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News ::
17 Jul 2003

By Deirdre Griswold
Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the July 24, 2003
issue of Workers World newspaper


By Deirdre Griswold

Workers in the United States have many things to worry about right now. Korea is far from the thoughts of most of them. But so was Iraq only a year ago. Now a great number of people here are frantically trying to figure out why those they love and need were sent to the other side of the world, first to inflict horrendous destruction on Iraq, and then to reap the anger and resistance of the Iraqi people.

A healthy skepticism among many about the motives of the Bush
administration led to huge demonstrations against the war. Now, even
those who stayed on the sidelines are beginning to tell pollsters that they were deceived by Bush and his crew. They wish they had known what was really going on and not been stampeded into the war by the false claim that Iraq had "weapons of mass destruction" that threatened the world.

Understanding the Korean situation is just as important. As long as the U.S. keeps almost 40,000 troops in South Korea, refuses to sign a peace treaty with the Demo cratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the north, and insists on calling the DPRK part of an "axis of evil," there is the potential for another horrible war on the Korean peninsula.

The Korean War ended 50 years ago this month, after a terrible loss of lives. Millions of Koreans were killed and so were more than 50,000 U.S. soldiers. It was essentially a war of U.S. big business against a revolution of the Korean workers and farmers. At that time, however, the U.S. was so dominant politically in the world that it was able to get the United Nations to sign on to the war--unlike today. Washington has maintained the fiction ever since that U.S. troops are serving the UN in Korea--even though the so-called UN Command is completely controlled by U.S. officers and no other countries contribute troops.

How many people in this country realize that, officially, the war never ended? There is no peace treaty, just an armistice that left Korea divided along the 38th parallel. The DPRK has called again and again for discussions to end this dangerously ambiguous state of affairs. The Korean people as a whole have passionately expressed their desire to end the division of their country. Every political party in Korea, north and south, says it's for reunification.

What keeps Korea divided? The continued occupation of the south by U.S. troops--50 years after the shooting stopped.

The movement in the south to get those troops out has been growing
stronger and more militant over the last few years. The heads of both
North Korea and South Korea held a summit meeting in June 2000, and
some families got a chance to see their relatives on the other side for the first time since the war. Plans for trade and joint ventures got underway.

But then came the Bush administration's military push for world
domination, starting in Afghanistan and Iraq, its declaration that it
would carry out "pre-emptive" wars if it felt them necessary, and
President George W. Bush's speech that put the DPRK into an "axis of
evil." The leaders in the north saw the imminent threat of another
devastating U.S. invasion like the one in 1950-53. They have been
bolstering their defenses ever since.

It is these defensive moves by the DPRK that Washington now tries to
frighten us with, using that old familiar phrase, "weapons of mass
destruction." The north may have been able to process spent fuel rods
from its nuclear power project, it may have accumulated enough plutonium to build one or two nuclear bombs, it may have actually begun to build them. Some times the administration acts alarmed, as though bombs exist; at other times, when it is too busy in other parts of the world, it downplays the Korean situation.

It should be obvious to any thinking person that whatever weapons the
DPRK has, they are for defense against a U.S. attack. The Pentagon has ringed the DPRK with nuclear weapons for decades. No country that has suffered the way Korea has wants war. North Korea has no troops on foreign soil. It has no ships or planes surrounding the U.S. The
aggression is all the other way.

On the other hand, Korea is no push over. If this adventurist
administration in Washington attempts a strike of any kind against the DPRK, there will be fierce resistance, just as there was in the 1950-53 war.

On the 50th anniversary of the armi stice, Koreans in the north and
south will be meeting with anti-war activists from around the world,
including the U.S., in solidarity events calling for an end to U.S.
hostilities and the signing of a peace treaty to end the decades-long
crisis on the Korean peninsula.

- END -

(Copyright Workers World Service: Everyone is permitted to copy and
distribute verbatim copies of this document, but changing it is not
allowed. For more information contact Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011; via e-mail: ww (at) Subscribe wwnews-
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