Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Korean College Students Say the Darndest Things

One thing about the protest happy anti-Americans in Korea is that they only seem happy spouting off the most extreme phrases their creativity-challenged minds can come up with. They are so happy when they read or overhear the newest "shocking sound-bite" they can use for their next protest or just share with their juniors.

Here are a few I’ve heard in the past few years that come to mind.

1. Did you know that America has killed more people in the 20th Century than Hitler, the USSR and even China?

2. Did you know that America has troops stationed in more countries than the Roman Empire did at the height of its power?

3. Did you know the USA, in its relatively short history, has started almost 200 wars?

4. Did you know that America has killed nearly 17 million people around the world AFTER World War 2?

All appropriately “shocking.” All told by eager zealots who probably read for the first time in their lives some fashionable book like “Rogue Nation” or “Gangster America” and now think they have joined the ranks of the enlightened. They run out and tell their friends these shocking "facts," looking all the more intellectual for doing so (I read a book!). And in a place like Korea, their moronic statements will be blindly accepted as fact by their peers who likewise have no idea what critical thinking means. “Well, he did read it in a book so…”


What's the next level of ugliness after coyote-ugly? Should it be South Korean female protestor ugly? Not enough soju in Korea to make any of that look good...

The Devil is in the Details

I know, I know…I should just let these idiots be idiots. But on the small chance that someone reads this humble blog who could be rescued from the ranks of the clueless, I just have to say something. Rather than just spell out why the above quotes are not so shocking as they might seem, let me list some questions that anyone with even a weak grasp of critical thinking skills should be asking.

1. Did you know that America has killed more people in the 20th Century than Hitler, the USSR and even China?
First of all, it’s a plain out-and-out bullshit statistic as you’ll see by the time you finish this post (they get rather creative with the statistics), but let’s just play along for now, ok?

Question 1: What percentage of this total was killed in World War 1 and World 2 alone? 75%? 90%?

Question 2: Is the world a better place because of USA’s involvement in these 2 wars? Or is it a worse place?

Question 3: What percentage of those “American caused deaths” came later in the fight against the spread of communism (Korea and Vietnam)?

Question 4: How are the countries that fell to communism doing compared to those that did not?

Question 5: Now that we’ve accounted for about 98% of those deaths, what more is there to say? Did Hitler, China or the USSR's role in wars (actually, most of their killing is from the slaughter they inflicted on their own peoples) do so much better for the world in general?

2. Did you know that America has troops stationed in more countries than the Roman Empire did at the height of its power?

No, I didn’t know, but I’m not surprised to hear that it is true. Rome didn’t really have a chance to get out to the Far East and of course the entire continent of America was still a secret to most.

I suppose the “shocking” effect they want to get is that America is a more imposing “empire” (another word that is getting very loosely defined these days) than even the great Roman Empire in the past.

Questions that beg to be asked...

Q1 How many of these countries WANT American troops in their nation? Let me make that easier for you: How many of these countries do NOT want US troops in their borders? Sorry, Korea isn’t one of them (look at your own public opinion polls).

Q2: What happened in the past when countries that had US bases told the US that they didn’t want them anymore? Hint: Think about France and The Philippines…

Q3: Now apply these questions to the Roman Empire (or any other empire in the past). How many countries had Roman troops in their borders at their own request? How impressive is this "fact" now?

Are you catching on to how this “critical thinking” thing works? Want to try another?

3. Did you know the USA, in its relatively short history, has started almost 200 wars?
Here’s a picture I took from a Korean campus I visited the other day. It reads “Wars started by the USA”

The list is quite long (gets near 200). I stopped to look at the lists of countries by region. Without thinking, I burst into laughter a few times, which got me some strange looks from Korean students passing by. Not the reaction they anticipated I suppose.

After looking through the list I realized that the definition of “Wars started by the USA” is a rather loose one. The Clinton bombing of the Al Qeada training camp in Afghanistan was a separate entry for a “war,” as was the bombing of the pharmaceutical plant in Sudan. The majority were incidents such as these.

We also get blamed for “starting” World Wars 1 and 2 and, naturally, the Korean War. Basically, any war that the US participated in was on the list.

Looking through the list, some of the incidents mentioned were worthy of criticism, but the exceeding majority were just silly to post under a title such as this. Was it a bad thing that the US stopped Japanese expansion and freed Korea as a result? Was it a bad thing that the US got involved in the Korean War and prevented the South from suffering what North Korea is suffering now? Are they against the first Gulf War? There are certainly some events of America's past that should be questioned, but if you want to be taken seriously, don't childlishly pad your numbers to make it seem so shocking. Middle school is over, it's time to join the ranks of the adults.

4.Did you know that America has killed nearly 17 million people around the world SINCE World War 2?

This is from a site that gets most of its “documentation” from the book “Rogue State.”
They estimate the total numbers killed by the US to be between 10,784,849 to 16,874,717 post World War II.

Naturally, they include totals from the two “hot wars” the US was involved with during the cold war.

3-4.5 million Koreans
2.8 million Vietnamese

You know, people die in wars and it sucks. But in both cases communist regimes attacked their brothers and the US came in to stop them. Was it for our own selfish ends? Of course! It was in our interests to stop communism from spreading. You can argue about whether or not we should have been in Veitnam, but considering what communism did to its own people it seems rather odd to be so comfortably morally opposed to preventing the spread of this destructive ideology.

Hey, we already got about 33% of this "17 million" done, what about the other 66%?

This is where they start to get creative with their statistics and definitions.

We get blamed for 200,000 deaths in East Timor because we stayed allies with Indonesia while they were trying their hand at genocide. So, we didn't actually kill them, but we didn't stop them either (like every other country in the world, for that matter). I guess that is close enough for them.

We get another 300,000-800,000 in Angola because, along with China and South Africa, we backed one side while the other side was backed by Cuba and the USSR. All those countries involved but we the full credit for those killed in the conflict…

Naturally we get the 200-2,000 South Koreans who died in the Kwangju uprising.
“William Blum, "Rogue State," pp 150-1, reports US military joined Korean military in crushing a student uprising that sought and end to phony elections and torture.”

Wow, I must have missed all those pictures of American GIs gunning down Kwangju residents. They all have such perfect Korean disguises I guess. Good research, dude.

40,000 in Chad.
William Blum, "Rogue State," p. 151-2 writes that US & France built up an Army of supposed peacekeepers in Chad. Instead, its leader Hissen Habre overthrew the government of Chad, installed himself, and had his secret police murder "tens of thousands" - with US support.”

Now what exactly “US Support” means is not made clear. Is it just that we didn’t do anything to stop them? Would you rather that we invaded? I suppose you would, since that would have jacked up the numbers even more. And what about them war-mongering French? Why are they so conveniently left off the hook?

As many as 1.5 million in Afghanistan 1979-1992, for supporting the resistance against USSR occupation.
[Damn, now the USSR is directly doing the killing and the US STILL gets credit for all the kills. And am I wrong, or are we getting credited with the total killed on BOTH sides of the conflict? Ok Mr. Blum...

Lebanon 241 deaths “Joel Andreas, "Addicted to War" p. 15 reports that 241 Marines were killed by a truck bomb following US invasion of Lebanon to back the Israeli invasion.”
My God! We even killed our own troops! This was by far my favorite entry. Um…no dead Lebanese from our “invasion to back the Israeli Invasion?” I guess we had an off day.

17,000 Columbians because of our support for the government putting down the rebellion.

About 1.5 million Iraqis during and after Gulf War 1
Most of these are estimated dead due to the UN sanctions, but they also throw in the Shiites and Kurds slaughtered by Hussein (hey, we probably made him what he is anyway, right?)

We get another 500,000 because people might die of cancer from depleted uranium used against Iraq. This is really cool, because now we can count all cancer victims denied aid due to sanctions twice!

Now sure, some of the above could and should warrant criticism of US policy. But for those intellectually capable of looking at the context of these policy decisions it becomes readily apparent that the “right” decision is not always easy to see. After the Gulf War, for example, should we have rolled the tanks into Bagdad and put an end to Saddam right then and there? Should we have just let him keep his military and weapons programs intact so he could live to invade yet another country in the future (third times the charm!)? Should we have invaded right away when sanctions didn’t work? Where is the easy answer to this kind of messed up situation where you have an immoral dictator in power of a country?

As usual, these pseudo-intellectuals choose to wait until they see what America does and then blindly criticize. America goes to war? They should have tried diplomacy. America tries diplomacy? They are just stalling while people are dying in the country or are criticized for not giving in to all demands. America imposes sanctions? They are just starving the people. America comprises? They are befriending yet another cruel dictator just so they can continue to do business with him while turning a blind eye to human rights violations.

It doesn’t matter which one you choose; they’ll find some way not only to criticize, but to argue it was the most evil of all choices.

Perhaps I can forgive young students of whatever nationality for being unable to think things through maturely, but what excuse do the “intellectuals” have who put out this manipulative shit?

These people are not intellectuals. These people are hateful frauds. What’s worst of all is that they further support the stereotype that all people who criticize mainstream politics are extremist idiots.

Is it wrong to criticize? Of course not. Just do so in an honest and consistent way is all I’m asking. Are Korean students completely incapable of doing this? I have to believe that there is a sizable percentage that isn't so eagerly willing to believe anything these psuedo-intellectuals dish out. The question is when will they get the balls to organize and speak out at least against this blatant bullshit.

Lest We Forget
(What, you are still reading this? Isn’t it about time to turn off the computer and go outside? Oh well, here’s a little more…)

Here is a list of the countries that were the true monsters of the 20th century to bring back “some fucking perspective.” This is from the “Death by Government” book by University of Hawaii Political Science professor R.J. Rummel (see, some people in academia deserve the “intellectual” label).

The statistics here are not those slain in war, but the governments slaughtering their own people. (apologies to a certain blogger, but Abraham Lincoln isn’t on the list, but if he had been a president in the 20th century I’m sure that genocidal sunovabitch would have been. ;)

The megamurdering states of the 20th century

U.S.S.R. (1917-1987) 61,911,000

Communist China (1949-1987) 35,236,000

Nazi Germany (1933-1945), 20,946,000
[and they say that the Germans are so efficient...Hitler sucks compared to the communists]

Nationalist (or Kuomintang) China (1928-1949), 10,076,000

[You can just imagine the poor Chinese in 1949 thinking, “Well, this new government couldn’t be any worse than the last one, right?”]

Lesser Megamurdering States

Japan (1936-1945), 5,964,000
[seems low, but that’s a pretty good number considering the relatively limited amount of time they were operating in]

Cambodia (1975-1979), 2,035,000

[ain’t it funny how Chomsky decried the western press for overlooking the 200,000 killed in East Timor while focusing so much on Cambodia (which Chomsky defended at first)? They say you’re a smart guy Noam, do the math…

Turkey (1909-1918), 1,883,000

Vietnam (1945-1987)1,678,000

North Korea (1948-1987), 1,663,000

[only 1.6 million by 1987, perhaps, but come on! They were just getting warmed up!]

Poland (1945-1948)1,585,000

[shouldn’t the USSR get a little credit for this?]

Pakistan (1958-1987), 1,503,000

Mexico (1900-1920), 1,417,000

Yugoslavia (1944-1987), 1,072,000

Czarist Russia (1900-1917), 1,066,000.

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