- The Washington Times - Friday, April 27, 2001

Heroic dogfight

The newspapers in Taipei, where life is lived under the shadow of Beijing's belligerence, often have a little fun tweaking the dragon. Consider this account of "the heroic dogfight," by Wun Wing Lo of the Taiwan Daily Gazette:

"In a heroic dogfight over international waters off the mainland China coast, a ´60s era American-built Lockheed Electra airliner with 24 U.S. passenger/observers aboard chewed up one of China's best state-of-the-art supersonic fighter aircraft. The Americans, utilizing the infrequently seen combat tactic of straight and level flight, often accomplished by relying solely on autopilot, engaged the unfortunate combat jet and knocked it out of the air using only one of the EP-3's four formidable rotating air mass propellers. After the action the crew and passenger/observers dropped in on China´s Hainan Island Resort for some much-deserved R&R as guests of the Chinese government."

Raising Lafayette

A Senate bill has been introduced this week to confer the extremely rare title of "Honorary U.S. Citizen" upon Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier.


General Marquis de Lafayette, born in France in 1757, risked life and aristocracy to aid America in its revolution against Great Britain only to be abandoned by our American forefathers in his own time of need.

"At the age of 19, determined to dedicate himself to the cause of our liberty, he bought a ship and sailed to the American colonies to volunteer his services," explains Sen. John Warner, Virginia Republican. "In early summer 1777, soon after his arrival, Congress voted him the rank and commission of major general. Just two months later, Lafayette was wounded at the Battle of Brandywine, forever endearing himself to American soldiers."

It was General Lafayette, in fact, who lured British troops to Yorktown, Va., where they were trapped by General George Washington and forced to surrender.

Later, facing arrest by revolutionary forces in France, Lafayette was captured when crossing the French border into the Netherlands. He claimed American citizenship, and appealed to U.S. ministers for help. Yet even though Lafayette had been made an honorary citizen by Virginia and Maryland before the U.S. Constitution was ratified, his calls went unanswered.

"He spent the next five years in prison," says Mr. Warner. "I feel that we must now set the record straight by making him an honorary U.S. citizen."

The senator´s bill notes that since Lafayette´s death in 1834, an American flag has flown over his grave in France and has never been removed. Even Nazi Germans who occupied France during World War II left the flag alone.

In more than 200 years of independence, the United States has conferred honorary citizenship on only four other individuals, including Winston Churchill and Mother Teresa.

Remembering our own

Nearly 18 years ago, Secretary of State Colin Powell was reminded during a hearing on Capitol Hill yesterday, a truck laden with explosives crashed through the U.S. Marine barracks near Beirut International Airport, killing 241 American soldiers, sailors and Marines.

It remains the single deadliest terrorist attack on Americans since the sinking of the USS Maine in Cuba more than 100 years ago.

"I was in Lebanon last week. We went out to the site where the Marines were," House Appropriations Committee Chairman Frank R. Wolf of Virginia told Mr. Powell. "It´s a parking lot. It looks like National Airport. There´s nothing. There´s not a memorial at the embassy.

"There´s a secretary who´s working on , raising money a dollar at a time, a dollar a person, has now raised $12,000."

Everyone but Hillary

An invitation-only, two-day "Women´s Leadership Summit" is being convened today by the American Bar Association at Harvard´s Kennedy School, and get a load of who´s participating: former Attorney General Janet Reno, National Organization for Women President Patricia Ireland, former congresswoman Patricia Schroeder, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and National Public Radio´s Nina Totenberg.

We´re told the ladies and other invitees will examine how women who have attained positions at the highest levels can use their influence to advance equal opportunity and remove the obstacles to women´s full participation from the courtroom to the boardroom and beyond.

Clarifying blame

Former U.S. ambassador to China James R. Lilley meant to praise President Bush not impugn the late Dean Acheson with his comments in a Page One article for The Washington Times yesterday.

Mr. Lilley had praised Mr. Bush for being clear about the U.S. commitment to defend Taiwan, contrasting that to the vagueness of U.S. policy toward South Korea prior to the Korean War.

"Secretary Dean Acheson was, in my view, one of America´s greatest secretaries of state," Mr. Lilley, now a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said in a "clarification" yesterday. "The war in Korea in 1950 was started by North Korea´s Kim Il-sung with the support of China and the Soviet Union. What Acheson said and did not say had little influence on this outcome."

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