Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Outrageous Crimes Against Historical Memory in Iraq

Below is one of the more shocking articles I have seen recently about the crimes of the occupiers and their allies in Iraq, posted on UNC's surgelocal listserv. This is like the report that the US military took over Iraqi Olympic facilities and barred Iraqis from using them. This explains why the majority of Iraqis oppose the occupation and 45% support violent resistance (according to a leaked survey commissioned by the UK and conducted by Iraqi researchers). I am surprised that Iraq and the entire Arab world hasn't risen up and overthrown the occupation over this and other atrocities. Do Iraqis not care about this as much as I would expect (or do they not know about it?) or is it harder to fight for national liberation than I realize? It is hard to get a sense of the resistance, with US commercial media downplaying and distorting it, and online sources being hard to follow and verify, and since they make opposite claims. It is also hard to find out about non-violent and quiet, everyday acts of resistance. I have been more supportive of the right of Iraqis to fight back with violence than most activists locally, but it is a difficult position to take, with the support for pacifism in the US left and worry of whether the public is open enough to understand the right to resist.

The article starts by condemning Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge. I don't know enough about it to say I agree or that this is more anti-communist or reactionary propaganda. Either way, while peaceful means are best, violence is not a good reason to condemn what has been called the Cambodian Revolution. I want to know who was repressed and for what purpose, and in what context before I decide for myself whether I would support or condemn the Khmer Rouge. From what little I know about it (the History Channel didn't help much there) I would guess that it was not proletarian or socialist, but it was a Cambodian (or should I say Kampuchean?) issue. Someday I will get to reading about it in more detail, though there seem to be few books on the Khmer Rouge in local libraries.


Iraq’s “Year Zero”

by Felicity Arbuthnot

November 26, 2005

The continuing destruction of Iraq’s history - ancient and modern - of homes, lives and civil society under the watch of and at the hands of US and British troops - in defiance of a swathe of international law - is an uncanny and chilling mirror image of Pol Pot’s Year Zero.

In 1975 : ‘Society was to be purified ... throughout Cambodia, deadly purges were conducted to eliminate remnants of the old society: the educated, the wealthy, the (religious elders) police, doctors, lawyers, teachers, former government officials, soldiers .... Education, health care... was halted; cities forcibly evacuated....The country sealed off from the outside world.’ History, monuments, ancient and modern, world heritage sites … were all erased from the earth. Newspapers, radio and television were banned.

Secret prisons were built, Moslems ‘were forced to eat pork.’ ‘Up to twenty thousand people were tortured into giving false confessions in a school in Phnom Penh, converted into a jail ... elsewhere suspects were often shot before being questioned.’(1) Think Abu Ghraib (and don’t forget Guantanamo) and all those other centers where Iraq’s disappeared are incarcerated, now admitted - but not where. Think the shootings at road blocks, the ‘cleansing’ of Iraq’s towns and cities. Add to Pol Pot’s horrific regime only the killing of nearly eighty journalists in thirty months, the bombing of two television stations - Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, whose map grid reference had been trustingly given to the Pentagon - so any light falling on the slaughter and destruction of a nation and it’s heritage, becomes impossible - and the all is Iraq, writ with succinct accuracy.

Iraq’s society too is being ‘purified’, with precisely the same categories of humanity targeted by Pol Pot being killed in their hundreds: academics to doctors, scientists to soldiers. Former US Viceroy Paul Bremer called his purification ‘de-Ba’athification’ and sacked just about every strata of society needed to run a civilized one - in Iraq’s Year Zero, as Cambodia, their real sin was their race and its heritage, ancient and modern.

The destruction, looting of the haunting wonders of the National Museum, Mosul Museum, the two million irreplaceable books, manuscripts reduced to ashes, records of the National Library, the University of Endowment with its unique collection of ancient Qurans, the vandalization of Babylon and Ur by the new Barbarians - US soldiers - and desecration of thousands of archeological sites - the very history of mankind - have been heart wrenchingly recorded. Not recorded is the equally illegal and ongoing, planned destruction of every vestige of Iraq’s more modern history, on the orders of the Supreme Committee for de-Ba’athification - Pol Pot couldn’t have bettered that tag.

In Basra, early casualties were the dead heroes of the US-driven Iran-Iraq war, whose great bronze figures lined part of the corniche, arm out, pointing toward Iran. They were controversial and subject of much debate in a nation invaded repeatedly, throughout its history, its people utterly weary of war. But they were Iraq’s sons and died in defence of their country. They are no more.

The museum up the road, commemorating more of the dead of the eight year conflagration, of whom so many on both sides were lost it has been compared to World War 1, was also destroyed and with it, the only memory for so many: their identity cards, with details and photograph, hundred upon hundred, of the silent dead, living, staring from wall after wall. Real people, mostly so young:; the date they celebrated their birthdays, for all to see, occupation, skills learned over student years, engendered by youthful aspirations, never now to be met. The last vestiges of them have now vanished. Imagine if the Imperial War Museum in London, the Vietnam Memorial Wall, Arlington Cemetery, the Holocaust Museum, the Hiroshima Memorial were raised to the ground. Unthinkable - but Iraq’s grief is, it seems, simply inconsequential. That these are ‘grave breaches’ under Additional Protocol 1 of the expanded Geneva Convention of 1977 and happened under watch of the British Army has not been addressed. That the British Army itself looted a vast statue of Iraq’s President and took it back to their Somerset, south of England, base (2) - at British tax payers’ expense - has also not been addressed and Protocol 1 also applies.

The British though, had been told their first duty was to head for the oil terminal and secure it (3). Statues and museums clearly paled against of the significance of Iraq’s oil.

North in Baghdad early violations by the US army, included the statue toppling and squatting in Palaces, ‘using national historic buildings’ as a ‘command centre’ is also a violation. It is incumbent in the region, for each leader to leave behind him something more magnificent than his predecessor, the Palaces are both national assets - not American ones - and tomorrow’s history. National buildings too are protected, not free board and lodging for illegal invaders. Reports too numerous to cite recorded US soldiers returning home with palace ‘souvenirs’ they thieved and also priceless artifacts, prosecutions have been minimal or missing.

Over fifteen hundred modern paintings and sculptures disappeared from the city’s Museum of Fine Arts, where to visit was to gaze in awe at the wondrous imagination which created unique beauty. In June1993 an American missile killed the Museum’s curator, Leila Al Attar in one of numerous illegal bombings. Now her legacy too, is no more. ‘A cultural disaster’, near unmentioned, was how UNESCO’s Mounir Bouchenak described that cultural vandalism.(4) Thank goodness the troops thought to perfectly preserve the Oil Ministry.

Bit by bit, un-noticed, is the destruction of every statue, every landmark, which was the vibrant beauty, history’s hallmarks, which enchanted Baghdadis and visitors, marked the passing of a personality, commemorated Gilgamesh, the Thousand and One Nights, probably the earliest great epic story; Sinbad the Sailor, Iraq’s triumphs and tears.

Ironically,’ international guidelines protecting cultural property against damage and theft, date back to the American Civil War.’ That carnage ‘led to the 1863 Lieber Code, protecting libraries, scientific collections and works of art’ and was strengthened by the ‘1954 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property.’ The Nuremburg Trials after World War 11, sentenced Nazi officials to death for destruction of cultural property.(5) This did not deter US soldiers from the first truly breath taking act of desecration.

Michel Aflaq was the Syrian born, French educated, Christian ‘Father of Pan Arabism’. A towering intellect, with Salah al-Din al-Bitar, a Moslem - the two met whilst studying in Paris in the 1920’s and 1930’s - ‘... created the political movement which would come to dominate Syria and Iraq in the modern world.’ Thinker, philosopher, student of Nietzsche, Gide, Tolstoy, French theorist Henri Bergson, with Bitar he had founded France’s Arab Student Union. Finally devoting their energies to politics, culminating in the formation of the Arab Ba’ath Party with Jalil Said, in 1947 with ‘.... a secular focus ‘ with Islam’s significance acknowledged, contributing to world wide emancipation, with a central tenet being that there were Arabs before there were Muslims - thus the ideal of the Arab state. For Aflaq, ‘theorist of integrity ....... incorruptible’; a central tenet of the movement was representing ‘… the Arab spirit ... Arab nation, emphasizing culture rather than politics. (6) He survived imprisonment, high office and the region’s turmoils, dying in Paris in 1989 and buried in Baghdad where his tomb, statue in his honor and dome, occupied a ten km square site. In September 2003 the US army ‘leveled the all to earth’, on orders of ‘Viceroy’ Bremer.(7) Think flattening the Lincoln Memorial and you’ll be getting there.

Vandalising religious and historic monuments are also prohibited and illegal acts under the Hague Convention. Desecrating a grave is a criminal act of the lowest order, in any society.

Driving into central Baghdad from the west, in Nasr Square, Sa’doun Street, a small, resolute figure graced a plinth. He was Abdul Muhsin Al-Sa’doun. Born in Nasiriya in 1889, he became Minister of Justice, then in 1922, Minister of the Interior, then Prime Minister four times, a youthful, political shooting star. In his fourth term as Prime Minister, in 1929, he left the Parliamentary chamber, went into a side room and shot himself, rather than give in to British Colonial demands. He died of integrity, aged just forty years. His statue, made by an Italian sculpture in 1933, stands no more, razed shortly after Michel Aflaq’s, and reportedly melted down. Reports differ as to who was responsible, but not disputed is that it happened under US Army’s watch - even if not at their hands. Symbolism is stark: a man who died of integrity has been razed - along with integrity itself.

In January 2004 the US Army 1st Armored Division did the unthinkable. They made a camp beneath the great turquoise dome of the Shaheed (Martyrs) Memorial to the dead of the Iran-Iraq war, where the names of over half a million dead are inscribed in marble, in memoriam, that their names, at least, live on. Graffiti was sprayed on the names, the Division’s motto obliterated others. The Museum where foreign dignitaries and families had brought items in honor of the fallen was, of course, looted. (Agencies, websites.) The dome is split, allowing the souls of the dead to fly heavenward. A great fountain flowed to the courtyard below - representing endless tears, or eternity as represented by the Euphrates river, depending on who one asked. A place of memory is, anyway, in the interpretation of those who visit and the solace found there.

On November 2nd the landmark statue of Abu Ja’afar Al Mansour (713-775AD) founder of Baghdad, was destroyed by a bomb.(8) No Baghdadi, Iraqi or Arab, would, arguably, blow up this revered historical figure, creator of’ the city named over the centuries: ‘The Paris of the Ninth Century’, ‘Mother of the World’, ‘Abode of Peace’, ‘Round City’, ‘Abode of Beauty’, ‘Triumph of the Gods’ ....(9)

Since journalists are shot and Iraqis lucky to return from a domestic outing in one piece and not in a body bag containing their parts and UNESCO has gone awol, comprehensive records of every day destruction of Iraq’s heritage, numerous, haunting, superb statues, sculptures, monuments is impossible. This surely barely scratches the surface. But an important and chilling plea appeared on a website (10). With the benefit of post invasion destruction, it had horrific clarity. From ‘An Iraqi Tear’ (most ‘liberated’ Iraqis are more fearful of revealing their identities now than they ever were under Saddam) is a plea to our place in history: ‘Please help us protect these monuments.’

‘Tear’ asserts that the Supreme Committee for de-Ba’athification has now ordered the razing of the turquoise Shaheed monument to rivers of tears and the Monument to the Unknown Soldier. The Unknown Soldier was completed in 1959, the year after the revolution which ironically, toppled the British imposed royal rule, which had opened the door to foreign monopolies plundering the country’s oil wealth. It was in homage to all those, who over the centuries: ‘fell in defence of the country’s dignity and pride.’

‘Riverbend’ (11) another blogger and insightful, astute chronicler of the Barbarians returned, notes: ‘The occupation has ceased to be American. It is American in face, militarily, but in essence, it has metamorphosed slowly and surely into an Iranian one.’ An astute Middle East watcher remarked recently: ‘Are you aware that the dominant language among those dominant in the puppet parliament is Farsi?’ ( Iran’s main language.)

Has an unholy alliance been formed between religious fundamentalism in Washington and Whitehall and religious fundamentalism from Iran which bans ‘graven images’? ‘Satan lives in Falluja ..’ a priest who gives God a bad name, told US troops before they used banned weapons and vaporized much of its population.

When the Taliban ordered the destruction of the ancient Banyiman statues in Afghanistan - the world, including Britain and American governments, declared outrage. Now, from Ur to the threat to Unknown Soldier, they are guilty of crimes of historic enormity. Quite apart from those, unquantifiable, against humanity.

In June 2005, the World Monument Society named, for the first time, an entire country, Iraq, an endangered site. ‘Every significant cultural site in Iraq is at risk today ....’ It also emphasized: ‘... preserving 20th century structures ...’

A spokesperson for the Iraqi ‘government’, boasted after the illegal invasion in 2003: ‘We came to power on a CIA train.’ By a different route, so did Pol Pot. Spot the difference.

1. Courtesy The History Place, 1999. ‘Pol Pot in Cambodia 1975-1979’.
2. Author interview with British Army spokesman.
3. ‘Last Round’ by Mark Nicol, pub: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 2005.
4. ‘Unesco lengthens list of looted art in Iraq’, International Herald Tribune, 24th May 2003.
5. Crimes of War, Ed: Roy Gutman and David Rieff, Pub: W.W. Norton, 1999.
6. ‘From Sumer to Saddam’, Geoff Simons, Pub: Macmillan, 1994.
7. Iraq-USA Politics 10th September 2003.
8. Mohammed Alwusy, Knight Ridder, 2nd November 2005.
9. ‘They came to Baghdad’, Sinan Antoon, Al Ahram Weekly, April 17-23 2003.
10. http://www.uruknet.info/ 2nd November 2005.
11. http:// riverbend.blogspot.com

Felicity Arbuthnot.
Iraq’s Year Zero - possible ‘box’.

Baghdad’s many richly evocative landmarks include:
* The great Liberty Monument in Liberation Square, depicting struggles through the ages; bronze relief figures on marble, by the late Jewad Selim.
* The golden figure of Karamana, Ali Baba’s housekeeper, from the ‘Arabian Nights’, surrounded by the great urns where the forty thieves hid. Water, in place of the boiling oil of the story, flows from a great vessel in her hands.By Mohammed Ghani: ‘the exuberant sculpture’, an object of wonder.
* The Hammurabni Obelisk, in Qhatan Square, honoring the great Babylonian King and lawmaker (1792-1750 BC) by Salen Al-Karaghoulli. The original Obelisk is in the Lovre, Paris.
* Al-Khalil bin Ahmad Al-Faharidi (AD 718-786) statue in Masbah Park, honoring the philologist and grammarian who wrote the first Arab dictionary and works on melody and rhythm.
* Abbas bin Firnas, ninth century philosopher, poet and inventor, is immortalized by Sculpture Badri Al-Sammarra’i, near the Airport. His theories and experiments on the possibility of human flight earned him the name of ‘First Arab Flyer.’
* Hammurabi’s robed statue, by Mohammed Ghani, graces central Haifa Street, utterly evocative, Babylonia’s wonders revisited.
* The Arab horseman in Mansour Square, by Miran Al-Sa’adi celebrates the Arab love of horsemanship and its association with ‘gallantry, courage and generosity’.
* Abu-Nasr Al-Farabi (AD 874-950) created by Ismail Fattah in 1965,one of the Arab world’s greatest ancient philosophers and academics, stands in Zawra Park. He was ‘The Second Teacher’, the First being Aristotle.
* Yahya Al-Wasiti, painter and calligrapher, completed his extraordinary illustrations of Maqamat Al-Hariri,in 1223.An original manuscript is in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. The statue celebrating him is in Zawra Park, by Ismael Fattah.

This random selection of Baghdad’s celebration of Mesopotamia’s lives, ancient and modern, can only fail to convey the extent of its wondrous cultural wealth. Wealth whose preservation is the duty and responsibility of the occupying forces.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization.
To become a Member of Global ResearchThe Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) at www.globalresearch.ca grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles in their entirety, or any portions thereof, on community internet sites, as long as the text & title are not modified. The source must be acknowledged and an active URL hyperlink address to the original CRG article must be indicated. The author's copyright note must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: http://us.f540.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=crgeditor@yahoo.comhttp://www.globalresearch.ca/www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of "fair use" in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than "fair use" you must request permission from the copyright owner.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

John Edwards' Apology for Voting for the War

Our illustrious former Senator, and 2004 Democratic Vice Presidential candidate, now says his vote in Congress to authorize the Iraq War was a mistake. But what is he really apologizing for, and what amends does he propose we make for this mistake?

It is good that Edwards is willing to apologize for what he sees as mistakes, unlike Bush, but this apology is not anti-war or anti-occupation. This is obviously a pro-imperialist, and even pro-regime change apology. Edwards apologizes for supporting a war based on intelligence that was "deeply flawed and, in some cases, manipulated to fit a political agenda." I think he could have seen that this was inaccurate information, if he hadn't already supported the idea of overthrowing the Iraqi government. As others have pointed out, he wraps this apology in support for the troops, ignoring the Iraqi cost. And I wonder how much regular soldiers, as opposed to the officers, care about ending "their mission honorably," and honor doesn't mean ending a failed mission by trying to save the imperialist goal. He also makes it sound like all national leaders are at fault, but some people were wise enough to see through the lies and spin before March 2003. I reject the argument that we are all responsible, except that we are all Americans and were not able to stop the War to start with. The idea that we have to fix Iraq is partly a ploy for imperialist objectives, and assumes that we can fix what we destroyed.

Edwards wants to end the occupation by internationalizing the occupation, reducing troop levels, removing unwanted American contractors in favor of local contractors, and "building Iraq's capacity." This is just the Democratic Party version of the occupation. I also wonder if the occupation can survive troop reductions. It would help public relations to reduce the occupation forces, but it would also probably help the Iraqi resistance forces. On the other hand, it might be too unpopular and difficult to add more soldiers in an attempt to detroy the insurgency. This proposal is an attempt to get Iraqi forces to enforce American objectives so the US forces can go home. I'm not sure this would work, and even if it does it is supporting a criminal US policy.

If they really want to end the War, and support Iraqi sovereignty and freedom, it seems to me that the government should negotiate a settlement between the occupiers, the Iraqi government, the resistance (maybe excluding the foreign fundamentalists), and neighboring countries. A national unity government could be created, prior to a new election after the occupation. That way there would be a stable framework so that the occupiers could leave and the Iraqis could peacefully decide their future themselves, and it would isolate the foreign fundamentalists, if they stayed after the occupation ended. There may be flaws with this approach, but I think it is the direction we should pursue. It is probably impossible to restore the Baathist government now, even if it were the most popular political force. I don't think there is yet a unified resistance that could take over and the present Iraqi government seems to have some legitimacy, even though it was created under occupation. We should also not hold the Iraqis to decisions made by Bremer and others, we should not try to control their internal affairs diplomatically, and we should pay reparations for the damage done by the sanctions and war.

It seems more likely that Iraq will be US controlled but seemingly independent or the US and UK will be forced out by the resistance. Maybe I am being too pessimistic (since I think the first option is most likely).

I think it was last year that I wrote to Edwards saying he was a warmonger and that I could not vote for him again. If he runs for the Senate again, and it is a choice between him and Elizabeth Dole, I would consider voting for him. He is still an imperialist though, and I don't think he will change. He might become more opposed to the Iraq War and he is better on some domestic issues. On a progressive listserve at UNC he was generally thought to be cravenly following the political winds, so maybe more people see through him now.

The Right Way in Iraq
By John Edwards
Sunday, November 13, 2005; B07

I was wrong.

Almost three years ago we went into Iraq to remove what we were told -- and what many of us believed and argued -- was a threat to America. But in fact we now know that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction when our forces invaded Iraq in 2003. The intelligence was deeply flawed and, in some cases, manipulated to fit a political agenda.

It was a mistake to vote for this war in 2002. I take responsibility for that mistake. It has been hard to say these words because those who didn't make a mistake -- the men and women of our armed forces and their families -- have performed heroically and paid a dear price.

The world desperately needs moral leadership from America, and the foundation for moral leadership is telling the truth.

While we can't change the past, we need to accept responsibility, because a key part of restoring America's moral leadership is acknowledging when we've made mistakes or been proven wrong -- and showing that we have the creativity and guts to make it right.

The argument for going to war with Iraq was based on intelligence that we now know was inaccurate. The information the American people were hearing from the president -- and that I was being given by our intelligence community -- wasn't the whole story. Had I known this at the time, I never would have voted for this war.

George Bush won't accept responsibility for his mistakes. Along with Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, he has made horrible mistakes at almost every step: failed diplomacy; not going in with enough troops; not giving our forces the equipment they need; not having a plan for peace.

Because of these failures, Iraq is a mess and has become a far greater threat than it ever was. It is now a haven for terrorists, and our presence there is draining the goodwill our country once enjoyed, diminishing our global standing. It has made fighting the global war against terrorist organizations more difficult, not less.

The urgent question isn't how we got here but what we do now. We have to give our troops a way to end their mission honorably. That means leaving behind a success, not a failure.

What is success? I don't think it is Iraq as a Jeffersonian democracy. I think it is an Iraq that is relatively stable, largely self-sufficient, comparatively open and free, and in control of its own destiny.

A plan for success needs to focus on three interlocking objectives: reducing the American presence, building Iraq's capacity and getting other countries to meet their responsibilities to help.

First, we need to remove the image of an imperialist America from the landscape of Iraq. American contractors who have taken unfair advantage of the turmoil in Iraq need to leave Iraq. If that means Halliburton subsidiary KBR, then KBR should go. Such departures, and the return of the work to Iraqi businesses, would be a real statement about our hopes for the new nation.

We also need to show Iraq and the world that we will not stay there forever. We've reached the point where the large number of our troops in Iraq hurts, not helps, our goals. Therefore, early next year, after the Iraqi elections, when a new government has been created, we should begin redeployment of a significant number of troops out of Iraq. This should be the beginning of a gradual process to reduce our presence and change the shape of our military's deployment in Iraq. Most of these troops should come from National Guard or Reserve forces.

That will still leave us with enough military capability, combined with better-trained Iraqis, to fight terrorists and continue to help the Iraqis develop a stable country.

Second, this redeployment should work in concert with a more effective training program for Iraqi forces. We should implement a clear plan for training and hard deadlines for certain benchmarks to be met. To increase incentives, we should implement a schedule showing that, as we certify Iraqi troops as trained and equipped, a proportional number of U.S. troops will be withdrawn.

Third, we must launch a serious diplomatic process that brings the world into this effort. We should bring Iraq's neighbors and our key European allies into a diplomatic process to get Iraq on its feet. The president needs to create a unified international front.

Too many mistakes have already been made for this to be easy. Yet we must take these steps to succeed. The American people, the Iraqi people and -- most important -- our troops who have died or been injured there, and those who are fighting there today, deserve nothing less.

America's leaders -- all of us -- need to accept the responsibility we each carry for how we got to this place. More than 2,000 Americans have lost their lives in this war, and more than 150,000 are fighting there today. They and their families deserve honesty from our country's leaders. And they also deserve a clear plan for a way out.

The writer, a former senator from North Carolina, was the Democratic nominee for vice president in 2004.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Korea Peace Day and two anniversaries

Korea Peace Day - November 10th

This is an email I sent to my Congressional representatives for the ASCK's Korea Peace Day, since there was not an event in the Triangle. Since it was written to Congress people, including two very pro-Bush Republican senators, I toned down and didn't say that I would welcome a reunified and socialist Korea, or that I am more worried about the accidental (or intentional) launch of American and Russian ICBMs than about north Korean nuclear weapons.

Perhaps the world would actually be safer if nuclear weapons technology were not limited to the large powers. The DPRK signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its neighbors want a non-nuclear Korean Peninsula, so it would be a going against its obligations and international pressure for north Korea to develop a nuclear deterrent. It does have a case for pulling out of the Treaty legally though, by showing that the USA is threatening it with nuclear attack. But this would not have much support in the "world community." I just saw a headline online that the ROK expects to have an economic union of Korea by 2020 and earlier there was a headline that there would be a unified Olympic team. Our foreign policy is going against what is right and it is against the logic of events as well.

It is debatable whether the DPRK actually has a socialist economy (Alliance believes it does not and never did) and its leadership years ago replaced Marxism-Leninism with Juche, or self-reliance, and is pro-capitalist.

"The annual Korea Peace Day, started by the Alliance of Scholars Concerned about Korea (www.asck.org) was Thursday, November 10th. I did not hear of any Korea Peace Day events in the Triangle, so I am writing letters to yourself and our two Senators. You should support ending the state of war between north Korea and our country, and normalization. The US could easily solve its disagreements with north Korea by continuing with negotiations, honoring its commitment to supply peaceful nuclear technology to north Korea if they follow their agreements, and ending nuclear (and other) threats against Korea. By threats I mean the past deployment of nuclear weapons in south Korea, plans for their use, and inclusion of these weapons in military exercises, which is a threat against the North and in violation of the Armistice Agreement and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

According to scholar Bruce Cummings (in North Korea: Another Country, which I think is a very useful book), north Korea would give up its missile program, any nuclear weapons program, and even welcome the US presence on the Korean Peninsula in return for normalization. I am surprised the DPRK would trust us so much as to agree to this, but it also makes sense in light of some of its actions. In considering north Korea, you should keep in mind the massive destruction and racist brutality of the Korean War, the North’s isolation during the Cold War, and the nationalist nature of Korea, and especially of the DPRK. Even if this isn’t the case, and north Korean rhetoric notwithstanding, I don’t feel north Korea is a threat to the safety of myself or other American citizens so I would like to see the US work to end this situation. I think it is highly unlikely that north Korea would attack us with nuclear weapons first, and it would risk destruction if it sold the weapons to terrorists. North Korea has committed apparently criminal actions, such as kidnapping Japanese citizens, but dialogue is the way to resolve this situation. The 1994 Agreed Framework sounds like a good model and according to the ASCK it is debatable whether highly enriched uranium processing was a violation. Breach of the agreement then led to the current plutonium and nuclear weapons issue.

The DPRK and ROK are moving towards eventually peaceful reunification on their own terms. There are economic initiatives and I think it was recently it was announced that there would be one Korean Olympic team. We should support these efforts rather than sabotage them, and trade with north Korea would probably benefit us economically as well. Ending the Korean War would save taxpayer money and improve our standing in the world as well.

Korean and American human rights are best served by creating peace, instead of by provocation, such as including north Korea in the supposed “Axis of Evil” and trying to overthrow the DPRK on the pretext of human rights (which I assume is the purpose of the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004). According to an article in Covert Action Quaterly last yeat, the 2004 explosion in north Korea might have been a failed US attempt to kill Kim Jong Il, which I would condemn if it is true. I would oppose any attack on north Korea, including supposed precision strikes, and this would probably result in a second Korean War, with massive Korean and American casualties. The DPRK is also seemingly not such a militarily weak country as Iraq."


November 7th was the 88th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution. This was the formal birth of the first truly new economic and political system since the bourgeois gained power in the British, American, and French revolutions and the untold prehistoric revolutions (for example the birth of class society, slave economy, etc., which probably occurred gradually over time). The October Revolution in 1917 was the proletarian or socialist second step of the Russian Revolution, following the bourgeois phase which overthrew the Tsar and the remains of feudalism. Putin tried to divert attention from this working class anniversary by creating a new nationalistic holiday, which Russians apparently did not know the meaning of.

November 8th was the anniversary of the death of Molotov, best known as the USSR's foreign minister (I think that was his title) during World War II. He died November 8, 1986 at 12:55 p.m. if I remember correctly. The conversations recorded by Chuev and published in English in part are very useful. Molotov is a controversial figure for Marxist-Leninists though, because he cooperated with Khrushchev's revisionist group after Stalin's death. Was he a true revolutionary communist, or was he unconsciously or consciously for un-revolutionary and ultimately pro-capitalist policies, a revisionist? He was later expelled from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union as part of what I think was called the "Anti-Party Group."