As a public service to OFK readers, I’d like to remind you that on Day Two of the Cheonan crisis, Noam Chomsky’s favorite Korea analyst and military expert, John Feffer, was quoted thusly:
“I doubt that North Korea was involved in the incident,” said John Feffer, co-director of the Foreign Policy in Focus program at the Institute for Policy Studies. “It didn’t seem to involve any artillery fire from the North.
Feffer disagreed with the assumption that North Korea attacked the South Korean naval vessel, noting this incident is different from the previous clashes that involved fishing boats of the two Koreas crossing their sea border.
“There have been naval clashes between North and South in the past, but these have usually involved rising tensions, warnings, fishing boats crossing the NLL,” he said. “But this was, as far as we know, a surprise. And there was no larger reason why the North might engage in such a surprise attack. [Yonhap]
Today, readers (thank you) point me to Feffer’s return from seclusion. He now concedes the North Korean culpability that he’d initially denied, and even admits that President Lee was “reluctant to point the finger at North Korea in the first place.” This might have been a good beginning to an honest admission that he’d erred before a global audience because of his lack of objectivity, and his general ignorance of North Korea and military matters in general. Lacking this capacity, Feffer asks us to join him in seeing the humor in his complete, verifiable, and irreversible discrediting. There are two main problems with this. First, Feffer isn’t funny. Second, Feffer’s attempt at humor is tasteless:
Kim Jong Il must work for the American Enterprise Institute. Or maybe it’s the Heritage Foundation. The North Korean dictator doesn’t talk much about his non-resident fellowship at a right-wing U.S. think tank. It might not go over well with the Politburo in Pyongyang. [….]
North Korea’s sinking of the Cheonan, a South Korean ship that went down in March in the Yellow Sea near the maritime border between the two countries, is just what the right-wing doctors have ordered. Japan was looking a little squishy on the Okinawa base issue. China needed some reminders about just how rogue its erstwhile ally really is. And South Korea’s conservative President Lee Myung Bak wanted confirmation that his containment approach to the north was justified. [….]
If the Dear Leader didn’t receive under-the-table payments from John Bolton and friends, what on earth motivated such a self-destructive act?
Ordinarily, I would say, “Keep your day job.”
Still, it’s funny — not because Feffer’s evocation of Heritage scholars toasting the drowning of the Cheonan crew members induces peals of laughter, but because I couldn’t help thinking that John Feffer must work for Kim Jong Il, only he doesn’t talk about it much because it might cause him to be dismissed as a fascist tool and purged from journalists’ blackberries everywhere. And if you think about it, that would mean that John Feffer actually works for the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute, and how the hell would he ever live with that kind of moral stain on his
North Korea’s sinking of the Cheonan, a South Korean ship that went down in March in the Yellow Sea near the maritime border between the two countries, is just what the right-wing doctors have ordered. Japan was looking a little squishy on the Okinawa base issue. China needed some reminders about just how rogue its erstwhile ally really is. And South Korea’s conservative President Lee Myung Bak wanted confirmation that his containment approach to the north was justified.
There is an alternative theory: North Korea’s sinking of the Cheonan has exposed John Feffer’s delusions about North Korea to sensible people all over the world. Because in the end, most people don’t really think this is all about John Feffer, or how sorry we should all feel for him because Kim Jong Il makes him look st00pid. They think this is about how to deter the sort of sociopath who, without provocation and with malice aforethought, pins 46 young sailors inside the twisted wreckage of a ship sinking in a cold, dark sea, or the grief-stricken loved ones they thought of as they took their last breaths on this earth.
But then, you can only judge that sort of thing if you hate peace.