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Monday, April 06, 2009


North Korea's satellite launch

Following up on the post below, here's the first paragraph of an article in today's Washington Post with emphasis added:
President Obama arrived in Turkey on Sunday night as global condemnation of North Korea gave way to intense diplomatic debate about how to punish the rogue nation for the brazen weekend launch of a rocket over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean.
Do you think they could pack any more loaded words into one paragraph, in order to make sure the American people know how they're supposed to think about this subject? Notwithstanding that that "global" condemnation wasn't so global (the very next paragraph reports that "China and Russia said they were not yet convinced that Pyongyang had violated any U.N. rules"), notwithstanding that the biggest "rogue nation" in the world is the U.S., which has invaded countless countries since the last time more than 50 years ago that North Korea was even involved in a war, notwithstanding that there's nothing "brazen" about launching (or attempting to launch, depending on who you believe) a communications satellite, and notwithstanding that, while North Korea did in fact "launch a rocket," I assure you that a news article about the launching of a U.S. communications satellite would not describe the event as "launching a rocket," although a rocket is certainly involved.

Then there's the fact that the U.S. Security Council met in "emergency session." "Emergency"! The day Israel invaded Gaza (and for weeks thereafter), did the Security Council meet to act on that very real emergency? When the U.S. began its "shock and awe" attack on Iraq, was there an "emergency session" of the Security Council then? No, but on a day when North Korea simply launched a communications satellite, which may have helped them develop rocket technology, which may be used under some unspecified circumstances in the future to launch a nuclear weapon (it's always "nuclear", the biggest scare tactic of them all) that they don't even have yet (they have a nuclear weapon, but are years away from having one that will fit in a warhead, or so we're told by this very article), that is an "emergency"!

By the way, note that the circumstances of such a hypothetical attack are always omitted. Other than as a defensive reaction to an attack on them, under what possible circumstances is North Korea going to launch a nuclear missile, or any missile, at the United States, Japan, or even South Korea? Oh, I forgot, they're led by a "madman." Well, Kim Jung Il may have some goofy idiosyncrasies, but there's no evidence whatsoever that he, or the rest of the leadership of the country, is "mad" and bent on suicide; if they were, they could have accomplished that task long ago. No, what this is about is trying to prevent North Korea from having defensive capabilities, not offensive capabilities which would pale in comparison to any of its potential targets.

And where does the Security Council come off having anything to say about this anyway? Security Council Resolution 1718 from 2006 agreement bans Pyongyang from conducting nuclear tests or launching ballistic missiles. On what grounds does this resolution single out North Korea and omit the United States, Britain, or any other country? Again, has North Korea started a war in the last 50 years (and a reminder that the start of the Korean War itself isn't a simple matter)? The Security Council does indeed make "international law," but just as a change of a few votes could have made the invasion of Iraq "legal," it wouldn't make it right. So too here.

Unfortunately, the full-court press from the Administration and the media does have an effect. A new poll asserts that 57 percent of American voters "support a military approach to eliminate North Korea's nuclear capabilities" and just 15 percent oppose it. I'd have to see the actual poll and the question asked, but however biased it was, those numbers are still scary, a thousand times scarier than any "threat" from North Korea. Start another war? Sure, go ahead. Let's kill a few hundred thousand more "bad guys" while spending a few more hundred billion dollars we don't have.

As an aside, I have to note how that kind of response makes a mockery of the whole "9/11 truth" movement. The "9/11 truthers" would have us believe that a U.S. government conspiracy felt it necessary to knock down not only both main towers of the World Trade Center, but also the obscure "Building 7" that 99% of the public has never even heard of as well as ram something into the Pentagon (a plane? a missile? why a missile for the Pentagon when planes were fine for the Twin Towers?), all to whip the American people into a war fever. Sadly, as this poll on North Korea indicates, it doesn't even take any concrete actions for that fever to be whipped up, only the Administration and the media telling us there's a threat (e.g., that Iraq has WMD and they might - under conditions again unspecified because they're so implausible - attack us with them or might - more implausible hypotheticals - give them to terrorists). The threat doesn't even have to be imminent, as in the case of North Korea. They simply have to associate the words "threat" with North Korea (or Iran or Venezuela etc.) by repeating the words in conjunction with each other often enough, and the American people are ready for war. That's the "9/11 truth."

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