July 08 2006
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Missiles From North Korea and Kim Jong-il
July 7, 2006
Kelly Thomas

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il applauds as he inspects a sub-unit of the Korean People's Army unit 823, in North Korea, in this undated file photograph released by Korea News Service in Tokyo June 29, 2006. North Korea launched up to four missiles on July 5, 2006, including a long-range Taepodong 2 that appeared to fail in flight, a U.S. official and media reports said. (Korea News Service/Handout/Files/Reuters) (Korea News Service/Handout/Files/Reuters)
A few missiles that failed and Kim Jong-il gets more face time than some of the Generals and Britney Spears. I don't mean to make light of it. The guy is a madman, let's face it. But, we have a few of those in the world and so this is not such a rarity.

Kim is no idiot but definitely a mad man. He is as bad as his father, Kim iL-Sung, and maybe worse.

Kim represses his people into virtual servitude. Many are starving due to his repressive policies. However, much of understanding Kim is understanding the Korean or Asian mentality.

Korea, in particular, is a Confucian society. This is not religion but rather a philosophy. Consequently, their entire life is built upon it. In the book, Patterns, actually banned by the South Korean government at one time, outlines the Confucian culture which has about five steps. The main step is "leader over follower." a reverence which is ingrained in the people's DNA. If we are to deal effectively or at all with this despot, we need to grasp it. I doubt we will because knowing our enemies is not one of our strong points. The philosophy explains why the people revere such a tyrant as Kim Jong-il as it is part of their Confucian makeup.

My suggestion is that we back off a bit, let the South Koreans deal with Kim. South Korea have the best ground army in the world. It is about time to finally do something different on the Korean peninsula. We have 35,000 troops there. Let's reduce that substantially, station Air Force in the South for support, and let the South Korean government take the lead. KT


Points of Interest:

[Sometime ago, I read a long piece in the NY Times Magazine about Kim Jong il. He's a big movie buff, with a collection of over 20,000 films. His favorites include sex, horror, and action. Officials in the US government have said that he once ordered the kidnapping of a South Korean actress and her director husband.]

[I remember distinctly the ax murder at Panmunjom on August 18, 1976. I was a student at Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth, Kansas. Two Americans were murdered by North Korean guards wielding axes and clubs. As students then, we knew nothing was going to come of it, another incident with North Korea along the DMZ. I would like to think that we would treat it differently today, especially after 9-11. But, then again, we don't know what to do with North Korea or Kim today.]



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