Thursday, September 16, 2004

Evan's Mental Rodeo II
from the mind of  Evan Kruse.

Rathergete, Memogate, Forgerygate, whatever you want to call it... is starting to get a little more interesting. Over at Blogs for Bush, they've got a good roundup on where those memos came from and what that might mean. Like Drudge says.... Developing. Who knows if this will ever be solved.

Quote of the day:
You deserve a president who will not play politics with national security-John Kerry.
It is not very often that a candidate highlights the precise reasons for voting for the other guy. I guess that his campaign is in such disarray that he is trying a new strategy of using reverse psychology. Pretty soon, he is going to be standing at lecterns across the country shouting: Don't vote for me! I dare you!

Some thoughts on Robert Jenkins: Robert Jenkins is reportedly back 'on duty' at a military facility here in Japan. I have read on some blogs that they feel this outcome is very ridiculous. Well... it may be, but I must remind such people that this was an event that the Japanese media was trying to use as propaganda against the US military's presence in Japan. The US played their cards correctly in this one, saving face for people all around. Do I think he should be getting off as easy as he is? No. Do I think that the military is showing weakness? No. The US military was basically given no good way out of this situation, and they managed to make things as good for the rest of the troops in Japan as they possibly could. Court Marshaling an elderly person in a country that has a relatively short statute of limitations for murder could have disastrous public opinion implications.

The most disgusting part of the whole episode for me was the difference between the Mr. Jenkins that I saw getting off the plane in the meeting in Jakarta compared to the Mr. Jenkins that I saw getting off the plane in Tokyo. In Jakarta, he had no problems walking down stairs on his own and looked as healthy as one could expect after living under the DPRK for decades. But, just a few days later in Tokyo, his health was so bad that he required canes, wheelchairs, and needed help at almost every corner of his little journey. I can't help to think that this was an act to paint him as an 'old frail man' who shouldn't be punished at all. For those of you who have never spent time in Japan, being old and frail seems to be a free pass for just about anything.

I'm not sure what all of the details are, but supposedly he is going to give the military information about the DPRK and in exchange will have his 'punishment' reduced to a dishonorable discharge. I am assuming that he will keep his status as a US citizen. I really hope that he has no ability to collect on social security or go back to the US and benefit from medicare or any other government programs.

What do I think is a reasonable punishment? Well, I have a slight problem with someone who promises to defend our country defecting to the enemy. I believe that if Japan will take him in as a permanent resident, he should give up his citizenship. This whole episode is costing the US taxpayers enough, I think that he should never be able to benefit from US taxpayer funded programs again. Whether or not this will happen, only time will tell.

But, there is a silver lining. Two more young people (his daughters) will be able to live in a free society where freedoms are fairly abundant. I hope that their status will allow them to vote. I just have one piece of advice for them: Don't go swimming in the Sea of Japan. The Pacific Ocean beaches of Tokushima and Kochi Prefectures are really nice, and a long, long distance away from North Korea.

Update: Please read the comments, they offer a well informed viewpoint different from the original post.


Blogger Daredemo said...

I've got a different take on Jenkins -- I believe it is still unclear whether he willingly went to North Korea or not. I currently lean towards not. His family disputes it, not believing the letters he supposedly left behind (which are evidently now lost). Accounts of his disappearance say that he was on patrol one night, heard a noise, went to investigate, and then went missing until several weeks later, when his voice was heard on DPRK radio saying he found 'Shangri-La'. Why a man who according to his family lied about his age to get into the military, served several terms, and was very proud of his service, would willingly go over to North Korea is a bit puzzling. From an recent interview:

"By August 1960 he had begun a 13-month tour in South Korea, during which he was promoted to sergeant; he returned for a second tour in September 1964. Then, on a bone-chilling night early the following January, on patrol along the Demilitarized Zone, the 24-year-old sergeant with an unblemished nine-year service record vanished."

I think the evidence, such as it exists, is consistent with him being abducted. That he was tortured for several weeks, & forced to participate in DPRK propaganda, including movies. He apparently tried to defect at the Russian embassy a year after he went over to North Korea. Why didn't the US go after him? Was there pressure to suppress this to try to keep this front calm while Vietnam was being escalated? I wonder.

I believe most of the charges are regarding actions he took while under DPRK control. I guess technically a soldier when captured is only supposed to give rank & serial number, etc. He obviously didn't do that, but if any punishment is deserved here I think time served in DPRK is more than enough...

If John Kerry is able to run for President of the United States, Robert Jenkins is certainly entitled to spending his remaining years in a quiet place with his family...

9:42 AM  

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