Archive for the ‘Mike Benge’ Category

Note to Berkeley: Marines Are Not The Enemy

February 2, 2008

By Michelle Malkin  •  January 31, 2008

“Osama bin Laden couldn’t have said it better,” American Legion National Commander Marty Conatser said of the Berkeley City Council Resolution, which tells the Marines that they are not welcome there. “Disgraceful, disloyal, ungrateful. These words are too kind in describing the actions of the public officials in Berkeley, who voted for this disgrace.

Nonetheless, our Marines continue to bravely serve and in so doing, allow Americans to spout such foolishness. The American Legion not only strongly condemns this action by the City Council but also believes that a sincere apology is in order to all Marines, past and present.”

U.S. Marines conduct a search for insurgents during a training ...
U.S. Marines conduct a search for insurgents during a training simulation of a search through an Iraqi city built at the U.S. Marine Base in Camp Pendleton, California, June 29, 2006.
REUTERS/Mike Blake 
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Conatser, the leader of the nation’s largest veterans organization, was referring to a measure passed by the Council 6-3 Tuesday, that tells the U.S. Marine Corps that one of its recruiting stations is “not welcome in the city, and if recruiters choose to stay, they do as uninvited and unwelcome intruders.”The City Council marched in complete lock-step with radical anti-war group Code Pink in attempting to drive out Marine recruiters from its San Francisco suburb. The City Council also voted 8-1 to give Code Pink a free parking space in front of a recruiting station, along with a free sound permit for protesting once a week.Marine recruiters at Berkeley have faced harassment from protestors who regularly block nearby sidewalks, generate excessive noise and disrupt business.”I have been a recruiter in the National Guard and I know that it’s tough duty, with long hours,” Conatser said. “What these recruiters do is essential to our national security.Without recruiters we have no military. And I don’t think we can count on the flower children from Berkeley to protect this nation when it comes under attack. They have to remember that Marines are not the enemy; the terrorists are.”Conatser pointed out that The American Legion strongly supports the war on terrorism, passing a national resolution of its own.”Resolution 169 was passed unanimously by The American Legion in 2005 and it has been re-affirmed every year since. It reminds Americans that you can not separate the war from the warrior and that the American people should stand united in support for our troops who are engaged in protecting our values and our way of life.”

With a current membership of 2.7-million wartime veterans, The American Legion, http://www.legion.org, was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and patriotic youth programs.

Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 14,000 posts across the nation.
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U.S. Marine Corps,
Berkeley
BERKELEY – Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates offered Friday to help the U.S. Marines leave town by negotiating an end to the lease for their recruiting station, even as he backpedaled on a City Council resolution declaring the Corps “uninvited and unwelcome intruders” in the city.In the face of an onslaught of pro-military criticism from around the country, Bates, a retired Army captain, also issued a statement that said the City Council’s resolution Tuesday night “did not adequately differentiate our respect and support for those serving in the armed forces and our opposition to the Iraq war policy.”He said he would ask the council to modify the resolution at its next meeting, scheduled for Feb. 12.

A Marines spokeswoman said Friday that the Corps has no intention of abandoning its space at 64 Shattuck Square that has been the subject of protests for months.

The council voted 6-3 Tuesday to tell the Marines that their recruiting station is not welcome in the city. In a separate vote, the council supported the women’s peace group Code Pink by giving it a designated parking space in front of the recruiting station once a week for six months and a free sound permit for protesting once a week from noon to 4 p.m.

The council also voted to explore enforcing its law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation against the Marines.
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Letter from A Former POW to Mayor of Berkeley

Dear Mayor Bates and the City Council of Berkeley: It is because of the Marines, Soldiers and Sailors that you are not conducting city business in Japanese or German. Here is an excerpt from the poem “What is a Vet” that follows.

Mike Benge civilian VN-POW 1968-73

“It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag,Who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protestor to burn the flag.”

WHAT IS A VET? Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a aged scar, a certain look in the eye.

Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together,a piece of shrapnel in the leg, or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul’s ally forged in the refinery of adversity. Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem. You can’t tell a vet just by looking.

What is a vet? He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweatingtwo gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn’t runout of fuel.

He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.

She – or he – is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.
He is the POW who went away one person and came back another – or didn’t come back AT ALL.

He is the Quantico drill instructor that has never seen combat – but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other’s backs.

He is the parade – riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand. He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.

He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of  The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean’s sunless deep.

He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket – palsied now andaggravatingly slow – who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when thenightmares come.

He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being a person who offered some of his life’s most vital years in the service of hiscountry, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not haveto sacrifice theirs.

He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known. So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say Thank You. That’s all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded. Two little words that mean a lot, “THANK YOU”.

Remember November 11th is Veterans Day.

“It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of thepress. It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,

Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag,Whoserves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protestor to burn the flag.”

Father Dennis Edward O’Brien, Lt. Col., USMC
Space shuttle Atlantis lifts off from pad 39A at the Kennedy ... 

Halfhearted at State?

November 7, 2007

By John E. Carey
The Washington Times
November 7, 2007

For the first time since the Vietnam War, the State Department has notified career diplomats, or Foreign Service Officers (FSO), that they may be required to accept overseas postings not of their choosing. The order from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was necessary to fill 50 or fewer posts in the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

FSOs immediately began to express outrage that they might have to leave cushier assignments for tasks in what could be a danger zone. So Miss Rice convened State’s version of a venting session they call a “Town Hall Meeting.”

A 36-year veteran of the diplomatic corps, Jack Crotty, came to the microphone to say: “It’s one thing if someone believes in what’s going on over there and volunteers, but it’s another thing to send someone over there on a forced assignment. I’m sorry, but basically that’s a potential death sentence and you know it. Who will raise our children if we are dead or seriously wounded?”

According to reporters, many of Mr. Crotty’s colleagues applauded.

Outraged military personnel, too disciplined to express anger to the media, contacted several retired military people like myself to ask, “What about our service? What about our children? And why are the elite of the State Department allowed to pick and choose their assignments without repercussions? Didn’t we all take the same oath?”

The fact is that the oath FSOs, and everyone of any importance at the State Department, takes is the same oath military personnel take. But there is a vast difference in the way that oath is respected, apparently.

Military people know they face the Uniform Code of Military Justice if they refuse orders. They know they may wind up standing before a court martial. State Department people, it seems, feel completely within their right to defy the secretary of state and their president. Herein lies the dilemma.

After the tragedy of September 11, 2001, the president of the United States declared a war on terror and the Defense Department mobilized for war. At Foggy Bottom, many career diplomats yawned. What started as apathy has morphed into defiance.

And our military men and women know this.

But it wasn’t just the active duty military who took Mr. Crotty’s remarks and his colleagues’ apparent approval as a serious affront: Retired military and Foreign Service officers began to buzz on the Internet.

Mike Benge is a retired FSO who should know something about duty, honor and respect for those who serve and abide by their oath.
 

Mike was in the Marine Corps before he joined what is now the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). In Vietnam, he served as a Foreign Service officer doing what is now termed “nation-building.”

In 1968, Mike was captured by the North Vietnamese communists and held hostage for more than five years, most of it in the infamous Hanoi Hilton. But since Mike was not a uniformed member of the armed forces, he was not a prisoner of war (POW), so he was held in isolation.

After his release in 1973, Mike again returned to Vietnam as a volunteer and continued his work until the communist takeover in 1975.

Mike, along with many of his colleagues who view service much differently from the current crowd at State, expressed outrage beyond belief that senior State Department officers today are not aware of — or have so little respect for — their oath and their distinguished lineage

Mike sent us this message: “We had many fine Foreign Service officers who served in Vietnam, quite a few from the State Department who served in various capacities including in danger zones out in the provinces. The closest thing to a ‘green zone’ perhaps was service in Saigon — which was sometimes dangerous,” Mike wrote.

“Every one of these dedicated State Department officers in Vietnam did an excellent job, and many gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives in service of their country — 27 State Department officials gave the final sacrifice for their countrymen, I believe. Many more from USAID and other government agencies lost their lives, and some like me, were taken prisoner,” wrote Mr. Mike Benge

Now, is the United States of America mobilized for and fighting a “Global War Against Terror” or not? Knowing that senior State Department officers can choose not to participate without any repercussions makes one wonder.

John E. Carey is a retired career military officer, former president of International Defense Consultants Inc. and a frequent contributor to The Washington Times.

State Department Memories from The Hanoi Hilton

November 4, 2007

Introduction By John E. Carey, Peace and Freedom: Maybe State Department employees, even those with 36 years of service like Mr. Jack  Croddy, need an occasional reminder of their proud heritage. 

United States
Department of State
Seal of the United States Department of State

Last Wednesday, October 31, 2007, Senior Foreign Service Officer Jack Croddy stood up at a “Town Hall Meeting” at the United States Department of State and addressed the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with these words:

“It’s one thing if someone believes in what’s going on over there and volunteers, but it’s another thing to send someone over there on a forced assignment. I’m sorry, but basically that’s a potential death sentence and you know it. Who will raise our children if we are dead or seriously wounded?” 

The essay below was given to me today by my friend Mike Benge.  Mike was a staffmember of the United States Agency for Internatiional Development, an Agency of the Department of State, in Vietnam when he was scooped up by the communists and ultimately landed in the Hanoi Hilton.  But because Mike was not a member of the uniformed services, he could not be held as a Prisoner of War (POW).  So he was held separately.

For those too young to recall, the “Hanoi Hilton” is the American nickname given to the most infamous of communist North Vietnam’s prisons.

Mike has contributed to America and the world in many ways but I always recall his memory of the “Christmas lights over Hanoi in 1972.”  That essay closes with these simple words: “Yes Christmas lights are pretty, but none will ever be as pretty as those over Hanoi on Christmas ’72.  And  God Bless the pilots and crews of the planes who gave their lives to set us free.”

Mike and I have had contact for several years, and Mike has taught me much and there is not much that I could ever teach Mike.  He is an expert in duty, honor, service to country and service to his fellow man. I first met Mike because of his insightful work writing for the Washington Times.  We share a passion for freedom and human rights, a love of the peoples of Vietnam and a desire to contribute in the world community. Mike would be my half brother as I can never fully honor or equal his time held captive by communists or his stellar contributions to many venues including the History Channel. We cannot regain the past; so we both now man the gates of justice and reality and attempt to keep honest and aware those that might overlook different problems in far away lands. Or in Washington DC, it now seems.

HanoiHilton.jpg

The Hoa Loa Prison (Vietnamese: Hỏa Lò, meaning “fiery furnace”), later known to American prisoners of war as the Hanoi Hilton.
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On the State Department at War
By Mike Benge

Like me, those who choose government service — be they military or civilian — swore an Oath of Service:

“I (person taking oath says own name) do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same. That I take this obligation freely and without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. That I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me, God.”

Although sworn to this Oath of Service, some Foreign Service Officers join not really to serve their country but to be elitists and enjoy the perks of cushy government employment: job security, good retirement package, travel to exotic foreign countries, free housing, generous leave packages, and access to good life and other accompanying bennies – never dreaming that they may someday be called to really serve their country in dangerous situations.

And now when these people have been called to live up to their oath of office, last week at the State Department, officials began crying, “I didn’t sign up for this!” (See: Envoys Resist Forced Iraq Duty, Washington Post, 11/1/07)

Sorry folks, but you did, and it wasn’t even in fine print at the bottom of your Oath that by the way is a binding contract.

After first serving in the Marine Corps, I went to Vietnam with the International Voluntary Services, then joined what is now the U.S. Agency for International Development serving as a foreign service officer doing what is now termed “nation building.”

In 1968, I was captured by the North Vietnamese and was held hostage for over five years. After my release in 1973, I again returned to Vietnam as a volunteer and continued going in an out until the communist takeover in 1975.

My government service spanned 44 ½ years.

We had many fine foreign service officers who served in Vietnam, quite a few from the State Department who served in various capacities including in danger zones out in the provinces.

The closest thing to a “green zone” perhaps was service in Saigon — which was sometimes dangerous.

Every one of these dedicated State Department officers in Vietnam did an excellent job, and many gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives in service of their country — 27 State Department officials gave the final sacrifice for their countrymen, I believe. Many more from USAID and other government agencies lost their lives, and some like I, were taken prisoner.

None of them went on strike like the present breed of elitists at the State Department; none of them cried, “Not I!”

Related:

For a real hero’s story from the Hanoi Hilton go to:
Meet “Bud” Day; Read His Medal Of Honor Story

Other stories related to the Diplomatic Corps:

Diplomat Jack Croddy: You Don’t Want to Go To Iraq? Step Forward and Meet the Families of the Fallen and Those that Serve

Diplomats Who Refuse Assignments: “Hit The Road, You are Terminated with Prejudice and Without Pay”

The Abyss Between State and Defense

In Iraq: Reporters More Dedicated than the U.S. Foreign Service?

Diplomatic Infighting Hurts Terror War Effort

Rice Tells State Department Staff: You Took an Oath

A Diplomacy of neighborhoods

“Gaffe Machine” Karen Hughes Leaving State Department

Vietnam’s Montagnards Still Under Communist Fire; UNHCR Failing

August 20, 2007

August 18, 2007
The Co Van

Montagnards fleeing repression from the Central Highlands in Vietnam to Cambodia have come to fear a man named Eldon that works for the UNHCR in Phnom Penh. They don’t trust him and for good reason. They consider him their enemy and the guy who works for the communists in Vietnam.

Just last week, for the first time, the United Nations High Commissioner on refugees in Cambodia has finally admitted that a Montagnard named Y-Phuoc Buon Krong may have been tortured in Vietnam. Here’s the kicker why the Montagnards can never catch a break in their human rights struggle in Vietnam. The UNHCR says that they can’t talk about his torture for confidentially purposes.

Mr. António Guterres
UN High Commissioner for Refugees

I know about this type of deceit from first hand experience. I passed through Phnom Penh in late 2005 and met Eldon Hagar, UNHCR field rep, and toured the Montagnard refugee camp. On every issue, Hagar parroted the communist party line of the politburo in Vietnam, suspecting me to believe that besides the fabulous salary that a UN worker makes, only a person ingratiating himself to the totalitarian system in Vietnam must also be a true believer.

The Montagnards I met in the camp told me that they were afraid to talk to Eldon, because when they did, he reported what they said to the communist authorities. Then their families suffered reprisals.

Hagar first stunned me with this silly explanation. “Vietnam is no longer a communist country. It’s an authoritarian one,” he said. That should be startling news to the Politburo and the Vietnamese Communist Party that is the real power behind the Socialist Republic of Vietnam today. Perhaps Hagar doesn’t know about the police state control in the Provinces and Districts of Vietnam and the People’s Party that governs at every level with an iron first.

I informed Hagar that I had just come from Vietnam where I had finally located an old former South Vietnamese soldier friend of mine after 35 years. He was afraid for me to visit him in his village because the police would come after I left and cause problems for him. Hagar barely listened to me. Shrugging his shoulders he said that the same kind of thing happens in America. That’s strange talk for an American employed by the UNHCR.

Hagar lectured me on what he considered the real problem in Vietnam in regard to the Montagnards. “The Dega Christianity (tinh lanh) practiced by the Montagnards isn’t a religion at all. It’s a political movement led by Kok Ksor of the Montagnard Foundation in America to take back the Central Highlands. It has nothing to do with religion. The Montagnards have been manipulated by outside sources.”

Eldon. You’re parroting the communist party line in Vietnam. That’s the kind of stuff one reads in their newspapers controlled by the Communist Party. It’s hogwash.

But it is a fact that that Vietnamese Communist Party has confiscated huge tracts of the Montagnard homeland for their own personal use. Thousands of party members were transferred south after the war to take over the rich homeland and exploit the vast natural wealth there.

Ever the apologist, Hagar has a simple excuse for that. “Not only did they take the Montagnard land, they took all the peasant’s land in Vietnam and dispersed it as they saw fit.”

My conversation with Hagar becomes more bizarre, regarding human rights abuses.

Says Hagar, “I’ve been to Vietnam several times now to investigate the alleged human rights abuses that the Montagnards claim happen to them. There’s nothing to it. “

At the time, Hagar had only been in Cambodia for 6 months and had been the recipient of several carefully guided tours in Vietnam with an official escort. No one gets into the Central Highlands without an official communist party minder.

“We now have an employee on our UNHCR staff that investigates the reported human rights abuses. He is a Vietnamese based in Hanoi,” Hagar proudly boasts.

“Do you really believe that the communist party power apparatus would allow a Vietnamese to conduct an independent investigation? “ I asked.

Hagar’s next statement epitomizes the sell out of the Montagnards by the UNHCR when he answered,” Yes, by all means. Why wouldn’t we trust his reports? He wouldn’t jeopardize his job with us to report falsely. And if there were really any human rights abuses, don’t you think the American CIA would know about them? Don’t you think they have spies in the Central Highlands?”

The UNHCR rep in Hanoi is Vu Anh Son. Following a field trip to the Central Highlands in Oct 5-6 of 05, he came back with a glowing report. He stated that 8 of the 13 returned Montagnards are leading good lives with high stable incomes. Each of the target families earns up to hundreds of millions of Vietnamese dong a year (equal to approximately 6000 dollars)

For UNHCR to accept such a report is ludicrous and just plain dumb on their part to make it public. The $6000 a year is 30 times what a peasant in Vietnam can make in a year. Some of the best factory jobs around Saigon pay 100 dollars a month. The proselytizing department in Hanoi that directs the UNHCR rep behind the scenes needs to learn how to write more credible propaganda reports.

No one with an ounce of sense about the situation on the ground in Vietnam would believe such nonsense. It’s written for those living in the extended age of childhood, or could the UNHCR and Hagar be that naïve? Do they know how stupid they look by parroting such nonsense?

After spending several hours with Hagar, it’s plain to see why none of the human rights organizations in Phnom Penh have any respect for UNHCR. They have compromised themselves by trying to appease the tyrants who are committing what many human rights organization say is genocide against the Montagnards in Vietnam.

In July of 05, one hundred Montagnards under the care of the UNHCR were forced back to Vietnam. The guards employed night sticks and electric batons on the Montagnards who sat on the ground and refused to get on the buses to transport them back to Vietnam. Eighteen NGO’s in Phnom Penh signed a letter of protest to the Cambodian government over the abuse. I even talked to a human rights worker who witnessed the event.

View also this interview-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOSKDjYPyXU 
you can listen to a Montagnard refugee who escaped to the US testify how he witnessed “Eldon” authorize the forced return and brutal beatings of these 100 Montagnard men, woman and children.

But Hagar offers another alibi. “Their source of information is a Human Rights Watch representative here in Phnom Penh. Human Rights Watch is not a credible source of truth here.”

HAGAR and the UNHCR are quite willing to accept anything the police state of Vietnam tells them, and to deny the legitimate humans rights abuses that the Montagnards have suffered for 32 years since the end of the Vietnam War.

Montagnards today are still fleeing Vietnam into the two eastern Provinces of Cambodia where they are hunted down for bounties and sold back to the Vietnamese Police authorities. The UNHCR’s response to this was to move their refugee camp from the Vietnamese/Cambodia border back to Phnom Penh, a distance of 200 kilometers-an impossible distance for a fleeing Montagnard to reach safety.

Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn, a long-time prisoner in the Communist Gulag, would have this to say to Hagar about the UNHCR’s unchallenged acceptance of what the police state system feeds them from Hanoi. “During my time in the camps, I had got to know the enemies of the human race quite well. They respect the big fist and nothing else. The harder you slug them, the safer you will be.”

Unlike Solzhenitsyn, it seems that Eldon Hagar and the UNHCR officials in Phnom Penh have become appeasers and a doormat to the “enemies of the human race.”

“Now, you will have to decide who is telling the truth here in Phnom Penh,” said Hagar as I left.

“The NGO community has their own agenda, but we at UNHCR don’t have one. We’re here to help the Montagnards.”

That parting line could not have been scripted better by beloved Big Brother in Hanoi, Vu Anh Son, who is also there to help the Montagnards.

The Co Van
Southeast Asian Traveler and Vietnam Veteran
Aug 2007

From Peace and Freedom: “Co Van” is Vietnamese for “advisor” or “consultant.”

For more information, go to the Montagnard Foundation:
http://www.montagnard-foundation.org/homepage.html

Saluting and Honoring Colleagues

July 25, 2007

By John E. Carey

Every now and again it is proper and appropriate and just gosh honest enjoyable to, out of the blue and without warning, offer thanks, congratulations and admiration to the members of the family or extended family.

Today I thought it a good idea to salute some of those special members of the extended family that have made life worth living, enjoyable and educational.

My interest and involvement in Pakistan would be unfulfilled were it not for Muhammad Khurshid who operates in our behalf in a most rugged and dangerous part of the world: Khar, Bajaur Agency, Tribal Areas, Pakistan. In our workshops and offices his name is always uttered with dignity and utmost respect. He provides timely, insightful information from a place of vital interest to nations and terror groups alike. When Muhammad and I lose contact, even for a few days on either end; there is extreme anxiety and sleeplessness. I am proud to call Muhammad my brother and thank him for his dedication and service.

Mike Benge and I have had an email and internet contact for about four years. I first “met” Mike because of his insightful work writing for the Washington Times on Vietnam. We share a passion for freedom and human rights, a love of the peoples of Vietnam and a desire to contribute in the world community. Mike would be my half brother as I can never fully honor or equal his time held captive himself by communists or his stellar contributions to the History Channel. We cannot regain the past; so we both now man the gates of justice and reality and attempt to keep honest and aware those that might overlook different problems in far away lands.

Debbie Hamilton runs a web site called “Right Truth” and we invite all readers to pay a call upon her there. Her daily contributions are, as she has named her site, “Right” on the button. Debbie is also an accomplished author and everything she writes is “must read.”
http://righttruth.typepad.com/

Miguel Sanchez keeps his eyes and ears open for us in Mexico and Central America. He says he has a plan to stray as far as Honduras to meet Cha Chuc, who walks the dusty paths and hills there. Hearing that we were interested in all things Harry Potter, last week Miguel mounted his motorcycle and, braving death in Mexico City traffic, headed to the Diocese of Mexico City to interview clergy there. He returned home with a wonderful scoop and our continued respect and admiration for his grit, determination and acumen under difficult circumstances.

I have known and admired Benjamin Allen for something like five years now and we each admit that we wish had been allowed to share the same office spaces longer.  Ben and I recently teamed to write about medical issues of importance that sometimes get overlooked for the Washington Times.  I prize Ben’s frequent guidance and comments by email and look forward to our next opportunity to make a contribution together.

Others in China and Southwest Asia have our daily eye until their projects are complete or they reach safer ground. We salute each and every one of you dedicated soldiers and journalists.

Finally, we are newly acquainted (a few month of just touching base) with Les Lothringer in ShangHai, China. Les is a veteran business consultant with over 30 years of commercial experience including Business Renovation, Management Consulting, Interim Management and Workshop based Training in diverse industries throughout the Asia Pacific Region.  Les brings together the best ideas and interests of Asia and the West (as we say here at Peace and Freedom, “Asia and the rest”). Today Les honored us with a learned essay that has enhanced the understanding of many readers. Please visit Les at his site and remember his team when those perplexing issues within his areas of expertise arise. http://www.strategywestasia.com/

This marks the end of today’s honors ceremony but it is with extreme pride that we call all in our family and extended family friends, professionals and allies.