Archive for the ‘Korean War’ Category

Defense spending beacons

April 1, 2008

By John R. Guardiano
The Washington Times
April 1, 2008

Is America spending too much or too little on defense? That”s a fair and crucial question, especially at a time of war, when U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are dying overseas. But because advocates on both sides of the issue are asking the wrong questions, recent media analysis of the issue has been ill-informed and misplaced.
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Critics of increased defense spending argue correctly that, in absolute dollar terms, the United States spends more on defense than at any time in its history. In addition, they note, the U.S. spends more on defense than the next 10 countries combined. Therefore, they argue, defense spending is more than adequate.
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Proponents of increased defense spending counter that a dollar today is worth a lot less than in it was in previous eras. Moreover, they add, as a share of the gross domestic product (GDP), defense spending is at a historic low during a time of war.
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The United States spends less than 4 percent of its GDP on defense. By contrast, Defense spending averaged some 14 percent of GDP in the Korean War, nearly 10 percent during the Vietnam War, and more than 33 percent during World War II.
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Clearly, both sides in this debate have legitimate contextual points; however, both sides miss the mark.
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Defense spending relative to that of other nations is an unhelpful comparison because the United States isn’t like other nations. America is the world’s sole remaining superpower, with far-reaching obligations to protect U.S. national security interests worldwide.
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Moreover, American considers its soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines to be its greatest military asset. Thus, we are unwilling to sacrifice their lives when technology can prevent the loss of life. That’s one important reason America has invested literally hundreds of billions of dollars in advanced weapons systems: We know dollars spent today can save lives tomorrow.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080401/COMMENTARY/129960178

Resigned to Reality

March 16, 2008

By Oliver North
The Washington Times
March 16, 2008

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer stands next to his wife Silda ...
Governor Eliot Spitzer of New York resigned this week, which
took a lot of newspaper ink and air time on TV and radio.
Admiral “Fox” Fallon also resigned.  Why? 
(Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

….potentates of the press didn’t even notice the sex scandal that claimed the career of another powerful hypocrite: Tehran’s brutal police chief, Gen. Reza Zarei. The general, a favorite of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has been responsible for “moral enforcement” of Shariah law, including “dress codes” that require women to be covered from head to toe. The chief “stepped down” after he was caught nude in a Tehran brothel accompanied by six naked prostitutes. It’s a shame our press corps missed this one.

Mr. Spitzer’s sexual shenanigans also pushed another unexpected departure into the background noise — that of U.S. Navy Adm. William “Fox” Fallon, who was commander in chief of U.S. Central Command (CentCom). Though devoid of the titillating details oozing out of Albany and Tehran, the March 11 resignation of the senior U.S. military commander in the world’s most troubled and dangerous region is rife with hypocrisy….
Commander of the U.S. Central Command Navy Adm. William Fallon ... 
Commander of the U.S. Central Command Navy Adm. William Fallon testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington in this March 4, 2008 file photo.REUTERS/Larry Downing/Files

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http://www.washingtontimes.com/article/20080316/
COMMENTARY06/234865473/1012/
COMMENTARY

Gates, Chinese Leaders Discuss Iran, Make Agreements

November 6, 2007

Ken Fireman 

Nov. 5 (Bloomberg) — China and the U.S. will set up a military hotline, hold high-level nuclear strategy talks and increase joint exercises, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his Chinese counterpart, General Cao Gangchuan, said.

The two officials announced the moves today after a meeting in Beijing in which Gates said he pressed Chinese officials, with mixed results, to be more open about the nature and goals of their military modernization program.
 

Google Earth captured an image of the new Chinese ballistic-missile submarine, docked at the Xiaopingdao base south of Dalian. U.S. officials say the new submarines may increase Beijing´s strategic arsenal.
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Gates said the Chinese agreement to deepen discussions on strategic modernization and nuclear strategy “will provide the opportunity, at least, for us to address the issues of transparency that we have discussed in the past.”

The limits of this transparency were highlighted when Gates asked his hosts for an explanation of the shooting down in January of a low-earth-orbit weather satellite, which triggered worries that China could target U.S. military satellites.

“With respect to the anti-satellite test, I raised our concerns about it — and there was no further discussion,” Gates said in response to a question about the issue during a joint news conference with Cao.

Gates said he also talked with Cao about “the uncertainty over China’s military modernization and the need for greater transparency to allay international concerns” about it.

Cao, while praising the “candid and friendly” nature of his talks with Gates, dismissed concerns about China’s buildup.

“It has been normal deployment of our own military force in our own territory,” Cao said through an interpreter.

Hotline

The agreement to establish the phone hotline was concluded “in principle,” and some technical issues must be worked out before it becomes operational, Cao said.

Other agreements included a new joint naval exercise, more educational exchanges for young officers and better cooperation between military archivists to resolve questions about missing U.S. soldiers from the Korean War, Cao said.

China is in the midst of a decade-long military modernization drive that has led to concerns on the part of some U.S. officials that China is seeking to change the military balance of power in Asia. It is also accelerating a diplomatic and economic “soft power” offensive throughout the developing world, especially Africa and Latin America.

Gates said last week that he didn’t consider China a military threat to the U.S. at present.

China’s 350 billion yuan ($47 billion) military budget for 2007 is the world’s third biggest, after the U.S. and Japan. U.S. defense officials say China underreports its defense spending by a factor of two or three.

Iran’s Nuclear Program

Other issues discussed today were U.S. concerns about what it calls Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons and China’s distress over what it regards as Taiwan‘s moves toward independence.

While Chinese leaders haven’t yet accepted the need for tougher international economic sanctions on Iran, they were more forthright today than in the past about their thinking on the issue, said a senior U.S. defense official.

The Chinese said they face a dilemma involving their need for access to energy sources on the one hand and their concerns about nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, said the official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.

Chinese concerns about Taiwan were crystallized by Cao, who told reporters that “anybody who seeks to split Taiwan from the motherland will go down in history as a sinner and will bear the shame of 1.3 billion Chinese people.” He said China will take “necessary actions” to prevent Taiwan’s independence.

Taiwan’s UN Referendum

Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian‘s move to hold a referendum on joining the United Nations has angered the Chinese leadership, which calls the vote a step toward permanent separation. China considers Taiwan a part of its territory.

Cao and Gates met on the first day of Gate’s week-long Asia trip. He plans to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao tomorrow and travel later in the week to South Korea and Japan.

In Seoul, Gates will sound out South Korean leaders on the likelihood that the country’s parliament will accept President Roh Moo-Hyun’s proposal to keep half of his country’s 1,200 troops in Iraq for another year.

Gates will end the trip in Tokyo, where he will explore prospects for a resumption of Japanese refueling of U.S. warships in the Indian Ocean to support the war effort in Afghanistan. Japan ended that operation last week because of a parliamentary standoff between ruling and opposition parties.

Japanese leaders in turn are likely to discuss their concerns over the prospect that the U.S. may take North Korea off a list of state sponsors of terrorism before that country resolves a dispute with Japan over the abduction of its citizens.

Another issue likely to arise is the planned relocation of a U.S. air base on Okinawa, to which local communities are objecting for environmental reasons.

To contact the reporter on this story Ken Fireman in Beijing at kfireman1@bloomberg.net .
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Associated Press, November 6, 2007

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his Chinese counterpart agreed to work  together  to steer Iran away from its nuclear ambitions in talks that  Chinese  President  Hu  Jintao  described  Tuesday  as  “very  candid  and friendly.” 

Gates  agreed  with Hu’s assessment.

Gates and Hu spoke briefly with  reporters  before  they  met  Tuesday morning for a discussion which,  Gates  later  revealed, did not involve Iran.

“The flow of the conversation was  such that we really spent all of our time on our military relationship and Taiwan,” Gates told reporters.

U.S. defense officials, describing  Gates’  meeting  with Cao on condition of anonymity because it was private, said the U.S. delegation was pleased with the quality of the discussion about Iran.

Meet “Bud” Day; Read His Medal Of Honor Story

November 6, 2007

By John E. Carey

George E. “Bud” Day served the United States through three wars. After quitting High School he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps for World War II. He served 30 months in the South Pacific. After the war, he used his GI Bill benefits to become a lawyer and a pilot.

During the Korean War he served two tours flying F-84 fighters.

USAF F-84E Thunderjet

During the Vietnam War he was shot down, captured by the Communists, escaped, and lived for two weeks off the land and in the jungle before he was captured again.

Bud’s Medal of Honor Citation reads:“On 26 August 1967, Col. Day was forced to eject from his aircraft over North Vietnam when it was hit by ground fire. His right arm was broken in 3 places, and his left knee was badly sprained. He was immediately captured by hostile forces and taken to a prison camp where he was interrogated and severely tortured. After causing the guards to relax their vigilance, Col. Day escaped into the jungle and began the trek toward South Vietnam. Despite injuries inflicted by fragments of a bomb or rocket, he continued southward surviving only on a few berries and uncooked frogs. He successfully evaded enemy patrols and reached the Ben Hai River, where he encountered U.S. artillery barrages. With the aid of a bamboo log float, Col. Day swam across the river and entered the demilitarized zone. Due to delirium, he lost his sense of direction and wandered aimlessly for several days. After several unsuccessful attempts to signal U.S. aircraft, he was ambushed and recaptured by the Viet Cong, sustaining gunshot wounds to his left hand and thigh. He was returned to the prison from which he had escaped and later was moved to Hanoi after giving his captors false information to questions put before him. Physically, Col. Day was totally debilitated and unable to perform even the simplest task for himself. Despite his many injuries, he continued to offer maximum resistance. His personal bravery in the face of deadly enemy pressure was significant in saving the lives of fellow aviators who were still flying against the enemy. Col. Day’s conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Armed Forces.”

Col. Day in dress uniform.

Bud Day is one of my American heroes. He is among a special class of people some Americans can never understand. To me, Bud Day is one of those Americans we can never thank enough.

We honor every single man and woman who ever wore the uniform of the United States on Veterans’ Day. We honor those now gone and those still living. But in one way, I think of Veterans’ Day as “Bud Day Day!”

But Bud is humble and would never hear of it. In fact, he may be a tad embarrassed by this essay.

But Bud teaches us never to give up. This is a most precious gift to many in life. By telling ones self to “Always Persevere,” the largest challenges in life can be overcome.

Bud is the most highly decorated U.S. serviceman since Douglas MacArthur. Because he always persevered.

I interviewed Bud and his wife of fifty-seven years, Doris, for this Veteran’s Day tribute.

When George Day strapped himself into his F-100 on 26 August 1967 for a mission over Vietnam, he had no idea he was about to start a six year odyssey of a prisoner of war.

F-100A with the original short tail fin.

He was a 41 year old veteran of combat in World War II and Korea.

He was in the Vietnam War by choice: at his age and with his experience he could have retired or taken a desk job.

“I went because it was my duty,” Bud told me. “That’s where I needed to be. I had more flying hours than anyone in Southeast Asia. I needed to be there.”

Doris still recalls that day, the day a chaplain, a U.S. Air Force notification officer and a woman from the base Family Services organization notified her that Bud had been shot down. “They were very nice, very professional.”

Among veterans and military people there are so many Bud Day stories, all of them true, that there isn’t room to publish all of them here. One of my favorites is this.

In February, 1971 Bud and several other prisoners at the Hoa Loa camp gathered for a religious service, which was forbidden. The guards burst into the group, carbines at the ready. Bud Day stood calmly and began to sing “The Star Spangled Banner”, our National Anthem. Commander James Bond Stockdale, the highest ranking prisoner, joined in. The entire camp erupted to the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Later Stockdale would write, “Our minds were now free and we knew it.”

Fittingly, five years later, the President of the United States presented the Medal of Honor to Bud Day and his friend James Stockdale in one ceremony.

Mr. Carey is a retired military officer and the former president of International Defense Consultants, Inc.

This was first published in:
The Washington Times
Veterans’ Day November 11, 2006

Bush, South Korean President Roh Run Amok

September 7, 2007

By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer 14 minutes ago

SYDNEY, Australia – President Bush‘s talks with South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun ended on a sour note Friday not over the war in Iraq, but rather the Korean conflict that ended more than five decades ago.

As Bush began to wind down his stay at the Asia-Pacific summit, Roh challenged Bush to make a declaration to end the Korean War. That conflict ended in a truce in 1953, not a peace treaty, so the two sides technically remain at war.

The snag was the first in a series of sit-downs Bush is having here with leaders from Pacific rim nations. He also spoke Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin and will meet on Saturday with the leaders of Japan, Indonesia and Australia. Protesters plan a march through the city on Saturday, a day after scuffles broke out between riot police and some demonstrators.

Bush’s talks with Roh focused on the six-nation talks to get North Korea to give up its weapons. Soon after the mini diplomatic incident, Christopher Hill, the U.S. envoy handling the negotiations, announced that nuclear experts from the U.S., China and Russia will travel to North Korea next week to survey nuclear facilities to be shut down.

Bush said that during his talks with Roh, he reaffirmed the U.S. position that when North Korean leader Kim Jong Il dismantles his nuclear program, the United States would formally end the Korean War.

Whatever Roh heard Bush say through his translator, it wasn’t good enough.

“I think I did not hear President Bush mention the — a declaration to end the Korean War just now,” Roh said as cameras clicked and television cameras rolled.

Bush said he thought he was being clear, but obliged Roh and restated the U.S. position.

That wasn’t good enough either. “If you could be a little bit clearer in your message,” Roh said.

Bush, now looking irritated….

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070907/
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