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Freedom: Use It Or Lose It. Like In The Excellent 80's Movie Iron Eagle!

Posted by on Jan. 14, 2015 at 10:01 PM
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Are you familiar with the U.S. Freedom of Navigation program?  I don't know to what extent FON exercises are still staged, if at all.  But it was the premise of the 1986 movie Iron Eagle.  Remember?  An anonymous Middle Eastern country shot down a US fighter over the Mediterranean because the pilot was engaging in these exercises.  Said country claimed that their territory and airspace extended 200 miles off their shores, even though international law only allowed 12 miles.

Fun movie...see it if you have the chance.

Back to Freedom of Navigation.  Copied this from a paper submiltted to the Naval War College faculty back in 1992  ('sIt's an opinion piece, but this little excerpt here is the most articulate description of the program I could find.

Although the United States remains a non-signatory of the 1982
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the U.S.
strongly supports, and adheres to, all portions of the Convention
regarding navigation on and over the high seas, rights of innocent
passage through territorial seas, and rights of transit passage
through international straits.
The U.S. Freedom of Navigation (FON)
program is designed to exercise those rights and ensure that
customary adherence to excessive sea claims do not, by default,
become international law.

And this concept of literally pushing the limits has been on my mind a lot with the Charlie Hebdo news. 

In the French Muslim students not standing and honoring the moment of silence post 

QueenBarbie posted this article in which can be found...


At the Pierre de Geyter Middle School in St. Denis, a largely Muslim suburb north of Paris, Iannis Roder has taught history for the past 15 years. He says the day after the killings at the magazine, the school staff knew it would have problems.

"Our pupils — a minority — didn't want to do the minute of silence because they thought that Charlie Hebdo was a newspaper that didn't have the right to make these caricatures," says Roder.

Roder says the students called it blasphemy and he had to explain that blasphemy is a religious concept that doesn't exist in French law.

"That was very difficult to explain because their point of view, their lives, are very religious. And they are convinced that the religion is above the law of the French Republic," he says.



In a corner convenience store, three men in their 30s are hanging out. I ask what they think about the Charlie Hebdo killings. 

"I'm not saying what they did was good," Hakim Dridi says of the killers.

But, he adds, "those cartoonists shouldn't have been doing that. They know Muslims are practicing their religion and they should leave them alone. They provoked it and they knew it was coming because they had a bodyguard."

The folks at Charlie Hebdo and anybody who similarly pushes the limits are doing important work.  Freedom of Speech exercises are necessary.  Without enough people drawing caricatures of Mohammed, looking at them, buying them, broadcasting them...the freedom to do so is lost by default.  Obviously, that also goes for Jesus, or Obama, or Hillary or cancer victims or whatever other offensive cartoon can be imagined.  If folks go long enough abiding by outlandish and unreasonable demands, eventually the expectation that they will continue to do so is NOT unreasonable.  And something as simple as pictures is accepted as grounds for slaughter.




by on Jan. 14, 2015 at 10:01 PM
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