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[SCRIVENER]An open letter to Dear Leader

Apr 02,2003
Dear Chairman Kim,
I suppose you’ve been watching the war on CNN and wondering, like everybody else, why they can’t iron out that annoying pause while the anchor’s question bounces up to the satellite and into the reporter’s earpiece.
Let’s hope the technology improves before the next country in the axis of evil is invaded.
Uh-oh.
Seriously, do you have two TV sets, so you can watch The Bachelorette on Wednesday night without missing war coverage? I bet you never thought Ryan would be among the final three. He’s just a fireman.
To figure that out, you need to understand Americans. What Americans value most of all is celebrity. Being on TV. By giving a rose to a fireman who writes horrible poems, Trista showed she loves all people and thereby deserves her own TV show. This is how twisted people become when they don’t have a strong father figure in their lives.
Mr. Bush is only a temporary leader, for another two years, or six max, and so should be seen as just another American. He’s proposing multilateral talks to solve the so-called “North Korean nuclear problem” because he wants to be seen on TV all over the world, not just in the United States and North Korea.
That’s why you have to insist on bilateral talks. If you stand firm, you can liberate Americans from their obsession with television.
Back to the war, though. I’d like to ask you a question. Do you think that this war is justified? I don’t mean from a strategic viewpoint, but from a broader, ethical viewpoint? In other words, is it ever morally justifiable to invade another country to liberate their people and pre-empt a possible later attack against yourself?
It’s a tough one. But I would think you would have to say yes, because after all isn’t that exactly what your father did in the Korean War?
This pre-emptive motive is what made the June 1950 invasion of the South a defensive move. It wouldn’t have become a war if America hadn’t come in. In other words, “they started it.”
Another ethical question: what do you make of the guerrilla tactics of Saddam’s irregular forces? Is it right or wrong to feign surrender, dress in women’s clothes and hide military facilities in schools? I’m interested in this question as a Brit because I still maintain that the Americans should be tried for war crimes for their refusal to wear bright-colored uniforms during the American War of Independence.
But, enough of that. I’d like to give you some advice.
When the war’s over, you’ll have to get back to work and there are some real headaches out there for you to deal with. The economy isn’t going well, but more important, you’re going to have to figure U.S. intentions. Analysts in Pyeongyang are trying to guess whether Washington will insist on diplomacy only to make you give up your nuclear weapons or whether they would go for the military option.
Duh. To Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney and the editorial writers of the Wall Street Journal, the only difference between those pictures of Saddam in Iraqi town squares and of your father all over the DPRK is the moustache.
Don’t be mislead by the covers of you in Time, Newsweek and The Economist earlier this year. Do you ever read the New Yorker? There’s an article in a recent issue by the man who wrote the speech introducing the axis of evil in which he says you were only added because in political speeches, lists need to be in threes. Red, white, and blue. Blood, sweat, and tears. Matthew, Mark, Luke-n-John.
In other words, you’re there for style. That means you’re off the hook. So my advice is to take a leaf out of the Pakistani book and not make too much noise about your nukes. Don’t draw attention to yourself. Stay out of satellite view.
Which reminds me, do you watch Six Feet Under? Isn’t that a great program?

* The writer is managing director of Merit/Burson-Marsteller and author of “The Koreans.” He is a member of the JoongAng Daily Ombudsman Committee.


by Michael Breen


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