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Mr. Tang, Who's Sorry Now?

April 12, 2001|DAVID PESCI | David Pesci is the author of the novel, "Amistad" (Marlowe & Co., 1998)

The Bush administration's so-called resolution (uh, can we have our plane back, too?) of this mini-hostage crisis with China was not only unnecessarily cloying, it was a total cave-in. Yes, the United States should have said it was sorry, several times. However, after hearing the text of the letter, I think President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell could have done better.

Below is an amended version, which we can still send to Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan.

Dear Mr. Minister,


Let us express our deepest regrets as they apply to this situation:

We're sorry your military fighter slammed into our unarmed spy plane when our plane was flying in international air space.

We're sorry this happened after your Mach 2.2 fighter buzzed within five feet of our turboprop, three times.

We're sorry our pilot didn't take his chances and ditch the plane in the Pacific instead of landing the "most sensitive weapon in our spy arsenal" in your very unfriendly country.

We're sorry you took our people hostage and stole equipment from our plane.

We're sorry the investment of American business keeps your country afloat economically.

We're sorry you still torture and execute innocent people in your country every day.

We're sorry you censor your news and ban most books, music, movies, art and thought.

We're sorry we won't be supporting your sorry Beijing Olympic bid.

We're sorry that any degree of equality, opportunity or freedom occurs in your country about as often as pandas mate in captivity.

We're sorry Jackie Chan likes L.A. a whole lot better ever since you guys took back Hong Kong.

We're sorry that we'll be broadcasting Ricky Martin, LeAnn Rimes and the Backstreet Boys 24-7 on radio-free China from now until your pathetic despotic regime crumbles under the weight of Levis, Starbucks, Krispy Kremes, Nikes, Julia Roberts movies and Keanu Reeves DVDs.

We're sorry but we need you to give us our plane back now or we'll be returning you to least-favored nation status and directing all U.S. business investing in your country to pull up stakes and move everything to Vietnam.

We're sorry, but what in the above don't you understand?

Thanks. Have a nice day!

Uncle Sam

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