North Korea is back in the news again.
No, Kim Jong-Whatever hasn’t died or been overthrown. And North Korea has not captured any more of our planes or boats lately. This time it’s because our own president is peeking at them, apparently through his rose colored glasses, since he has removed them from President Reagan’s “evil empire” list.
Conservative News – The Forgotten War
For those of you too young to remember, once upon a time we were at war with North Korea. It was the first of our non-war wars. We were there “by invitation,” of course, and its duration was relatively short by current standards,lasting only three years – 1950 to 1953. But it had, and still has, lingering consequences. Especially for the 36,000+ American men and women that made Korean soil their final resting places, another 103,000 who returned home, many with permanent disfigurements, and we don’t know what happened to an additional 8,000 or so that are either listed as MIA or unidentified POWs. Just a friendly little thing, you know, often referred to as “the forgotten war.”
But back to our President as he looks out across the US protected “demilitarized zone” (DMZ) into North Korea. The DMZ is a “no-man’s land,” 160 miles long and 1.6 miles wide, separating South Korea from North Korea with a current deployment of 28,500 combat-ready American troops, plus their support personnel, generally estimated to be at a ratio of about 7:1. (You can do the numbers.)
So let’s see, 160 miles long and 28,500 combat troops. That’s 178 active duty American defenders per mile… placing them about 10 yards apart. They can practically reach out and touch each other! And they have been there for nearly 60 years, and haven’t fired a shot! Would they see more action if re-deployed along the much maligned Arizona-Mexican border? But then there is the problem that the AZ-Mexico border is 389 miles long, which is quite a stretch! What to do?
A Conservative Alternative
True, the Korean DMZ is much shorter, but it is 1-1/2 miles wide! So what would happen if we made it only half as wide, but twice as long? Same area of defence, but now we’ve got 320 miles. Getting closer! Then, is it possible that with all the modern technology available today; surveillance cameras, drones, and all of that, our combat-ready troops could protect our borders with only a half-mile wide line of defence, but three times as long? Now we’re talking!
That would give us 480 miles of protection, which would cover the entire Arizona border and a part of Texas. I realize our defenders would now be thinned down to around 30 yards apart, but perhaps we could furnish them with Korean-made cell phones for emergency troop to troop communication.
But why is our military being stationed on the Korean DMZ anyhow? Who is protecting whom from what, and why? Presumably we are there to protect South Korea from North Korea. But why us, and why them?
With significant help from American taxpayers, South Korea has emerged as the strongest nation in all of Southeast Asia, with a market economy that ranks 15th in the world by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 12th by Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), identifying it as a major G-20 economy. South Korea is one of the fastest growing countries in the 2000s, along with Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan!
Conservative Thoughts – Protect Ourselves
On the other hand, North Korea is said to be destitute. President Obama, peering from behind a 4” thick panel of bullet-proof Plexiglas, looks out across the DMZ and declares North Korea to be, “Nothing but a nation which cannot make ‘anything of any use’, ‘doesn’t work’, and even its vaunted weapons exports were hardly state of the art.”
After taking a helicopter ride back to teeming, prosperous Seoul, South Korea, just 25 miles away, Obama marvelled, “It was like you are looking. . .into a country that has missed 40 or 50 years of progress.”
So here we are. For sixty years now we have been protecting the strongest country in all of Southeast Asia from what is arguably the weakest.
Oh, I know. North Korea is supposed to have nuclear bombs. But if so, and if they decide to lob one into South Korea, a 1-1/2 mile wide DMZ won’t be of too much help.
I am familiar with the saying, “Charity begins at home.” But so does poverty! It made no sense then. It makes even less sense now. Let South Korea protect its own border, for once, and let’s also protect ours. . . for once!