James Taranto, my favorite blogger, writes “Best of the Web” on the Wall Street Journal’s online op-ed page. Today, he brilliantly played back the words of the North-Korea-is-worse-than-Iraq crowd of a year ago, in the context of the new gas chamber revelations (it starts about two-thirds of the way down the column). As you may recall, one of the arguments proferred against the war in Iraq was that North Korea was worse. One has to question what this has to do with whether invading Iraq made sense or not. After all, I can count the number of serious advocates of direct military action against North Korea on the fingers of The Fugitive’s right hand; one may indeed be worse, but that doesn’t mean both problems are best solved the same way.
The better question is, what happened to all the urgency about North Korea after the Third Infantry hitched its tow cable to that hollow bronze likeness of Saddam’s neck? The silence of this same crowd today tells us volumes about their insincerity about North Korea. To them, North Korea was nothing more than a logically flawed excuse to do nothing in Iraq (they never actually offered a solution for North Korea, either). Where do we stand today? The Bush administration is stalling until November, not wanting another crisis to deal with now. As Taranto points out, Kerry advocates more of the same process of negotiation and appeasement that got us into the present mess in the first place. Nobody on either side is talking about the urgent humanitarian crisis. Whose interests, after all, does it serve to talk about that? North Koreans don’t vote, after all. Still, I believe that Bush really “loathes” Kim Jong-Il, like he said in Bush at War, and that there’s just a chance that he’ll deal with him if he’s elected. I can’t say that about any of the Dems still running.
The greatest irony of all is the composition of the coalition building against Kim Jong-Il–classic liberals and hard-line neocons. What other issue could build a friendship between Chris Beaumont and someone like myself, considering that we agree on almost nothing else? Above all, it is those who put principle over expediency and self-interest on both extremes of the political spectrum who are telling it like it is on North Korea. Don’t believe me? Exhibit A, on the neocons, is Taranto and the WSJ (and Claudia Rosett, and Anne Applebaum, and the Hudson Institute . . . ). I now present Exhibit B–this astonishing must-read editorial from the Boston Globe today, which sits neatly on top of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, with its liberal Museum of Tolerance of South Park fame, and yes, Ted Kennedy, giving this issue the attention it deserves. Those who don’t care about North Korea generally follow the moral equivalency/relativist line of thought (Kerry, Dean, The Brookings Institute–may Allah inflict a thousand floggings upon them) or the self-interested/isolationist line of thought (The Entire State Department Except John Bolton, Kissinger, Bush the Elder).
I’ve been e-mailing Taranto a lot lately, and he’s printed my name a few times, including yesterday. In my e-mail yesterday, I sent him several links on the gas chamber story, but he chose today to discuss it. Still, I’d like to take some credit for getting him thinking about this issue (a thousand pardons for the plug; hope it illustrates how us ordinary folk can influence the mighty!).