Archive for the ‘Korea’ Category
Well, yesterday’s guest post got a few interesting comments. They mansplained everything to me quite nicely. I would have responded, but it didn’t seem like debate was indicated. Many westerners apparently do know what’s good for the world, no matter what the world’s people think of it. Of course European armies going out to “fix” the world is at least a two millennium list of ghastly failures; but that’s the beauty of colonialism, if it fails, why, it’s because they are ignorant savages. Of course colonialism, especially the modern version, hasn’t failed to make a tiny number of people richer than all the tyrants in history, but of course colonialism is about helping people, not loot. It’s just a coincidence. Snort. In any event I am going to keep re-blogging stuff one won’t see in the Washington Post. I am assuming anyone reading this blog is curious about what other people around the world think. If not, well, plenty of lighthearted posts like this one to read.
So, back to North Korea. I’m still hoping this is just a war scare, but still, really? Really? If it turns into a shooting war, I have no clue how it will turn out. I am still constantly amazed though by the people who believe that the USA would “win” in days. We bombed them flat in the 1950s war and they didn’t surrender, why would a few days bombing suddenly change their minds? Especially since they’ve had decades to prepare for more bombing? Hope springs eternal I guess. In the movies if you beat up the bad guys enough they always surrender, real life is a bit trickier. Movies are so much more fun too, as the above image illustrates. As long as North Korea doesn’t have any Chuck Norris’s of their own.
Which alas they do. This brings us to today’s fun topic, North Korea’s secret weapon:
Yes, that’s a biplane. And Antonov An-2 to be precise. An a amazing plane really, in production from 1947 until 2002. It was a light utility/transport aircraft and an all around useful aircraft. Crop dusters, fire fighting, whatever. Russian parachutists would practise jumps out of them into snowdrifts without parachutes! Russian are crazy. Wait, how was that even possible? It’s possible because the An-2 could fly as slow as thirty miles an hour. So in a thirty mile an hour headwind, the An-2 could fly in one place, in a stronger wind … it could fly backwards. It was easy to fly, cheap to produce, and just in general one of the good things that came out of communist Russia. Over 18,000 were built, thousands of which are still in use. Including several hundred in North Korea.
How is that a problem? Several things. Their version has canvas covered wings. This really lowers it’s radar profile. And the fact that it can fly at slow speeds at treetop level, it is very difficult to spot with radar or even visually from above. And it can take off or land on small dirt runways, so it isn’t going to be sitting at air bases waiting to be picked off by the USAF, they are likely squirrelled away all over North Korea. They have a range of over 400 miles, so they can reach all of South Korea and a large portion of Japan. The North Korean’s plan to load them with ten man suicide commando teams, and use them to attack American and Korean installations in the region. Yeah, it’s not a war winning weapon, but it could do terrible things. And there’s no way to really defend against it, any installation could be attacked at any time from any direction. Or a couple of these could sail in and land on a runway or a street inside a military complex like the Israeli’s at Entebbe. And North Korean commandos are good, some of the toughest and best trained in the world.
They also have midget submarines. Same problem, more range. I really don’t want North Korean commandos popping up while I am shopping on Telegraph or wandering through People’s Park. I like the variety we get in Berkeley, there’s a limit. Next post, spontaneous human combustion and Bigfoot, new source of forest fires explained?
(Let’s see, the Chuck Norris image was passed along by George Takei, so I refer any copyright issues to him. The An-2 photo came from Wikipedia, I think. In either case I think the images are public domain under US copyright law. I’d finish with a Chuck Norris joke, but I couldn’t find any funny ones.)
I’m back! I was going to post a picture of a zombie cat to announce my return, but I couldn’t find a suitable one. I stumbled upon this picture in the search and it seemed like it would do. Thanks for all the inquiries about my health and well being, this is the longest break I’ve ever taken from Doug’s Darkworld. There wasn’t any particular reason for it, it was a combination of things. Mid blog crisis I suppose. Part of it is that I have achieved new levels of cynicism and objectivity. So my world view has become much bleaker. Although in some ways less bleak. I’m not worried about North Korea for example. North Korea seems to be in the news, so that will be my first topic. OK, my only topic.
I really only have a few observations. North Korea poses essentially zero threat to the USA in any objective measure. That alone highlights the egregious nonsense being spewed in Washington. Anyone who is actually worried about a North Korean attack on the US mainland is worried about something less likely than lightning strike or shark attack. It’s sad that some people are actually scared. On the other hand, I hear plenty of people saying the USA could defeat North Korea in days. There is a term for people like this. Idiots. North Korea isn’t Grenada, Panama, or even Iraq. It’s a country that has spent more than fifty years preparing for another attack by the USA, after a war where the USA bombed their entire nation flat without them surrendering. But now they would roll over in a few days? Like I said, idiots.
On the flip side, many people, possibly the same people, are convinced that North Korea could never strike the US mainland. Yes, it’s unlikely, but not impossible. They probably don’t have missiles that can reach us, but they do have nuclear weapons. Enormous amounts of contraband are smuggled into the USA every year, could North Korea sneak a nuclear bomb into San Francisco harbour? Sure, why not? This is why starting a wear with North Korea might be a bad idea, among many other reasons. Giving a nuclear armed country a reason to try and nuke the USA is a really dumb idea. The overall point of course is that no one knows how wars will turn out, although there is that word for people who think they know. Idiots. Lastly, it needs to be understood that the situation with North Korea is entirely the USA’s creation. The USA insists that its enemies surrender to it unconditionally, and oddly enough North Korea doesn’t want to do that. North Korea has offered perfectly reasonable terms for ending the war since the 1950s. The USA refuses to even consider that.
In any event I hope cooler heads prevail. Sadly any serious study of history shows that nations can and do start utterly senseless wars that spiral out of control as the politicians involve try to save their own bacon. There’s always a chance that war with Iran will break out somehow too, but that’s a whole other story that I’ve discussed many times. And in other world news, nothing much is happening. There was a plague of locusts somewhere. The NRA is going to start flying armed drones over schools. Joe Biden announced he will be changing his sex. The usual fluff.In Doug’s Darkworld a post on the best roller coaster ever proposed is coming up, plus a solution for spontaneous human combustion, and another reason why Bigfoot is a myth. The unusual fluff in other words. Oh, yeah, and how Boy Scouts almost saved Hitler’s Third Reich.
Welcome back, have a great weekend everyone.
(The above image is blatantly ripped off and being posted without attribution or copyright notice. I will remove it or attribute if the copyright owner so requests. And no, there’s no such thing as zombie cats. In fact, there’s no such thing as zombies! Who knew?)
I was planning posting a post about the Iraq War today, but alas it’s not finished. And it’s a post I want to be fairly polished before publishing, a war only ends once so I have to get it right. So … quick random burblings about whatever comes to mind in the hour before I have to head out into the rain to fix people’s plumbing. It’s going to be easy, becasue the world is going to hell in a hand basket, lots of bad news to choose from.
Things are going from bad to worse in Afghanistan. Hard to decide what is more disturbing, the media and government completely misrepresenting the situation, or the republicans almost gleefully using it to score political points against Obama. If chortling over American deaths can really be called scoring points, the republican party didn’t lose their moral compass, they are using it backwards. We may be forced to leave soon, it’s becoming clear that they all hate us, we didn’t have South Vietnamese troops turning their guns on Americans in Vietnam (not that I recall at least,) but it’s almost a daily occurrence in Afghanistan now.
Moving right along, the Republicans as part of their “abandon all morals ye who enter here campaign,” have more or less declared war on women, introducing new and increasingly misogynistic laws on almost a daily basis now. It’s about putting women back where they belong, in the homes breeding and raising children. Newt even just came out and said that women who use birth control are sluts. Same ol same ol, a guy who sleeps around is a stud, a gal who sleeps around is a slut. There’s even a holocaust denier and former American Nazi Party member trying to get on the Republican ticket in one state, though at least so far the Republicans aren’t going that far. Small comfort.
North Korea has agreed to stop enriching Uranium, allow international inspections of its nuclear facilities, and stop missile testing in exchange for food aid. It’s a good sign. I suspect the USA will put so many other preconditions on the deal that nothing will come of it, but who knows. I keep thinking that maybe somewhere in the primitive lizard brain that is now Washington is the dim perception that we can’t afford to police the whole world and that we need to actually dial back some of our overseas confrontations. What can I say, I’m the eternal optimist.
Syria is basically close to civil war at this point, peaceful demonstrations having given way to armed insurrection. Again as in Afghanistan, what a mess. Like all dictatorships in nations that don’t have a real national identity yet (it takes more than just drawing a line on a map to make a nation,) the rulers are very much all from the same religious and ethnic faction. So it’s as much a fight for the majority trying to get their share of the pie as it is a fight for freedom and democracy. I’m not even going to guess as to how it’s going to end, but I think it’s safe to say it isn’t going to be pretty.
And I’m pleased to end on a good note. All those bailouts and the stimulus plan have worked. Yes, the stock market is back to where it was before the crash! Isn’t that great, the people who destroyed the economy by accumulating ever higher piles of funny money at the top of the pyramid have all gotten their money back. And of course with the rich being super rich again, surely the trickle down theory will finally kick in and they will re-invest this wealth in America and we will all have good paying jobs again soon! Yes, the American dream still lives.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s all over Facebook so I think I’m good. I don’t know who holds the copyright but the speaker is Anne Hathaway at the 2008 Human Rights Campaign Dinner. YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZuIdQVEVY0. I posted it because it illustrates a point about the gay marriage “debate” that numerous judges have now based their rulings on, the only objections people have to gay marriage are predicated on Biblical teachings. Prejudice is not a valid reason to deny people their rights. If gay weddings bother you, don’t go to them when invited.)
No, I didn’t fall off the face of the Earth, nor did I go to North Korea. Just a combination of personal stuff and utter dismay at the state of the world. However, two recent comments left on previous posts made me think, and both deserve a considered response. See how diplomatic that sounded, one can learn a lot by watching the current actor in the White House. Also I wanted to say a few things about this terribly sad story: Microwaved Baby. The comments people have made about the story are particularly interesting.
First though, a comment left on my post “Why Not Invade North Korea?” It’s actually one of my older posts, I could make even more cogent arguments today about the folly of invading North Korea. However, in response to my post, I recently got this comment:
“It’s not about the threat to the US; it’s about NK’s threat to HUMANITY.
Millions dying there per annum; disease, starvation, all manner of depraved sub-animalistic goings on… cannibalism. Even the ‘mere’ relentless indoctrination of so many with a fascist, anti liberal / Western / democratic ideology is dangerous far beyond the need hypothesize about expunging it.
Isn’t this the kind of thing the ‘world police’ are meant keep off of our planet’s streets?
Oh. Yeah… my bad. North Korea DOES have WMDs but not oil / resources, so of course that grants them dispensation from being invaded. What was I thinking — d’oh! =P”
Well then, that settles it, North Koreans are the bad guys so we should just invade and “fix” it. Well, the esteemed author of said comment is certainly an extreme example of confirmation bias in action, I know there’s no argument I can make that will shake their world view. Invading other countries, even countries on the far side of the world, because of our moral and ethical superiority is the crusader mentality illustrated. Again, people who maintain that crusades are acceptable are espousing an ideology, simplistic as “good vs evil” is as an ideology. People making ideologically based arguments, like ones making religiously based arguments, are pretty much immune to reasonable argument. In fact reasonable argument actually can strengthen people’s contravening beliefs, go figure.
Just quickly though I would point out that his argument has two fatal flaws. The first is that it completely ignores the role the west played in both creating, and maintaining, the North Korean regime. Even more fatal, is the fact that nation building crusades as the gentle commenter is suggesting, rarely work and frequently make things much worse!
Moving right along, in response to my recent post “Socialism for the Rich Illustrated,” someone left this comment:
“When you give money to the rich, they INVEST it.
Expecting to make a profit.
No matter why, the money still goes into the economy.
I agree that we must have greater quality, but basic economics teaches that that will be at the cost of having lesser overall wealth.”
Sigh. When the rich get richer, even if their ever increasing pile of money is technically still part of the economy, so what? In fact that’s the problem, the rich have so gamed the system that all their money does is sit at the top and suck up more money. Which is exactly what I was illustrating with the empty store front above, this rich fellow is not investing his wealth in the economy, his store is just sitting there empty making him money from the public trough!
Secondly, economics is not a “zero sum game.” At least not since Sam Adams a few hundred years ago. If you take a thousand unemployed people, build a factory, and put them to work, you are creating wealth. A healthy civilization like the Romans for example, sets up laws and regulations so that the rich are encouraged to invest in the economy in ways that create wealth. And then there’s the opposite approach, illustrated above.
Lastly, the sad case of the microwaved baby. And equally sad, how many of the comments were eager to rush to judgment and subject her to all sorts of hideous torments. Right, and it’s Muslims that have a violent culture? This “microwave her” attitude is like, the opposite of civilized. This is because simply don’t know yet what actually happened. The fact that the police have charged her means nothing.
Take a socially isolated women taking care of small children 24/7 and you already have a recipe for mental breakdown. Add another layer of mental illness like depression or postpartum psychosis, and bad things can happen. Or even add a controlling abusive husband who didn’t want another daughter and made damn sure his wife got the message that she had to “get rid of the problem.” This sort of thing does happen in the west, yes, it really does. Until far more background information is available, I’m not going to even guess at how culpable she is.
Yes, possibly she is just a psychopath who was getting rid of an annoyance, but those types of cases are far more common in Hollywood movies than in real life. I’m betting it will turn out she was in a pretty horrible place to have done such a thing. And one even has to wonder if there are other possibilities. Like her other small children did it while she was distracted for a moment, imagine what a mind messing nightmare that would be for a mom to deal with. To make my point obvious, the fact that so many people are willing to suggest horrible punishments for this women even before her trial, or even the facts have been made public, shows that the sort of toxic misogyny that we are so quick to condemn in other cultures is not so deeply buried in ours.
(The above image is North Korea’s redoubtable leader, Kim Jong-il, looking at things. In this image he’s looking at a piece of plywood. Democratic leaders have to shake a lot of hands, despots have to look at a lot of things. Mr Kim can go anywhere and look at anything he wants in his country, I’m sure that beats shaking a bunch of sweaty hands in shopping malls every day. Another reason dictators shun democratic reform I suppose. I got it from this fine aptly titled site: kim jong-il looking at things.)
December 2nd, 2010. During American and South Korean naval manoeuvres in the Yellow Sea near North Korea a nuclear explosion occurs, sinking a dozen major warships including the American carrier USS George Washington. At least ten thousand American and South Korean sailors and servicemen are killed, and of course the world media goes nuts. Just in time for the five o’clock news on the USA East Coast. Film of the mushroom cloud rising is played non stop on every channel, the talking heads fall all over themselves blathering, and within the hour President Obama held a live conference where he blamed North Korea for the “attack,” and gave them one hour to unconditionally surrender or the USA would respond with nuclear weapons. He also added, to the delight of the war party, and horror of level heads everywhere, that anyone who objected would also be targeted for nuclear attack. Bipartisan support for Obama was effusive after the conference.
North Korea denied the accusations, and China called for a 72 hour cooling off period and an emergency session of the UN Security Council. Most other countries also called for calm, but world stock markets crashed big time and any country with a military worthy of the name went to top readiness levels. At the one hour mark North Korea officially repudiated the charges, and said there would be “unlimited retaliation” if the USA or South Korea attacked North Korea.
Ninety minutes after the sinking of the George Washington over a dozen American tactical nuclear weapons detonated over North Korea, with dozens more in the hours that followed. The targets appeared to be North Korea artillery positions overlooking Seoul, and North Korea’s nuclear and missile facilities. North Korea artillery immediately began shelling Seoul, though not with anywhere near the numbers of shells that the nay sayers had predicted. Nonetheless millions of people packed up and fled, complicating efforts to rush troops northwards.
Six days later, it was over. A dazed North Korean general, apparently the highest ranking surviving member of the North Korean military and political leadership, was dragged from a bunker as he shouted “We surrender, we surrender.” The US press had shown Americans nothing but an endless array of military porn during the “war,” and Americans were dancing in the streets when it was over.
Meanwhile, almost unreported in the American press, Iran had been granted full membership in the SCO, the Russian-Chinese alliance. And in fact Russia and China announced that the SCO was now a military alliance dedicated to defending against the USA. Dozens of other countries applied to join the SCO, including Cuba, Venezuela, Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan. China and pretty much every country dumped their dollars, leaving it about as valuable as toilet paper. Germany and Japan declared an alliance, and revealed they already possessed a significant nuclear arsenal. NATO was in complete disarray. Anti-American riots and demonstrations around the world were too numerous to mention.
What happens next? Who knows. What’s my point? Well, as is often the case, I have many points. The first and foremost being that people did a terrible job of predicting World War One and World War Two. While there were plenty of people saying “this can’t be good,” and even some predicting accurate subsets of the future like “You know, battleships aren’t the ultimate weapon anymore,” if you’d asked a million people including all the world’s historians to write down in 1938 what was going to transpire in the next ten years, I doubt any of them would have come even close to what actually happened.
Yet many people continue to believe that they understand what’s going on in the world, and that if only their simplistic solutions were applied, all would be well. I don’t. I know my hypothetical situation above is just one of an infinite number of possibilities. And while I don’t know the specifics, I am in the “This can’t be good” crowd. The USA and South Korea seem bound and determined to provoke North Korea. In my hypothetical scenario above, anyone could have set of that nuclear weapon. And it wouldn’t need to be a nuclear weapon, if the American aircraft carrier George Washington sank like the recent ill fated Cheonan, the short term results would be equally as unpleasant and unpredictable.
I also think that the flow of history, regionally and globally, has two speeds. “Idle” and “Oh Shit.” Most of the time in most places, nations are making decisions that ensure a modicum of stability. I mean face it, if a gang is one of the lucky 300 odd gangs to actually rule a nation on this planet, staying in power and playing it safe are the top priorities, upsetting the applecart could lead to all sorts of unpleasantness. However, at other times in history, shit happens. The world wars. The Napoleonic wars. The USA civil War. People throw caution to the wind and make risky decisions. And all parties involve basically up the ante until the situation is resolved. Much blood and expense involved.
And often there is some sort of transition or warning event that leads to this state change so to speak. The Tonkin Gulf Incident. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. The shelling of Fort Sumter. And lately I’m wondering if such an event has occurred or is about to occur near Korea. Especially with the FBI so determined to show us that we are under terrorist “threat.” Coming next, my long awaited post about Obama the Destroyer. What can I say, I seem to be morbidly fascinated by current events these days.
(The above image is Public Domain under US copyright law. It’s a 21 kiloton underwater nuclear weapons test, known as Operation Crossroads (Event Baker), conducted at Bikini Atoll in 1946. Yes, those are ships, captured Japanese ships and obsolete American ships. Some animals were harmed in the making of this photograph. I chose it because it nicely illustrates the post, it’s a cool pic, and shows just how horrible nuclear weapons are. One last point, George Washington would be appalled that a warship designed to project American military might world wide was named after him, it’s the antithesis of everything he fought and worked for. )
FBI FOILS OWN TERRORIST PLOT AS STUNNED NATION REELS IN GRATITUDE; PLUS WIKILEAKS, KOREA, AND OTHER NEWS OF THE DAY
It’s hard for me to look at the news these days without cringing, so why not share with my readers! The first non-news of the day is the FBI foiling a “terrorist plot” to blow up a Christmas Tree ceremony in Portland with a car bomb. Sounds terrible, doesn’t it, a Somali born teenager tried to attack a public ceremony with a car bomb! The problem with this story, and so many previous similar stories, is that it turns out the Jihadist organization that recruited, trained, and sent him on his mission … was the FBI posing as a Jihadist organization.
Um, paedophiles manage to find troubled kids on line and talk them into doing insanely stupid things every day. How hard would it be to find some stupid troubled teen with Jihadist fantasies and convince him to be part of a terrorist plot? It’s damn easy, as the FBI has proved numerous times. This is not defending America or preventing terrorism, this is manufacturing propaganda so the government can claim it is preventing terrorism. And of course it works, plenty of people swallow this nonsense hook, line, and sinker. An Islamic cultural Centre has already been torched in apparent response to this incident. I have an idea, why doesn’t the FBI do something about the thousands of Americans who are gunned down in the USA every year by native-born gang bangers?
Moving right along, in Korea the USA and South Korea continue do their best to provoke North Korea into doing something stupid by conducting military exercises in disputed waters. The unpleasant incident last week where the North Koreans shelled a South Korean island? Again, the South was conducting manoeuvres and firing artillery into disputed waters first. I would agree the North over-reacted, but when one keeps teasing a cornered dog, sooner or later it’s going to snap at you. If North Korea was conducting military manoeuvres within sight of the US coast and firing live ammunition into American waters, the USA sure as shit would respond.
I said in a previous comment that I do not think that war is in the offing because if they wanted a war, the USA and South Korea had ample casus belli last week, but maybe I was wrong. Maybe the USA is trying to provoke a war, but big wars like this require at least some preparation, and maybe we weren’t quite ready to go. Who knows. Was talking briefly with a Korean War vet today in the grocery line, and he was adamant that the USA provoked North Korea into war in the fifties. He had nothing good to say about the USA government or the Marines, a sentiment one usually doesn’t hear from vets. At least in the media.
And then, Wikileaks. As I suspected, nothing Earth shattering has been released yet, just embarrassing crap. The Saudi’s urging the US to attack Iran was some of the worst, but it’s not like the Iranians didn’t know that Saudi Arabia is run by a family crime syndicate. Mostly embarrassing to the USA though, and mostly pretty minor stuff so far. More is to come though, so we’ll see. I kinda suspect if there was really something of stunning importance in there, IDK, aliens are in contact with us or 9/11 really was an inside job, why, the government would have managed to prevent their disclosure and/or they would have been published immediately.
People’s reactions to this story are a bit interesting. I love how I’ve heard some Americans call this treason. Um, wikileaks and its founder aren’t American, so by definition they can’t commit treason against America. Only Americans can commit treason against the United States. And I’m a little unclear as to how this material is going to “start a war” or “endanger lives.” The only thing endangered is some politicians careers. Frankly I think exposing the lies and hypocrisy of the world’s leaders and politicians is a good thing, God only knows the western mainstream media isn’t up to the job anymore.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit and damned if I know where it originated, it’s all over the web. I use it because the more one reads about this “terrorist” attack, the more it becomes clear this teenager wasn’t the brightest candle on the cake. And here you’ve got grown men running around with props and such getting paid to manipulate this dumbfuck teenager. It’s like a bad episode of Chuck, yet all sorts of people, Fox News viewers and such, no doubt take this story with deadly earnestness. Jesus wept.)
A commenter recently suggested that the obvious solution to the North Korean “problem” would be to simply nuke them out of existence. Well, maybe not those exact words, but the basic suggestion was to attack North Korea using nuclear weapons. The North has a huge well dug-in conventional military, which is the main obstacle to outright conquest, much of which would be vulnerable to nuclear attack. And any country’s infrastructure and industry is easily destroyed by nuclear attack, so would it make sense to nuke North Korea?
Well, the basic attack plan is sound. North Korea has no defence against such an attack, virtually all (if not all) of the warheads would get through. Such an attack would essentially destroy North Korea’s infrastructure, transportation net, industry, and much or most of their conventional military. It would also leave millions of people wounded or homeless, putting a huge strain on the survivor’s ability to wage war. And with any luck at all, key leadership positions would be destroyed or at least hopelessly isolated. And this can all be done with say, less than ten percent of the USA’s nuclear arsenal. And since most of these would be air bursts, there would be relatively little fallout.
So why not? What’s stopping the USA from nuking North Korea? Well, off the top of my head, in no particular order, I can think of ten reasons why it might be a very bad idea:
1. While most of the Korean military are exposed, tens of thousands of special forces and fanatics would be in very deep bunkers. And they would be in no mood to surrender. The USA could use more nukes, but making craters with nukes does create fallout. And, well, we don’t have limitless numbers of nukes, when one starts using nuclear weapons to blow up a few hundred guys in a bunker, well, a bunker with a few hundred guys is cheap compared to a nuclear weapon. It’s not an insolvable problem, but it’s one not solved by the initial nuclear barrage.
2. Chinese reaction. Well, yeah. What are the chances China (or all of the other nuclear powers) will decide the best course of action is to fire all their nukes at the USA now, before we nuke them? Would any sane person really want to risk this? To me this is why we haven’t used nukes in Asia yet, but I’m no China expert. At the very least this would sour US relations with China into the foreseeable future, we wouldn’t look too kindly an a nation that nuked Canada or Mexico, would we?
3. World reaction. Pretty good bet this is going to go down very very poorly in some quarters. It might even trigger a world wide depression. And of course it would be a propaganda bonanza for our enemies.
4. Korean reaction. Oddly enough, a lot of South Koreans don’t actually want to see their friends and relatives in North Korea vapourized by US nukes. Some of them might react very badly.
5. Nuclear retaliation. North Korea has nuclear weapons. A nuclear weapon weighs less than a ton. Thousands of tons of drugs and contraband are smuggled into the USA every year. Do I need to connect the dots? How many US cities being nuked is acceptable collateral damage?
6. Domestic reaction. While the left and anti-war movements have been eviscerated and emasculated in the post Vietnam world, nonetheless there would be a lot of Americans who would view nuking cities as beyond the pale. At least I hope so.
7. Cost. Nuclear weapons are very expensive, we only have so many of them. What percentage of our arsenal are we going to use on this problem? What if it’s not enough?
8. OK, now that we’ve pulled this off, Russia nukes Georgia and Chechnya? Israel nukes Iran? Iran nukes Israel? India nukes Pakistan? Any one of these has ghastly potential repercussions, including the possibility of world nuclear war. Do we really want to usher in a world where it’s OK to use nuclear weapons in war?
9. Another commenter said that in a war with Korea we at least wouldn’t have to worry about suicide bombers. FAIL. Asians invented suicide attacks, and North Korean special forces have in practise killed themselves rather than be captured. Not only could North Korea use suicide bombers, they might very well invent new ways to use suicide bombers that will make al-Qaeda look like amateurs.
10. I know this doesn’t matter to a lot of people, but such an attack would mostly kill civilians, people who are utterly innocent and if anything, the victims of the North Korean regime. I don’t see how anyone who professes to believe in a just and merciful God could possibly sanction such slaughter, and the atheists I know are some of the most pacifistic anti-war people around.
In conclusion, anyone who would sanction a nuclear attack on North Korea either hasn’t really thought this through, or they have a almost sociopathic indifference to the human costs and possible consequences. I mean, the fact that nation states haven’t used nuclear weapons is a pretty good indication that they are a political weapon, not a practical one. If one has nukes, one can threaten other nations, or at the very least largely ignore their threats. Which is of course why almost every nation state on Earth probably has at least some contingency plan for getting a hold of a few nukes if need be. And why some nation states would be almost desperate to do so. I don’t begrudge the Israeli nuclear arsenal, I just think every ethnic group should be so armed. Then we can all finally sit down and actually talk instead of making threats.
Yeah, I’m a dreamer. I’m going to go dig my bunker deeper, have a great weekend everyone.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit and it’s use here in no way interferes with the copyright holder’s commercial use of the image. I’m not sure of the actual copyright holder, but I believe it originated in North Korea. Since I’m urging the us to not nuke North Korea, I’m hoping they won’t object to my use of the image. It’s a war memorial in North Korea. I used it to express the view that other people have different perspectives, the North Koreans regard the war and ongoing confrontation with the US as a defence of their homeland against foreign aggression. And people defending their homes against foreign invaders generally put up a hell of a fight.)
Well, what a week this has been. I’m a professional writer now, I received my first check in the mail. “Welcome to the jungle” one of my freelance writer friends said. So I now have a free lance writing page, Doug Stych, Writer-at-large, where I am hawking my skills, such as they are. And I’m pleased to announce that the Doug’s Darkworld Annex is up and running. The Annex is basically a site where I will be organizing many of my old Doug’s Darkworld posts for easier perusal, including my popular quiz posts. It will also include material never published on Doug’s Darkworld. Though the quiz posts aren’t up yet, I’m a one man two cats operation, so I can’t do everything at once. And frankly, aside from rodent removal, the cats are mostly decorative. Any reader’s suggestions about old posts they think should be in the Annex are welcome. And as always suggestions about posts I should write here are appreciated. I keep an actual list on my bulletin board now, and as I am writing five posts a week now, I will eventually get around to them all. And lastly, the Favourite Sites link in the sidebar has been considerably expanded, with more expansion planned. And again, suggestions are welcome.
OK, enough self promotion for now. Like I said, what a week, for starters the oil spill in the Gulf is now officially the worst ecological disaster in USA history. I saw a question on Yahoo Answers: Who do you think is to blame for the oil spill in the Gulf? I was disheartened to see several very wishy washy answers about “assigning blame isn’t important, etc.” So this was my response verbatim:
“Boy, Americans sure are sheep. An individual does something bad and they foam at the mouth about blame and punishment. A giant corporation causes the greatest ecological disaster in American history, a disaster that is going to take money out of the pockets of every single American … and everyone is already parroting just what the corporate world wants … “oh it’s just an accident, oh blame isn’t important, etc…” No wonder the country is going down the tubes. I don’t know who is to blame, but we damn sure should be insisting that this situation be examined in great detail, and if there is any blame to be assigned, then the guilty parties get punished appropriately. Because if we don’t, this sort of crap will happen again. We insist on personal responsibility in America, it’s long past the time we insisted on corporate responsibility.”
In the unfortunate Korea situation re the sinking of the Cheonan, the sabre rattling continues. China has come out and said they will not protect whoever is responsible for the sinking. It’s really pissed off the west that China has refused to condemn North Korea, this is the same ol same ol colonial mindset at work. If the west says it is so, it must be so, what’s the Chinese’s problem? Their “problem” is that they are an independent country and don’t give a rat’s ass what the west tells them to do. It is a pragmatic diplomatic take on their part, since despite the west’s claims, the sinking is still somewhat mysterious. The sinking did occur deep inside South Korean waters, and a whole flotilla of USA and Chinese ships were indeed on manoeuvres, including many very modern ASW (anti-submarine warfare) ships. So they were practising hunting North Korean subs, yet somehow one slipped deep inside their lines so to speak, sank an ASW ship (yes, the Cheonan was primarily a sub chaser) and escaped undetected? Yes, it is possible, but it certainly does raise a lot of questions, questions the western media is avoiding for the most part as they simply parrot the “North Korea did it” line. As a last note, one source told me: North Korea may have as many as fifty nuclear warheads. That’s certainly reason to proceed with restraint in my book, but we’ll see.
In California news, we have a proposition on the ballot that nicely illustrates how corporate America is trying to eviscerate democracy right in front of our horrified gaze. It’s Proposition 16, the so called “Taxpayers Right to Vote Act.” Snort. The proposition is very simple, it says that if a local municipality wants to go into the power business, it requires a vote with a 2/3rds majority in the affected region first. Guess who wrote and bankrolled this proposition to the tune of over $50 million? PGE, the giant power company that provides power for most of California. While this proposition superficially sounds reasonable, the 2/3rds majority requirement basically means that if this passes, it will be impossible for local municipalities to go into the power business since it’s almost always impossible to get anything to pass with a 2/3rds majority. In effect PGE is using the democratic process to completely subvert democracy and give themselves a permanent monopoly on power distribution in California. I could go into detail, but suffice it to say that there are often very good reasons for local municipalities to go into the power business, local municipalities are already elected, and America was built on the principle of majority rule … not 1/3 minority veto. On a plus note, despite outspending the No on 16 people by over 1000 to 1, the proposition is still lagging in the polls. So, frankly, there is a chance that people are starting to wake up and see how big corporations are trying to steal everything.
In other local news, we’ve had storms and rain for three days now. In late May in Berkeley this is almost unprecedented, though this long wet spring has been wonderful for gardens so I’m not complaining. I apologize for not getting around to my post about how the Universe created itself, no God required, but sickness and the Korean crisis bumped it to next week. Have a great weekend everyone!
(The above image was taken by me, Doug Stych, and may be freely copied and distributed as long as it is properly attributed and links to Doug’s Darkworld. These are my two assistants, the picture is titled “I’m trying to cook my supper here guys.”)
Reasons Another War with North Korea Would be a Very Bad Idea, and Reasons Why it May Happen Anywise
I know some on the pro war side think that a war with North Korea would be a “cakewalk,” just send in Clint Eastwood with a company of Marines and that would be that. This view isn’t supported by history or reality. Wars are rarely cakewalks, and they almost always have unintended consequences. And judging from how bitterly fought the first Korean war was, it’s a testament to the failure of our educational system that more people aren’t aware of that. In fact the USA suffered arguably its worst battle defeat ever in the Korean War, and arguably it’s the first war the USA ever fought that we didn’t win. Hardly a reason to fight it over again. In any event, here are five reasons a war with North Korea would be a bad idea:
1. North Korea is within artillery range of Seoul, the capitol of South Korea and one of the world’s great cities. And they’ve had fifty years to build bunkers for guns and stock them with shells. And while North Korea may not have the most modern weaponry, when it comes to firing shells at a city, it doesn’t matter. And did I mention that North Korea has the world’s largest artillery force? Sure, our high tech planes and artillery could knock them out eventually, but not before hundreds of thousands or millions of rounds of artillery had landed in South Korea. It would make the Hezbollah rocket attacks on Israel look like fireworks in comparison.
2. North Korea has one of the world’s largest armies, with about a million men in the field, including 90,000 special forces. And five million reservists just in case they need spares. Um, the US army has about 500,000 men, South Korea a few less. And while North Korea may not have the latest equipment, if history is any guide they are ferocious fighters and would be defending their very rugged and very defensible homeland. Just for kicks, the Taliban has maybe 25,000 fighters who are not nearly as well trained and equipped as North Korea’s soldiers.
3. North Korea has spent the last sixty years building bunkers, gun emplacements, and anti-aircraft emplacements. Pyongyang, North Korea’s capitol, is the most fortified city on the planet, and one of the most fortified cities in history. This isn’t something that can be dealt with using drone strikes.
4. North Korea is all mountains and rugged terrain. Despite all the USA’s supposed technological goodies, there’s still a big advantage to defending in broken terrain. Again, blowing up a few houses with drones isn’t going to be a solution.
5. North Korea has nuclear weapons. They also have chemical and maybe biological weapons.
The point here is that defeating North Korea in any sort of war isn’t going to be easy. Bombing them into submission won’t do the trick either, in the first war we bombed North Korea flat, almost literally. Didn’t make them surrender, and these days we can’t use the sorts of carpet bombing we used back then, so it’s hard to imagine bombing having much of an effect.
Despite these good reasons not to fight a war with North Korea, it occurs to me that not only are we looking for a distraction from the economy, at this point it’s looking like the American government will need a distraction from the oil spill in the Gulf, since it’s becoming clearer every day what a mind numbing catastrophe this is. So the Obama administration has every incentive to make both the situation with Korea and Iran look alarming as possible, which is exactly what they are doing. They are in a similar but much more dangerous situation to the one that led Argentina to seize the Falkland Islands. IE the USA has motive to start a war as a distraction from domestic problems, but unlike in the Falklands, this could turn into a much larger war. Yeah, that would sure be a distraction. And sadly, our weird hybrid Obama administration seems to combine the worst Neocon attitudes about war being a solution to all problems with the historical Democrat belief that if one just escalates a war enough, victory is certain.
And as a final point, while it would seem insane that North Korea or Iran would start a war, if pressured enough they might just decide that a first strike is their best option. I suppose in future posts I will explore those unpleasant possibilities. Granted, it’s a good bet that the USA could “win” a war with both countries, what the USA couldn’t do is occupy either country. And if we tried to do so, we would have a mess on our hands that would make the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan look cheap in comparison. In fact a very good case can be made that many nations of the world are quietly doing their best to see to it that the USA does exactly what so many Empires in the past have done, bankrupt themselves with futile wars on their frontiers that have nothing really to do with the security and defence of their homeland. This is especially the case in Korea, where South Korea is perfectly capable of defending itself, and the USA should have pulled out after the collapse of the Soviet Union if not before.
Oh well, I’ll go look at the latest sabre rattling in the news and get more depressed. I’ve had a terrible head cold the past few days, so I apologize if this post is a little disjointed. This is just such a critical and current and evolving situation I wanted to get something out there to stimulate thought if nothing else.
(The above image is a US army photo and thus Public Domain under US copyright law. It’s labelled ” … a machine-gun crew rests above a Korean village after assaulting a Chinese position.” I obtained it from this fine site: Korean War Photos. There’s also some wonderful colour photos of the war that just became available: One Man’s Korean War. I could have chosen a far more exciting and/or grisly photo, but I dunno, I just wanted to capture the idea that the people who fought in Korea were real people and it’s a real country.)
As I write this, the situation in Korea is getting a little scary. I am definitely a little perturbed, this has gone beyond anything in my memory since the Pueblo incident back in the sixties. Not good.
OK, so where are we at? Well, about a month ago a South Korean ship was sunk in disputed waters near a South Korean Island. One source says it was on joint manoeuvres with the USA at the time. Suspicions immediately focused on the North, and eventually a commission “proved” that the ship was sunk by a North Korean torpedo. North Korea has denied the accusations vociferously, much sabre rattling all around. The USA and South Korea have announced they will be conducting manoeuvres and basically called the sinking an act of war. The North has cut what few ties it has with South Korea, and is threatening war too. Did North Korea sink the Cheonan. It’s certainly possible. And that’s about all us worms can know for sure. A ship was sunk, it’s being blamed on North Korea, North Korea denies it. It is in fact entirely within the realm of possibility that it was a friendly fire incident, but it’s being conveniently blamed on the North. There are other possibilities as well.
So the question now is, who sank the Cheonan? And the answer is, who cares? It simply doesn’t matter. Governments and politicians don’t give a hoot about justice and truth and crap like that, that goes with the territory. The real question is, what are the motives of the parties involved at this point? And how likely is it that a shooting war will break out? And here us worms down in the trenches, figuratively speaking, have even less clue. That’s never stopped me from speculating before, so here goes nothing:
North Korea: While it’s probable that the North miscalculated and sank the Cheonan as part of the tit-for-tat border war that’s been going on for decades, I can’t think of a single reason why they would want war to break out. While they could likely do a lot of damage in said war, it’s hard to imagine how they could hope to win in any meaningful sense. It’s also possible that they instigated the whole thing as a distraction for one of their allies, as they may have done with the seizure of the Pueblo in 1968. North Korea doesn’t really have any allies right now aside from China, sort of. Are the Chinese up to something? Seems unlikely, but if China launches a surprise attack on Taiwan in the days to weeks to come, you read about it here first. (Yes, I have ESP, I know what all my readers have been reading.)
South Korea: Well, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where South Korea would want thousands of artillery shells raining down on Seoul. They have a government though that has bet the farm on a “tough” approach with North Korea, so they aren’t going to be a voice of moderation in this. In fact they pretty much have to get vengeance somehow for the sinking or it will cripple them politically. I can’t think of any scenario where they would have instigated this, so I suspect that even if they do have doubts about the sinking, they are going to follow the USA’s lead.
Japan: Japan under no circumstances wants a united Korea, more than anyone else a divided Korea is in their interests. A united Korea would be a regional power, would very likely be an American client state, and might very well want to settle old scores with Japan. Or more accurately, use old scores to their advantage in geopolitical manoeuvring. It’s hard to see Japan instigating a war that might very well result in a united Korea, so I suspect they aren’t involved and will do their best to talk tough publicly but urge restraint privately.
Russia and China: Neither Russia nor China want a united Korea either, they are quite happy with North Korea as a buffer state between them and South Korea. At this point it should becoming clear that’s one of the major reasons this fossilized Cold War war persists to this day, Korea’s neighbours like it like that. So it seems unlikely that either of them instigated this incident, since a war might put a USA dominated united Korea right on their doorstep. On the other hand, if the USA got involved in yet another expensive war, they won’t be complaining. So while they may not be urging war, and they likely didn’t instigate this, they might well passively let the USA hoist itself by its own petard so to speak.
So we’re left with the USA. And here it gets a little hazy. For one thing Obama seems to be inclined to be even more warlike than his predecessor, a combination of his need to fend of charges of “softness” from the right, and the Democrat’s historical inclination to think they can do wars “the right way.” The failure of the USA’s vaunted military to detect a World War Two era North Korean sub in their midst might also come into play, they don’t want the American public to ever realize that that vast amount of high tech gizmos the US military purchases have only one real use … to transfer taxpayer money into the pockets of the rich. And lastly, historically governments often choose war to cover up a declining economic situation, and the USA’s econ0my is a mess no matter what the government says.
So we have a situation where the three main players, the Korea’s and the USA, all have strong motives to push this to the edge or even over the edge. And that’s a dangerous situation, because historically in situations like this it’s not unusual for both parties to get into a Chinese finger trap sort of situation where they feel they have no option but to keep upping the ante (Yes, that was a painfully mixed metaphor, wasn’t it?) Or in simpler terms, it takes two fools to have a fight. And here we arguably have three fools. So while I think that a war with North Korea would be insanely risky, history is filled with insanely risky wars that happened because the participants miscalculated and/or manoeuvred themselves into a situation where they “had no other choice.”
So this glowering situation requires careful attention. Tomorrow, ten reasons why a war with North Korea would be a bad idea.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit, is central to illustrating the post, and its use here in no way interferes with the copyright holder’s commercial use of the image. It’s also entirely possible it was taken by a US government photographer and is public domain under US copyright law. Credit: Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. Its refugees fleeing during the first Korean War. I used it here for the obvious (I hope) reason, so many in the west and especially in the USA seem to ignore the terrible human cost of our endless “humanitarian interventions” overseas. There’s nothing humanitarian about wars, wars are the antithesis of humanitarian.)