North Korea cheered this month when a man with a knife and a history of violent behavior slashed the face of Mark Lippert, the U.S. ambassador to South Korea. The attack in Seoul was “a knife shower of justice,” North Korea said, praising it as “deserved punishment for warmonger United States.”
If that sounds mean-spirited, consider this: For years, North Korea has taught schoolchildren to bayonet effigies of U.S. soldiers. Under its young dictator, Kim Jong Un, the government has suggested it was prepared to nuke Washington, Austin and Southern California. More than 40 years ago, Kim Il Sung, the “Great Leader” who founded the family dictatorship that rules North Korea, said there was “no secret” about his country’s behavior: “What is most important in our preparations [for war] is to educate all the people to hate U.S. imperialism.”
Where does the hate come from?
Much of it is cooked up daily in Pyongyang. Like all dictatorial regimes, the Kim family dynasty needs an endless existential struggle against a fearsome enemy. Such a threat rationalizes massive military spending and excuses decades of privation, while keeping dissenting mouths shut and political prisons open.
The hate, though, is not all manufactured. It is rooted in a fact-based narrative, one that North Korea obsessively remembers and the United States blithely forgets.
The story dates to the early 1950s, when the U.S. Air Force, in response to the North Korean invasion that started the Korean War, bombed and napalmed cities, towns and villages across the North. It was mostly easy pickings for the Air Force, whose B-29s faced little or no opposition on many missions.
The bombing was long, leisurely and merciless, even by the assessment of America’s own leaders. “Over a period of three years or so, we killed off — what — 20 percent of the population,” Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay, head of the Strategic Air Command during the Korean War, told the Office of Air Force History in 1984. Dean Rusk, a supporter of the war and later secretary of state, said the United States bombed “everything that moved in North Korea, every brick standing on top of another.” After running low on urban targets, U.S. bombers destroyed hydroelectric and irrigation dams in the later stages of the war, flooding farmland and destroying crops.
Although the ferocity of the bombing was criticized as racist and unjustified elsewhere in the world, it was never a big story back home. U.S. press coverage of the air war focused, instead, on “MiG alley,” a narrow patch of North Korea near the Chinese border. There, in the world’s first jet-powered aerial war, American fighter pilots competed against each other to shoot down five or more Soviet-made fighters and become “aces.” War reporters rarely mentioned civilian casualties from U.S. carpet-bombing. It is perhaps the most forgotten part of a forgotten war.
The Kims, though, have kept memories of the war and the bombing terrifyingly fresh. North Korean state media dress up the historical record in a Big Lie, claiming that Americans and South Korea sneakily started the Korean War and that Kim Il Sung brilliantly won it against overwhelming odds. (The Chinese don’t get much credit for fighting the United States to a draw.) State media warn that, sooner or later, the Americans will strike again.
“It is still the 1950s in North Korea and the conflict with South Korea and the United States is still going on,” says Kathryn Weathersby, a scholar of the Korean War. “People in the North feel backed into a corner and threatened.”
There is real value in understanding this paranoid mind-set. It puts the calculated belligerence of the Kim family into context. It also undermines the notion that North Korea is merely a nut-case state.
Since World War II, the United States has engaged in an almost unbroken chain of major and minor wars in distant and poorly understood countries. Yet for a meddlesome superpower that claims the democratic high ground, it can sometimes be shockingly incurious and self-absorbed. In the case of the bombing of North Korea, its people never really became conscious of a major war crime committed in their name.
Paying attention in a democracy is a moral obligation. It is also a way to avoid repeating immoral mistakes.
And if North Korea ever does change, if the Kim family were overthrown or were to voluntarily loosen its chokehold on information, a U.S. apology for the bombing could help dispel 65 years of hate.
Originally published on 2015-03-24
About the author: Blaine Harden, a former Post reporter, is the author of the book “The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot.”
Source: The Washington Post
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
As the Second World War advanced from its early stages, the United States was assessing which sections of the earth it would hold conquest over. American planners had to remain patient, however. A seemingly endless string of conquests for the Nazis had astonished the world – particularly those in the US – and led to Adolf Hitler being crowned as “the new Napoleon”.In the summer of 1942, under Hitler’s domineering command of the military, the Germans controlled vast swathes of Europe – from Warsaw to Oslo to Paris, and eastwards onto Athens, Kiev and Sevastopol. It was one major victory ...
Is your money that good? Will it buy you forgiveness? Do you think that it could?” (Bob Dylan, b. 1941, Masters of War)
On Tuesday 6th of September, twenty-four hour monitoring by Yemen’s Legal Centre for Rights and Development (LCRD) recorded the bombings by the Saudi led “coalition”, armed by the US and UK and advised by their military specialists, thus collusion and co-operation of both countries render them equally culpable for the carnage.
Yemen has a population of just 24.41 million (2013 figure) and according to the Rural Poverty Portal:
“ … is one of the driest, poorest and least developed countries in ...
What do Hillary Clinton and the communist government of China have in common? Aside from their shared support for subverting freedom, lack of respect for human rights, and support of invasive surveillance, they both possess armies of trolls who manipulate online narratives.According to a new report from researchers at Harvard’s Department of Government, the Chinese government employs millions of people to make posts praising government on their behalf. The internet mercenaries are deemed, collectively, “The 50 Cent Party,” because of rumors they are paid per post (the report concluded they do not appeared to be paid and most are government employees ...
To mark so-called ‘Independence Day’, Palestinian citizens forced to study the book that paints them as inferior to Jews
Ramallah: An Israeli civics textbook under the theme of ‘Being a Citizen in Israel’, launched to mark the regime’s commemoration of the 68th anniversary of its establishment, has been slammed for its negative and dismissive attitude towards the native Palestinian citizens.
After the Israeli Education Ministry officially launched the textbook as part of the curriculum taught in Israeli schools, including those attended by Palestinian citizens, Palestinians reacted by condemning the move.
Israel on Thursday marks the 68th anniversary of its 1948 founding in Palestine, ...
American torture is back in the news again as Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s pick to head the Central Intelligence Agency, prepares for what could be a rocky Senate confirmation hearing with some tough questions about her role overseeing a secret torture prison in Thailand and destroying tapes of brutal detainee interrogation sessions.
Haspel’s nomination, and to a lesser degree her earlier appointment as deputy CIA director, reopened what more well-meaning observers, including torture survivor Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), have called “one of the darkest chapters” in US history, the so-called “enhanced interrogation” abuse of men, women and children caught up ...
Atrocities and war crimes are subjectively defined as acts of violence that exceed military necessity. All war includes atrocities. The stress of combat includes a build up of emotion during action that leads to vicious attacks on the enemy when the opportunity arises. American military units are trained and indoctrinated to avoid inhuman treatment of enemy combatants. Soldiers who violate the norms are prosecuted. This reduces but does not eliminate the problem.
Photo of Vietnamese civilians killed by an American unit
Atrocities During the Vietnam War
The actions of armies in war have seldom been as humane as the modern American military -- ...
Destroyed Serbian Orthodox church in Kosovo by local Muslim Albanians after 1999In 2000, when George W. Bush was elected president in a controversial and hotly disputed election, all the experts and pundits predicted that there would be a philosophical sea change in US foreign policy in the Balkans, and in Kosovo in particular. In my 2000 analysis of the election of Bush and US foreign policy in Kosovo, however, I concluded that the George W. Bush Administration represented the same old same old and business as usual. In my viewpoint, absolutely nothing would change in the US foreign policy stance ...
Kosovo is today one of the most disputed territories in Europe and a real Balkan powder keg which can explode again at any time. It is a province within the Republic of Serbia, recognized as such by both Serbia’s constitution and the Resolution 1244 by the Security Council of the United Nations (the UNSC Resolution 1244, June 10th, 1999). However, Kosovo parliament with a clear Albanian majority proclaimed the independence of Kosovo (without a referendum) in February 2008 that was recognized by the majority of the Western countries followed by their puppet clients all over the world (in reality, today ...
A Father of NationUkraine is an East European territory which was originally forming a western part of the Russian Empire from the mid-17th century. That is a present-day independent state and separate ethnolinguistic nation as a typical example of Benedict Anderson’s theory-model of the “imagined community” – a self-constructed idea of the artificial ethnic and linguistic-cultural identity. According to Anderson, the nation is abstract and firstly subjective social construction that defy simple, objective definition yet have been for the last two centuries the crucial basis of conflict in world politics and international relations, through assertion of their expressed nationalism.[i] However, ...
According to Inside Syria Media Center military sources in Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), SDF-Kurds will join the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) as “Northern Syria Protection units” after the establishment of the federal system in Syria.A Rojava official and the joint chief of defense in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), Rezan Gilo stated that the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have no problem joining the Syrian army if a federal state is awarded in northern Syria (Kurdish autonomous territories as part of the federal Syria). They are now in process of considering the possibility of joining the SAA.“There is no problem for our ...
On the 70th anniversary of Tokyo’s fire bombing, relatives are asking for a real tribute to its victims.
It was just after midnight when the rumble of B-29 bombers was heard, jolting Tokyo awake. The incendiaries that fell from their bellies, full of jelly petroleum, were like nothing anyone had ever seen.
They turned canals and rivers into flame and if the jelly stuck to you, it kept burning till flesh turned to bone. “The planes filled the sky like dragonflies,” recalls Michiko Kiyoka. “Everywhere you looked there were charred bodies.”
Today, Ms Kiyoka, now 91, will join a small group of elderly ...
Reports that US and British aircraft carrying arms to ISIS have been shot down by Iraqi forces have been met with shock and denial in western countries. Few in the Middle East doubt that Washington is playing a ‘double game’ with its proxy armies in Syria, but some key myths remain important amongst the significantly more ignorant western audiences.
A central myth is that Washington now arms ‘moderate Syrian rebels’, to both overthrow the Syrian Government and supposedly defeat the ‘extremist rebels’. This claim became more important in 2014, when the rationale of US aggression against Syria shifted from ‘humanitarian intervention’ ...
A Yugoslav Communist Major Franjo Tuđman (left) with his Croatian compatriot Communist Captain Joža Horvat (right) as the occupants of Serbia's capital Belgrade in February 1945. The Yugoslav Communist Partisans came from the territory of a Nazi-fascist Independent State of Croatia to occupy Serbia in October 1944. They were sponsored and supported by the Croatian Nazi-fascist regime in Zagreb. Top Partisan's leadership was not Serb but rather Croat. The Partisans were accompanied at that time by many redressed Croatian Nazi-fascist soldiers (Ustashi and Domobrans) who committed a terrible genocide on Serbian civilians in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina in WWII. Those Partisans ...
As it appears Lithuania expects major changes in the near future. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius was on an official visit to the United States of America from the 20 to the 24 of February 2017. During a visit he said that Lithuania seeks the permanent presence of United States troops in its territory."We have requested stationing of military forces in our country on a more permanent basis - not only rotational but also more permanent," the minister told BNS in the telephone interview from Washington D.C.Linas Linkevicius' call for the permanent presence of United States troops in Lithuania territory ...
The official end of the Cold War era in 1989 brought during the first coming years a kind of international optimism that the idea of the „end of history“ really could be realized as it was a belief in no reason for the geopolitical struggles between the most powerful states. The New World Order, spoken out firstly by M. Gorbachev in his address to the UN on December 7th, 1988 was originally seen as the order of equal partnership in the world politics reflecting „radically different international circumstances after the Cold War“.
Unfortunately, the Cold War era finished without the „end ...
If we start from a premise which understands that Britain and its NATO allies are capable of mounting false flag events in Syria with chemical weapons, then it is entirely possible that British secret services carried out a similar propaganda stunt in England with regard to former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal.
We also need to bear in mind that British state intelligence agencies are plausibly running a covert assassination program targeting Russian exiles living in Britain – for the purpose of incriminating Moscow.
Over the past two decades, more than a dozen Russian dissidents have met untimely deaths while residing in England, including ...
How did Russia and the West slip back into what seems like the Cold War all over again? How dangerous is the current confrontation? Should the world be ready to face a nuclear war? We ask somebody who’s renowned for his insights. World-famous academic, linguist, philosopher and political commentator Noam Chomsky is on Sophie&Co today.
Sophie Shevardnadze: World-renowned academic Noam Chomsky, Professor Noam Chomsky, welcome to the show, it’s a great pleasure to have you with us today. Now, today U.S.-Russia relations are at a Cold War low. Rhetoric resembles what we heard in the 80-s. What is the worst-case ...
Perhaps no country on Earth is more misunderstood by Americans than North Korea. Though the country's leaders are typically portrayed as buffoonish, even silly, in fact they are deadly serious in their cruelty and skill at retaining power. Though the country is seen as Soviet-style communist, in fact it is better understood as a holdover of Japanese fascism.
And there is another misconception, one that Americans might not want to hear but that is important for understanding the hermit kingdom: Yes, much of its anti-Americanism is cynically manufactured as a propaganda tool, and yes, it is often based on lies. But ...
In British mainstream commentary, the 1999 NATO bombing campaign against Slobodan Milosevic’s Yugoslavia is seen as a ‘humanitarian intervention’. Tony Blair still receives much praise for coming to the defence of the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, whose plight was surely serious as they were subject to increasingly brutal abuses by the Yugoslav army towards the end of 1998 and early 1999. Yet the NATO bombing that began in March 1999 had the effect of deepening, not preventing, the humanitarian disaster that Milosevic’s forces inflicted on Kosovo. The bulk of the atrocities committed by Yugoslav forces took place after the NATO ...
Media Lies and the Conquest of Kosovo: NATO’s Prototype for the Next Wars of Globalization. Publisher: Unwritten History, Inc., New York, 2007. By Michel Collon, 276 pages, with photographs and maps.
“Each war begins with media lies.” This is how Belgian journalist Michel Collon begins his analysis of the Kosovo conflict which resulted in the U.S. and NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia in 1999 and the subsequent occupation of the Serbian Kosovo province by U.S. and NATO troops. The U.S. and NATO had launched a war of aggression without United Nations approval and in violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of ...
The Forgotten Postwar US-Nazi Alliance
The Unspoken War on Yemen
What Hillary Clinton has in Common with Communist China
New Israeli School Textbook Highlights Jewish Supremacy: Paints Palestinians as “Inferior”
A Brief History of American Torture
Vietnam War Atrocities Committed by the US Army
The Bush Administration’s Foreign Policy in Kosovo
Kosovo: What Everyone (Really) Needs to Know
Kurdish Intentions to Join SAA: Secret Deal against the U.S.?
Tokyo Fire Bombing in 1945: 100,000 People Died in a Single Night
The Relationship Between Washington and ISIS: The Evidence
Franjo Tuđman (Tudjman) in Belgrade, February 1945: A Photo
Breaking the Constitution: Lithuania Seeks the Permanent Presence of the U.S. Troops on its Territory
Did the Cold War Ever Really End?
The Skripal Affair – Another False Flag in NATO Litany to Criminalize Russia
Chomsky: NATO is a U.S.-Run Intervention Force
Americans have Forgotten What We did to North Korea
Britain’s Collaboration with pro-Jihadist Forces in Kosovo
Book Review: NATO War Crimes: “Media Lies and the Conquest of Kosovo”