France: A Remarkable Consensus Is Emerging

Just a day after Muslim terrorists called France an “ally of Satan” (which by definition means they apparently no longer see the United States as Satan), Taiwan’s president Chen Shui-Bian has called France “evil-hearted” for joining China in its recent naval threaxercises that coincidentally come just before Taiwan’s election.

Doesn’t Taiwan understand? It’s nothing personal for the French . . . it’s just business. After all, they’re quite willing to make the same moral compromises when they’re selling arms to Taiwan.

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Terrorists: France Is an ‘Ally of Satan’

At least we know they’re not referring to us this time. In fact, the terrorists have said something that’s actually debatable for once. Yet France, having chosen Faustian appeasement, still finds itself in the crosshairs of the haters. Should I repent this intoxicating schadenfreude I’m feeling? Not when France is helping China to intimidate Taiwan on the eve of Taiwan’s elections. Could it be any clearer that Europe seeks a middle ground between freedom and some ill-defined other?

All of this leads me to ask: which Satan won’t France ally itself with, if it will ally itself with Hitler, Saddam, the Iranian mullahs, and Fascist China?

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The Fake News from Spain

Spanish Socialists Agree on Terms of Surrender

Newly elected Socialist Leader Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced today that his party’s new cabinet had agreed on the terms of an unconditional surrender to al-Qaeda and would recognize Osama bin Laden as Spain’s first Islamic emir since 1492. The Spanish Foreign Ministry said that an emissary was en route to Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province to deliver the surrender document, which declares Spain to be a part of the Islamic Ummah as of midnight, March 20th.

Rodriguez said that he would lead a caretaker government until the arrival of al-Qaeda occupation forces from the Madrid suburbs. All churches would be required to close immediately, and all women would be required to be in full burka before the transfer of power. Fabric stores reported long lines for bedsheets in a variety of spiffy but muted pastel colors.

“The people of Spain have spoken,” said Rodriguez at the surprise news conference, which came less than a week after a Socialist election upset of Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar’s Popular Party following a string of al-Qaeda linked bombings that killed over 200. “The voters have sent a clear message to this violent, shadowy organization that caused us so much death and suffering: ‘We surrender!'”

The reaction of one Spanish voter was typical. Asked why he voted for the Socialists, one 42 year-old man, who asked not be identified, wet his pants, curled into the fetal position, and cried “!Mami! !Mami!” One woman, interviewed at the funeral of the last of six of her family members who died in last week’s bombing, expressed approval for the new government’s decision. “While I had initial reservations over the whole burka thing, it’s a small price to pay to free ourselves from the influence of this uncompromising, rightist, war-mongering Yanqui President. Now, we will be ruled by an a tyrannical, mysoginistic, terrorist emir who nonetheless provides consistently excellent day care.”

Interviewed from an undisclosed location in a valley six miles north and twelve miles east of the Pakistani village of Jarkik in the Chitral District of the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan, Bin Laden hailed his first-ever election victory by slightly raising his one remaining limb and uttering in a raspy croak that he would be a leader for all of the people of Spain who pray dutifully five times per day, obey the fatwas of the emir, and sacrifice themselves for the jihad . . . and behead the rest of them in his first 100 days in power.

Another senior Al-Qaeda offical, known only as Abu Hafs The Mauritanian, expressed his more qualified approval of the Spanish decision. “I am pleased that Spain has prostrated itself before our Holy Caliphate. Praise be to Allah, soon the streets of Madrid will run with blood of ever more unbelievers! But where will be find seventy-two virgins in a secular European country? Even if all of our martyrs must share the same seventy-two virgins, we foresee difficulty forming a quorum without substantial outsourcing.”

Some observers worried that the result could worsen relations between the United States and occupied Spain. Spain’s Foreign Minister sought to differentiate between disagreement with American policies and anti-Americanism, which he denied has played a part in the result. “We Europeans love Americans . . . as long as they’re scared, vulnerable, or dying,” he said.

The Foreign Minister also extended its thanks to neighboring France for providing invaluable technical assistance, including numerous examples of air-tight surrender documents. “We see this as a great victory for French diplomacy, the dawn of a new tomorrow in Spain’s relationship with Europe, of which France is the undisputed leader and moral torch-bearer,” said French Foreign Minister Dominique De Villepin.

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Terrorists: France Is an ‘Ally of Satan’

At least we know they’re not referring to us this time. In fact, the terrorists have said something that’s actually debatable for once. Yet France, having chosen Faustian appeasement, still finds itself in the crosshairs of the haters. Should I repent this intoxicating schadenfreude I’m feeling? Not when France is helping China to intimidate Taiwan on the eve of Taiwan’s elections. Could it be any clearer that Europe seeks a middle ground between freedom and some ill-defined other?

All of this leads me to ask: which Satan won’t France ally itself with, if it will ally itself with Hitler, Saddam, the Iranian mullahs, and Fascist China?

Continue Reading

Terrorists: France Is an ‘Ally of Satan’

At least we know they’re not referring to us this time. In fact, the terrorists have said something that’s actually debatable for once. Yet France, having chosen Faustian appeasement, still finds itself in the crosshairs of the haters. Should I repent this intoxicating schadenfreude I’m feeling? Not when France is helping China to intimidate Taiwan on the eve of Taiwan’s elections. Could it be any clearer that Europe seeks a middle ground between freedom and some ill-defined other?

All of this leads me to ask: which Satan won’t France ally itself with, if it will ally itself with Hitler, Saddam, the Iranian mullahs, and Fascist China?

Continue Reading

The Fake News from Spain

Spanish Socialists Agree on Terms of Surrender

Newly elected Socialist Leader Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced today that his party’s new cabinet had agreed on the terms of an unconditional surrender to al-Qaeda and would recognize Osama bin Laden as Spain’s first Islamic emir since 1492. The Spanish Foreign Ministry said that an emissary was en route to Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province to deliver the surrender document, which declares Spain to be a part of the Islamic Ummah as of midnight, March 20th.

Rodriguez said that he would lead a caretaker government until the arrival of al-Qaeda occupation forces from the Madrid suburbs. All churches would be required to close immediately, and all women would be required to be in full burka before the transfer of power. Fabric stores reported long lines for bedsheets in a variety of spiffy but muted pastel colors.

“The people of Spain have spoken,” said Rodriguez at the surprise news conference, which came less than a week after a Socialist election upset of Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar’s Popular Party following a string of al-Qaeda linked bombings that killed over 200. “The voters have sent a clear message to this violent, shadowy organization that caused us so much death and suffering: ‘We surrender!'”

The reaction of one Spanish voter was typical. Asked why he voted for the Socialists, one 42 year-old man, who asked not be identified, wet his pants, curled into the fetal position, and cried “!Mami! !Mami!” One woman, interviewed at the funeral of the last of six of her family members who died in last week’s bombing, expressed approval for the new government’s decision. “While I had initial reservations over the whole burka thing, it’s a small price to pay to free ourselves from the influence of this uncompromising, rightist, war-mongering Yanqui President. Now, we will be ruled by an a tyrannical, mysoginistic, terrorist emir who nonetheless provides consistently excellent day care.”

Interviewed from an undisclosed location in a valley six miles north and twelve miles east of the Pakistani village of Jarkik in the Chitral District of the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan, Bin Laden hailed his first-ever election victory by slightly raising his one remaining limb and uttering in a raspy croak that he would be a leader for all of the people of Spain who pray dutifully five times per day, obey the fatwas of the emir, and sacrifice themselves for the jihad . . . and behead the rest of them in his first 100 days in power.

Another senior Al-Qaeda offical, known only as Abu Hafs The Mauritanian, expressed his more qualified approval of the Spanish decision. “I am pleased that Spain has prostrated itself before our Holy Caliphate. Praise be to Allah, soon the streets of Madrid will run with blood of ever more unbelievers! But where will be find seventy-two virgins in a secular European country? Even if all of our martyrs must share the same seventy-two virgins, we foresee difficulty forming a quorum without substantial outsourcing.”

Some observers worried that the result could worsen relations between the United States and occupied Spain. Spain’s Foreign Minister sought to differentiate between disagreement with American policies and anti-Americanism, which he denied has played a part in the result. “We Europeans love Americans . . . as long as they’re scared, vulnerable, or dying,” he said.

The Foreign Minister also extended its thanks to neighboring France for providing invaluable technical assistance, including numerous examples of air-tight surrender documents. “We see this as a great victory for French diplomacy, the dawn of a new tomorrow in Spain’s relationship with Europe, of which France is the undisputed leader and moral torch-bearer,” said French Foreign Minister Dominique De Villepin.

Continue Reading

Is It Time to Write the Bye-Ku for Roh?

Probably not, but who could resist?

His kimchee, spiced with
his beloved Dear Leader’s
atoms, grew too deep . . . .

Well, I have to admit I’m torn on this one. Had they impeached him for utter incompetence, even emotional instability, I’d support it–however reluctant I may be to see an elected leader leave office before the end of his term. But this petty election violation doesn’t justify removal from office in my mind. The oppo should have just been honest about it–Roh’s a boy in a man’s world, a succulent slice of shabu-shabu in a pool full of sharks.

Yet it’s a move in the right direction for Korea in one important way–this was peaceful, legal, and constitutional, and it’s not final until the courts approve it. I had honestly begun to worry about the military stepping in, which would be an utter disaster.

Korea is in for a rocky period of weak leadership regardless of how the court rules. I think the only way to get past this is with new elections. This time, the people of South Korea need to show up. The three-party shenanigans and last-minute back-stabbing of the last election, the low turnout it produced, and the use of exploitive xenophobia at its lowest created a perfect storm for the forces of appeasement.

Korea must either use this opportunity for a new choice to get smarter or be permitted to make its own decision to perish of its own free will. But I�m not hopeful. In fact, this whole thing will probably backfire on the oppo.

Continue Reading

Is It Time to Write the Bye-Ku for Roh?

Probably not, but who could resist?

His kimchee, spiced with
his beloved Dear Leader’s
atoms, grew too deep . . . .

Well, I have to admit I’m torn on this one. Had they impeached him for utter incompetence, even emotional instability, I’d support it–however reluctant I may be to see an elected leader leave office before the end of his term. But this petty election violation doesn’t justify removal from office in my mind. The oppo should have just been honest about it–Roh’s a boy in a man’s world, a succulent slice of shabu-shabu in a pool full of sharks.

Yet it’s a move in the right direction for Korea in one important way–this was peaceful, legal, and constitutional, and it’s not final until the courts approve it. I had honestly begun to worry about the military stepping in, which would be an utter disaster.

Korea is in for a rocky period of weak leadership regardless of how the court rules. I think the only way to get past this is with new elections. This time, the people of South Korea need to show up. The three-party shenanigans and last-minute back-stabbing of the last election, the low turnout it produced, and the use of exploitive xenophobia at its lowest created a perfect storm for the forces of appeasement.

Korea must either use this opportunity for a new choice to get smarter or be permitted to make its own decision to perish of its own free will. But I�m not hopeful. In fact, this whole thing will probably backfire on the oppo.

Continue Reading

Did You Happen to Notice?

. . . the decline in our casualties in Iraq recently? The media either haven’t caught on or have decided not to. Numbers here.

I fervently support the Iraq war, lost friends there, and still believe it was worth the terrible cost. So would they. Their deaths ought to mean something. The signing of the new constitution is a sign that they just might. For an even more hopeful buzz, check this out. Believe it or not, not every Iraqi is a terrorist, anti-Semite, congenital whiner, religious fanatic, or just plain unbalanced. There are good people there, too.

Now, you may say that as our casualties go down, civilian casualties are going up. That’s also terrible, but as terrible as it is, it’s a sure sign that the guerrillas know that their movement is dying, and that they’re desperate to kill somebody to prove that they still matter. Note that I did not say “dead.” What’s even more hopeful is that the terrible bombings of last week completely failed to produce the sectarian war that bin Laden, Zarkawi, and that old guy with the red hair were hoping for (yes, people do hope for things like that!). But if the people are the sea in which the guerrillas swim, then they have pretty well doomed themselves. In fact, they’re even collapsing in Tikrit.

You can’t terrorize people into dying for you once they feel they have another choice. Are you listening, Kim Jong Il?

Continue Reading

Why I hate Kerry

A friend today asked me to explain why I hate Kerry. My choice of words. Fundamentally, his election would be a disaster for this nation when we can’t afford weak leadership. His policy weaknesses are rooted in his character weaknesses. Here’s my ranting, incohertent stab at ‘splaining a view I’ve felt strongly since the 1980s:

1. Deep down, he’s an America hater. Now G-d knows, if America sent me to an unpopular war, I might hold some bitterness at somebody, and we certainly know I have some bitterness from my service in Korea. As it happens, I direct that bitterness toward mass murderers and their apologists. I don’t believe that my country is always wise or pure, but I have kept faith with its values. John Kerry, on the other hand, drank the antiwar Kool-Aid after Vietnam, along with all the radical neurotransmitters that were slipped into the brew. This was distinct from the more honest pacifism, liberalism, or intellectually supportable arguments against the war, and there were many (I believe that Vietnam was a good cause carried out in a tragically clumsy way). For Kerry, it was bitter, emotional, and clearly mind-altering. Facts were filled in to fit hit emotions later–notably, his demonstrably false accusations of atrocities before the Senate (and more recently, his demonstrably false denials that he ever even made those accusations). Now, I wasn’t in the war, but I’ve extensively read books from all perspectives on the subject, and even went to many of the battlefields of Vietnam to see them for myself. I’ve met many Vietnam veterans who’ve described the war to me in great detail. Shockingly, not one of them said the same things Kerry said. I fully believe there were plenty of atrocities on all sides there, but they didn’t approach the scale or the particular facts of Kerry’s mendacious bit of congressional theater. For that matter, I’ve never heard these things from the many Vietnamese I’ve talked to–both those who fled the Communists and those who stayed behind (except those employed and watched by the government). But let’s return to Kerry’s take on the war. His 1970 Senate testimony set a long pattern. I’ve listened to his words as we debated 20 years of military actions, international crises, or intelligence budgets, and I’m convinced that America-hatred seeps through his pores. It’s admittedly harder to document than it is to feel. And yes, I do believe I heard somewhere that he was in combat. So what? I wasn’t, it was a sheer accident of fate, and I’m not ashamed to say I’m damn glad of it. Personal bravery says absolutely nothing about wisdom, vision, judgment, or even patriotism, for that matter.

2. He’s a loud-mouthed, arrogant, haughty grandstander who’d say anything for a vote and marry anyone for a buck. Not a charming sociopath like Clinton, just a guy who immediately flocks to the scent of a fat target. His prior positions are not mere irrelevancies like they were for Clinton; Kerry’s just clever enough to rationalize his way around any inconsistency. The problem is, no one else can follow the rationalizations.

3. Botox. It stands for the fact that he’s phoney. He never exactly denied it, did he?

4. He’s a bitter, vindictive person. See 1 above, also see how he made this the nastiest, most negative campaign in recent memory, and it’s still freaking March!! Eight more months of THIS? Allah, we beseech thee!

5. No sense of humor whatsoever. It’s a scientifically proven fact that people without humor are all mental.

6. Needs 26 pages to say something that Edwards could say in one clean sentence, or which Bush could communicate just as clearly with a drawled grunting sound followed by a smirky chortle. Ah, how a winding stream flows slowly, slowly to the sea . . . .

7. He’s a liberal, at least as most people define that term, but he doesn’t have the balls to admit it, defend it, and be proud of it. More ideological botox.

8. For the aforementioned reasons, and because he’s got the same tired old stable of leftish State Department peace-at-any-price doves in tow, he’ll end up giving Kim Jong-Il the entire store. He talks loud, but he couldn’t find two balls to fill his sack at the far end of a driving range. His position on every conflict and crisis of the last 20 years demonstrates that amply. May G-d forgive me; I’d rather have Bill Clinton back (as long as he dumped Hillary; if he did, he could have the Lincoln Harem at taxpayer expense for all I care).

In summary, of all of the serious Dem candidates, I’ve always, ALWAYS hated Kerry the most as a person, and was just gleeful when it looked like his quest for self-aggrandizement was going nowhere. Dean’s policies were the worst, but I sensed that Dean, for all his stupidity (don’t let that M.D. thing fool you) at least partially meant what he said. Plus, Dean was pretty funny, and sometimes intentionally at that. I genuinely liked Lieberman–have liked him ever since he and Dole tried to lift the Bosnia arms embargo, a classic example of gutless Eurothink that cost hundreds of thousands of lives–but let’s face it, he didn’t have the charisma. Personally, I even forgave him for running with Gore, who naturally stabbed him in the back and now looks like the asshole he truly is (G-d IS just!). Gepardt is a socialist, which makes his economics all wrong in my book, but he was a patriot. I felt bad for him. He made terrible, nasty rants about Bush but I never thought his heart was in it; someone told him he had to grab some of the angry vote. Edwards? Empty suit. Clinton light. A slick, likeable nothing.

Every election since 1984 has been a choice between the lesser of two evils, and Bush’s flaws are honest and palatable compared to his dad’s. That said, the lesser of two evils is a no-brainer this time.

Continue Reading

Did You Happen to Notice?

. . . the decline in our casualties in Iraq recently? The media either haven’t caught on or have decided not to. Numbers here.

I fervently support the Iraq war, lost friends there, and still believe it was worth the terrible cost. So would they. Their deaths ought to mean something. The signing of the new constitution is a sign that they just might. For an even more hopeful buzz, check this out. Believe it or not, not every Iraqi is a terrorist, anti-Semite, congenital whiner, religious fanatic, or just plain unbalanced. There are good people there, too.

Now, you may say that as our casualties go down, civilian casualties are going up. That’s also terrible, but as terrible as it is, it’s a sure sign that the guerrillas know that their movement is dying, and that they’re desperate to kill somebody to prove that they still matter. Note that I did not say “dead.” What’s even more hopeful is that the terrible bombings of last week completely failed to produce the sectarian war that bin Laden, Zarkawi, and that old guy with the red hair were hoping for (yes, people do hope for things like that!). But if the people are the sea in which the guerrillas swim, then they have pretty well doomed themselves. In fact, they’re even collapsing in Tikrit.

You can’t terrorize people into dying for you once they feel they have another choice. Are you listening, Kim Jong Il?

Continue Reading

Why I hate Kerry

A friend today asked me to explain why I hate Kerry. My choice of words. Fundamentally, his election would be a disaster for this nation when we can’t afford weak leadership. His policy weaknesses are rooted in his character weaknesses. Here’s my ranting, incohertent stab at ‘splaining a view I’ve felt strongly since the 1980s:

1. Deep down, he’s an America hater. Now G-d knows, if America sent me to an unpopular war, I might hold some bitterness at somebody, and we certainly know I have some bitterness from my service in Korea. As it happens, I direct that bitterness toward mass murderers and their apologists. I don’t believe that my country is always wise or pure, but I have kept faith with its values. John Kerry, on the other hand, drank the antiwar Kool-Aid after Vietnam, along with all the radical neurotransmitters that were slipped into the brew. This was distinct from the more honest pacifism, liberalism, or intellectually supportable arguments against the war, and there were many (I believe that Vietnam was a good cause carried out in a tragically clumsy way). For Kerry, it was bitter, emotional, and clearly mind-altering. Facts were filled in to fit hit emotions later–notably, his demonstrably false accusations of atrocities before the Senate (and more recently, his demonstrably false denials that he ever even made those accusations). Now, I wasn’t in the war, but I’ve extensively read books from all perspectives on the subject, and even went to many of the battlefields of Vietnam to see them for myself. I’ve met many Vietnam veterans who’ve described the war to me in great detail. Shockingly, not one of them said the same things Kerry said. I fully believe there were plenty of atrocities on all sides there, but they didn’t approach the scale or the particular facts of Kerry’s mendacious bit of congressional theater. For that matter, I’ve never heard these things from the many Vietnamese I’ve talked to–both those who fled the Communists and those who stayed behind (except those employed and watched by the government). But let’s return to Kerry’s take on the war. His 1970 Senate testimony set a long pattern. I’ve listened to his words as we debated 20 years of military actions, international crises, or intelligence budgets, and I’m convinced that America-hatred seeps through his pores. It’s admittedly harder to document than it is to feel. And yes, I do believe I heard somewhere that he was in combat. So what? I wasn’t, it was a sheer accident of fate, and I’m not ashamed to say I’m damn glad of it. Personal bravery says absolutely nothing about wisdom, vision, judgment, or even patriotism, for that matter.

2. He’s a loud-mouthed, arrogant, haughty grandstander who’d say anything for a vote and marry anyone for a buck. Not a charming sociopath like Clinton, just a guy who immediately flocks to the scent of a fat target. His prior positions are not mere irrelevancies like they were for Clinton; Kerry’s just clever enough to rationalize his way around any inconsistency. The problem is, no one else can follow the rationalizations.

3. Botox. It stands for the fact that he’s phoney. He never exactly denied it, did he?

4. He’s a bitter, vindictive person. See 1 above, also see how he made this the nastiest, most negative campaign in recent memory, and it’s still freaking March!! Eight more months of THIS? Allah, we beseech thee!

5. No sense of humor whatsoever. It’s a scientifically proven fact that people without humor are all mental.

6. Needs 26 pages to say something that Edwards could say in one clean sentence, or which Bush could communicate just as clearly with a drawled grunting sound followed by a smirky chortle. Ah, how a winding stream flows slowly, slowly to the sea . . . .

7. He’s a liberal, at least as most people define that term, but he doesn’t have the balls to admit it, defend it, and be proud of it. More ideological botox.

8. For the aforementioned reasons, and because he’s got the same tired old stable of leftish State Department peace-at-any-price doves in tow, he’ll end up giving Kim Jong-Il the entire store. He talks loud, but he couldn’t find two balls to fill his sack at the far end of a driving range. His position on every conflict and crisis of the last 20 years demonstrates that amply. May G-d forgive me; I’d rather have Bill Clinton back (as long as he dumped Hillary; if he did, he could have the Lincoln Harem at taxpayer expense for all I care).

In summary, of all of the serious Dem candidates, I’ve always, ALWAYS hated Kerry the most as a person, and was just gleeful when it looked like his quest for self-aggrandizement was going nowhere. Dean’s policies were the worst, but I sensed that Dean, for all his stupidity (don’t let that M.D. thing fool you) at least partially meant what he said. Plus, Dean was pretty funny, and sometimes intentionally at that. I genuinely liked Lieberman–have liked him ever since he and Dole tried to lift the Bosnia arms embargo, a classic example of gutless Eurothink that cost hundreds of thousands of lives–but let’s face it, he didn’t have the charisma. Personally, I even forgave him for running with Gore, who naturally stabbed him in the back and now looks like the asshole he truly is (G-d IS just!). Gepardt is a socialist, which makes his economics all wrong in my book, but he was a patriot. I felt bad for him. He made terrible, nasty rants about Bush but I never thought his heart was in it; someone told him he had to grab some of the angry vote. Edwards? Empty suit. Clinton light. A slick, likeable nothing.

Every election since 1984 has been a choice between the lesser of two evils, and Bush’s flaws are honest and palatable compared to his dad’s. That said, the lesser of two evils is a no-brainer this time.

Continue Reading

What We Can and Must Do About North Korea

We started a fascinating discussion today at freenorthkorea.net, in which I responded to arguments against firm action in North Korea because of Iraq. Just as North Korea had once been an excuse for inaction in Iraq, Iraq is now an excuse for inaction in North Korea. The true agenda is thus revealed as inaction in both. I edited my comments for coherence and organization and post them here, in the hope that they will provoke more thought.

How Should We Assess the Threat of WMDs After 9/11?

After 9/11, we can’t afford to demand proof beyond a reasonable doubt before we act, nor can we expect anyone but Kim Jong-Il to be dumb enough to admit having WMDs. Even at its best, intelligence gathering on secretive regimes is not an exact science. Should Bush have ignored what his CIA was telling him, along with every other intelligence agency in NATO, or should he have simply hoped for the best? We simply cannot tolerate the same degree of risk now. That’s particularly true when our intelligence is apparently so inept at telling us the true extent and imminence of a threat. The last time the CIA was wrong about Iraq, Saddam was actually much closer to having nukes than anyone thought . . . ergo the entire UN inspection program. As we debate whether Bush was too protective of our safety in Iraq, we have a commission studying whether Bush and Clinton should have been more protective of our safety before 9/11. Although the latter question is a much better one, it seems impossible for any president to make the “right” decision when either way, there will be a commission dissecting his action or inaction during the next election year. The real questions on Iraq are (1) could the CIA have been that wrong; and (2) if not, then who has those weapons now? On 9/11, the real question is why we let bin Laden kill Americans with impunity for so many years in spite of multiple opportunities to kill or capture him before he did it again. Someone should answer to the victims’ families for each missed opportunity.

What business does the United States have overthrowing a sovereign government?

First, let’s ask what �sovereign� means. Is sovereignty a function of who shoots his way into the palace garden, who controls the secret police, or who has control of the broadcast towers? Or does sovereignty have a meaning that is more distanced from megalomania and violence, and more principled, based in what Jefferson called “the consent of the governed?” By this latter standard, no one could assert that Saddam or Kim Jong-Il had terrorized their way to the head of truly sovereign governments. I see the legitimacy of a government as being directly proportional to its democratically measured support. To say otherwise is to elevate the law of the jungle to high principle.

How can you justify the �unilateral� U.S. action in Iraq?

I take issue with the use of the word “unilateral” as being relevant, either morally or factually. Hitler, for one, assembled a multilateral force of Germans, Austrians, Spaniards, Italians, Hungarians, Romanians, French, and Ukranians in his invasion of Russia and subsequent near-extermination of European Jews. The multilateral nature of a force doesn’t make its cause just. On the other hand, the United States in Iraq today has the help of ground troops from South Korea, Spain, Italy, Britain, Poland, Mongolia, El Salvador, Japan, Thailand, and perhaps a dozen others. Notably absent are Russia (a former democracy), China (a dictatorship), and France, a democracy with interests highly divergent from our own. All three of these nations enjoy their special powers on the U.N. Security Council solely because of their relative power 60 years ago, and in no small part because of their nuclear arsenals. We also know that all three had enormous financial interests in Saddam’s survival to keep his contracts and repay his debts to them, many in violation of U.N. sanctions or out of the oil-for-food program; in other words, stolen from the mouths of hungry Iraqi kids. But as Tienanmen Square and Chechnya taught us, a seat on the Security Council doesn’t qualify you as a moral arbiter, either. And it’s apparent that even the U.N. itself, specifically Benon Sevan, were on the take out of the oil-for-food kitty as well. The U.N. refuses to even consider a serious investigation of the fact that “Mr. Sevan,” administrator of the oil-for-food program, is named on Saddam’s pay-list. So if coalitions and the U.N. don’t confer moral righteousness, what does?

I would answer this question with another. Why are we reading this site? Do principles such as democracy, human rights, and the basic rights of all people to a life of dignity mean something to us? Do we indeed believe that those rights belong to all people, rather than smugly asserting that they are not fit for certain others? Which other? Why can’t every nation have the opportunity to freely accept or reject the right of self-government? Of course, the results do not always please us in America, but we should accept those results, as long as they are consistent with nations living in peace with their neighbors–as democracies almost always choose to do (Germany was not a democracy in 1939). Bluntly stated, we measure the rightness of an action by moral principles in which we believe, and which have made us all happier to live under them. Neither the assent nor the protest of autocracies, or gatherings or multilateral coalitions of them, changes those principles.

Why didn�t we give the inspectors more time in Iraq?

By early 2002, sanctions and containment were failing, U.N. inspectors were long gone, and Saddam was attempting to reconstitute his banned missiles and conceal his other WMD programs for a time when it was safer to restart them. The Iraqi people were suffering under sanctions as Saddam siphoned off money intended to feed them. Ironically, the same countries�France, Russia, and China�that argued for sanctions, inspections, and containment were the same ones that had undermined all three. President Bush briefly revived inspections by planting half a million soldiers on Saddam’s doorstep. No one can seriously argue that inspections would have resumed without this threat, but the threat was not sustainable for more than a few months. To keep so many soldiers in a sweltering desert, far from their families, would have broken both the budget and military retention. On the other hand, it was clear that had the 82nd Airborne been sent back to Ft. Bragg, inspections would have ended and Saddam would have achieved the mother of all climbdowns. He would have felt invincible, and with much justification. Sanctions would have collapsed, and Saddam would have felt safe to restart his WMD programs. Sooner or later, he would have brought Gotterdammerung on the entire region, at a cost far higher than 500 soldiers. Incidentally, I know how precious each of those lives are, because two of them were my friends. I served in the Army at that time, and would have gladly gone if called.

Where do you draw the line on intervention?

Are we on a slippery slope of perpetual intervention? Any course of action could be similarly described, if we assume that people lack the judgment to know when to stop, or when we don’t dare stop. Of course, if our judgment is gone, handcuffing ourselves to dangerous limitations will not save us. We simply must make intelligent choices about each situation based on our best information at the time. I happen to believe that a direct military attack was the only solution in Iraq, but don’t think that it’s the right solution in North Korea, Iran, or Syria. It was obviously not necessary in the case of Libya, although the credible threat of force helped make its use unnecessary there. I believe that war should be a last resort, but I also believe that if a last resort becomes inevitable, that it should be exercised soon enough to minimize the loss of life it will eventually cause. In each case, different facts govern the course we should take. In the event of a direct attack, North Korea’s artillery arsenal poses an unacceptable risk for the civilian population of Seoul. I do not believe that a patient program of political and economic subversion of North Korea presents the same degree of risk, and carries the countervailing benefit of easing the suffering of millions–even saving their lives. We can further reduce that risk by having plenty of A-10, F-15Es, F-117s, and Tomohawks in the region. Similarly, I believe that Iran, despite its clear and direct support for al-Qaeda and hunger for nuclear weapons, is politically weak, and that we can and should help the Iranian people to overthrow their government, which the vast majority of them despise.

How can you justify preemptive war morally?

It is justifiable when it saves lives. If we accept for a moment the wildest estimates that the Iraq war killed 3,000 civilians�and ignoring the fact that the Fedayeen not only hid among the civilian population, but were often indistinguishable from them, even when lying in the morgue�we should also consider that Saddam killed 300,000 of his own people in two decades, not counting the dead from his wars. It’s not hard to extend this toll into the future to see that on the whole, the war saved far more lives than it took. We should consider our policies in North Korea from the same analytical viewpoint. Every day we delay the demise of Kim Jong-Il will be another day the North Korean people suffer and die. None of this, of course, considers the potential loss of life of a terrorist setting off a suitcase nuke.

Has Iraq Undercut the Case for Preemption in North Korea?

In one important way, it has bostered it. Iraq set of a chain reaction that began with Libya’s WMD admissions, which led to A.Q. Khan in Pakistan, which led to a great deal of reliable incriminating evidence about both Iran and North Korea. On the question of Iraqi WMD as it relates to North Korea, I have yet to see evidence of any serious controversy that North Korea has WMDs. The gas chamber stories are a vivid illustration of that. Whether or not you believe�as I do�that Saddam did have WMDs (and disposed of them the same way he disposed of his air force in 1991, by sending them to another country for safekeeping), you can’t deny that he lied about his continued efforts to get them right up to the eve of the war. We now know that Saddam had paid both Russia and North Korea for technology to acquire banned long-range missiles.

Sooner or later, Saddam would have had and used WMD again. Given the fact that our French, German, and Russian “allies” were undermining the sanctions and trying to lift them outright–thus ending any pretense of containment–wasn’t it better to dethrone him before he had the missiles, and before he killed another 300,000 of his own people? In the case of North Korea, you’d actually have to disbelieve the North Koreans themselves to say their WMDs are an issue in any serious doubt.

Why shouldn�t North Korea have WMDs when the U.S. has them, and has even used them?

When does the mere presence of WMDs create a causus belli? When those weapons are–or are in danger of falling into–the hands of those likely to use them in a first strike. Again, we must apply our judgment to each individual case. Would anyone seriously argue that the French or Israeli nuclear arsenals are as likely to be used in a first strike as a North Korean or Iranian nuclear arsenals? Here we arrive at the one central weakness in President Bush’s case for war–its focus on WMD stockpiles, rather than the clear inevitability of their eventual production and use because of the unmitigated, homicidal evil of Saddam himself. What makes regimes such as Saddam’s and Kim’s dangerous is not so much the presence of dangerous weapons as their lack of the most important restraint that is a non-negotiable pre-requisite for a nuclear power–a respect for the value of innocent life. Both Saddam and Kim have a long record of genocide against their own people, including mass killings with chemical weapons. Both countries, at various times, clearly attempted to produce nuclear weapons. Are nuclear weapons an effective means of internal control, or is their intended use focused in more ominous directions, at least from our own selfish perspective?

The history of this century alone tells us that nations with no regard for human life do not contain their cruelty within their own borders. The thugs who shot their way to power in Imperial Japan eventually used biological weapons in China�having already killed millions of Chinese, Korean, and Filipino civilians�and were working on their own nuclear weapons. It was our good fortune that we made them faster. The Nazis started by gassing the disabled and thus created a blueprint for the Holocaust before launching their wars of aggression. Stalin disposed of 20 million of his own people before taking control of Central Europe and building the foundations of a global empire and global warfare. Mao followed a series of bloody purges with his conquest of Tibet, resulting in one million more deaths; in all, he probably killed 30 million people. Kim Il Sung’s invasion of South Korea followed five years of bloody purges. Finally, Saddam himself invaded or attacked Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.

Why is a nuclear North Korea dangerous to the United States?

North Korea has directly threatened to use nuclear weapons against Japan, South Korea, and the United States, and to sell them to terrorists. It will soon have the means to do all of these things. Furthermore, the point we have been trying to make is this: WMD or not, North Korea’s sheer brutality toward its own people makes it a dire threat. History proves decisively that every genocidal regime eventually looks beyond its own borders for more blood and pillage. I am still looking for any evidence in Kerry’s record that he grasps this basic principle. What we are looking for in this election is someone who will make the moral case for regime change, based on compassionate self-interest. Although Bush has done little of consequence, he does at least appear to see KJI as a direct threat to the United States and “loathe” Kim Jong-Il for the same reasons we do. Because Bush can’t back our North Korea diplomacy with a serious threat until Iraq and Afghanistan are more stable, I still hold hope that he’d make it a priority in his next administration.

So what can we do about North Korea?

Let’s start with the common ground on which most of us should agree: (1) the North Korean people cannot survive much more of the status quo; (2) a nuclear North Korea will eventually use its weapons or sell them to terrorists, and has directly threatened to do both; (3) a military attack is the least favored option for changing the status quo; (4) diplomacy has failed after every reasonable effort; and (5) the North Korean people have a right to replace Kim Jong-Il’s gulag state with a government of their own choosing. Then I would add several more points: the North Korean regime is economically vulnerable; it is kept in power by a privileged few; severe sanctions could deprive the regime of most of its income and the privileged class of its present standard of living; and direct aid to the “masses” would, over time, relax their all-powerful fear, ignorance, and sense of hopelessness.

I think food and radio drops are the key part of this, and that this would not create a prohibitive risk of war. I also think that it’s key to kick the legs out from under Kim Jong-Il economically. No, a complete blockade would not be possible, but it would not be necessary. The complete loss of trade with Japan, South Korea, and other nations might just be enough of a shock. China is already struggling to feed billion poor and alienated peasants. Could they really afford to make up this entire shortfall for Kim Jong-Il? Our goal would not be to decimate the North Korean people, another point on which I think we all agree. The goal would be to lessen the misery of the disfavored and rural population through direct aid and asylum, and to inject uncertainty and doubt into the lives of the elites. How stable would KJI’s power base be if his army got hungry? How much faster would it get hungry if it were forced to comb the hills, skies, and coasts for food packets, vials of medicine, and leaflets, or to block floods of refugees?

Given more time, and with enough cell phones, radios, books, and pamphlets, the North Korean people would be able to exchange subversive ideas not just among each other, but with the outside world. A next step could be coordinated acts of nonviolent resistance, such as hoarding food, cutting telephone lines, and ditching roads. Another effect might be a general increase in lawlessness in the countryside, further challenging the regime�s control. This loss of control would increasingly draw the North Korean military away from its camps near the DMZ, back to the mountains where they would be unable to launch a war against the South. It might also force them to take equipment of out of service or cancel training exercises. The weaker the posture of the North Korean military, the more provocative our support for the rural population could become. In short, if we helped to redistribute the imbalance of food, information, wealth, and power in a way disfavoring the regime, it might fall apart.

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What We Can and Must Do About North Korea

We started a fascinating discussion today at freenorthkorea.net, in which I responded to arguments against firm action in North Korea because of Iraq. Just as North Korea had once been an excuse for inaction in Iraq, Iraq is now an excuse for inaction in North Korea. The true agenda is thus revealed as inaction in both. I edited my comments for coherence and organization and post them here, in the hope that they will provoke more thought.

How Should We Assess the Threat of WMDs After 9/11?

After 9/11, we can’t afford to demand proof beyond a reasonable doubt before we act, nor can we expect anyone but Kim Jong-Il to be dumb enough to admit having WMDs. Even at its best, intelligence gathering on secretive regimes is not an exact science. Should Bush have ignored what his CIA was telling him, along with every other intelligence agency in NATO, or should he have simply hoped for the best? We simply cannot tolerate the same degree of risk now. That’s particularly true when our intelligence is apparently so inept at telling us the true extent and imminence of a threat. The last time the CIA was wrong about Iraq, Saddam was actually much closer to having nukes than anyone thought . . . ergo the entire UN inspection program. As we debate whether Bush was too protective of our safety in Iraq, we have a commission studying whether Bush and Clinton should have been more protective of our safety before 9/11. Although the latter question is a much better one, it seems impossible for any president to make the “right” decision when either way, there will be a commission dissecting his action or inaction during the next election year. The real questions on Iraq are (1) could the CIA have been that wrong; and (2) if not, then who has those weapons now? On 9/11, the real question is why we let bin Laden kill Americans with impunity for so many years in spite of multiple opportunities to kill or capture him before he did it again. Someone should answer to the victims’ families for each missed opportunity.

What business does the United States have overthrowing a sovereign government?

First, let’s ask what �sovereign� means. Is sovereignty a function of who shoots his way into the palace garden, who controls the secret police, or who has control of the broadcast towers? Or does sovereignty have a meaning that is more distanced from megalomania and violence, and more principled, based in what Jefferson called “the consent of the governed?” By this latter standard, no one could assert that Saddam or Kim Jong-Il had terrorized their way to the head of truly sovereign governments. I see the legitimacy of a government as being directly proportional to its democratically measured support. To say otherwise is to elevate the law of the jungle to high principle.

How can you justify the �unilateral� U.S. action in Iraq?

I take issue with the use of the word “unilateral” as being relevant, either morally or factually. Hitler, for one, assembled a multilateral force of Germans, Austrians, Spaniards, Italians, Hungarians, Romanians, French, and Ukranians in his invasion of Russia and subsequent near-extermination of European Jews. The multilateral nature of a force doesn’t make its cause just. On the other hand, the United States in Iraq today has the help of ground troops from South Korea, Spain, Italy, Britain, Poland, Mongolia, El Salvador, Japan, Thailand, and perhaps a dozen others. Notably absent are Russia (a former democracy), China (a dictatorship), and France, a democracy with interests highly divergent from our own. All three of these nations enjoy their special powers on the U.N. Security Council solely because of their relative power 60 years ago, and in no small part because of their nuclear arsenals. We also know that all three had enormous financial interests in Saddam’s survival to keep his contracts and repay his debts to them, many in violation of U.N. sanctions or out of the oil-for-food program; in other words, stolen from the mouths of hungry Iraqi kids. But as Tienanmen Square and Chechnya taught us, a seat on the Security Council doesn’t qualify you as a moral arbiter, either. And it’s apparent that even the U.N. itself, specifically Benon Sevan, were on the take out of the oil-for-food kitty as well. The U.N. refuses to even consider a serious investigation of the fact that “Mr. Sevan,” administrator of the oil-for-food program, is named on Saddam’s pay-list. So if coalitions and the U.N. don’t confer moral righteousness, what does?

I would answer this question with another. Why are we reading this site? Do principles such as democracy, human rights, and the basic rights of all people to a life of dignity mean something to us? Do we indeed believe that those rights belong to all people, rather than smugly asserting that they are not fit for certain others? Which other? Why can’t every nation have the opportunity to freely accept or reject the right of self-government? Of course, the results do not always please us in America, but we should accept those results, as long as they are consistent with nations living in peace with their neighbors–as democracies almost always choose to do (Germany was not a democracy in 1939). Bluntly stated, we measure the rightness of an action by moral principles in which we believe, and which have made us all happier to live under them. Neither the assent nor the protest of autocracies, or gatherings or multilateral coalitions of them, changes those principles.

Why didn�t we give the inspectors more time in Iraq?

By early 2002, sanctions and containment were failing, U.N. inspectors were long gone, and Saddam was attempting to reconstitute his banned missiles and conceal his other WMD programs for a time when it was safer to restart them. The Iraqi people were suffering under sanctions as Saddam siphoned off money intended to feed them. Ironically, the same countries�France, Russia, and China�that argued for sanctions, inspections, and containment were the same ones that had undermined all three. President Bush briefly revived inspections by planting half a million soldiers on Saddam’s doorstep. No one can seriously argue that inspections would have resumed without this threat, but the threat was not sustainable for more than a few months. To keep so many soldiers in a sweltering desert, far from their families, would have broken both the budget and military retention. On the other hand, it was clear that had the 82nd Airborne been sent back to Ft. Bragg, inspections would have ended and Saddam would have achieved the mother of all climbdowns. He would have felt invincible, and with much justification. Sanctions would have collapsed, and Saddam would have felt safe to restart his WMD programs. Sooner or later, he would have brought Gotterdammerung on the entire region, at a cost far higher than 500 soldiers. Incidentally, I know how precious each of those lives are, because two of them were my friends. I served in the Army at that time, and would have gladly gone if called.

Where do you draw the line on intervention?

Are we on a slippery slope of perpetual intervention? Any course of action could be similarly described, if we assume that people lack the judgment to know when to stop, or when we don’t dare stop. Of course, if our judgment is gone, handcuffing ourselves to dangerous limitations will not save us. We simply must make intelligent choices about each situation based on our best information at the time. I happen to believe that a direct military attack was the only solution in Iraq, but don’t think that it’s the right solution in North Korea, Iran, or Syria. It was obviously not necessary in the case of Libya, although the credible threat of force helped make its use unnecessary there. I believe that war should be a last resort, but I also believe that if a last resort becomes inevitable, that it should be exercised soon enough to minimize the loss of life it will eventually cause. In each case, different facts govern the course we should take. In the event of a direct attack, North Korea’s artillery arsenal poses an unacceptable risk for the civilian population of Seoul. I do not believe that a patient program of political and economic subversion of North Korea presents the same degree of risk, and carries the countervailing benefit of easing the suffering of millions–even saving their lives. We can further reduce that risk by having plenty of A-10, F-15Es, F-117s, and Tomohawks in the region. Similarly, I believe that Iran, despite its clear and direct support for al-Qaeda and hunger for nuclear weapons, is politically weak, and that we can and should help the Iranian people to overthrow their government, which the vast majority of them despise.

How can you justify preemptive war morally?

It is justifiable when it saves lives. If we accept for a moment the wildest estimates that the Iraq war killed 3,000 civilians�and ignoring the fact that the Fedayeen not only hid among the civilian population, but were often indistinguishable from them, even when lying in the morgue�we should also consider that Saddam killed 300,000 of his own people in two decades, not counting the dead from his wars. It’s not hard to extend this toll into the future to see that on the whole, the war saved far more lives than it took. We should consider our policies in North Korea from the same analytical viewpoint. Every day we delay the demise of Kim Jong-Il will be another day the North Korean people suffer and die. None of this, of course, considers the potential loss of life of a terrorist setting off a suitcase nuke.

Has Iraq Undercut the Case for Preemption in North Korea?

In one important way, it has bostered it. Iraq set of a chain reaction that began with Libya’s WMD admissions, which led to A.Q. Khan in Pakistan, which led to a great deal of reliable incriminating evidence about both Iran and North Korea. On the question of Iraqi WMD as it relates to North Korea, I have yet to see evidence of any serious controversy that North Korea has WMDs. The gas chamber stories are a vivid illustration of that. Whether or not you believe�as I do�that Saddam did have WMDs (and disposed of them the same way he disposed of his air force in 1991, by sending them to another country for safekeeping), you can’t deny that he lied about his continued efforts to get them right up to the eve of the war. We now know that Saddam had paid both Russia and North Korea for technology to acquire banned long-range missiles.

Sooner or later, Saddam would have had and used WMD again. Given the fact that our French, German, and Russian “allies” were undermining the sanctions and trying to lift them outright–thus ending any pretense of containment–wasn’t it better to dethrone him before he had the missiles, and before he killed another 300,000 of his own people? In the case of North Korea, you’d actually have to disbelieve the North Koreans themselves to say their WMDs are an issue in any serious doubt.

Why shouldn�t North Korea have WMDs when the U.S. has them, and has even used them?

When does the mere presence of WMDs create a causus belli? When those weapons are–or are in danger of falling into–the hands of those likely to use them in a first strike. Again, we must apply our judgment to each individual case. Would anyone seriously argue that the French or Israeli nuclear arsenals are as likely to be used in a first strike as a North Korean or Iranian nuclear arsenals? Here we arrive at the one central weakness in President Bush’s case for war–its focus on WMD stockpiles, rather than the clear inevitability of their eventual production and use because of the unmitigated, homicidal evil of Saddam himself. What makes regimes such as Saddam’s and Kim’s dangerous is not so much the presence of dangerous weapons as their lack of the most important restraint that is a non-negotiable pre-requisite for a nuclear power–a respect for the value of innocent life. Both Saddam and Kim have a long record of genocide against their own people, including mass killings with chemical weapons. Both countries, at various times, clearly attempted to produce nuclear weapons. Are nuclear weapons an effective means of internal control, or is their intended use focused in more ominous directions, at least from our own selfish perspective?

The history of this century alone tells us that nations with no regard for human life do not contain their cruelty within their own borders. The thugs who shot their way to power in Imperial Japan eventually used biological weapons in China�having already killed millions of Chinese, Korean, and Filipino civilians�and were working on their own nuclear weapons. It was our good fortune that we made them faster. The Nazis started by gassing the disabled and thus created a blueprint for the Holocaust before launching their wars of aggression. Stalin disposed of 20 million of his own people before taking control of Central Europe and building the foundations of a global empire and global warfare. Mao followed a series of bloody purges with his conquest of Tibet, resulting in one million more deaths; in all, he probably killed 30 million people. Kim Il Sung’s invasion of South Korea followed five years of bloody purges. Finally, Saddam himself invaded or attacked Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.

Why is a nuclear North Korea dangerous to the United States?

North Korea has directly threatened to use nuclear weapons against Japan, South Korea, and the United States, and to sell them to terrorists. It will soon have the means to do all of these things. Furthermore, the point we have been trying to make is this: WMD or not, North Korea’s sheer brutality toward its own people makes it a dire threat. History proves decisively that every genocidal regime eventually looks beyond its own borders for more blood and pillage. I am still looking for any evidence in Kerry’s record that he grasps this basic principle. What we are looking for in this election is someone who will make the moral case for regime change, based on compassionate self-interest. Although Bush has done little of consequence, he does at least appear to see KJI as a direct threat to the United States and “loathe” Kim Jong-Il for the same reasons we do. Because Bush can’t back our North Korea diplomacy with a serious threat until Iraq and Afghanistan are more stable, I still hold hope that he’d make it a priority in his next administration.

So what can we do about North Korea?

Let’s start with the common ground on which most of us should agree: (1) the North Korean people cannot survive much more of the status quo; (2) a nuclear North Korea will eventually use its weapons or sell them to terrorists, and has directly threatened to do both; (3) a military attack is the least favored option for changing the status quo; (4) diplomacy has failed after every reasonable effort; and (5) the North Korean people have a right to replace Kim Jong-Il’s gulag state with a government of their own choosing. Then I would add several more points: the North Korean regime is economically vulnerable; it is kept in power by a privileged few; severe sanctions could deprive the regime of most of its income and the privileged class of its present standard of living; and direct aid to the “masses” would, over time, relax their all-powerful fear, ignorance, and sense of hopelessness.

I think food and radio drops are the key part of this, and that this would not create a prohibitive risk of war. I also think that it’s key to kick the legs out from under Kim Jong-Il economically. No, a complete blockade would not be possible, but it would not be necessary. The complete loss of trade with Japan, South Korea, and other nations might just be enough of a shock. China is already struggling to feed billion poor and alienated peasants. Could they really afford to make up this entire shortfall for Kim Jong-Il? Our goal would not be to decimate the North Korean people, another point on which I think we all agree. The goal would be to lessen the misery of the disfavored and rural population through direct aid and asylum, and to inject uncertainty and doubt into the lives of the elites. How stable would KJI’s power base be if his army got hungry? How much faster would it get hungry if it were forced to comb the hills, skies, and coasts for food packets, vials of medicine, and leaflets, or to block floods of refugees?

Given more time, and with enough cell phones, radios, books, and pamphlets, the North Korean people would be able to exchange subversive ideas not just among each other, but with the outside world. A next step could be coordinated acts of nonviolent resistance, such as hoarding food, cutting telephone lines, and ditching roads. Another effect might be a general increase in lawlessness in the countryside, further challenging the regime�s control. This loss of control would increasingly draw the North Korean military away from its camps near the DMZ, back to the mountains where they would be unable to launch a war against the South. It might also force them to take equipment of out of service or cancel training exercises. The weaker the posture of the North Korean military, the more provocative our support for the rural population could become. In short, if we helped to redistribute the imbalance of food, information, wealth, and power in a way disfavoring the regime, it might fall apart.

Continue Reading

What We Could Expect of Kerry and Kim

I know . . . sounds like porn, but it isn’t.

One–umm–revealing fact is the degree of positive press that Kerry is getting in the North Korean papers. Perhaps this is simply a reaction against Bush, the devil they know. But it’s also likely that the North Koreans–like many Americans–look at Kerry’s long, dovish record on defense and foreign policy issues and suspect that he will take a softer line and seek (like South Korea) to avoid giving offense and making tough decisions. Indeed, Kerry has advocated almost the same position as North Korea on the nuke talks. Kim Jong Il’s position is pay-freeze-talk-dismantle; Kerry’s position is freeze-pay-talk-dismantle. Bush’s position is “we talked, you dismantle.” If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe Kerry’s own site. As for Bush, he’s suffered a very encouraging loss of patience with North Korea of late. His ballsy willingness to create offense when necessary tempts even the jaded.

Kerry today admits that many of his votes against most of the weapons systems we are using today were “stupid.” He regrets voting against the first Gulf War and for the nuclear freeze. He opposed U.S. policies in Central America with such fury as to almost appear to support the brutal and aggressive Sandinistas, although Reagan’s policy, clumsy as it may have been–and it was tragically absent in Guatemala–helped bring democracy and rising standards of living back to El Salvador and Nicaragua. There’s also much about his recent votes on Iraq that are inconsistent and suggest much less starch than Bush. Yet Bush himself, as Chris Beaumont notes, has talked some but generally done little.

We thus find ourselves in a similar position equal but opposite to Kim Jong Il; we are unable to recognize any clear position we can enthusiastically support, but have good reason to suspect that one candidate will eventually arrive at policy that would be much worse than the other’s.

One actually begins to wonder seriously what Ralph Nader thinks. Unfortunately, a search of the word “Korea” on Ralph’s site gets you a big goose-egg. Perhaps if Nader were the first one to make a real issue of human rights in North Korea, it could have a domino effect on Kerry and Bush.

Meanwhile, in South Korea . . . there’s an election going on there, too. Once, red-baiting was the last refuge of a scoundrel in Korean politics. Today, though, it’s anti-Americanism, and Roh is cranking it up, blaming America for the failure of the six-party talks (yes, the ones in which North Korea continued its mendacity about enriching uranium and actually stepped backward, claiming that some of its nuclear programs were entirely peaceful and thus non-negotiable). Search every alley in Pyongtaek and you won’t find a mangier cur–caged or free–than Roh Moo-Hyun.

Continue Reading

What We Could Expect of Kerry and Kim

I know . . . sounds like porn, but it isn’t.

One–umm–revealing fact is the degree of positive press that Kerry is getting in the North Korean papers. Perhaps this is simply a reaction against Bush, the devil they know. But it’s also likely that the North Koreans–like many Americans–look at Kerry’s long, dovish record on defense and foreign policy issues and suspect that he will take a softer line and seek (like South Korea) to avoid giving offense and making tough decisions. Indeed, Kerry has advocated almost the same position as North Korea on the nuke talks. Kim Jong Il’s position is pay-freeze-talk-dismantle; Kerry’s position is freeze-pay-talk-dismantle. Bush’s position is “we talked, you dismantle.” If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe Kerry’s own site. As for Bush, he’s suffered a very encouraging loss of patience with North Korea of late. His ballsy willingness to create offense when necessary tempts even the jaded.

Kerry today admits that many of his votes against most of the weapons systems we are using today were “stupid.” He regrets voting against the first Gulf War and for the nuclear freeze. He opposed U.S. policies in Central America with such fury as to almost appear to support the brutal and aggressive Sandinistas, although Reagan’s policy, clumsy as it may have been–and it was tragically absent in Guatemala–helped bring democracy and rising standards of living back to El Salvador and Nicaragua. There’s also much about his recent votes on Iraq that are inconsistent and suggest much less starch than Bush. Yet Bush himself, as Chris Beaumont notes, has talked some but generally done little.

We thus find ourselves in a similar position equal but opposite to Kim Jong Il; we are unable to recognize any clear position we can enthusiastically support, but have good reason to suspect that one candidate will eventually arrive at policy that would be much worse than the other’s.

One actually begins to wonder seriously what Ralph Nader thinks. Unfortunately, a search of the word “Korea” on Ralph’s site gets you a big goose-egg. Perhaps if Nader were the first one to make a real issue of human rights in North Korea, it could have a domino effect on Kerry and Bush.

Meanwhile, in South Korea . . . there’s an election going on there, too. Once, red-baiting was the last refuge of a scoundrel in Korean politics. Today, though, it’s anti-Americanism, and Roh is cranking it up, blaming America for the failure of the six-party talks (yes, the ones in which North Korea continued its mendacity about enriching uranium and actually stepped backward, claiming that some of its nuclear programs were entirely peaceful and thus non-negotiable). Search every alley in Pyongtaek and you won’t find a mangier cur–caged or free–than Roh Moo-Hyun.

Continue Reading