Thursday, April 10, 2003


Wednesday, April 09, 2003

U.S. TO MOVE ITS ARMY HEADQUARTERS OUT OF YONGSAN (DOWNTOWN SEOUL)"AS SOON AS POSSIBLE" This is good and long overdue news. Whatever one's opinion on the presence of U.S. troops in South Korea, the U.S. army doesn't need to occupy the territory formerly used as the Japanese military headquarters, a territory that is now prime real estate.

NORTH KOREA WARNS JAPAN IT IS "WITHIN STRIKING RANGE" On the one hand, this is hardly news. On the other, it is apparent that some things never change.

DRAMATIC FOOTAGE OF A STATUE OF SADDAM HUSSEIN BEING TOPPLED IN BAGHDAD Is the war over? Probably not entirely but the outcome does not appear to be in doubt. What next?

UPDATE: At least part of what is next is looting and mayhem in the streets. It would be naive to expect otherwise. An important question is how long it will last and whether it will become a serious endemic problem.

UPDATE: Before the statue was actually toppled, a U.S. Marine briefly covered the statue's head with an American Flag. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it seems understandable if not appropriate for the soldiers who risked their lives to accomplish their assignments get to unequivocally declare to the world just who is responsible for the ouster of Saddam Hussein. On the other, I see no need to add fuel to the anti-American fire by providing dramatic images of American imperialism (especially when it is far from clear to me that the U.S. really intends on making Iraq a colony).

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: It appears that the U.S. flag covering Saddam's face was a short-lived phenomenon and was followed by using an Iraqi flag instead:

Hundreds of people swarmed over the hollow metal torso, tearing it to pieces and dragging the head down the street. Before bringing it down, the Marines briefly covered the statue's face with an American flag, then replaced it with the red-black-and-white Iraqi flag.
I will be very interested in which of the two images becomes the one that sticks in our memories.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US It is certainly starting to look that way.

Monday, April 07, 2003


In its strongest reaction yet to the war in Iraq, North Korea said today that only by arming itself with a "tremendous military deterrent" could the country guarantee its security.

The statement, coming after more than two weeks of relative quiet since the start of the Iraq war, flatly declared that North Korea had abandoned faith even in the kinds of security guarantees that it has repeatedly demanded of the United States in recent months.

"The Iraqi war shows that to allow disarming through inspection does not help avert a war but rather sparks it," the statement said. "This suggests that even the signing of a nonaggression treaty with the U.S. would not help avert a war."

In short, the DRPK appears to be getting the message that the Bush Administration isn't like its predecessor: it means business and will follow through on threats. The important question is, however, what will the DPRK do with this new-found knowledge? Come to the bargaining table ready to offer concessions, or go down fighting? If propaganda is any guide, it appears to be the latter:
"In today's era," the editorial said, "the gun barrel should be placed over the hammer and sickle," and North Korea must pool its energies "into strengthening the revolutionary military from the principle of giving priority to the military over the workers."

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