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The Pentagon is struggling with the very tight schedule for deploying
a national missile defense, or NMD, by 2005, as called for in the
current program. Under the current schedule, President Clinton is
supposed to make the big decision on whether or not to deploy by this
summer. But as anyone who ever covered the president knows, he’s late
for everything. Reporters call it “Clinton time” and factor in delays
for any Clinton-attended event. Clinton time on NMD is affecting the
deployment decision, which now could be delayed until around election
time this fall. That’s going to create problems for the Pentagon, we are
told. To meet the 2005 deadline, the first item the Pentagon must build
is a large radar station on remote Shemya Island in the Aleutians. But
unless the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty is amended soon — an
unlikely prospect considering Moscow’s vehement opposition — the radar
construction will violate the pact. With a very short construction
season on the north Pacific island, delaying the presidential decision
could force the Pentagon to miss the 2005 deployment target.

Pentagon lawyers have determined that the digging part of the Shemya
construction would not violate the ABM Treaty. But pouring the concrete
would. They are said to be working overtime looking for a loophole that
will allow construction to go ahead on Shemya without violating the
pact.

Arms controllers outside the Pentagon, however, are digging in their
heels, opposing any construction to avoid upsetting Moscow and violating
the treaty they regard as the arms control Holy Grail.

Tailwind, part II

A production company retained by former Army special forces soldiers
is nearing completion of a documentary billed as the antidote to CNN’s
discredited story, “Valley of Death: Operation Tailwind.”

The CNN-Time magazine collaboration charged that Army commandos set
out to kill American defectors in the Laotian jungle, killed civilians
and used deadly sarin nerve gas in 1970. Ex-Green Berets vehemently
denied the allegations. A Pentagon investigation found no evidence to
support the June 7, 1998 broadcast. CNN retracted the story and has
settled a series of lawsuits from Vietnam veterans whom the network
essentially charged with murder.

Jimmy Dean, secretary of the Special Forces Association, says CNN
never fulfilled a promise to give his group equal time. So, it hired a
production company, which conducted interviews with Tailwind
participants at association headquarters in Fayettville, N.C., not far
from Fort Bragg, home of Army Special Operations Command.

“Although Valley of Death has been proven false and CNN retracted the
story, it was a very weak retraction,” Mr. Dean said. “We went out and
obtained an independent production company to film a documentary that
will give the American public the real story of Operation Tailwind.
We’re going to get a major TV network to air it. We’re hoping a major
network will, maybe the History Channel.”

The title is, “Operation Tailwind: The Real Story.” Interview
subjects include members of the secretive, Vietnam-era Studies and
Observation Group (SOG), Marine helicopter pilots and Air Force pilots
who dropped tear gas bombs to help the commandos escape. All 16 SOG
combatants were wounded, but survived the mission to disrupt supply
lines and are alive today.

Mr. Dean, who retired in 1966 as an Army master sergeant, said the
production company is bearing the cost in hopes of profiting on the
finished tape.

Said an association statement, “The team produced never-before-seen
8mm film shot from the Cobra helicopters, an audio tape of actual radio
transmissions during the Hatchet Force elements extraction, along with
actual operation combat maps, plots, photos and hand-written notes.”

Editor’s note: WorldNetDaily was the first news agency to debunk
CNN’s “Operation Tailwind.” Read Joseph Farah’s Between the Line’s
column,

“CNN’s deceitful Vietnam
expose.”

Intercepts

  • Former Navy Lt. Mary Louise “Missy” Cummings, one of the Navy’s first women fighter pilots, is out with a book on her ultimately failed effort to join the carrier fleet on the F-18 Hornet.

    “Hornets Nest” accuses the Navy of condoning sex discrimination from her male flying mates as she attempted to qualify as a carrier pilot on the fighter-bomber.

    “The Navy, and especially the fighter community, is not ready to accept women in the roles of warriors and fighter pilots,” the book charges. “Her tour in fighters is marred by blatant discrimination and criminal acts of sabotage by both her peers and superiors.”

    Ms. Cummings, a Naval Academy graduate, calls “Hornets Nest” a “ruthlessly honest and startling account of the trials and tribulations” of an aviation pioneer.

    Now a professor at Virginia Tech College of Engineering, Ms. Cummings will be signing books Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble in Georgetown.

    In 1995, a Navy board recommended ending her flight status for what it said was erratic flying. An admiral overruled the board. Ms. Cummings later resigned for medical reasons.

  • Navy Capt. Everett Greene was honored at a retirement ceremony yesterday, never gaining the admiral’s star the Navy promised. He plans to enter Howard University Law School to learn how to defend military personnel caught up in the same sort of charges that capped his 30-year career.

    Capt. Greene, a Seal commando, was accused by two women officers of maintaining an unduly friendly relationship while all were stationed at the Naval Bureau of Personnel. The Navy handled the complaints privately. But, when Capt. Greene was nominated to the rank of rear admiral, the women reinstated the complaints. The captain requested a court-martial to clear his name.

    That’s just what happened. A military judge in 1995 dismissed some charges and the jury acquitted him on all other counts.

    But John Dalton, who was Navy secretary at the time, still deemed his friendships as inconsistent with fraternization rules and removed his name from a promotion list.

    “It’s one of those things,” said the 52-year-old Capt. Greene, who plans to pursue the promotion through a personnel review board. “I still feel that if I could get a fair review I could get the promotion restored.”

    Said William Little, the attorney who defended him at court-martial, “He was a man who was wrongfully accused and, though acquitted, punished far beyond that which would have been adjudged at his court-martial.”

  • Several members of Congress privately are up in arms over the work of Robert Sutter, the CIA’s top China analyst. Mr. Sutter directed the recent production of a top-secret National Intelligence Estimate for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that contains this whopper: China’s communist government will soon disappear — something China skeptics say is not only wishful thinking but bad analysis unsupported by the facts.


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