- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 7, 2004

More debate over outsourcing

I would like to expand Bruce Bartlett’s Commentary column on tech outsourcing to similar complaints from the garment workers in the Southern states (“Anxieties over tech outsourcing,” Wednesday). When I was growing up in Philadelphia during the 1940s, the Northeast was the nation’s hosiery and garment manufacturing center. By the mid-‘50s, these capabilities and jobs were gone.

Why? Because Southern labor was cheaper. People in the Northeast were put out of work, and factories were abandoned. Over time, the standard of living in the South rose to what it is today. (The Northeast never tried to compete.) You can’t force layer upon layer of worker benefits on management and expect to survive when competitors come along. This is precisely what happened to the Northeast, and it is happening to the South.



I didn’t know American farmers and European farmers were competing for a global market in the 18th century. Mr. Bartlett seems to be confusing corporate entities with poor immigrant pioneers who were more concerned with survival than competing in a global market. Beyond Mr. Bartlett’s use of a poor analogy, if you follow his argument to the extreme, the United States (and all first-tier economies) should immediately outsource all manufacturing and technology jobs to second- and third-tier economies. Then we could really get ready for all those future jobs that will be magically created, jobs that apparently will have nothing to do with manufacturing or technology.

If we outsource high-income jobs overseas, we also are outsourcing tax revenues overseas. Has it come to this: Maximum profits for the corporate entity are more important than the economic health of the body it feeds on — the American worker? It now seems that some economic “wizards” believe that lowering wages (which exporting and outsourcing jobs effectively does) won’t negatively affect the U.S. economy, not to mention tax revenues or the deficit.


Wake Forest, N.C.

Intelligence won the day at Midway

In your editorial “Mr. Tenet’s speech” (yesterday) you wrote that “the decisive Pacific naval battle of World War II, Midway, was fought and won on only a best guess of the location of the Japanese fleet.” This is incorrect and misleading. The location of the key elements of the Japanese Combined Fleet was known, not guessed at, through dogged intelligence collection and analysis. Here are the facts:

Most of the Japanese Navy sortied for the Battle of Midway, but U.S. Navy code breakers had pieced together the operational plans of all but two main task groups before the Combined Fleet departed Japanese waters. Only the “main body” of battleships and a seaplane carrier group, neither of which would play a role in the Midway strike, went undetected. Of the seven Japanese naval task groups, U.S. naval intelligence had the future battle plans and locations for five: the crucial Japanese aircraft carrier group — the Kido Butai — the Midway Invasion Force, the Invasion Support Force and the two Aleutian Forces. The positions of these key Japanese groups all were predicted exactly through signal intelligence and then confirmed by direct air or submarine reconnaissance, in some cases 24 to 48 hours before the Japanese expected to be discovered.

Was there guessing behind this intelligence work? Some, but the U.S. commanders were not about to go into battle based on guesses. Adm. Chester Nimitz, commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet, and his skeptical operations staff used “devil’s advocates” analysis of competing hypotheses, constant questioning and hourly scrutiny of his intelligence officers to ensure the U.S. Navy would know what the enemy would do. Adm. Nimitz made sure any guessing done by his intelligence staff rested on a rock-solid foundation of proven facts, tight logic and hard reasoning.

Adm. Nimitz and his carrier commanders, Adm. Frank Fletcher and Adm. Ray Spruance, knew exactly where to find the Kido Butai’s carriers. On May 27, 1942, more than a week before the Battle of Midway, as Adm. Nimitz gave Adm. Fletcher and Adm. Spruance their instructions for the forthcoming battle, he asked Cmdr. Edwin Layton, the Pacific Fleet intelligence officer, “When and where do you estimate that we will make contact with the enemy?” Cmdr. Layton replied, “I anticipate that first contact will be made by our search planes out of Midway at 0600 Midway time, June 4, 325 degrees northwest at a distance of 175 miles.” When the Japanese were sighted at Midway on June 4, Adm. Nimitz told Cmdr. Layton he was “exactly five minutes, five degrees, and five miles off.” The Japanese carrier planes were first spotted at 0555, bearing 320 degrees, 180 miles from Midway.

Best guess? Hardly. Professional intelligence and meeting hard demands for accuracy and foresight by critical, supportive and open-minded leaders is far closer to the truth. We should be so fortunate today.



Finding peace between Pakistan and India

Thank you for the excellent editorial “Musharraf’s day at Parliament” in your Jan. 25 edition.

It very clearly shows the problems for peace in the Indian subcontinent when dealing with the Kashmir issue. Whenever there has been any attempt at peace initiatives, the Pakistani military has scuttled that process. In 1999, when Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was seriously negotiating with then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, it was the current Pakistani president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who attacked India at Kargil.

I sincerely hope for the sake of peace that Gen. Musharraf has turned a new leaf and will not damage the current peace efforts by another misadventure.


Mount Pleasant, Mich.

Orwellian dreams?

Martin Rubin’s review of my book “Inside George Orwell: A Biography” was fair, except on two points (“The protean Orwell was scourge of inequity, cant,” Books, Jan. 25). Mr. Rubin says that claiming that “Animal Farm” was hijacked for propaganda purposes by the Congress for Cultural Freedom (aided and abetted by Sonia Orwell and his publisher, Fredric Warburg) misses the point that Orwell wrote both “Animal Farm” and “1984” specifically referring to Soviet communism. Mr. Rubin also claims Orwell was more anti-Semitic than I have admitted.

In the case of “Animal Farm,” it is true, he was overtly attacking Stalin and the other Soviet leaders he thought had betrayed the Russian Revolution and was happy that translations of the book were distributed throughout Eastern Europe. However, even there he indicated that the parable had “a wider application.”

In the case of “1984,” he specifically indicated (as my book explains) that he was attacking totalitarian revolutions in general — i.e., totalitarianism of both left and right. Orwell was very upset that in America it had been mistaken as targeting only one side, and a letter of complaint by him about this was published in Life magazine.

He also had a powerful distaste for the extreme right, the very people who used his work as Cold War ammunition, and did not wish to be identified with them. In the Partisan Review at the end of 1941, for instance, he wrote, “[Catholic] hatred of Russia is so venomous, enough even to disgust an anti-Stalinist like myself.”

My book also records that when Sonia Orwell saw the doctored ending of the cartoon of “Animal Farm” (which she probably was unaware was financed covertly by the CIA), she was outraged. She thought it distorted her late husband’s intentions and specifically refused permission for it to be shown in schools.

As to anti-Semitism, Orwell was anti-Zionist because he was anti-colonialist and believed the Arab case was being ignored. He also objected to British soldiers being murdered by Zionist terrorists.

However, from the late 1930s he was decidedly not anti-Semitic, and in December 1942 he was one of the first BBC journalists to broadcast news of the Holocaust to the world and condemn Nazi crimes without reservation.



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