with joy and wonder that the world is no longer a slave to the inevitable.
This world of ours can change: peace is possible even where for
too long there has been fighting and death."
Pope John Paul II in his 2001 Easter Sermon
our US servicemen and women home safely from China, now is the time
to reflect on what spying on China portends for Americans in general,
and not just the Chinese or our military captives. The stats
on the EP-3 are well known. It's a four prop, specially modified
electronic surveillance plane designed to pick up radio, cell-phone
calls, telephone calls, emails, and the like. Folks, I'm sure the
Chinese had better physicists than I pretend to be, and since they
knew these flights were taking place (along with who knows how many
CIA double-agents), any hush-hush military strategy session would
be taking place in electronically shielded military facilities.
Can you imagine two Chinese generals discussing nuclear strike plans
on cell phones? Well, if their military keeps secrets like
ours, maybe that's a bad example.
So what is the purpose of our surveillance flights? In a word: Intimidation.
We aren't there to figure out if the Chinese are about to launch
a 6,300-mile amphibious invasion of the United States. With sateliliites
this, 10 years ago no less, we aren't even there to glean information
about an imminent invasion of Taiwan. We're there to show the Chinese
who's boss. We're there to “send a message” as the politicians love
to say. We're there because we have the “defense” budget to do it;
we have the equipment to do it; we have the personnel to do it;
and we have a fun house
full of generals and defense industry lobbyists (or do I repeat
myself) with a Cold War mentality who have always done it, and are
itching for Cold War II in order to keep doing it.
the flimsy justification of "We have to know what China's doing!"
as the official war party line, allow me to point out several reasons
why support for continued military harassment of China is a very
from Cold War II to World War III – The USS Kitty Hawk
is sailing to the South China Sea, stocked with 70 fighters
to escort our next EP-3. What better way to get into a shooting
war with China than to start spying again within seconds of
having our personnel returned? The "double sorry apology
that wasn't" is still echoing in their ears, as the din
of another EP-3 reverberates through Beijing. Only this time
we have some escort fighters to shoot down any Chinese that
dare to "aggressively intercept" our new spy plane.
The best case scenario right now is that after a few weeks
of showing China who's boss, the media in the United States
of Amnesia will lose interest and the Kitty Hawk will be quietly
re-deployed elsewhere. The worst case is another incident
that leads to shooting, and then more shooting. Putting an
aircraft carrier stocked full of fighters just off the coast
of China is a provocation no matter how you look at it. When
I visit relatives in Florida, we routinely go fishing more
than twelve miles offshore. I can't imagine trolling along,
and suddenly spotting a hulking gray mass coming ever closer
and clearer only to make out a single red start amidst all
the gray paint. But that's what Chinese fishermen will see
when venturing out to make their catch, with the exception
being the color of the star.
of Liberty at Home — The relatively small invasion of
privacy meted out to the handful of Chinese civilians who
had phone calls tapped and emails read as part of the larger
surveillance net designed to pick up Chinese military and
government communications could be considered electronic collateral
damage. The fact that our military see no problem with picking
up a phone call or two of foreign civilians begs the question:
Shouldn't our military and government recognize that the only
difference between the natural civil rights of foreign civilians
and American citizens is which government is supposed to protect
them? After all, we don't just let our military go around
doing things to other civilians they wouldn't do to us, right?
Then again, maybe not. Viewed in this light, it's obvious
why the CIA, FBI, NSA, and military have fewer and fewer reservations
about trampling our liberties. They invade our privacy (Carnivore
and Echelon) and watch us without our consent or knowledge
(Superbowl face-cams, bank wire transfer tracking, highway
traffic cameras, cameras in downtown areas, etc.). These people
think the only reason we have civil rights at all is due to
some artificial distinction called United States Citizenship,
instead of natural rights or moral mandate. It's easy to ignore
an artificial designation for convenience sake, compared to
an educated government that realizes it's in place to protect
our liberties. The Declaration of Independence and our heritage
of rule of law does not limit natural rights to just Americans.
Dusty old notions like universal humanity, innocence until
proven guilty and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure
should apply to the way the United States treats the Chinese
and other citizens of the world. It is the height of hypocrisy
for our politicians to lecture the Chinese about human rights
after taking the life, violating the property, and invading
the privacy of the Chinese people.
Downturn becomes Economic Meltdown (China Syndrome) –
The last thing you want during a recession is a sudden decrease
in supply and an increase in prices for consumer goods. Refer
to the Hawley-Smoot tariffs for a lesson in strangling trade
known as the Great Depression. Naturally, the unions are on
the side of the war-hawks for the imposition of economic sanctions,
revocation of most-favored-nation trading status, and the
resulting increase in demand for domestic union goods. The
jingoistic tune in Washington D.C. is music to the ears of
the defense industry and the labor unions that build the bombs,
planes, and other "military hardware".
Defense Spending – With national wealth destruction
day, April 16th, so recently past, consider that about $1
of every $3 you paid over the last year, and are paying even
now, went to funding the “secret
empire” of United States military personnel, bases and
equipment stationed oversees. So, as the pundits
foam and froth for war with a country an ocean away, remember
who pays now in treasure, and who might pay later in blood.
As usual, it won't be the laptop
is not the new Soviet Union. Jiang Zemin is not the new Adolph Hitler.
Stop the spying.