Thursday, November 30, 2006

Prayer Rally for Imams kicked off US Airways Flight

I have devoted two previous post to the six imams kicked off the US Airways flight last week. If you haven’t heard of the exact details, check out my first post, and then the updated post from Tuesday. I said in the Tuesday post that I was worried about exactly what these imams may have really been up too. I have read more information today that makes me more nervous than before.

A few civil rights groups have now taken up the fight for the imams. These groups believe that it should be ok for a group of Muslims to board a plane, take control of all the exit and entrance points and then criticize the President and the War in Iraq. They feel the US is racially profiling their group. As I have said before, if you go to an airport or get on an airplane and act suspicious, you should be stopped. There are evil people in the world. Some of them are Muslim, and some of them want us dead.

These six were beyond acting suspicious. They were acting consistent with how the 9/11 terrorist acted. US Airways would have been grossly negligent if they didn’t kick these imams off the plane.

Now, the Muslim American Society (MAS) has taken up their cause, and is leading a prayer rally tomorrow for these imams. The MAS Freedom Foundations Executive Director, Imam Mahdi Bray is speaking at the service tomorrow. I judge anything I hear by looking at who the source is. So before you rush to tomorrow’s prayer rally, here is some information on the MAS, and on Imam Mahdi Bray.

The Muslim American Society was founded in 1992 by the Muslim Brotherhood. If you are not familiar with that group, do a quick Google search on them and see what turns up.

Imam Mahdi Bray is a vocal supporter of both Hamas and Hezbollah. He is also listed as the contact person for the National Islamic Prison Foundation. This is a group that was organized in order to,”…convert American inmates to Wahhabism,” according to Jihad Watch.

And one last tidbit of information: one of the imams removed from the US Airways flight is Imam Omar Shahin. Jihad Watch list Imam Shahin as someone who has previously been involved with an organization here in the US that supported Hamas under the disguise of a charitable organization.

At the very least, this was a stunt to try and exhort money from US Airways. At worst, it could be something much more sinister. Either way, these six should be reminded that it was their own actions that got them kicked off the airplane. We need to be more vigilant to those who want to kill us, not less.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

UPDATE: Six Muslims kicked off US Airways flight

New information has come out today regarding the six Imams kicked off a US Airways flight last Monday. The original stories had stated that some of the Imams stood up on the US Airways flight and began praying. Apparently, the behavior by the six Muslims was much more suspicious.

According to the Washington Times, passengers said that at least three of the six Imams were praying very loudly in the concourse. After boarding the flight, the six took up positions similar to the 9/11 hijackers, two moved to the front row in first class, two sat in the exit rows, and two sat at the very back of the plane. These weren’t their assigned seats. This type of behavior is now believed to be a terrorist probe. With these seats, the six could now control the exits to the airplane. When they boarded, some of the Imams asked for seat belt extenders, which they didn’t need. When they got to their seat, they unrolled the extenders and placed them on the floor of the cabin. As the plane was delayed, the six would walk back and forth talking to each other, sometimes in English, and sometimes in Arabic. Passengers said that the Imams were discussing politics, criticizing the war in Iraq and President Bush.

The Imams say they spoke only in English and that they didn’t discuss politics. They also believe they are the victims of racial profiling. In the Washington Times piece, Mrs. Hudson quotes two other airline professionals not associated with US Airways as defending the airlines actions.

Last week, I posted a blog defending US Airways. With these new details, I am much more suspicious of the Imams. Beyond any shadow of a doubt, US Airways made the correct call. If you don’t think so, imagine that the worst happened. Imagine that these individuals later took control of the plane and crashed it somewhere. What would happen in the aftermath if we found that US Airways knew everything listed above, but still allowed the six to board the airplane?

I am very concerned about the behavior of these Imams. As more details come out, it looks like these Imams were intentionally trying to provoke a response at a minimum and maybe something much more nefarious at worst. These six acted in a very concerted way. I feel most rational people would agree that US Airways probably did the right thing. There are other questions we need to answer. What exactly were these six Imams up to? Were they trying to get thrown off the plane? Were they hoping to sue US Airways for discrimination and thereby make it harder for other Airlines to throw suspicious people off of their planes? Were these six actively probing US Airways for some sort of future plot? Or, were these six Imams so out of touch with today’s world that they had no idea their actions would be viewed as suspicious?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Why a Draft is a bad idea

Senator Rangle (D- New York) has once again proposed a draft. This isn’t the first time he has proposed this draft. It has failed before, and based on the response of his party, I don’t expect this one to go far either. However, because I hear this in the media from time to time, I think it is important to illustrate why a draft is a bad idea and to respond to a few points in Mr. Rangle’s latest call for a draft.

To be sure, there have been times in the past where a draft was need for our nation. However, one of the most incredible things about our military is that it is an all volunteer military. Our men and women in uniform are fighting because they have chosen to put on the uniform and go where the rest of us wouldn’t. I respect all of them for that. Even with what many consider to be an unpopular war in Iraq, the military has been meeting its recruitment goals for the last few years. The last time a draft was seriously considered in the congress, many in the arm services said it was not only not needed, but also not wanted.

Senator Rangle in a letter to the New York Daily News on November 22, 2006 outlined some of his reasons for the draft, and some of the changes he would make to the draft. He states that if more of our elected politicians had family members in the service, they would not send our troops into harms way. I disagree. Perhaps for a few it would make a difference. However, I choose to believe that many of Mr. Rangle’s colleagues understand the implications of deploying our military anywhere. Even if they don’t understand it from a human point of view, I am sure that our politicians know the media will remind them of the body count. President Clinton was hesitant to use our military anywhere for fear of any casualties being broadcast on CNN. We should be compassionate and respect the danger we ask these men and women to take on. We should also remember these men and women are warriors. They have sworn to protect us. Americans have had to die in order for the rest of the nation to sleep safe at night. We owe it to the military to be careful of when we use it, but also to use our military when needed.

Mr. Rangle argues that our current recruitment practices are prejudice without actually saying that. He cites that incentives to join mean nothing to those who have college as an option. If the military doesn’t appeal to college bound people, why are there Military Academies? Why is there ROTC? Surely those wouldn’t be needed otherwise. Mr. Rangle goes on to argue that there is a disproportionate number of minorities in the army, and that by not instituting a draft we aren’t being fair to them. I would respond to Mr. Rangle by saying there are many people of all race in the military. For some, it is a proud tradition. For some, it is a chance at an opportunity they wouldn’t have had otherwise. For whatever reason, why should anyone disrespect them by acting like they were forced at gun point to join the military? This goes against honoring these men and women for doing the one thing many of us won’t.

In his letter, Mr. Rangle says that his draft would, “… [make] men and women up to age 42 eligible for service, with no exemptions beyond health or reasons of conscience.” The reason the draft is a bad idea is that someone who doesn’t want to do that job, isn’t going to do a very good job at it. Is that really what we want in a military? Would you want someone to work on your car if that is the last thing in the world they wanted to do? And what does it say to those in the military who are there by choice? What confidence do they have in their fellow soldier who doesn’t want to be there and is just looking for a way home?

A draft is not the right answer for our military. I haven’t heard of any military expert say anything different, and I have heard quite a few military figures argue against a draft. Let’s give the men and women the respect they need, and the tools to do their job, without saddling them with people who don’t want to put their life on the line.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to the readers and occasional visitors to this site. I hope everyone is able to either spend some time with family this year, or able to talk to your family today and say "Hi". I also want to wish a special Happy Thanksgiving to all our men and women in uniform who are spending today away from their families in order to protect my family.

In a break from the norm, I thought I would share my own Thanksgiving story with anyone out there who would like to listen. My daughter made a “Thankful Wreath” at school. Her teacher told me that the class made the individual wreaths, and she would go to each student and ask, “What are you thankful for?” Many of you can guess that in a class of three year olds, “mommy” or “daddy” were the common answers. However, my little girl was thinking along a totally different line. When her teacher asked her what she was thankful for, she replied, “The Home Depot”. Maybe we have been doing a little too much work around the house lately.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, and I hope you have a great one, no matter what your political beliefs are.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Six Muslims kicked off US Airways flight

Six Imam’s leaving a conference in Minnesota were kicked off a US Airways flight yesterday. Apparently, at least three of the Imam’s stood up on the flight and began their evening prayers. If I understand correctly, Muslims are required to pray five times a day at very specific times. I thought there were allowances for when a Muslim isn’t able to pray at that time. I will research that and post a comment to this post with what I find. But, for the moment, let’s say for the sake of argument that there are no exceptions made by the Koran, and the Imam’s were required to pray at that time regardless of where they were.

I don’t think US Airways was in the wrong to kick the Imams off the plane. If Islam required prayers at that time, and as devout Muslims, this couldn’t be avoided, why not simply schedule a later flight? Air travel is a convenience, not a right. In a post 9/11 world, that is all the more apparent. I have family throughout the country. If I wish to see them, I understand that there are certain things I must do. For example, I am only allowed 3 oz liquids in a single quart clear plastic bag. Do I really think this measure will stop a terrorist? No. However, if I want to fly to visit family or friends elsewhere, I know I must abide by the rules.

On 9/11, 19 hijackers took control of 4 planes and killed thousands of Americans. Every plane since then has had heightened security of some sort. How many articles have we seen or read of people who caused a disturbance being kicked from an airplane? Why should anyone be exempt from this? Why should these six individuals be any different? If four priests got onto and American Airlines flight, and right before take off, stood up in unison and started chanting in Latin, would the passengers have ignored them? I don’t think so. They would have been kicked off that flight.

We are taught there is a time and place for everything. Political Correctness initially brought some civility to our common language that was probably needed. However, that time is gone. We are now in a time where PC would have us risk our lives, the lives of our family and friends, the very existence of this nation in order to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. We have learned there are evil people in the world. Americans must make a decision. Will we allow our way of life to disappear to avoid hurting someone’s feelings? I hope we will learn that while everyone deserves common courtesy, and people have rights, we must protect ourselves. These six individuals were wrong to believe they could disrupt and airplane without consequences. If they believe they were singled out because they were Muslim that is regrettable. The fact is, they were singled out because they disrupted an airplane, clean and simple.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Other Exit Strategies for Iraq

My Dad sent me an article a few days ago from the Armed Forces Journal. In it, Mr. Ralph Peters has a very interesting article on possible alternatives for Iraq. He purposes four or five potential exit strategies I haven’t heard discussed any where else. All of the debate I have heard in the media has revolved around three central strategies for Iraq. The first was summed up best by the President, “Stay the Course.” The other two revolve around either increasing or decreasing the current troop levels in Iraq.

Mr. Peters argues that there are many other options that are found between these three plans. He makes a compelling argument that we must examine theories that might be “outside the box” in order to find a solution that works best for our nation. Any course of action in Iraq must be governed by what is best for American interests first, Iraq second, and the rest of the world last. Regardless of anyone’s feelings about why we as a nation went into Iraq, we are there now. We have a responsibility for the outcome in Iraq. We must also look at what consequences any resulting strategy might cause. If we were to suddenly pull all of our troops from Iraq, what would our enemies do next? What lessons will they take from our actions? To cut and run from Iraq without regard to the results would be irresponsible. We have a responsibility to our troops, to our citizens, and the citizens of Iraq.

I have often thought that a withdrawal from Iraq would be a disaster. It would show our allies that we don’t have the fortitude to stay with them in tough times. It would show our enemies that we are in fact a paper tiger, and it would invite them to follow us home and attack us here. However, Mr. Peters illustrates a few other options that might allow us to withdraw, and still send a clear message to both our enemies and our allies. Perhaps a sudden all out military push, where every group organized against us is hit and hit hard is the way to send a message before withdrawing. Mr. Peter states in one of his alternative plans:

“If we do leave, we should go out shooting. All anti-government factions should suffer — the gloves should come off at last. The one thing we cannot afford is a popular view that our troops have been defeated. They haven't been. We will have to make that clear. Our withdrawal should be conducted under conditions that push our enemies bloodily onto the defensive as we make our exit, and we should not worry about collateral damage. If we leave Iraq, we must leave the world with a perception of American strength — and ruthlessness, when required. We can afford being seen as heavy-handed, but we can't afford being seen as weak.”

I feel anyone really looking for a solution to Iraq must read Mr. Peters articles. Mr. Peters says in his article that some of his solutions aren’t realistic, but they illustrate a need to think outside the box. He also goes to great lengths to point out that as long as the Iraqis are willing to fight and die for their new government, we need to help them do that. They will need to fight harder than those in the country who would have them live in tyranny. We can’t fight for them forever, nor should we. However, a democracy in the Middle East is in America’s best interest. Any solution must balance our responsibilities and what best serves our nation both now and in the future.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Chinese Sub stalks USS Kitty Hawk

Anyone who has read many of my blogs knows that I feel China is a potential threat to the US. I don’t believe we should be drawing up invasion plans, but I do believe we need to stop treating them as a trading partner, and more like a potential military aggressor. A news story that has been running in the Washington Times illustrates my point.

Sometime in October of this year, a Chinese diesel submarine surfaced within firing distance of the USS Kitty Hawk. The Kitty Hawk was engaged in training exercises near Okinawa and was in International waters. The only reason the US found out about it was that an airplane on a routine patrol happened upon it while the Song class submarine set on the surface. The message is a clear one, if the Chinese sub wanted to fire on the Kitty Hawk; torpedos would have been in the water before anyone new the sub was even there.

Besides this pointing to an obvious need to re-evaluate our defensive measures while in International waters, it points to one more case of China not playing the part that they claim they want, or that our State Department says they want. When was the last time a British submarine was found stalking our carriers? China has repeatedly pushed the limits of our military in the Pacific. They have been playing both sides of the fence with North Korea, sending military components to the “Dear Leader” while claiming to want a share of negotiating with North Korea. There have been reports recently of repeated attacks on Washington computers from China.

At what point do we step back and say, “What exactly is our relationship with China?” Everyone believes China is preparing for what it believes to be an eventual clash with the US over the fate of Taiwan. Yet in the Washington Times we also learn that our military has been trading tours of military facilities and information on how we run our military in an effort to build good will with the Chinese. Of course, the word “trading” is a little bit of a leading word. It implies that the Chinese are also showing us around their facilities, or being candid with our military leaders regarding how the Red Army operates. Apparently, that is not so.

Obviously, we can’t attack China. We shouldn’t even be planning on it, and I don’t want to argue that we should. However, we need a more realistic strategy. No more tours of American military bases. No more seminars on the best operating practices of the military. And the next time a Song class submarine “shadows” the Kitty Hawk, we respond the same way we did in 1994, we chase the sub back into Chinese waters to illustrate that we take threats against our military seriously. It took September 11th for many Americans to realize we were at war with Islamic Fundamentalist. What will it take for us to learn that there are the Chinese aren’t the friends they claim to be?

Senator, Choose Your Weapon!

I am reading a book about Abraham Lincoln (look for a review in a future blog). While reading it the other day, I was struck by an interesting idea. I thought I would post it on here to discuss. It is an idea that will never come to pass, and probably shouldn’t, but I thought it would make an interesting departure from current events for one post. My idea is this: What if dueling was suddenly allowed for Senators and Representatives?

It would have to be very controlled. We couldn’t allow any ringers, so only the elected officials themselves would be allowed to duel. No aids that were only hired to stand in. And only other elected representatives would be allowed to stand as seconds for anyone. The Judicial and Executive branches would not be allowed to participate, the same as any private citizen. There would be no other significant rules, and we would resort to the traditional code of conduct used in the early years of our nation.

I think if nothing else, this would give many of our Senators and Representatives a sense of accountability. If a Democrat or Republican were to say something on the floor just to get a few media pictures, the offended party could quickly challenge that politician to a duel. It would surely change the tone of debate in Washington. I think many of the elected congressmen would suddenly focus more on the issues and less on insulting each other. The new dueling law would surely make confirmation hearings a bit more interesting. No more grandstanding, unless of course you think you are a better shot than the nominee.

Who knows, it might even force our Senators and Representatives to actually get some work done.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Fair Tax Act

One of the issues confronting the new congress is how to fix the US tax code. The current IRS tax code is overly long, cumbersome, and hard for anyone to understand. It doesn’t do a good job of collecting tax fairly. President Bush commissioned a tax advisory panel shortly after arriving in office. The panel made its recommendation without seriously considering any alternatives other than reworking the current cumbersome tax code. I have been a supporter of the Fair Tax Act for some time.

What is the Fair Tax? The Fair Tax Act (HR 25 and S 25) is a new law that replaces the IRS and our current tax code with a national 23 % sales tax on new goods. No more filing taxes in April. No more federal withholding. If you make $40,000 a year, your pay check will be for $40,000 a year minus any state or local taxes you pay. Those may go away as most states pattern their state taxes after the federal code. Everyone pays their taxes at the cash register when they buy something. No more loopholes to be exploited and even drug dealers and terrorist will have to pay taxes if they buy anything new.

When I first started studying the Fair Tax, I was worried about the national 23% sales tax. I would get to keep my entire pay check, but it didn’t sound like a good deal if everything I was going to buy would suddenly cost 23% more. The more I looked into the Fair Tax, the more I found that this didn’t equate with real world economic examples. Since federal the federal tax system will go away, many of the taxes businesses pay will disappear. The cost of producing any item will go down. Most economic studies project the price of goods to fall by around 21% to 22%. This means that if you pay $100 for an item now, after the Fair Tax is implemented, that same item will cost around $102. In addition, you now have more money in your bank account because you are getting all of your pay check, and not paying the federal withholding taxes.

Some people complain that this is unfair to the poor, and will cause a higher tax burden on those in the poverty level. The authors of the Fair Tax have an answer for this as well. At the beginning of each month, the head of household will receive a “prebate” check for the amount of taxes that family is expected to pay in the month for the essentials in order to survive. This check will vary with the number of people claimed as dependents by the head of household. The great thing about this is the check is the tax payer’s money to spend as they wish. If they wish to spend it on whatever, they can. If they wish to invest the money, or save it for a rainy day, they can. The federal government issues it to keep those in the poverty level from paying taxes on the things they must have. If that family wants to cut back for a month or two and save the money, it is their money to do with as they please.

The Fair Tax really is a win-win. The reason the federal sales tax would be set around 23% is to keep the money that currently comes into the federal government the same as the money the government would collect after the Fair Tax started. The US government would collect the same amount of money, and the tax payers get to keep their pay check. I haven’t been able to find a down side. I encourage anyone to look into the Fair Tax and prove me wrong. I have a link on this site to the Fair Tax website. I have read the book by Linder and Boortz outlining the Fair Tax. If you disagree, tell me, because I think this is the best system for America.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Middle East Reaction to the Elections

There appears to be a wide range of reaction to the Tuesday elections in the Middle East. There are some who are now nervous about what American policy will be with a Democratic controlled congress. There are some who now expect changes more in line with their own philosophies. There seems to be a large amount of indifference. I have read articles today on Fox News, CNN, and even on a couple of blogs where the authors say that many in the Middle East have seen very little difference in Democratic versus Republican foreign policy in that region, so they don’t really care about the results from this week.

However, over the last few days, I have seen two news items that don’t seem to get very much coverage that worry me. I was flying out of town this week and heard a broadcast on CNN stating there was celebration by Iraqi insurgents over the Democratic victory. I have searched and searched and can’t find a print version of this news item. Still I am a little worried by the implications of this if it is indeed true.

The other news story I saw today on Reuters. I trust its authenticity. Reuters has been doing this a long time, and is fairly objective. The title of the report, Khamenei calls elections a victory for Iran, says everything worth saying. I would like an honest response to this question: What does it say when an enemy like Iran is cheering for a particular party in American politics?

Al Qaeda doesn’t seem to care. The lead man for Al Qaeda in Iraq today says he has 12,000 troops in Iraq (so much for Iraq not being part of the war on terror) and will not stop until the White House is destroyed. Surely that is a clear sign that Al Qaeda wants us out of Iraq.

So my second question is this: If enemies like Iran, Syria, and Al Qaeda all want us to withdraw from Iraq, how could it possibly be in the best interest of the United States to leave before we accomplish our mission?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Post Election Lessons

We now have a little over 24 hours after the elections. While some of the contests are still undecided, it is safe to call both the House and Senate for the Democrats. I think congratulations are in order for the Democratic Party. I honestly didn’t think they could do it. The elections were fair and honest elections, and the DNC gave the Republicans a “thumpin”. So what lessons can we, the President, the newly elected members of congress and the senate, and House Speaker to be Pelosi take from this?

First, I honestly believe the American voters are tired of elected officials not doing the job they were sent to Washington to do. I support the Republicans, but they really have not done anything since the last election but squabble amongst themselves. To many times Republicans like Senators McCain and Graham have fought hard to get on TV, and not fought hard to get issues solved. I have been and am still frustrated about that. The newly elected Congress needs to go to Washington and actually accomplish something. Social Security, Illegal Immigration, and Tax reform (think Fair Tax Act), are all issues that have been touched on over the last few years but have had nothing really done about them. These are all issues that must be solved for our country to continue on. I would recommend that Democrats and Republicans both pick one and work to solve it before the 2008 elections.

I think the voters have had enough of the name calling and finger pointing in Washington. The voters want to see their elected officials act like statesman, and there are far too many examples from the last few years were both sides of the aisle have failed to do that.

No one can question that Tuesday’s results were a clear message that the voters feel something different has to be done in Iraq. I am going to try and predict the future so bear with me. I think that some of the far left voters are going to be surprised and find that a time table for withdrawal from Iraq will not be set by the new congress. Any timetable that is set in stone simply gives our enemies a finish line. A set exit date says, “If we can just hold out till then, the Americans will run away.” Iraq is also very different from Vietnam. In Vietnam, when we left, and when we stopped helping our allies, the North Vietnamese moved in to where we were, they killed our allies and took over. In Iraq if we leave, the terrorist will move in, Iran and Syria will set up a new government, and the terrorist will kill our allies. But there is one other step our enemies will take that they didn’t in the 1970’s, the terrorist will follow us home and attack us here. There can be no safe and honorable exit from Iraq without a stable government in Iraq. I think the Democrats know this, and while they won’t say it publicly, they will act on it.

I think the next two years could be very interesting depending on whether or not Republicans and Democrats learn anything from November 7, 2006.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Why I will vote Republican Tomorrow

Tomorrow afternoon I will leave work a little early in order to make it to the polls, cast my vote, and pick up my daughter from day care. Tomorrow I will be voting Republican. If you have read this blog before, you will not be surprised by my vote tomorrow. You will also not be surprised that I consider myself a Republican. But, if you didn’t know me and stopped me tomorrow and asked why I voted Republican, here is what I would tell you.

I don’t always agree with the Republican Party. I don’t think an amendment to the U. S. Constitution describing marriage is needed. I don’t really think it has any place in today’s political discussion. I don’t think we should legislate how we handle patients on life support. Having seen that decision made by someone I hold dear I can tell you that it is an incredibly tough one to make. It needs to be made by the family with the help of a doctor. Government has no place in it. I think how man came to be is a very interesting topic, but it is not in my top ten political issues. The truth of the matter is, in this day an age, there are only two deciding factors on my vote: The War on Terror, and Homeland Security.

The Republican Party believes we need to continue to fight in Iraq. The RNC believes our police and military need tools to handle terrorist. President Bush believes we are engaged in a war throughout the world for our very existence. The DNC believes a loss in Iraq is ok. The Democratic Party believes that our police, our military, and our President are a larger threat than those who would kill us, our families, and our children. The DNC has absolutely no plans for how to fight terrorist except to run back to the US and hope they don’t follow.

I have to vote for the party that will protect my family. The Republicans may not always be right, but they are trying to protect my daughter, my wife, and me. So I will cast my ballot for Republicans tomorrow. Tonight I say a prayer that they win.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

North Korea and China

In a previous post on this site, I explained my theory on how deal with a nuclear North Korea. I believe China has more control inside North Korea than we are willing to acknowledge. I also believe China has less desire to see North Korea disarmed than we believe. As such, I believe that our foreign policy towards North Korea should be simple. If a nuclear weapon detonates in our borders, our allies’ borders, or anywhere we have national interests at stake, the US should hold China accountable. For example, if North Korea launches a nuclear weapon at Japan, the US responds with an overwhelming nuclear strike against China as if China had attacked the US mainland.

On October 31st, Bill Gertz reported some of the declassified information from an upcoming report discussing North Korea and China’s relationship. In his article in the Washington Times, Mr. Gertz discusses the final draft report of the US-China Economic Security Review Commission. This report states, “China has contributed at least indirectly to North Korea’s nuclear program.” If this information isn’t damning enough, the Mr. Gertz goes on to explain that China has apparently been secretly increasing its weapons aid to North Korea, while publicly negotiating with Kim Jung-il to suspend his nuclear program. If the information contained in the report is accurate, then we must treat China as part of the problem, and not part of the solution.

The same day Mr. Gertz’s article appeared, North Korea agreed to return to the Six Party talks. Some of the initial reports I saw suggested that China had been instrumental in getting North Korea to return to the talks. Many of the comments since then have revolved around changing US, and not North Korean, behavior. The US has been prohibiting North Korea from accessing major banking institutions. This is hurting North Korea, and the US says this action is in response to the major counterfeiting going on in North Korea, and not the nuclear program. However, it seems North Korea is focused on getting the US to remove these financial restrictions, and discussing nuclear weapons is only an afterthought. While a date for the actual resumption of the Six Party talks has not been released, it seems most authorities are expecting them to resume sometime in December.

My prediction is that the US will be asked to remove the financial restrictions while North Korea will be asked to do very little. I predict China will argue for lifting these restrictions in order to attempt to ease tensions in the Korean Peninsula. The US would be making a major mistake in conceding anything without getting a full commitment from North Korea and China removing nuclear weapons from North Korea. In my opinion, in order for the US and the World to lift any sanctions, North Korea must commit to handing over its nuclear weapon program, China must commit to a non-nuclear North Korea, and the UN must have full access to North Korean Nuclear facilities. If North Korea and China wish to be participants in the world community, they must take the necessary steps to show they can be trusted by the world community.