Monday, March 24, 2003

One Korean's Perspective on the War

"You are American, yes?"

"Yes."

"Ah, then you must be against the war, yes?"

"Kind of. I don't see why we need to attack Iraq right now, and I suspect Bush thinks he's smarter than he really is. I'm not sure he knows what he's doing."

He laughs. "Ah, well, yes. But I'm for the war. I think it's good. It's good to scare North Korea. I was born in Pyongyang, came south fifty years ago because things were so bad up there. And they've gotten worse. Children are starving, and Kim Jong Il spends money to build nuclear weapons. Little children, tiny ones! are dying, but he has to have his weapons! We send them lots of money, lots of rice so the people can stay alive, and he never shows appreciation. He takes what he wants, like a spoiled child. This is how it should be between nations, just like between individuals: You must show respect, show appreciation!

"Kim Jong Il is very bad; if he sees the US take out Saddam, then he knows he can't just do whatever he wants to do. It's good. He needs to know that."

It's not exactly a new argument, that taking out Saddam may have a chilling effect on North Korea, but the fact that it was actually voiced to me by a Korean lends the argument authenticity, if nothing else. The most interesting thing to me, though, was that he assumed because I was an American that I opposed the war.

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