Thursday, May 27, 2010

5000 Years of tragedy...

Hangook yawksa  oh-cheon nyeon piguk ida...
Korea's history is a five-thousand-year long tragedy...
So began the lesson in the Korean Intermediate course at the Defense Language Institute at the Army's Presidio of Monterey.
Hard to argue with that...

Nothing to envy google search
Nothing to Envy, by Barbara Demick, follows a half dozen North Koreans through the famine times, and their defection to South Korea.

It's heart-rending.  Maybe more so for me since I was privy to many of the events at the time.  Whether things would have gone as far as they did had Kim Il Sung not died when he did, or whether he simply picked an extremely opportune time to kick the bucket--leaving Junior holding the bag, not that most north Koreans have any idea--seems like an academic question to me.
Some of the following was edited or updated due to lack of sleep...
Korea--the Koreas, if you insist--have, of course, been much in the news of late.  In no particular order:

Instapundit: MAX BOOT on the ongoing Korean war. …

Instapundit NK collapse

Rantberg NK collapse

Rantberg: NKSF  (north Korea's military does, indeed, have a lot of Special Operations Forces.  Lots and lots.  The percentage is so far out of proportion to the nation's population that I have to question their ability.  Also, I have to wonder about the alleged ability of NK SOF to "infiltrate and blend in with" the South Korean populace.  They tend to get caught because they are wandering around staring at the buildings and cards, or it never occurs to them that a farmer out on the middle of nowhere would have a telephone and would call the cops. Some have managed to infiltrate South Korean military basees and then been caught when they got distracted by video games.
(Besides which, I have to wonder how well fed even the so-called Special Operations Forces have been, and whether they are even up to the tasks.  The north Korean diet has not improved all that much!--north Koreans are, frankly, puny and stunted due to malnutrition.  Fanaticism will only carry you so far, especially if your enemies only have to look for the runts...)

NY  Times:  Succession May Be Behind N. Korea’s New Belligerence.  (Doesn't explain the last 60 years...)

Threats Watch:  North Korea: "Punish Us For War And We'll... Make War"  (Again:  Why break a 60-year streak...?)

Blackfive:  KOREA HEATS UP.  (I would remind anyone who thinks relations are are "at a low point" since the Armistice was signed in 1953 that there was a period in the '70s when troops assigned to the 2d Infantry Division were getting "Combat Patches" since they were in firefights daily, not to mention the "Pan Mun Jom Axe Murders.")(Wikipedia PanMunJom.)

Google Earth North Korea Uncovered.

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