[Assam] From St. Louis Post Dispatch
cmahanta at charter.net
Wed Oct 11 11:27:39 EDT 2006
Bill McClennan, one of my most favorite newspaper columnists, wrote this :
North Korea has an excuse: Defense against schoolyard bully
By Bill McClellan
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
I picked up the newspaper Tuesday morning, and saw the headline on
the front page: "A Roar of Condemnation." Just above the screaming
headline was a quote: "No one came even close to defending it."
Naturally, I figured it had something to do with baseball. After
all, the Cardinals are about to play the Mets in the League
Championship Series, and baseball is going to dominate the news as
long as the Cardinals keep playing. Why not? This is a business, and
we aim to give the customers what they want. If that's bread and
circuses, fine with us.
But when I took a second look, I saw that the headlines referred to
the North Korean claim that it had tested a nuclear bomb.
No one came close to defending it? Let me try.
First of all, I'm no fan of North Korea. From the little I know of
their Supreme Leader, I think he's nuts. Then again, I believe in
meritocracy, and I think it's a terrible idea to have any country run
by political dynasties. Just because your dad was Supreme Leader
doesn't mean you should be Supreme Leader. Then again, my congressman
is Russ Carnahan. My governor is Matt Blunt. My president is George
But when I think of North Korea and the bomb, I think about my childhood.
We sometimes had bomb drills in grade school. We'd sit under our
desks. These drills were necessary because the Soviet Union had
thousands of nuclear weapons aimed at us.
I remember having doubts about the efficacy of the drills. Would we
really be safe under our desks? Mostly, though, I wondered about the
Soviets. Why did they hate us?
Grown-ups tried to explain the complicated truth. It wasn't so much
that the Soviets hated us as much they feared us. You see, we had
nuclear weapons, too, and our missiles were aimed at the Soviets. So
they figured that if they aimed their missiles at us, we wouldn't
dare attack them.
That was the craziest thing I had ever heard. Didn't they know
anything at all about us? We were the good guys. We'd fight if
somebody attacked us, and we'd fight if somebody attacked one of our
friends, but that was it. We weren't about to start a fight. We were
the toughest kid in the schoolyard, but we were no bully.
I knew, of course, that we were the only country that had ever used
a nuclear weapon. But we were justified in so doing. I thought so
then, and I think so now.
So I was absolutely convinced that the leaders of the Soviet Union
had pulled a fast one on their people in order to justify their
missiles. The United States would never be the first to attack. I
believed that with all my heart.
I became more cynical as the years went by, but still, I clung to
that belief until George W. Bush introduced the policy of
"pre-emption." He declared that we had the right to attack first -
even if the country we attacked was not posing an imminent threat to
us. We used that policy to justify our invasion of Iraq.
In March this year, we reaffirmed our right to strike first.
"The president's strategy affirms that the doctrine of pre-emption
remains sound and must remain an integral part of our national
security strategy," said national security adviser Stephen Hadley.
"America must confront threats before they fully materialize."
People can make many arguments against our invasion of Iraq. It has
inflamed the world against us. It has strengthened Iran. (There was a
reason the administration of President Ronald Reagan tilted toward
Iraq in its war against Iran.) It threatens to further destabilize
the Middle East. (There was a reason Turkey opposed the invasion.) It
has cost us dearly in money and blood.
But there has been another kind of loss, as well. Kids today cannot
feel about the country the way I did. That's a shame.
Also, when a country that believes in pre-emption announces that
another country is part of an axis of evil, can you really blame that
country for trying to develop a nuclear bomb? I can't.
But now, back to baseball.
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