Traitors and Fools

In the United States, we have a cherished traditon that when citizens believe our government in error, they have an obligation to speak up in loyal opposition. Henry David Thoreau spent a jail for not paying his poll tax, a gesture made to protest the Mexican War. Martin Luther King was jailed and eventually killed because he believed that Americans deserved equal access to opportunity. Millions of Americans have protested against government policies they saw as unwise or injust.

Some people, like Hanoi Jane Fonda went over the line from loyal protest to acts of treason. In thisthread, posters have unquestioningly sided with China, accused the US government of lying with no cites to support, and have demeaned the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform as “fun and games.”

I already posted my logical, reasoned response in the GD thread, but I feel the emotional response ought to be heard.

Leave. Move to China, move to Canada, I don’t much care, but get out. You people are worthless, treasonous scum. You sit on your behinds free to type whatever you want because you live in a democracy defended by the brave men and women who volunteered to serve our nation, who you have the unmitigated temerity to defame.

You have no conception of how lucky you are to be citizens of the US, to be free to criticize the government without fear of the knock on the door in the middle of the night. Try dissing Kim Jong-il in North Korea. You and your whole family will be sent to gulag in Hwanghae province. Try being a peaceful follower of Falun Dafa in China; you’ll be arrested. Try being a lesbian couple in Somalia; you’ll be executed. Try being a woman in Afghanistan; you’ll be denied a job, medical care, and education.

Does the US have problems? Sure, we do. Gun violence, a disaffected underclass, and a deteriorating environment are a few. However, if record immigration rates mean anything, the rest of the world must want in pretty badly. Maybe the folks who come here for freedom and a greater economic opportunity know something that Needs2Know, Jab1, and Rjung

You three are traitors and fools for supporting an unjust dictatorship holding our servicemembers in captivity.
[Fixed the Jane Fonda link. -JMCJ]

[Edited by John Corrado on 04-09-2001 at 09:42 AM]

Memo to self: Use the Preview function, putz! Moderators, could you please fix the link in the OP? Thank you.

You know, the other day someone came up to me on the street and told me to move to Cuba. Apparently it was because I visibly support a political party somewhat to the left of his choice. I didn’t, and don’t, appreciate this kind of sentiment.

Matt, you misread the OP. I didn’t urge people to leave because they espouse lefty political views. I urged people to leave because they support China holding our service people in captivity, which to my mind is treason.


We’ll make a conservative out of you yet!

Our servicemen deserve our support. Period.

Well, I’d have to say it’s not treason. Treason would fall more under the ‘aid and comfort to the enemy’ kind of thing. If the feds sent a rescue mission in and someone called the Chinese embassy (providing we hadn’t blown it up, I suppose) and told them where and when, that would be treason.

But it is foolish. I’ve avoided starting my own, ‘China, why it annoys me’ thread because I don’t think anything good can come of it. I’d just get madder and piss a bunch of people off.

goboy, I think part of the problem resides with the fact that most westerners (especially Americans) don’t really emotionally understand that the rest of the world is out there. We are so inundated with mass-media crap that the stuff on the news just seems like more fiction. Those huddled masses of dirty, half-starved foreign-looking types we see on the evening news? Extras, or maybe computer-generated… not real!

We turn on the TV, and there is a story about a famine in Africa. We’re shown pictures of black adults and children, rail-thin. Hell, we know black people! They live next door! They’re not starving! Must be Hollywood fakery… The next story is about some Asian people somewhere that we could probably find on a map if given 20 minutes or so, they are jabbering on and on in some weird language… not real! We know Asians; they live down the block, and they speak English just fine! More Hollywood trickery… The next story is about some “death squads” in some Latin American country (do they speak Latin still?). Shit, the Latin American family across the street seems to be doing just fine! Biggest problem they have is that their lawnmower just died and they need to buy a new one… more Hollywood fakery!(yes, I think most people know, intellectually, that there are actual people behind these stories… but emotionally it doesn’t connect. The intellectual knowledge would kick in if people stopped for a moment to think… but few actually do.).

Since it never connects intellectually that these are real people with real problems and real governments ACTIVELY working to oppress their freedoms and rights, these western people, drooling in front of their TVs, just don’t get it!

To those of you who think that the government of China is wonderful and is doing everything possible to improve the lives of its citizens, please get a clue!

As to the spying issue: yes, we were spying. Has anyone denied that? Our plane was in international airspace… the Chinese knew that, and also knew that we were listening! If they had the capability of flying spy planes off the US coast, they would be doing so !They don’t(why don’t they have the capability? Among other reasons: because their government actively blocks the free flow of information, making it most difficult to share scientific advances.), so they are instead working inside our country to obtain intelligence… spying is a fact of life, and thank God for that!

Folks, these are real people, and real inept/flat-out-evil governments here! Sucking up to them is not going to do us any good!

Wasn’t MLK killed as the result of an internal power struggle within his group, rather than someone who took issue with his equality position?

Support for our soldiers does not require us to wear blinders.

Support for our soldiers does not require jingoism.

Support for our soldiers does not require our support for the orders they have been given.
Honestly, goboy, I’m kinda surprised to hear “love it or leave it” coming from you. But maybe that’s just because all the outspoken gays I know are extremely supportive of freedom of expression.

Actually, I deny this. It may be a matter of semantics, but I believe there is a connotative difference. From

spy (v): To observe secretly with hostile intent.
To discover by close observation.
To catch sight of: spied the ship on the horizon.
To investigate intensively.
v. intr.
To engage in espionage.
To seek or observe something secretly and closely.
To make a careful investigation: spying into other people’s activities.

espionage: The act or practice of spying or of using spies to obtain secret information, as about another government or a business competitor.

reconnaissance: An inspection or exploration of an area, especially one made to gather military information.

Ok, almost everyone thinks we were spying. But I contend we were a reconnaissance aircraft conducting a reconnaissance mission. The bird is built for (and even called) a reconnaissance bird. We were on what is called a reconnaissance mission. We were not secretly observing anything. We were out in the open as we always have been every single time we fly a mission. We take no steps to hide our presence to anyone or anything. Literally. On top of that, what we’re collecting is not, in my mind, secret (see “espionage”). It may be coming from their land/airspace/waters, but it’s easily observable (in one form or another) from outside their land/airspace/waters. How is that information secret?
“Spy” has a sort of negative connotation and I believe the press is at fault for throwing the term around so much. Had they started off calling it a “reconnaissance” bird on a “reconnaissance” mission, which is what it really is, I don’t believe you’d have as many people viewing this incident in such a negative manner. I also blame my very own Navy for not stressing the difference. :confused:

I know I’m nitpicking, Astroboy, and I totally agree with everything else in your post (really good points, btw) but it bugs me each time I read and hear that we were “spying.” I appreciate your support for our guys (goes for the rest of you too), and thanks goboy for starting this thread.

I agree, Andros, and I don’t think my OP is jingoistic. I have already said that President Bush should have left the diplomacy to more capable hands, and in the OP you’ll note that I admire principled political dissent. There is room to disagree with the US handling of the crisis. However, there is a sharp difference between disagreement with government policy and contempt for the United States and her soldiers, which is what Rjung has shown in the GD thread that inspired the OP. As far as I am concerned, Rjung and his or her kind, the sort of folks who spit on soldiers returning from Vietnam, are lower than pond scum. We might not always support the government, but we should never disrespect our soldiers.

Moreover, Rjung is obviously too stupid to know that there is a difference between patriotism and jingoism. A patriot loves his country and respects that others love theirs. A jingoist is xenophobic and is blind to his nation’s faults and to other nation’s virtues.

If we had caused the accident that killed the Chinese pilot, then I would expect our nation to show contrition and make a deep apology. So far, the facts show that the Chinese pilot caused the accident, so no apology. I Rjung doesn’t care about the facts,; he or she just wants to show how deeply he or she hates the US and especially President Bush. OK, I’m not all that crazy about him either, but when the nation faces a crisis, it’s time to put partisan wrangling aside and pull together as a country. I don’t know about some of the SDMBers, but America is more important than my party.

In addition, gay folk are just as diverse as straight folk. MattMcl and I are both card-carrying homos, but we could not be further apart politically. We’re confirmed bachelors, not pod people for heaven’s sake! :smiley:

You might be thinking of Malcolm X, who was assassinated by fellow Muslims who hated him for breaking with the Nation of Islam. MLK was assassinated by a white racist, James Earl Ray.


You’re thinking of Malcolm X. Martin Luther King was assasinated by a white supremacist, despite what the King family thinks.

Have you read these threads? People are claiming that it was immoral of us to be intercepting Chinese communications and observing their military, which is what the plane was doing (I presume). That’s crap!

And then they complain that people who disagree with them are gullible sheep, ignorant bigots, jingoistic militarists, etc, etc.

I am by no means an apoligist for the government. Not a minute goes by where some government official doesn’t make a boneheaded, ignorant, or venal decision. I agree, freedom of speech is essential, criticism of the government is essential, accountabilty is essential. When the government, or the president, or the military does something wrong, I expect and insist that they be held accountable and forced to pay for their mistakes.

But this is not one of those cases. Any other country in the world would have debriefed our airmen about the accident, perhaps set up an investigation as to the cause of the crash. The would not hold our airmen hostage until we apologized.

Fair enough. Goboy, I never meant to imply that you were being a knee-jerker, or anything. But I do think it’s extreme (and inaccurate) to call someone a traitor for their opinion, however contemptuous it might be. And I’d hate to have to leave this country for showing contempt for the military or its leadership. Any soldier who doesn’t understand that he or she is defending the rights of all US citizens, regardless of their opinions, shouldn’t be a soldier.

Here’s the thing, though. Were the situation reversed, I believe we would still be holding the Chinese soldiers pending a formal apology from the Chinese government. They would be in officers’ quarters, with good food, and allowed to speak with representatives of their government, but they would be held. And for all the Chinese would call them hostages, we would not see it that way.

I agree that it’s silly to claim open-air intelligence gathering to be immoral is silly. But what might well be immoral, or at least unethical, is a double standard regarding data collection. The issue is not “should we be doing it?” The issue is “what would our reaction be if they were doing it to us?”

I also believe it’s remotely possible that the US government might deceive, inveigle, and obfuscate.

Sorry, I’m rushing and not phrasing well.

Reading [n]Jab**'s posts, at least, it is clear that he feels this is a moral issue. Yelling at him for that is counterproductive.

I was remembering something from a while back that made big news up here in Minneapolis. It had to do with one of those assassinations and some conspiracy behind it linking one group of activists against another. I assumed it was MLK. For the life of me I can’t remember the details of what I’m thinking, though.

Anyrate, correction made. I don’t want to hijack this any further, so I’ll check it out on my own.


Nice post. Let me nitpick, or at least get some clarification. The reconnaissance plane had cryptographic personnel on it. (Source: my memory of a webpage from The Guardian (Manchester)). That might qualify as, “intensive investigation”; it certainly is more intrusive than passively monitoring radio signals. Active code-breaking seems to be more than “reconnaissance”. Maybe it’s best characterized as “surveillance”.

Not that I really see much wrong in intelligence gathering, BTW. (Indeed, I believe it can be a stabilizing influence and worthy of our support.)

Traitor! Traitor!
This incident underlies that fact that serving in the armed forces can be dangerous work; (of course we all knew that).

Part of the sacrifices which I and other non-military types are asking of them and their families is that they sit tight for perhaps several weeks and let the diplomatic process work. I think it’s pretty clear that if China mistreats the US’s personnel in any way, then at the very least it would be many years before amicable relations are re-established. My fear is that the isolationist/nationalistic forces within China know this and may wish to proceed accordingly. After all, they’re still pissed off about their embassy and its personnel…

Thank you.

What we were doing when we got caught is the equivalent of using some gadget to listen in on someone else’s telephone conversation. Surely you all don’t think the government (or anyone else) is entitled to do that.

And, as andros said earlier, the fact that I’m unhappy with what my government is doing does NOT mean that I think the 24 should be abandoned. Bring 'em home and then stop spying on other countries! (By the same token, stop other countries from spying on us.)

It is not possible to have a moral standard that is too high.

This also annoyed me. Like being gay will make you what you are. Its just as bad as someone stereotyping negatively, albiet with less hostile intent. Haven’t you ever seen Lissener or Hastur andros?:slight_smile:

Jab, what about listening to someone’s RADIO conversation?

When you broadcast radio signals, you lose the right to have them considered private. Sorry. And what about reporters who pry into the private affairs of business who go about their private routines of cheating, gouging and polluting? Don’t these businesses deserve privacy? What makes you think absolute privacy is possible or desirable? There is no such thing, and never has been.

Now, Andros.

This is not a double standard. We collect information on other countries and attempt to prevent them from collecting information about us. Other countries collect information on us, and attempt to prevent us from collecting imformation about them. Where’s the double standard? Are you saying that by spying/surveilling other countries we lose the right to attempt to stop them from spying/surveilling us?

No, it is perfectly moral to both spy on others and prevent ourselves from being spied on. You have the right to prevent me from spying on you, but that doesn’t make me wrong for attempting to gather the information either. I still don’t get it.

We prevent spy/reconaissance planes from spying on us by intercepting the planes and jamming their receivers, not by ramming them, forcing them to crash, and holding them prisoner. I have no idea where people get the idea that the US would be shooting down the spy planes of other countries and arresting the pilots. This DOES NOT HAPPEN.

And how was goboy not supporting freedom of expression? All he was doing is telling them that they were using their constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech in a particularly bone-headed and offensive way. See, he was using HIS freedom of speech to argue that other people were saying stupid things. What’s wrong with that?

I guess we won’t be able to use it against them in court. :smiley:

Yeah, we got caught, so what? Are you saying that Uncle Sam had no business listening in on China?