships with more modern and capable units.

To speed this process, P.L.A.N. continues to bring into service units of the Russian Sovremenny-class destroyers, while pursuing the construction of its own type 052B and 052C-class warships.

China also is pursuing the construction of a completely new ship, , that is expected to be very large and loaded with heavy surface armament. The first ship of this series is being built in China’s Dalian shipyard.

Beijing is apparently not yet attempting to build an aircraft carrier.At the moment, the creation of an extensive ship-borne air force by building and China’s submarine fleet consists of 57 units: 51 diesel submarines (SS) and six nuclear powered attack submarines (SSN).

China currently has one new Type 094 nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) of the Xia-class but construction of the series has been slow and laborious. Regional Crisis and the Protection of Sea Lines of CommunicationThe naval construction plan as a whole indicates that the duties that P.L.A.N. will be called upon to tackle in the next few years will be the protection of sea lines of communication to keep open the “choke points” relevant to China’s trade flow, and power projection in areas identified as vital for China’s national interests.

–U.S. Seen Often As “Easy Mark.” The Associated press reported last week that State Metal Industries, a Camden, New Jersey, company convicted in June of violating export laws over a shipment of AIM-7 Sparrow missile guidance parts it bought from Pentagon surplus in 2003 and sold to an entity partly owned by the Chinese government. The company pleaded guilty to an export violation, was fined $250,000 and placed on probation for three years. Customs and Border Protection inspectors seized the parts — nearly 200 pieces of the guidance system for the Sparrow missile system — while inspecting cargo at a New Jersey port.

The company was only ordered to pay a fine of a few thousand dollars.

“For better or for worse, our U.S. openness and the perceived weakness of our laws encourages the Chinese to believe that America doesn’t really care about deterring or catching Chinese spies or law violators,” a Pentagon official who spoke to us on the condition of anonymity told us.

“There are Chinese spies everywhere in America: we know it and they know we know it. We just don’t really do much about it unless what they do is really quiet serious or blatantly wrong.,” the same official told me.

–Weakness of the “Lame Duck” President. The midterm elections in November 2006 were a stinging blow to President Bush and the Republican Party. Control of the House and the senate shifted to the Democratic Party. By Many accounts, the president of the United States became a “lame duck” president, with very limited power and influence until he is replaced by a new man – or woman.

This is the kind of situation that emboldens Chinese leaders.

In no nation is more duck eaten than in China.

Another piece of troubling news from China: China’s military is delaying the U.S. visit of its strategic nuclear forces commander despite a promise by Chinese President Hu Jintao last year that the general would hold talks with the U.S. Strategic Command leader.

Caroline Bartholomew, chairman of the congressional U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, said Beijing’s failure to respond to the U.S. office is a concern. “The commission recommended a [U.S.-China] dialogue on strategic-forces issues to ensure that both China and the United States understand the lines in the sand,” she said. “There are certain acts which have traditionally been and will continue to be seen as hostile, such as blinding satellites and threatening a nuclear attack on our cities.”

Miss Bartholomew said “we must hope that Gen. Jing’s lack of responsiveness to the invitation to visit U.S. Strategic Command, despite the fact that he has been elsewhere in the Western Hemisphere, does not reflect Chinese government disinterest in strategic warning and mutual threat-reduction measures.”

North Korea Nuclear Deal: Wrong on Many Levels:

24 Hours: Understanding The International Scene Never Stops

January 20, 2007

And Neither Does Life Itself! By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom Group
January 20, 2007

Thursday, January 18, 2007, 0901:

I lunge for the telephone. If I don’t get it by the end of the second ring the answering machine clicks on. “John, this is Hai-lan. Hello.”

Hai-lan, my old political and military science mentor, phoned from Asia to give me a piece of her mind.   Well, maybe more than a piece. Maybe a chunk of thinking and criticism and insight.  Hai-lan’s phone call and the spin-off thinking I needed to do as a result became the focus of the greater part of this morning.

If you missed our insight from Asia on U.S. foreign policy, you are invited to read more at:

Thursday, January 18, 2007, 1120:

Phone again: “John this is Alex ‘Verbotin’ (this is Alex’s effort at a comic pseudonym) in Moscow. Can we talk later today about the U.S. intentions with regard to Iran?”

Alex is a reporter in Russia.

I tell him I will do some reading and be ready for him at about 4 or 5 PM my time.

He knows already that I am “up” on the situation with Iran.

He thanks me and promises to call back at about 5 PM.

Thursday, January 18, 2007, 1135:

I depart for Catholic Mass at noon at Our Lady of Lourdes.

Thursday, January 18, 2007, 1300:

I stop by to see my wife and her Vietnamese friends at work. I wind up buying them Vietnamese takeout for lunch. This is what friends are for.

They all eat noodles with their chopsticks and delighted faces!

Thursday, January 18, 2007, 1400:

Cell phone: “John, this is Tom, I think I had a heart attack.”

I say immediately: “Call 911 and get to the hospital.”

Tom: “I can’t do that. My insurance isn’t paid up. I needed the money to buy the new Lincoln.”

Tom is 75 years old, suffers from Alzheimer’s, still drives and works. He has no family and has never been married. He lives alone. I am, it seems, one of the only people he trusts in a crisis.

Because of the Alzheimer’s, Tom doesn’t make good decisions. Calling me today is one of those.

Buying a Lincoln with the medical insurance money, apparently, is one of those bad decisions he’s hiding from me.

I agree to pick Tom up, and drive him to the hospital, but he argues against my plan. I decide to go anyway. I’ll pick up an expert on Iran on the way.

Thursday, January 18, 2007, 1445:

Tom calls again on the cell phone several times. In each call he radiates enthusiasm and says he is getting better.

I tell him he is not qualified to make a self diagnosis.

My Iranian friend has a  “read file” so I start reading everything I can get my hands on about U.S. military preparations to deal with Iran’s nuclear program. This necessitates several phone calls to top intelligence sources and people in the know.

My Iranian friend makes half of these phone calls without prompting.   We have worked together before.  We act and react as if one.

Thursday, January 18, 2007, 1700:

We decide we know enough and depart to pick up Tom and head for the emergency room.

After we pick up Tom, Alex calls from Russia calls and interviews me by cell phone for a Moscow radio program.

I never tell him we are winding our way though the tunnel underneath the U.S. Capitol building on the way to the veterans’ hospital.

A vision of Princess Diana and Dodi in the tunnel below Paris flashes across my mind for a second.

I drive more carefully for a few minutes.

Tom is a disabled American Veteran of the Korean War and we know he will be seen in the emergency room of the V.A. hospital without cost.

At the V.A. hospital Tom is evaluated first by a registered nurse from Puerto Rico named Juan, then by a RN from Kenya named Rosemary. I tell Rosemary I visited Kenya while in the Navy and we have a chatty conversation as she shoves probes into Tom and reads print outs.

Rosemary is from the Meru tribe in central Kenya. She tells us that the uniting term Meru covers several smaller tribes and village people and comes from the Maasai, who called the forests of Tigania and Imenti Mieru, meaning basically “a quiet place.”

I file this nugget away. But I have no idea when it might become useful. Maybe a New York Times crossword puzzle some day!

The head nurse is from the Philippines and we have some fun with her as we spent many happy times there while in the Navy.

Between visits by medical professionals, the Iranian guy and I sit quietly reading or comparing notes.  The time is not wasted but it drags on.

Finally Tom is seen by a real honest to gosh Doctor, who happens to be a Beauty Queen of a Black woman.

She asks Tom if he had any heart palpitations or chest pains today and Tom smiles ear to ear and says: “Not until you came in!”

When you are a skinny 75 year old man you can get away with anything, I’ve found.

Tom must be feeling better!

We escape the emergency room at about midnight and I drive everyone home.

Friday, January 19, 2007, 0500:

I rise to start reading about China.  A Chinese submarine surfaced within 5 miles of USS Kitty Hawk, an aircraft carrier, late last year. Tim, a former National Security Council member, has sent me reams of information to sift though.  What does it really mean?  We are supposed to rendezvous for a meeting at the Pentagon at 0930.

When I glance at the morning news I see that The Washington Post is reporting that China has killed an old Chinese satellite with a ground-based rocket.

Why now, I wonder?

We’ll have to go back and read up on this later.

Somebody told me one time what I am really good at.

“John,” said an old friend. “Better than anyone in our business you can read volumes of information, organize it, fit it together and make complete sense out of a hash that nobody else can decipher. Then you can explain it all to us and show us how it all fits together and makes sense.”

I guess that is what I do.

Friday, January 19, 2007, 0800:

An email from a retired U.S. Navy officer tells me we only have 276 Navy ships.  When Ronald Reagan was President of the United States we were striving for a 600 ship Navy!  We have a failure to fund and build the best Navy — the Navy we’ll need to face a crisis with Iran or China or North korea.  But this is not my concern, at least not today…..I start driving to the Pentagon early. Good thing too. Wantanee phones from Thailand.“John: you won’t believe it. I have the video of the interview by CNN of Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin. It doesn’t air until Saturday and the Thai government already has said it won’t air here in Thailand at all.”

I can tell she is breathless.

I ask her, “What should we do with it?”

She knows: “Put it on the internet, of course, and tell all the Thais where they can see it!”

Wantanee and I don’t have a dog in the fight about who should lead Thailand but we do stand up for Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Speech. If the Thai government wants to keep information from the Thai people: we’re bound to be on the other side of that discussion along with organizations such as “Human Rights Watch.”

We work out the technical details and say goodbye.

 The phone rings again.  It is Firoz Hassanzadeh.  His first name, Firoz means “victory” or “success.”

He says only: “John: we need you in the Kush.”

He means the Tribal Areas  of Pakistan.  I do not want to go but if my friend says he needs me, I am ready to travel.  It is no more complictaed than that.

At about 0856, I slow the car to a crawl as I pass Arlington National Cemetery.  

 A funeral is forming up: the soldiers in their crisp blue dress uniforms.

The area around Washington D.C. is full of daily reminders of the costs of liberty.

I say a prayer slowly; more solomnly than normal.

I am at the Pentagon and a guard I have known for more than 20 years greets me with a smile and “Morning Mister Carey.”

 “Hi, Mike.”  I show my I.D.

Another 24 hours is about to begin.

I guess my days are not as exciting as that guy’s on TV. But my days are full and well spent and I’ve yet to find the time to see that guy on TV go though his grueling 24 hour day!

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Eye On Thailand: Freedom of Press Jeopardized

January 19, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
January 19, 2007

For the second time in a week the government of Thailand, which removed the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra last September in a military coup, has said it will limit Mr. Thaksin and his supporters’ access to TV and radio.

Thailand’s number one rated cable provider said it will block an upcoming interview with deposed premier Thaksin Shinawatra, hours after media rights groups and the Peace and Freedom Media Group, LLP, in the United States criticized the junta for censorship, AFP reported.

On Monday Mr. Thaksin gave his first interview to the World Service of CNN. The interview was barred in Thailand and every cable provider in the Kingdom refused to air it under government order. The cable provider UBC in Thailand broadcast images of movie stars instead.

CNN will broadcast the full interview of Mr. Thaksin on Saturday, everywhere but in Thailand, said a spokesman. CNN made clear that the decision not to reach the Thai audience was made by the local Thai cable providers, not at CNN headquarters.

UBC spokeswoman Kantima Kunjara told AFP that they will not air the new interview of Mr. Thaksin because of “a request by the Council for National Security,” the name the Thai military junta uses.

“Since the CNS has asked for cooperation from broadcasting media not to broadcast statements from former prime minister Thaksin, UBC will cooperate and will not broadcast his interview,” Kantima said.

AFP said, “Her comments came after media watchdogs expressed concern that coverage of Thaksin was blocked on Monday night.”

“In our view this measure is regrettable and contrary to your country’s interests,” said media watchdog Reporters Without Borders.

“Censoring or blocking news or information carried by any media does not prevent the information’s existence, and those who want to have access to it usually succeed,” it said in a letter to the country’s military rulers.

Thaksin was ousted in September while he was out of the country. A variety of censorship orders were later issued, including a threat earlier this month to shut down broadcasters who carried statements by Thaksin.

“Last Monday we received good cooperation from the media,” a junta spokesman said.
But the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) said it would write to new Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont to express its “deep disappointment” that the interview was not broadcast.

We at Peace and Freedom never agree to limits on the Freedom of the Press as governments restricting what their own people know are frequently engaged in illegal or wrongful acts.

Other nations that deeply monitor and restrict Freedom of the Press include China, Vietnam, Iran, and Cuba.

Editor’s Note: We are in debted to Wantanee in Thailand and her network.

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America Can’t Win At War: “You Can’t Handle The Truth,” Asian Expert Says

January 19, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
January 19, 2007

As we near the completion of the National Football League season, what is the most common question one hears other than, “Where will you watch the Super Bowl?”

The question Americans ask MOST is: “Who do you think will win?”

Americans tend to see the world in terms of “winning” and “losing.” In every sport, during every week, of every season, nearly every newspaper publishes the “won-lost” records.

The fact that one side must be the winner and the other the loser is, in fact, a cultural thread in the west.

In the opening scene of the 1970 movie “Patton,” Academy Award winning actor George C. Scott tells the troops: “Every American wants to be a winner. America loves a winner and will not tolerate a loser.”

I was reminded of this film yesterday when I received a call from a long forgotten friend who taught “Military Science and Philosophy of War” at an Asian war college years ago.

Her name is Hai-lan. I knew her in the 1970s when I was a young U.S. Naval officer.

Impressive then, Hai-lan is now in her 80s, sharp as a tack, experienced, wise and bearing a lifelong knowledge of studying war and the Chinese master practitioner: Sun Tzu.

She asked me in that mystical Asian way of hers, “So, Mister John, in what war did America embrace the losers? Korea? Vietnam? At the marine barracks in Lebanon? When a few helicopters and their crews were lost in Somalia? Or is it now, Mister John, in Iraq?”

“Or do Americans just make excuses that military never lose. Some elected ones rob us of victory?” Hai-lan asked, petulantly.

Hai-lan reminded me that Jeffery Record wrote in 2005, “The continuing insurgency in Iraq underscores the capacity of the weak to impose considerable military and political pain on the strong.”

Jeffery is a professor of strategy at the U.S. Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama, and the author of six books.

Actually, I have read the exact line of reasoning about Vietnam, that the U.S. military never lost an engagement many, many times.

International defense consultants and journalists like me don’t often see in their brains a flashing neon sign reading “BUSTED.”

We Americans want our events limited in scope and time, my ancient Asian friend reminded me. In America there are always rules and standard periods of performance. Football games are 60 minutes unless there is “overtime.” And if the ball is thrown ten yards “out of bounds” no circus catch will convince the game official to give you credit: it is outside the boundaries and outside the rules.

“Many other peoples in the world do not see the world though our American looking-glass of prism,” said a disgusted Hai-lan. “They see totally different field: and maybe no rules at all.”

All I could think of was Jack Nicholson playing the crusty American Marine Corps Colonel Nathan R. Jessep in “A Few good Men” hollering at the seemingly teen age U.S. Navy lawyer, “You can’t handle the truth!”

To many Asians, nobody has to be the winner and nobody has to be the loser. If we do a deal, maybe we can both gain. In Asia, the American philosophy of “I win, so you lose” is seen as a sometimes crippling mindset.

And time limits on the length of the game, national undertaking or other endeavors make no sense at all, in many instances, to centuries old civilizations.

Thus it is in war.

After writing my last few essays on war, something stirred in the old teacher Hai-lan, an avid reader, and she decided she better provide some Confucian advice to her one-time American student: Mister John.

In about 500 B.C., Sun-tzu, wrote “The Art of War.” This text is still studied, in fact revered at many war colleges around the globe. Even in the United States, it is safe to say that every military officer that completes a war college curriculum is familiar with the teachings of Sun Tzu.

The name Sun Tzu (“Master Sun”), said Hai-lan, is an honorific title bestowed upon Sun Wu (meaning “martial art” in Chinese).

We Americans live in the land of absolute equality among men: so honorifics are rare indeed. A policeman might be called “officer” and a leader of the Navy might be called Admiral. And we have nicknames, especially in the military, like “Spike,” and “Killer,” and “Fox.” But in most of America “honorifics,” as defined by the Asians, are relatively rare. In many cases they are completely unknown.

I am married into a Vietnamese family. Every member of the family has an honorific or two of some kind that identifies his or her place and order in the family and the society. Like braves in a Native American tribe, we all know where we stand. In the current U.S. society there is no real equivalent: the military rank structure being the nearest thing.

I think Hai-lan phoned me mostly to discuss the concept of time and war. Like the Wise One who calls her Pupil “Grasshopper,” Hai-lan has always called me using the honorific “Mister John.”

She asked: “So, Mister John, what rule book do Americans consult that tells them they have spent enough time and effort in Iraq?”

My mind was racing. What rule book indeed? And who is deciding? And where will this lead?

But Hai-lan didn’t give me time to think.“What tea leaves say the game is lost and now it certain must come end? Who has the power to steer the course of future world so recklessly and without reasonable man? What make the Feng Shui in Iraq no longer lucky?”

Feng Shui is also called “spatial geomancy” or “alignment to nature of man” I remembered. I must have missed the lecture where Hai-lan explained that this applied in war and foreign policy. I wonder if Ted Kennedy knows about how important this is….

“Why is the U.S. Congress in such a rush to create a situation so detrimental to the United States?” she asked me.

“The Senator named John Kerry think this is so, Mister John? Why American suddenly think he smart? Who say this?”

Why, indeed. And who? Golly!

I told her in my most rational self: “There is a belief that we need to save lives of Americans now. That too many have died in Iraq and Afghanistan already needlessly. It is now a civil war we cannot fix.”

“America build Panama Canal. Destroy insect with malaria. But that long time ago when America is tough and proud,” Hai-lan said. She now is insulting me to make me think.

I lose face.

“So they have determined a time limit beyond which they will not continue; a schedule they believe they must keep to…. They have set a price and America has already paid too much price. So now you will go and everyone who helped America will die.”

She went on, relentlessly. “Your enemy has ancient wisdom. They learn from Korea, and Vietnam with the French and then you; now they apply all the lessons. The price of defeat for Americans goes down each time. Maybe next time Iran or China buy victory from America wholesale and on the cheap.”

“Or have they have set the price they are willing to pay? Is that it?” asked a perplexed Hailan.

“So they lower the American tolerance, the American price; with ugly little battles and wars. The Embassies. USS Cole. The World Trade Center. Pentagon. Now Iraq….Americans remember not the progress but the fragments of bombs and casualties in flag covered death boxes.”

Even as a proud adult male American, I whimpered meekly, “I guess so, Hai-lan.”

I could see the clarity of her points of argument from Virginia: even though she phoned from Asia.

“Why do not Americans craft an outcome that is good, and responsible and filled with joy and reason and honorable? And then create the conditions to be happy? Why does the most important nation in the world limit itself in time and cost and effort: even when the other side: vastly weaker by definition, has little in the way of sacrifice worth offering?”

Then Hai-lan cut to the quick: “How can crazy Arab terrorists muster the strength of all Islam, while George Bush has behind him maybe a handful of states? Where are the holy hordes of angry Americans? Just in shopping malls and in Paris in summer, I suppose?”

“You allow your wars and your future to rest upon a handful of 19 year baby ages. The Arab world unites everyone against you and you shopping still. Where is ‘arsenal of freedom?’”

Where, indeed?

This was one of those one-way conversations I could not recover from. I had to escape; to think. The Zen Master had me cornered and cowering. I told Hai-lan I would think her words over. 

I’ll  call her back after we see who wins the Super Bowl.

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Writer’s Note:  My Vietnamese born wife, now proudly an American citizen, read this essay and said, “America sees itself as great victor all the time.  Need to take stock of what others see and think.  Handle the truth.”

For our previous essay on war see:
“Where Wars may Lead” from The Washington Times:

“Can America ‘Win”‘ In An Age of Disunion?”

For more about names and culture see:
“What’s In A Name?”

For some insight into Asian vs. American Culture see:

 “Face It: America Has A Problem in Asia”

Freedom of Speech and A Democratic Nation’s Open Debate in War May Give Hope and Promise to the Enemy

January 18, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and freedom
January 18, 2007

I can’t help thinking that much of what is said, published and televised about the war on terror within the United States and by U.S. and allied leaders and their best intentioned citizens gives hope and comfort to the enemy.

Case in point: Leila Fadel of the McClatchy Newspapers is reporting today that Iraq’s “Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki voiced frustration with both President George Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday, saying their recent criticism of the Iraqi government probably helped the ‘terrorists.’”

“Such statements give moral boosts to the terrorists and push them towards making an extra effort and making them believe that they have defeated the American administration, but I can tell you that they haven’t defeated the Iraqi government,” Mr. Maliki said during a meeting with a handful of reporters.

I can’t help thinking that if Mr. Maliki is unhappy with the utterances of President Bush and Secretary of State Rice he must be absolutely livid at Senators Clinton, Biden, Obama, Hagel, Leahy and the list goes on and on.

So that raises again the always unresolved question: “Of what importance is the discontent expressed openly in a democracy at war to the enemy?”

Well, I think most all journalists would have to take a hard look at the Vietnam war between 1968 and 1975 and evaluate how much the ugly response of the American media and the American public may or may not have contributed to the enemy’s resolve, determination and staying power.

This is not to say that disagreement and even dissent are wrong or necessarily harmful. It just seems that there should be some temperance applied by those with wisdom and a sense of understanding that the enemy certainly watches and listens to the debate in America during war.

It should go without saying, but we find we need to say it anyway because many Americans seem ill informed about the media seen in the Muslim and Middle Eastern world. Outlets such as Al Jazeera and others spout an unbelievably biased message: 24 hours a day.

And what message do these outlets push to their audiences?

Messages such as Ayman al-Zawahri’s, recall he’s second in command to Osama bin Laden, who has said al-Qaida now sees “all the world as a battlefield open in front of us.” The terrorist leader also said, “this is a jihad for God’s sake and will last until our religion prevails.”

In Lebanon, a terrorist organization, Hezbollah, controls its own media, including a TV station al-Manar (“The Beacon”).

Al Jazeera and others echo the Hezbollah message.

If it was not clear last autumn that Hezbollah prevailed in its war with Israel, the Arab media was there to make sure Arabs understood the ‘truth.”

Hands down and without question, believe what you will but Arabs almost universally heard and accepted one message: Hezbollah won the war.

Just after the war ended, banners reading “Made In America” were hanging on buildings destroyed by Israel in southern Lebanon.

Communists countries, and other repressive regimes, always seem to keep a reined-in and controlled media. This allows those in power to stay in power and also helps the government to maintain a “happy face” both to its own people and to the prying eyes of the outside world. When Fidel Castro went into the hospital last year, what is the first action of his stand-in brother Raul? He banned all outside satellite and cable TV.

China is making some timid attempts to open up its media because the 2008 Olympics are looming. How could China even hope to control all the media about to descend upon that great nation? But China’s history for more than 50 years is to tightly manage and control the media: and writers and editors that go their own way usually end up as guests of the government in jail.

In Iran, the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad uses military helicopters to look for prohibited satellite TV antennas. Ahmadinejad fears that western TV with real free speech and real news reporting might get into his nation (and into the heads of his highly educated population).

Since the democratically elected government of Thailand was ousted by a military coup last September, what has happened to the free and open Thai media? Well, just this week the government of Thailand pulled the plug on a CNN interview of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin. The interview was seen in just about every nation of the world – except Thailand.

For six months before President Bush traveled to Communist Vietnam last November we at Peace and Freedom monitored the daily news from Vietnam’s state controlled system. Nearly ever single news report was an upbeat piece with enough spin to speed up the earth’s revolutions.

The “good news” from Vietnam was so obviously created for the western audience that some of our people began to choke on it. One morning an analyst said to me, “The shrimp are so big off Vietnam it takes two guys in a big boat to bring just one aboard and once they get the thing ashore it jumps into the frying pan and cooks itself!”

During that six months, Vietnam went though an unprecedented period devoid of fires, flood, corruption, unrest and civil disobedience. There was zero reportable crime!

Now let’s look at our own media for a moment.

I wrote this in an essay titled “Can America ‘Win’ in an Era of Disunion?” at the end of last December: “Listen to any hard core political activist or blogger in the United States and you’ll likely hear a screed against the ‘other side;’ that defined usually as the amorphous blob of Americans that oppose his or her point of view. The problem with this is that ‘the other side’ used to mean the enemy we faced in a war: not what the British call ‘the loyal opposition.’”

Of course, the White House tries now and again to emulate master spin doctors like Hezbollah and Vietnam. But they usually fail.

“The great irony of this administration is that its opponents credit it with being masterful at spin,” wrote Mr. Jim Hoagland of the Washington Post on September 3, 2006.”When it is in fact pathetic in managing its messages and its collective image. Whatever small credit Bush was gaining for becoming more realistic about Iraq was quickly wiped out by the controversy created by sharply partisan speeches of Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld last week in the latest example of a gang that can’t spin straight.”

We call this “misunderspinning.”

In September, 2005, President Bush hired Karen Hughes, his long-time media advisor, to run the U.S. Department of State’s “hearts and minds” campaign. We thought Ms. Hughes might assist in stemming the flow of “misunderspinning.”On August 29, 2006, President George W. Bush told NBC News reporter Brian Williams, “We are great with TV but we are getting crushed on the P.R. [Public Relations] front.”

Karen: Pack your bags. And forget about working in your line in Vietnam, China or Lebanon. You aren’t good enough to find work there.

Because we Americans have lost the cohesion that we had for the twinkling of an eye after September 11, 2001, one wonders if we can stay together on any topic, plan or course of action long enough to effectively participate in the war against terror and prevail.

But one thing is clear: freedom of expression has never been better in the United States of America!

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Iraqi, Afghani War Refugees Need Our Help

January 17, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
January 17, 2007

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Refugees, held hearings on Tuesday to probe the issue of the plight of refugees from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Senator Ted Kennedy chaired the hearing, and, while many conservatives who frequent the commentary pages of the Washington Times find little in common with the senior Senator from Massachusetts, Kennedy has been and remains a stalwart on the issue of refugees.

One had the sense while witnessing this hearing, that we were seeing the Liberal Lion of the Senate at his best.

“The desperate situation in Iraq has created hundreds of thousands of refugees who are virtually unknown to the rest of the world,” Kennedy said. “We can’t continue to ignore their plight.”

This is not some new awakening by Senator Kennedy. After the fall of Saigon and the collapse of the democratic government of South Vietnam at the hands of the Communists in 1975, Senator Ted Kennedy spearheaded the effort to help the Vietnamese refugees.

Saving the Vietnamese “boat people,” as they were called, and bringing them here to America was not a popular policy at first. Senator George McGovern was against it, saying “I think the Vietnamese are better off in Vietnam”

Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., wanted “barmaids, prostitutes and criminals” weeded out – as if there was a way to fairly do that. Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., said “the (Ford) Administration had not informed Congress adequately about the number of refugees” the president intended to rescue — as if anyone actually knew how many people were fleeing for their lives.

The idea to allow South Vietnamese refugees to enter the United States was met by a resentful and isolationist American population with scorn. Americans were facing inflation and high unemployment. Their hearts were not in the mood for helping Asians get out of a jamb. A poll taken in 1975 showed only 36 percent of Americans were in favor of Vietnamese immigration.

In “The Last Grim Goodbye” Time Magazine reported, “Americans were recoiling from any reminder of the war—even at the risk of betraying some of their best ideals. In California, Arkansas, Florida and other sites where South Vietnamese refugees might be settling, many citizens were angrily telling them to stay away; there were not enough jobs even for Americans. It was not an edifying performance in a nation settled by immigrants and refugees.”

But Senator Ted Kennedy sided with President Ford, saying, “The human suffering in South Viet Nam and Cambodia staggers the imagination. Clearly, this new crisis demands new initiatives by our Government and an urgent humanitarian response from the American people.”

Kennedy, and others in the Congress, sponsored the 1975 Indochina Migration and Refugee Act. President Ford signed it. And one of the great chapters of American heart and hope and help was under way.

Senator Kennedy told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday December 17, that “There are now 100,000 refugees that are leaving Iraq every month. Jordan has sealed its borders. Lebanon has sealed its borders. They’re rushing into the Middle East. We have 700,000 refugees that have come into Jordan. It’s like 30 million people have entered the United States over the last two to three months.”

“Today, within Iraq, 1.6 million people have already fled or been expelled from their homes. An additional 1.8 million, fleeing sectarian violence, kidnappings, extortion, death threats and carnage, have sought refuge in neighboring countries,” said Senator Kennedy. “At least 700,000 are in Jordan, 600,000 in Syria, 100,000 in Egypt, 54,000 in Iran and 20,000 in Lebanon.”

During Tuesday’s hearing, witnesses explained their own long, lonely, dangerous road from Iraq to freedom. Translators assisting American forces have been specially signaled out for death by Iraqi terrorists and militants. One such translator, in gripping testimony, explained his own travails.

After he translated discussions between U.S. forces and the Mosul police chief he said, “My life was in jeopardy.” His name was posted at Mosques and his neighbors were told he was marked for death.

The U.S. Department of State has a special visa for translators who have helped the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan; it is available to only 50 translators every year.

Another Iraqi testified that he drove a truck that supplied U.S. forces with water. Besides helping the U.S., this man is a member of an oppressed minority in Muslim Iraq. He identified himself as a Chaldean: a Catholic Iraqi Kurd.

The stories told at the Senate Committee hearing on Tuesday put a human face on the tremendous number of refugees the U.S. is now in a position to save.

In a sort of editorial, the editors of the New Republic on January 15, 2007 wrote, “Washington has many debts still to pay in Iraq. But it has a special obligation to protect the tens of thousands of Iraqis who cast their lot with the Americans.”

We agree with Senator Kennedy and those now bringing to the awareness of the American people the plight of these refugees from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr. Carey is the former president of International Defense Consultants, Inc. and a frequent contributor to The Washington Times. His wife was a Vietnamese refugee in 1975 and is now an American citizen operating her own business.

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