SMOLDERING GLASS

Occasionally I have thoughts that qualify me as a terrible person, yet usually I am wise enough not to put them in writing. Today is not one of those times.

Just to remind veteran readers and inform new ones, there is no one more stridently opposed to American militarism than I am. With the possible exception of that old hippie lady at your farmer's market who sells bell peppers as a cover for her massive marijuana grow operation and who only wears things emblazoned with the peace sign. I have about two years' worth of posts pre-, during, and post-Iraq War about what a monumentally bad idea the whole endeavor was, and I like defense spending as much as the average Cardinal likes getting phone calls from attorneys representing a former altar boy from the 1970s.

That said, can we just blow up North Korea already? Please? I know. I know I'm a terrible person. If it makes it any better, I have no overarching political, strategic, or ideological motivation. They're really annoying and I just want them to go away.

For the past 15 years (since the nation recovered just enough from its 1994 famine to entertain pretensions of a nuclear program) the United States, Japan, China, South Korea, and other nations have devoted billions of dollars, man-hours, and intellectual resources to the saber-rattling of a country so backward that Mongolians make fun of their infrastructure. It would be something to take quite seriously from a country that is not a living punchline – Russia, for example. It is not something that is worth taking seriously from a country whose vaunted military boasts the very latest in domestically-produced knockoffs of 1950s Soviet military technology. It's as if a child dressed up as an adult, walked into a board meeting, and started barking out orders. You'd do little more than giggle at this; how annoyed would you be if everyone else in the room decided to take the toddler seriously?

Nuclear weapons or not, that analogy holds. They don't even have enough fuel to get their Korean War-era MiG-19s off the ground. Why would anyone take them seriously? Can somebody please just say, "OK, let's go!" the next time they threaten war? It will be over in about 12 hours. Really. Not a Rumsfeld 12 hours. The U.S., South Korea, Japan, or any number of other nations could turn that entire backward, malnourished, fuel-starved piss hole of a country into a flat field of smoldering glass in less than a day.

If they are a legitimate threat, end it. If they're not, let's stop wasting time and money in the DMZ pretending that some sort of military balance exists between one of the world's largest, fastest-growing industrialized economies and country that doesn't have electricity.

I don't hate you, North Korea. I'm just bored with you. You're not even an entertaining version. You're like a mosquito – not significant enough to present any actual danger, but just consequential enough to be consistently annoying. Neighboring countries have to be pretty sick of playing this game by now, wherein every time the Great Leader needs to solidify his power base the world's militaries have to respond to the tune of a few billion dollars. Petulant children are only cute for a minute or two.

And that is me being a terrible person.

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69 Responses to “SMOLDERING GLASS”

  1. Desargues Says:

    Forget North Korea, I know it bugs you, but fuck it. When will you tell us again about a topless Bay Buchanan doing cartwheels on the stage, Ed? I miss that. My life's pretty dull right now, I could use a bout of uncontrollable laughter. Kim Dong Dick or whatshisname just won't do it, for me.

    C'mon. Bring back topless Bay Buchanan. Open up that can of crazy on us.

  2. Major Kong Says:

    What most worries me about North Korea is that one day they may just think:

    "Hey, we're all going to starve anyway, might as well go for it."

  3. Brian Says:

    @Arslan, not to be a troll. But you brought up Nazis in your second comment. And that comment wasn't even about the post, North Korea, or the U.S. You were suggesting that another person commenting on the thread was a Nazi.

    As an internet vigilante, I am required to inform you that you have clearly violated all internet comment thread etiquette by being the first to bring up Nazis. You have proven Godwin's law as @StrangePork indicated.

    Therefore, whatever else you have to say on the matter is moot, and you should stop commenting on this thread immediately. Or you may suffer potentially life altering karmic damage.

  4. Pat Says:

    Yeah, count me among those confused how Ed could get through a post wondering why we don't just take out North Korea without mentioning the word "China." Adding to that, there's a number of people one plausibly could blame for the bother North Korea poses to its own people and its neighbors (the royal family principled socialist leadership passed down hereditarily, the generals, possibly some Chinese interests). Those will not be the people primarily affected by a war.

  5. Mal Rootkit Says:

    SeaTea said: "…the populace shouldn't have to suffer
    for the sins of their ridiculous leadership."
    I agree with this & hope it applies to me as well.

  6. Monkey Business Says:

    Let China deal with it. If they want to wear the global big boy pants, let them deal with North Korea. Consider it their Superpower SATs. If they manage to disarm North Korea without resorting to turning 25 million people into ash and Seoul is still standing, they pass.

  7. Cms Says:

    I think it was Lewis Black that commented on all those black and white images of NK. He said that the place is so backward that nothing there is in color.

  8. Tim H. Says:

    The norks might feel compelled to act before exposure to their relatively liberal ally renders the masses unreliable. Hope this can be worked out without the extinction of the Korean peninsula.

  9. Cromartie Says:

    If I may ask. Is there any oil in them thar hills? Because if there is, well, that changes the conversation entirely.

  10. Arslan Says:

    @Brian, Maybe you should have tried reading the comment I was responding to(and my response was intended to be somewhat sarcastic). Sean claimed to be a socialist upset with the DPRK's ideology, hence the need to "bomb them flat," a position which would be considered highly suspect by most socialists.

  11. Sean Says:

    Uhh, Arslan? It's called being tongue-in-cheek, much as Ed's post was. And as for socialists, there are many kinds. I am one of those whose opinion is that Stalinist regimes like NK have taken a beautiful philosophy and turned it into something ugly.

  12. Arslan Says:

    I was being a bit tongue-in-cheek as well. And I know enough about socialism to understand why "Stalinism", for the DPRK, would be a massive improvement.

  13. Sean Says:

    Okie-dokey, Smokie :)

  14. Desargues Says:

    Mitt Romney saying 'fistula' 12 times, dammit! Stop changing the topic!

  15. Barry Says:

    J Dryden: "Might I suggest, as a compromise, that we swap "nuke 'em" for "let's let the CIA do what it used to do better than anyone–go in, liquidate the assholes in charge, and install assholes the U.S. can do business with." (Fuck you, Castro–you're the exception to the rule.) Only this time, we deviate from the playbook just enough that we don't install a bloodthirsty lunatic to replace the one we just killed. Look, surely there can't be only one Corey Aquino in the world…"

    From my casual reading, the US is only good at installing a-holes who were already in charge of the military and itching to take over (i.e., guys who were one small step from doing it themselves).

  16. Bitter Scribe Says:

    I highly recommend "Nothing to Envy" by Barbara Demick to anyone who's interested in North Korea. Based on interviews with defectors, it vividly illustrates not only how intolerable life is there for the average citizen, but also how they buy into all the regime's bullshit, which is surprisingly easy to do when you have no other sources of news.

    One of the protagonists is a 50-something woman who watched her husband, her son and her mother-in-law literally starve to death before her eyes during the famine, and she still thought Kim Jong Il was a great guy! Her daughter just about had to kidnap her to get her safely across the border.

  17. Brian Says:

    @Arslan, I read all the comments. I recognized the comment you were responding to as a response to the article in general.

    The article in general is in itself supposed to be outrageous, and thus the response.

    However, as internet law states, "Unless the intent is to end the thread any equivocation of a post, commenter, or otherwise non-Nazi to Nazis terminates said thread."

    So, even with the caveat that you were equivocating @Sean's socialism with Nazism in jest, the thread should have terminated.

  18. Zebbidie Says:

    Sorry Brian. Godwin's law only states that as a thread grows longer, the probability that someone will compare someone else to the Nazis approaches one. It makes no statement about winning (or losing ) the thread.

    "Unless the intent is to end the thread any equivocation of a post, commenter, or otherwise non-Nazi to Nazis terminates said thread."

    This is just a made rule up by internet wankers for the purposes of the internet wankers. You know the people who think picking up on a typo counts as a winning thrust. Don't be one of those people.

  19. Phoenician in a time of Romans Says:

    I think what it's going to come down is having to give the leaders of the NK a bargain:

    i, Transition of their country into peaceful development and reunion with China and the US kicking in the billions needed to bring that shithole up to SK standards, with said leaders offered villas on the French Riveria, a billion dollars in Swiss bank accounts, and blowjobs every night from the boy, girl or both of their choice

    OR

    ii, The sure and certain knowledge that in a war, each and every one of them will be hunted down and executed personally.