Original Post: http://www.alternet.org/world/who-begging-war-we-have-such-poor-understanding-conflict-north-korea
- The War Has Not Ended: US Ambassador Nikki Haley says that the North Koreans are ‘begging for war.’ But North Korea has been in a permanent state of war against South Korea and its allies since June 1950. When the guns stopped firing in July 1953, the war did not end. There has been an armistice since 1953, but no peace treaty. The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is not a border between North and South Korea, but a tense border for hostilities that remain vital.’’
- The US Conduct in the War Is a Sign of Its Belligerence: Most US high school students study the history of World War II and the US war in Vietnam, but do not get taught the Korean war. They learn little of the great barbarity of the US bombing of that country, not only of the bridges on the Yalu River but of dams and schools, hospitals and factories, government offices and residential homes. During the active phase of the war, the United States dropped 635,000 tons of bombs (including 32,557 tons of napalm – a chemical weapon) on Korea – more than the US tonnage dropped in the entire Pacific theatre of World War II. On November 5, 1950, Far East Air Forces General George E. Stratemeyer wrote that the instructions he got from General Douglas MacArthur was that ‘every installation, every facility, and village in North Korea now becomes a military and tactical target.’ Three days later, the US bombers dropped 500 tons of incendiary bombs on Sinuiju, destroying 60% of the city. Almost all of the cities of Chosan, Hoeryong, Huichon, Koindong, Manpojin, Namsi, and Sakchu were destroyed. On December 30, Stratemeyer told his officers that they would now destroy North Korea’s four largest cities – Pyongyang, Hamhung, Hungnam and Wonsan. At the close of the bombing, eighteen of twenty-two major North Korean cities were levelled. This is data from the United States Air Force, not from North Korean textbooks. Every American should digest this history.
- George W. Bush Raises the Belligerence: In 1994, North Korea and the United States signed the ‘Agreed Framework’ for negotiations. This was a real breakthrough. In exchange for material demonstration that it would not increase its weapons programs, the North Koreans would be able to replace their aging Yongbyon nuclear reactor by two light water reactors. North Korea had – in 1985 – joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This was a major confidence builder for any negotiations. What the North Koreans wanted more than anything was for the US to draw down its troop levels in South Korea and to cease its provocative war games near the North Korean frontier. There are about 30,000 US troops in South Korea and 50,000 US troops in Japan – two detachments that threaten North Korea. The Clinton administration agreed to postpone the Team Spirit war games with South Korea. This was seen by the North as a major concession. Construction on the light water reactors began in August 2002. But this was already too late. In January of 2002, US President George W. Bush added North Korea into his ‘axis of evil.’ The three countries in that axis were Iraq, Iran and North Korea. In 2003, the US conducted a ‘regime change’ war against Iraq. The following year – in 2004 – the US pushed an isolation policy against Iran through the ‘nuclear threat’ agenda. The Europeans, driven to the wall by the war on terror, backed the US even though many European diplomats knew that there was no fire behind the smoke that the Americans claimed to see. North Korea, watching Baghdad being destroyed and Iran being threatened, walked away from the talks. Construction on the light-water reactor ended in 2006 and in 2009 the Six Party talks over peace with the North collapsed. George W. Bush’s ‘axis of evil’ speech pushed the North towards a reopened nuclear weapons agenda.
- Libya Gives Up Its Nukes and Finds Regime Change is the Answer: In 2003, Libya’s government led by Colonel Muammar Qaddafi decided to end its clandestine nuclear weapons program. At that time, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency – Mohamed ElBaradei said that he had a ‘gut feeling’ that Libya was about three to seven years away from building a nuclear weapon. But Libya decided to end that program, and the following year to end its chemical weapons program. By the end of 2004, then, Libya was largely without weapons of mass destruction – all removed voluntarily. The US promised the Libyans security guarantees for their removal of these weapons. But then, in 2011, the United States and NATO – under a UN mandate – conducted a ‘regime change’ operation against Libya. The country is now in great pain, destroyed by this regime change operation of 2011. The message to North Korea is clear – if you give up your nuclear weapons, you will be a victim of regime change.