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America: The Good Neighbor Charlie Joseph CharlieJ cajoseph@us.hsanet.net To this I would like to add excerpts from the Author's Notes of a book I'm reading. It's a 1997 Naval novel, so the author's comments have a military viewpoint, but the thoughts are worth reading. It's one of those military techno-thrillers a la Tom Clancy, but the author is an Englishman, Patrick Robinson. The book is 'Nimitz Class'.

Some excerpts - remember these are from the Foreward, not part of his fictional tale-telling.

"Imagine New York's Empire State Building, turned flat on its side, moving across the ocean at over thirty knots......
Today these modern U.S. (aircraft) carriers rove the oceans, ruling a five-hundred mile radius of air, sea and land wherever they move. But these giants do not travel alone. They are accompanied by a small flotilla of guided missile cruisers, destroyers, and frigates, and two hunter-killer submarines. Loosely arranged in classic operational disposition, this Carrier Battle Group is known in Navy shorthand as the CVBG. At the hub of this ten-ship surface group are some eighty fighter and attack aircraft, plus an array of anti-submarine aircraft and helicopters. (Charliej's note: The anti-sub (ASW) are now configured as and known as Sea-Control. i.e. they handle all shipping now, not just subs.).....

Other countries of military wealth and sophistication - the United Kingdom, France, Germany - lack the capacity to to raise even one comparable force. Not even Russia with its gigantic, but moribund Navy can match the power of an American Carrier Battle Group. The U.S.A. runs twelve of them....

.....With forty of America's forty-two allies residing across various oceans from the U.S. mainland, it is well that 85% of all the land on this planet lies within range of an American Carrier Group. And 95% of the world's people.
Yet few of these hundreds of millions of people realize their lives are lived in comparative peace and security because of the iron-fisted defense capability of the United States Navy. Most of them believe this security has been orchestrated by the United Nations, or NATO or by some quasi-European defense project. But when push comes to shove, it is the U.S. Carrier Battle Group that matters. This is the force that is apt to show up of the shores of potential aggressors...."


While I'm warmed to the subject, let me stick something of my two cents worth in here. Customs, the Immigration Service and the Border Patrol (which is part of the Immigration Service) have been in the news much during the past holidays. With the apprehension of the guy in Washington, the NY connection and the New Hampshire thing which turned out not to be connected. Plus the handling (or maybe mishandling) of the 6 year old Cuban boy's situation. The above mentioned services have come out well in some instances and taken wrath in others. But let's step back and look. The people running these things may not always be right. You may not always agree with them (that's one of the freedoms you enjoy that more than half the people in the rest of world do not). But they are trying to do right. I realize the little boy is not a terrorist situation and could probably be handled better. But let's look at this terrorist thing. It is real in the world. But despite that we've had relatively little problems within our borders. (Most of what we've had is from our own malcontents within the country-like Oklahoma and the Capitol shooting). Do you really think that's an accident? Stop and think for a minute! There's real people doing some real hard and serious work for you. After 19 years as a part-time US Immigration Inspector (following a full 20 year Navy career), I just relinquished my position due to the increased responsibilities of my full-time job. But, folks I can flat out tell you, Customs, Immigration, the Border Patrol, the US Coast Guard and for that matter the US Military is doing one helluva good job of securing you a free country in which to live and pursue your happiness, whatever that happiness may be. Sure they screw up and stumble now and then, but their mission is to secure these things for YOU, the citizens of the US, not for the State (State being country) as is done in most of the rest of the world.
Well, enough of my soapbox.

Charliej



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