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Inside the Ring
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in Beijing that the arms sale is “a serious violation” of the U.S.-China communiques that guide relations and “gross interference in China’s internal affairs, which will undermine China’s national security, and create disturbance and obstacles to the peaceful development of the cross-Strait relations.”
“The U.S. should take immediate measures to correct its mistakes, cancel relevant plans to sell weapons to Taiwan, put an end to its military links with Taiwan, and stop disturbing the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations so as to prevent further damage to the Sino-U.S. relations as well as peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” he said.
Adm. Tim Keating, the U.S. Pacific commander, was en route to Hong Kong when the suspension was announced this week but continued with that visit. An Army meeting with the Chinese on disaster relief is on hold, said Navy Capt. Jeff Breslau, the chief command spokesman.
Keane on Iraq
Retired Army Gen. Jack Keane, a key presidential adviser on the war in Iraq, recently explained for the first time in public some of the details behind the military surge in Iraq that has helped stabilize the war-torn country after what he said was “a failed strategy of three-plus years.”
The surge “was the most difficult challenge I have ever undertaken in my life” because of the prospect of increased casualties for troops and risks of more if it failed, Gen. Keane said in an emotional speech.
In military terms, the surge was a “a counteroffensive, similar to [the] Normandy invasion” and other historical counteroffensives that involved higher casualties, greater risk and an unpredictable outcome, he said.
President Bush correctly decided to put Gen. David Petraeus, Gen. Ray Odierno and Ambassador Ryan Crocker in charge of the new effort, and “what they did is truly extraordinary, and this is going to get studied for years,” he said. Though it normally takes years to defeat a counterinsurgency, in Iraq that was done in less than 1 1/2 years, Gen. Keane said.
Gen. Keane said the true heroes are “the Iraqi people themselves” who stood up to the terrorists, often in the face of horrible personal terrorist atrocities, to reject al Qaeda and the insurgents.
The retired four-star general also praised the work of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, who he said understand the nature of the threat posed by terrorism yet reflect the highest values in the world and those of the American people. By 2007, U.S. troops in Iraq “were transitioned from the toughness and steely-eyed infantry skills that they have to have to deal with people that are trying to kill them, and within minutes, [show] the compassion and love that they have for Iraqi citizens and families that they’re willing to die for.”
“They are not political people. They connected it. They understood what this really was. This was a threat to the security of their loved ones back at home, and what has always separated them from the rest of American society is they were willing to give up their life for it, and what an extraordinary thing that truly is,” he said.
Petraeus on Keane
In a videotaped message at the dinner, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, new commander of the U.S. Central Command, praised Gen. Keane for his efforts to get the military surge going in Iraq.
“Gen. Keane has served our country exceedingly well and very courageously over the years, from the jungles of Vietnam to the battlefields of the Potomac,” Gen. Petraeus said, with the reference to “Potomac” meaning the behind-the-scenes political battles in Washington over the Iraq war.
Gen. Petraeus recalled how Gen. Keane was standing next to him at Fort Campbell, Ky., years ago when he was accidentally shot in the chest by a soldier who had fallen and fired his rifle during a live-fire exercise.
About the Author
Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
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