No Time for Old Men

April 8th, 2013

No Time for Old Men

~ Or are we just “Biden our time”.

The clock is clearly tickin’.  However, the Doomsday Clock clearly hasn’t noticed the crisis in Korea.  Many others have.  Some of those that have have might even be called “leaders”, “world leaders” or just military persons on the stage.  The rest of us are seemingly just Twistin’ the Night away.

From the time (April of 1962) that Sam Cooke came out with “Twistin'” until six months later we all (in Korea) were busy twisting the night away.  In Cuba, during this time, another young leader (age 36) was (as now) seeking “nuclear parity” with America.  He too was “tired of being pushed around and being constantly threatened by the damn Yankees”.

I have posted the teletype copy of President Kennedy’s speech.  As Kennedy spoke SAC B-52’s were circling in the sky, ships were at station.  The hotlines were hot.  Everyone thought that the U.S. was ready for war, “we’ll go in and get them.”

What was not known then, and what was only found out years later was that hundreds of tactical nuclear warheads were already up and running in Cuba.  Too, enough longer range missiles were ready to reach and nuke at least a few U.S.A. cities.  To the military (and the President) it certainly would have been a surprise as the landing forces were pummeled by nukes for which they clearly weren’t ready.

During that week in October there was a party going on, a twist party.  I was hunkered down in the home of a U.S. Major on South Post in Seoul, doing the twist.  What better way to spend your time if you think that maybe soon you will die.  My GI friends (and officers too) anticipated being in Pyongyang within three days of war breaking out.  They knew that first the U.S. would nuke the city (of Pyongyang).  Going north would be like nothing, so they told themselves (and me).   Maybe they were right, but that was then.

Quotes about a new Korean War:

So much of life these days, including the “rumours of wars” is second hand news, quotes from unnamed sources, a misquote or misinterpretation of relevant facts.  The design (intentional or not) is to create an image, like North Korea is “bad”, like being young is “bad”, like being old (or too old) and having power is “good”.  It’s like the mantra of Vietnam all over again – one Asian war fits all.

So yes.  On the airwaves (of late) there HAS been a whole lot of chatter.  So Sunday I assembled a collection of quotes.  I added a new one or two, today.  The idea is to listen and try and make some sense of the chatter and (to) see what the “h—” is going on before all h— begins to break loose, if it does.

It’s a “last chance” to look carefully at what really happened, “before the war” and how “we” (really “thee”) allowed it to happen.  History will quickly rewrite itself once any war starts and will keep doing so til the end.  Old myths, old lies will be repeated again and again (so often) that in time they will be believed, be quoted, be requoted until they become the gospel for the next war and the one after that.  It’s the new “world war order”; where in fact there is never ever anything new.

The antidote to too many tensions is to stay loose.  Don’t plan.  Don’t react.  Don’t give way to fear.  Do the right thing.  Try to let go and maybe move on.  My analysis of the summary of quotes is in the section that follows.  The one haunting line is: “Give me a call.”  Maybe give him (Kim Jong Un) a break, the guys of a new generation, cell phones and all; save the world – one call.

A little history never hurt anybody:

The familiar meme begins 63 years ago (or something).  “North Korea started the war”, “North Korea is a communist puppet”, “North Korea can do nothing without support from Russia or China”.  Actually things are a little more murky.

Korea, “Great Korea” (the nation of Chosun), or “United Korea” was not divided at the end of the war (meaning World War II).  Things changed in August and September of 1945.  You see, a secret deal was arrived at involving FDR and Stalin in December of 1943 wherein Russian troops would occupy everything north of the 38th parallel and American troops would control everything south.  At the Yalta Conference (4-11th, 1945) FDR, Stalin and Churchill ratified this “understanding”. On April 12th (1945), two months later, FDR who was in very poor health at Yalta, was dead (at age 63).

The Yalta agreement promised “in due course” Korea shall become free and independent.  Roosevelt felt that three or four years from the time of the Japanese surrender would be keeping with “in due course”.  The Korean government in exile in China (not “communist” yet) preferred freedom now.

The United States used the post war time to install the vigorous anti-communist Syngman Rhee as “leader” (despot) in South Korea.  He purged the countryside and capital in Seoul of “communists”.  Tens of thousands were murdered and died, infuriating friends and relatives living in the “north”.  Soon, all Korean dissidents (freedom loving people in the south) were silenced.

In December, 1948, the U.N. General Assembly recognized the Syngman Rhee
in the south (American Zone), as the only lawfully constituted government in Korea, over all Korea.  Meanwhile, the Kim Il Sung government in the north (Russian Zone) believed that the People’s Republic was the only lawfully constituted government in Korea, over all Korea.

Without discussing all the ins and outs of the Korean War and the decades after, one thing is clear.  67 years later, sixty-seven years after the physical partition of Korea the southern half of Korea (the American Zone) is still occupied by the United States and 28,000 U.S. troops.  There are NO Russian troops occupying North Korea and no Chinese troops stationed there either.

The fact is this:  “In due course” United Korea remains divided sixty-seven years later.  “In due course” didn’t work, it was a U.S. promise that never was kept.

Every which way but loose:

The “old ideas” from old women and men as seen below reflect a western media image of what we’re supposed to know about North Korea.  “It’s all about China and Russia”, the implication is Korea can’t stand alone.  Richardson speaks for the millions in saying, “It’s all about going nuclear.”  The reality is that nuclear weapons, nuclear power is the only thing that offers parity and peace.  Turn the Pacific Ocean and the air above it into a nuclear free zone, free of missile tests and submarine launches and North Korea will get rid of its nuclear ambitions in a New York minute.  It’s up to the U.S., China and Russia, Japan and others to really decide.

Is North Korea a nuclear state?  Great Britain says yes, the U.S. says no, New Zealand is undecided.  William Hague said it best, “There are no indications that North Korea is preparing for war,” how can it; it is a state that according to the U.N. doesn’t even exist.

Greta Van Susteren sees what she wants, not an impartial observer.  She should of gone to a concert, gotten off the main square on Army Day.  But then again, the North Korean women are more talented, smarter and younger – no wonder she (apparently) wants to “nuke them”.

War is never a joke.  Military occupation, foreign bases, planes and missiles flying halfway across the world to demonstrate war is not a “good neighbor policy” in anyone’s book.  Certainly not in mine.

I spent the better part of two and a half years in “South” Korea.  Most of the time I lived on a U.S. military base surrounded by guards, high fences and barbed wire.  The idea was to keep North Korean infiltrators out, and to keep the South Koreans out too.  Too often the “gooks” were seen as not friends, but just the people who lived there (in Korea).  The comments below indicate that regarding the Koreans of the north, very little has changed and that is SO WRONG.

Born in the 1920‘s:

Fidel Castro (August 13, 1926) age 86.
April 5, 2013:
“It would not be just to forget that such a (nuclear) war (in Korea) would affect, in a special way, more than 70% of the world’s population.”

Born in the 1930‘s:

John McCain (August 29, 1936) age 76.
April 7, 2013:
“News that North Korea is expected to go ahead with a missile launch signals a catastrophe of enormous proportions.”

Madeleine Albright (May 15, 1937) age 75.
April 7, 2013:
“China holds the key that will either unlock a war or keep the regional tensions at bay.”

Born in the 1940‘s:

Joe Biden (November 20, 1942) age 70.
April 5, 2013:
The affirmative task we have now is to create a new world order.”

John Kerry (December 11, 1943) age 69.
April 3, 2013:
“The United States will not accept North Korea as a nuclear state.”
April 12, 2013:
“It would be a huge mistake (for North Korea) to test launch a medium-range missile.”

Chuck Hagel (October 4, 1946) age 66.
April 3, 2013:
“The actions they’ve taken over the last few weeks present a real and clear danger and threat to the interests… of our allies.”

Bill Richardson (November 15, 1947) age 65.
April 7, 2013:
“That whole Asian area is a tinderbox.”

Born in the 1950‘s:

Chuck Schumer (November 23, 1950) age 62.
April 7, 2013:
“The Chinese hold a lot of the cards here.”

Martin Dempsey (March 14, 1952) age 61.
April 10, 2013:
“We must assume the worst case, that’s why we’re postured as we are today.”

Vladimir Putin (October 7, 1952) age 60.
February 27, 2012:
“I am convinced that today it is essential to be particularly careful.  It would be inadvisable to try and test the strength of the new North Korean leader and provoke a rash countermeasure.”
April 8, 2013:
Conflict on the (Korean) peninsula could cause greater devastation than the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.”

Xi Jinping (June 15, 1953) age 59.
April 7, 2013:
“World peace should not be put at risk because of a single country. No one should be allowed to throw a region and even the whole world into chaos for selfish gain.”

James Thurman (September 19, 1953) age 59.
April 7, 2013:
“If they decided to, you know resume hostilities, I think we’ve got to be ready to go.”

Greta Van Susteren (June 11, 1954) age 58.
April 7, 2013:
“The whole time we were there, all we saw was preparation for war.”

Shinzo Abe (September 21, 1954) age 58.
March 29, 2013:
“North Korea is the most pressing example justifying more freedom to join Americans in a range of other potentially hostile situations, including any that might involve China.”

Lindsey Graham (July 9, 1955) age 57.
April 7, 2013:
“I could see a major war happening if the North Koreans overplay their hand this time (and Kim Jong Un attacks South Korea).  The North loses and the South wins, with our help. That’s what happens.”

Born in the 1960‘s:

Jon Huntsman (March 26, 1960) age 53.
April 7, 2013:
“U.S. and Chinese interests, for the first time in a long while, are aligned.”

Michele Flournoy (December 14, 1960) age 52.
April 7, 2013:
“I think we have to convince this new, young, inexperienced leader that he’s playing a losing hand.”

William Hague (March 26, 1961) age 62.
April 7, 2013:
“There are no obvious signs that North Korea is preparing for war.”

Dennis Rodman (May 13, 1961) age 51.
March 3, 2013:
“He (Kim Jong Un) wants Obama to do one thing: Call him.”

Barack Obama (August 4, 1961) age 51.
March 25, 2012:
“The decision to launch the satellite, which is to be mounted on a long-range missile, would breach North Korea’s obligations, since missile launchings are barred by United Nations sanctions.”
April 11, 2013:
“Nobody wants to see a conflict on the Korean Peninsula.”

Read more here:

John Key (August 9, 1961) age 51.
April 7, 2013:
“What I said was if there was a situation that got to the extreme, New Zealand would consider its position.”
David Cameron (October 9, 1966) age 46.
April 4, 2013:
“It’s a fact that North Korea does now have missile technology that is able to reach, as they put it, the whole of the United States and if they are able to reach the whole of the United States they can reach Europe too. They can reach us too.”

Born in the 1980‘s:

Kim Jong Un (January 8, 1984) age 30.
March 3, 2013:
“I don’t want to do war. I don’t want to do war.  President Obama should call me.”
March 31, 2013:
“North Korean nuclear weapons act as a deterrent to potential aggressors and as a foundation for its prosperity.”

2013.04.09 – 00:50.

An addition to the original post:

The fighting during the first three years of the Korean War was temporarily ended by the signing of an Armistice Agreement (now nullified) on July 27, 1953.  I found this photograph of that event.  It is not the same picture that western eyes are used to seeing.   In the picture on the left below Kim Il Sung (born April 15, 1912) is just 41 years old.

To the right you can see a picture of his grandson Kim Jong Un taken a few weeks ago.  the truth is that it appears that North Korea has a Great leader that somehow never dies.  One can’t help but feeling that this person signed the armistice, and when it didn’t work, has now changed his mind.


2013.04.11 – 00:60. 

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