The Agitator #67
by Oliver_Halle
 The Agitator
April 05, 2013 02:12 PM | 824 views | 2 2 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

North Korea has been in the news recently with its threats to fire up their plutonium making facility, and to once again annihilate South Korea and the United States. If I took seriously some of the reactionaries on talk radio, these self-professed military know-it-alls (none come to mind that served in the armed forces) would have me building a nuclear bomb shelter like the 1950s. Make no mistake---I don’t doubt for a millisecond that North Korea could inflict some very deadly damage on its southern neighbor. Considering the number and proximity of the North’s missiles to Seoul, Seoul would probably be obliterated if those missiles were unleashed.

In my blog last week I asked the question of the Iraq war defenders why Iraq needed to be conquered but not North Korea? Using the same criteria that was applied to the Iraq invasion, North Korea had all of them plus one: they actually had the atomic bomb. I’m not suggesting that Bush should have preemptively attacked North Korea, only that he used specious reasons to go into Iraq that he didn’t apply to North Korea. I don’t recall the reactionaries ever challenging Bush for these different standards to similar situations. But Obama is the one at the helm now, and as usual, because it’s Obama the reactionaries will go after him, even if he declared that he loved his mother. One self-proclaimed reactionary pundit said on the radio today that North Korea’s threats amount to an act of war, and that Obama should have responded accordingly. It’s not enough for these tough talkers that Obama flew stealth bombers to South Korea to drop dummy bombs on an unoccupied island off its shore. It’s not enough that Obama has implemented the Pentagon’s recommendations to position the navy’s anti-missile warships to defend the South, and to place anti-missile batteries on Guam. One radio expert didn’t think much of the dummy bombing run. I wonder if the Chinese Air Force was to simulate an attack on some Central American island, whether that same expert would be concerned. Only a full blown preemptive strike would satisfy these big talking strategists who make more money by far with their brilliant insight than any admiral or general that just might know a little more than these guys.

I have no way of knowing what secret weapons the United States has. I suspect that we have some very powerful conventional weapons that might obviate the need for nukes in a lot of situations. I don’t know, but suspect that we have monitoring technology that is keeping up in real time how serious the threats from the North really are. I also suspect that we have some military satellites that can do things that are out of science fiction stories. What I do know is that these war mongering talking heads don’t know any more than I do. And if they do, they and whoever leaked to them should be prosecuted. My opinions about the possibility of secret capabilities is based on having been part of things at other times in other places with the service and government. Some of the things our country could do was dazzling, and it is understandable that those not in the know would be concerned that we might not be taking the appropriate action in a given situation. But that is not the same as some of the treasonous calumnies that have been said about Obama.

By far and away Obama has shown strength as commander-in-chief in ways that we never got from Republican administrations. Reagan never retaliated for the deaths of the 240 marines killed in the Lebanon barracks attack. Bush could have used the torpedoing of the USS COLE as grounds to go after al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Yemen. He didn’t. Obama has repeatedly violated the sovereignty of Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia---and who knows where else---to pursue terrorists. And while I agree that it is a fair debate on whether the president is doing this without certain due process protections, I find it remarkable that the reactionaries are suddenly concerned about the constitutional rights of terrorists. Considering our economic situation right now, if there weren’t other reasons not to preemptively go to war with North Korea (and likely bring in China), the reactionaries who are always concerned about spending might want to consider how much it could cost them in taxes if this got out of control. And when it comes to taxes, reactionaries listen.

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Oliver G. Halle
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April 08, 2013
Nettie,

Thanks very much for your comment and past support. And I also want to thank you for being one of the few who is not afraid to publish your name. Allow me to try and briefly address your concerns. First, we are going to have to agree to disagree on whether I have cited facts to support my conclusions. As for how and why we got into the Iraq war, all of the issues I raised were well known by the administration at the time the decision to preemptively strike was made. That is documented.

I use the term reactionaries more frequently because it counter-balances the labels "lefties", "socialists", "libs", and others that most, but not all, anonymous bloggers use. Personally, I don't like the use of labels because they really don't fit. If you doubt that, look at the internecine disputes in the Republican Party today as to who is or isn't a RINO.

I think that it is important to know just how we got into the economic mess we are in today, why we warred with Iraq, and more. We can have an honest debate whether the Bush administration is to blame for most of it or not. I believe they are and have repeatedly written factual accounts to support my opinions. Reasonable people can differ and disagree, and that's what makes America great.

Lastly, if you read the blogs that people write to not only the MDJ commentators, but also to other opinion writers and below various stories, you know that some of the most vicious, nasty, personal, vindictive things are said---and most hidden behind anonymity. If you listen to conservative talk radio, and I do, you will also hear the same.

In principle I agree with you that ad hominem attacks are inappropriate. But sometimes when responding to some nastiness out there, to be very honest---it just feels good. I hope you will feel free to agree or disagree with me. Debate is good, distills the best ideas, and takes us a step closer to truth.
Nettie Helen Stemm
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April 05, 2013
Oliver, I have been reading your blogs and letters to the editor ever since the MDJ had the good sense to put someone like you among the fold.

However, I am truly disappointed to see you reaching for the "journalistic gutter" in which Kevin Foley resides when writing his blogs and columns. Seems that neither of you are able, any longer, to write without blaming Bush for things that were out of his control, but were within reason at the time based on existing and available knowledge.

You both heap praise on President Obama that is undeserved. You both use labels like "reactionaries", "treasonous" "tough talking".

Whatever happened to intelligent disgareement with documentable facts instead of broad generalizatiiions and name calling?

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