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Let Our People Go

by Amy Zidell

04.09.01

This Almost Coherent is dedicated to our U.S. soldiers being held in China and to their families and friends during this most difficult time. Here's wishes for their safe and speedy return.


The continuing situation with our U.S. soldiers being held in China is appropriate to explore during Passover with the recurring Passover theme of, "Let my people go."

I'm not alone in my growing impatience with this unresolved situation. In thinking about the situation I was struck by a thought. I believe I've discovered some possible reasons for the prolonged situation on the back of my car insurance card of all places.

I don't know what type of vehicle insurance the U.S. soldiers or the Chinese have but if they have an insurance card anything similar to what State Farm issues for car insurance, I think it will help explain why things are taking place as they are and why it's taking so long for our soldiers to be released.

On the top of the card it states, "This card must be carried in the insured motor vehicle for production upon demand." Even if you swap out Motor Vehicle with Spy and/or Fighter Plane, the message of this information is clear. Maybe the whole apology diplomacy is to cover up the fact that this card was left in the Spy or Fighter Plane that's in the shop.

The next line, in big red all capital letters, reads, "If you have an accident notify the police immediately." This issue could be responsible for a lot of the delay. Not only is there the matter of determining which police to contact, the police might have a dispute over whose jurisdiction the accident is in. Perhaps the police and possibly the 911 system on Chinese islands are over taxed. This could result in delays simply responding to the call. The fact that a Chinese pilot died and the U.S. plane suffered more than $500.00 damage would mean there's no question that police would respond to the accident however.

There are then three numbered instructions/points. The first one says, "1. Write down names, addresses, telephone numbers, and license numbers of persons involved and of witnesses. Also write down the license plate number and state of each vehicle involved." Just as with the insurance card itself, the license could be in another flight suit, perhaps the one at the cleaners. Add to this possibility the language barrier, and it could take a significant amount of time just to decipher names and states. If the issue of international calls comes into play, well just you try to figure out the best calling plan let only the time zone difference so that you're calling at a time all parties are awake.

The second item states, "2. Do not admit fault. Do not discuss the accident with anyone except State Farm or police." I think this explains the whole apology issue even in the event there was something for the U.S. to apologize for.

The third numbered item reads, "3. Notify your agent promptly. (If any injuries, phone nearest State Farm Agent or Claim Office.) There may not be an insurance office on this island. That could easily cause delays in processing the various claims.

Below these numbered items, smaller red italicized text reads, "Examine policy exclusions carefully. This form does not constitute any part of your insurance policy." No wonder the diplomats are having a hard time. Have you ever read an insurance policy? Did you understand it? Imagine reading a Chinese insurance policy. If it's at all like any Chinese restaurant menus I've seen, it's full of errors and parts of it make no sense at all.

And this is if the parties are processing this accident through their insurance companies in the first place. Imagine the deductible they would pay on plane insurance. China and the U.S. may simply be trying to handle the matter without insurance companies so neither of their insurance rates will go up. This could take time seeing that the definition of our soldiers' detainment alone was a point of some debate.

I'm sure that everyone is sorry that there was an accident and that a pilot died. Our soldiers need to be released right away and then the diplomats can iron out there own settlements on their own time. What's happening now is like leaving victims of a car accident on the side of the road until the insurance is fully processed. That's ridiculous. Let our people go!


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