"President Trump? Congress? This is front and center on many minds right now. Forget August recess. We have work to do."
During the past week, our country has lost eight of our young men. One might say,"Big deal - Chicago loses that many to gang violence on any ordinary week." True. But these eight young men died under very mysterious circumstances. Seven died in the middle of the night while on a Navy ship cruising through international waters. And the other died at the hands of one of the most murderous regimes on the planet.
Before I address what happened aboard the USS Fitzgerald, I want to talk about Otto Warmbier. This young man, full or promise, was a soccer player, gifted student, and homecoming king in high school. He went on to the University of Virginia and became an honors student.
Almost two years ago, Otto wanted to visit China. Once there, an opportunity arose through a Chinese company to visit North Korea for five days. Why did he want to go to North Korea? I don't know. Maybe it was like to the Steven Covey saying, Otto wanted "Seek to understand". While in North Korea, he wanted to take an innocent souvenir - a political poster. That turned out to be a fatal mistake.
He was convicted of a "hostile act" in a North Korean court and sentence to 18 years of hard labor. After spending over a year and a half of his prison sentence, Otto Warmbier was pardoned to come home. He had been in a coma for over a year, and I believe the North Koreans knew he was close to the end. So rather than have a corpse come back to the United States, they released this young man who was just days from death. How did this healthy young man get into a coma? No answers as yet - just many questions for the Nork regime.
Now the USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62). On June 17th at 2:30 in the morning, the USS Fitzgerald was rammed by a Philippine flagged container ship, the ACX Crystal. Seven innocent sailors died, drown in the quarters in which they were sleeping. One might ask how in the world could a state of the art, AEGIS equipped warship, get rammed in the open sea?
Having worked for companies who supplied equipment to the DDG ship class for years, I know something about these ships. They are almost invulnerable to attack. Why? The phase arrayed radar is so sensitive, it can (as the joke goes) "hear a fly fart at 10,000 feet". So in the middle of the open sea, with a container ship doing very unusual maneuvers, the USS Fitzgerald allowed itself to get rammed. Not only rammed, but for a while, in danger of sinking.
My suggestion to Congress is simple. Rather than spending thousands of hours and countless millions of dollars on this Russia-Trump connection (by the way, as we can now see from Syria that so called Russian connection is looking at bit tenuous), we should be investigating both the Warmbier death and the USS Fitzgerald incident. Both of these incidents stink to high heaven. There is way, way more to each or these stories - which we all need to know.
Eight mysterious young deaths. Eight young men - gone in the early stages of adult life. Eight families left to grieve and question why. And a nation on edge, also wondering what has happened. President Trump? Congress? This is front and center on many minds right now. Forget August recess. We have work to do.