Back in 1968, the intelligence ship USS Pueblo was seized by North Korea in international waters. The crew was held and tortured, only released after the US gave coerced admissions of spying and apologies. To this day, the Pueblo ( currently used as a museum ship in Pyongyang) remains officially a commissioned vessel in the United States Navy.
In 2001 (other things did happen that year before 9/11), a US Navy EP-3 Orion spy plane was rammed by a Chinese fighter and had to land at a Chinese base, the Chinese demanded an apology before they released the crew and plane. (Ludicrous on its face — a lumbering, prop-driven design dating from the 1950’s chasing down and ramming a jet fighter? That’s like a tractor trailer chasing down and running over a Corvette in a vacant mall parking lot.)
The one thing the Chinese did that we had no right to complain about was that they returned the plane — in crates. We’d done the same thing in 1976, when a defecting Russian pilot flew his Mig-25 to a US airbase in Japan.
At the time, I thought the Chinese might keep the Orion as a propaganda piece. Fortunately, they didn’t.
Last year, when Russia invaded Georgia (the country, not the state), among other things they did was seize military materiel. Among them were four Humvees.
It must be made clear that these were United States property. They had been used during joint US-Georgian military exercises, and were being packed up to be shipped to Iraq.
And they still have them.
This is a gross insult. Those four vehicles were not the property of either combatant, but an officially neutral third nation — us. And the Russians intend to keep them, proclaiming them “trophies” of their great victory.
Like the Pueblo.
There is absolutely no reason why the Pueblo is still afloat and in North Korean hands. It should have been retaken or destroyed, not left to serve the propaganda purposes of the two-bit tyrants of Pyongyang (father and son).
Likewise, there is absolutely no reason why the Russians should be keeping those Humvees. They weren’t captured in battle. They weren’t taken from the enemy. They were stolen, plain and simple, and we should not tolerate this gross insult.
It’s a small matter, but small insults that go unchallenged lead to more assaults on our national sovereignty.
(Edit: links added. Sorry, I’m a bit rusty…)