Korea: Already destroyed by America

Posted by The Skibbereen Eagle | September 30, 2017 0

Donald Trump will travel to Asia in November for the first time since becoming President, in a tour planned to “confront the North Korean threat”.

The President has been applying pressure on his allies in the region to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea in the face of a series of missile tests conducted by Pyongyang. Perhaps it might be a good idea for the rest of the world if he got Ivanka to read some history books to him in bite sized extracts before he travels?

Not known for his deep reading of history (or indeed anything, the Trump Presidential Library will be a place of wonder?) Donald Trump threatens to destroy a country where every town was already destroyed by the United States and 20% of the population (Three million people) were killed. 

This racist and unjust War Crime was committed by a country which had recently hanged Nazis and Japanese militarists for waging “Aggressive War” and had recently signed the Geneva Conventions forbidding the deliberate targeting of civilians. In the South, the  Bodo League massacre and war crime against communists and suspected sympathizers (many of whom were civilians who had no connection with communism or communists) who wanted Korean Unity resulted in the murder of 200,000 Koreans with the approval of the Americans and indeed photographed by them. Korean “Democracy” in South Korea has continued to be a travesty to this day. 

World leaders have strongly criticised US president Donald Trump over his bombastic, divisive rhetoric delivered during his first speech to the United Nations last week. During his maiden speech to the UN, Trump took aim at countries who have been on his radar since he took up the presidency in January. Most notably, he warned that the US was ready to “totally destroy” North Korea and he labelled Iran as a “murderous regime”. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called out Trump for “ignorant hate speech”

Trump warned North Korea not to pursue its nuclear missile programme in his starkest language yet, deriding its young leader Kim Jong-un with the nickname “Rocket Man” and threatening to end his country.

“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary.”  – Donald Trump to UN General Assembly

Foreign tourists in North Korea are invariably steered to the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum in Pyongyang, which documents the isolated nation’s crucible years: the 1950-53 war that split the Korean Peninsula in two. Rural schoolchildren dressed in military uniform and wearing the bright red neckties of the Youth Revolutionary League listen wide-eyed as guides explain atrocities by the “US aggressors” committed during the war. Many of these atrocities refer to what Blaine Harden, author and former Washington Post reporter, recently called a “long, leisurely and merciless” US bombing campaign: well over half a million tons of bombs dropped, napalm and chemical weapons deployed, cities levelled.

General Douglas MacArthur’s plan to win was a list of targets sent to the Pentagon, requesting 34 atomic bombs to create “a belt of radioactive cobalt across the neck of Manchuria so that there could be no land invasion of Korea from the north for at least 60 years”. This is the country that US president Donald Trump threatened to wreck in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly. “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.” 

As U.S. infantrymen march into the Naktong River region, they pass a line of fleeing refugees. August 11, 1950 South Korea

Not known for his deep reading of history, Trump may be unaware that the United States has in fact destroyed North Korea before. And with “next to no concern for civilian casualties, says Bruce Cumings in his book The Korean War: A History. This amnesia is surely helping to fuel the current build up of tensions. A Gallup poll last week found that 58 per cent of Americans would support military action against North Korea if peaceful and diplomatic means fail. Where the Americans have forgotten, however, the North Koreans are trained to remember.

North Korean high schools must set aside two rooms for the study of the lives of Kim Il-sung and his son Kim Jong-il: The Benevolent Sun and the Dear Leader – revered grandfather and father of current leader Kim Jon-un – who defeated the “imperialists”. Schoolchildren spend a sixth of their day in these rooms, surrounded by portraits and episodes from the struggle against the Americans and Japanese. Anecdotes from Kim Jong-il’s life recall the biblical tales of Jesus Christ as he walked among the people.

All this rarely gets a hearing in America. As Cumings recently noted: “All of our media appear to live in an eternal present, with each new crisis treated as sui generis.” But, he warns, “we forget at our peril” that bellicose threats against the North did not start this week.

It seems people who ignore history are destined to repeat it and make the same mistakes again?

The Skibbereen Eagle

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