By John E. Carey
October 14, 2006
As a twenty year Naval Officer, I was trained to value highly every American life. We especially looked out for American Citizens in trouble overseas. The philosophy always was that the power and might of the United States of America should always be brought to bear to defend and rescue "lost" Americans or otherwise troubled American citizens overseas. Often, a diplomatic "call" (ie visit) from almost anyone in authority from the United States of America is enough to make a tin horn ruler release a wrongly held U.S. citizen. I saw it work with my own eyes many times; and my father had stories of how well it worked in his generation.
We currently have a U.S. citizen in jail in Vietnam for over a year: Mrs. Thuong N. "Cuc" Foshee. She has been in jail for a year without charges, without representation and without medical care. We know personally of cases where strong men perished under similar Vietnamese incarceration.
This is a human rights issue.
If your Mother was jailed overseas in Vietnam or Cuba or China or some other hostile place; what would you do? Well, the Communist government of Vietnam has been holding an American citizen, Mrs. Thuong N. "Cuc" Foshee, without charges, medical care or legal councel for over a year. Cuc Foshee's daughter and family have petitioned their government to no avail. So we lend our voice to the cause and we ask you to petition your Senators and Congressmen and Congresswomen in the cause of a little guy overlooked in the big world of international politics. We ask you to stand up and be counted for Cuc Foshee.
The Secretary of State is about to fly off to Asia for meetings in China, Japan and South Korea a reaction to North Korea's apparent nuclear weapon test earlier this week. Very important work and arguably the most important trip of her tenure as Secretary of State. The Secretary of State hasn't been in this part of the world smoothing egos, talking diplomatically, offering substantive solutions to serious problems, and doing the other things Secretaries of State do for quite a while.
In July 2006, the U.S. Secretary of State was scheduled to go to China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Malaysia. All that diplomacy never happened, save the Malaysia piece. Given recent events in North Korea and the difficult decisions to be made now, would that July trip have paid some dividends?
In July the U.S. Secretary of State did make it to Malaysia for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers meeting. Instead of visiting with heads of state in Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul and Hanoi, the Secretary of State went to a club meeting of Foreign Ministers and played the piano for the assembly at dinner (Brahms' Sonata in D Minor, 2nd Movement).
For right or wrong, the Secretary of State rushed back to the Middle East, it seemed to the Asians, to deal with the troubles of Israel; a small and insignificant nation in the eyes of many in the vast populations of Asia.
And although the Secretary of State is now going to China, Japan and South Korea, one Asian nation is still left off the agenda: Vietnam.
Granted, Vietnam is not a part of the current flap over North Korea. But we still care about Vietnam as there is unfinished business there for the U.S.
We care about Vietnam for many reasons; not the least of which is that the Communist government has been holding an American citizen, Mrs. Thuong N. "Cuc" Foshee, without charges, medical care or legal council for over a year.
Add to that, the president is supposed to go to Vietnam in November and Vietnam is awaiting word on entry into the World Trade Organization and receipt of Permanent Normal Trade Relations with the U.S. All that is important; and we know there are issues, like the North Korean situation, of vastly greater importance.
We urge the U.S. government to quickly resolve the case of Mrs. Foshee.