Saturday, September 02, 2006

North Korean and Terrorist Propaganda Machines are Flawed; But Are We Getting Our Message Out to Them?

By John E. Carey
September 2, 2006

On September 1, 2006 the United States successfully demonstrated the ability to shoot down a ballistic missile like those being developed now in North Korea. The North Korean propaganda machine immediately cracked-up and went into action with a long diatribe which included several ridiculous sentences so imbecilic that we, in the west, should take notice.

We notice ignorance in North Korea. We should not have fear. We should notice exploitation and ignorance. We should feel pity.

We should listen to and notice the immaturity, the lack of education and awareness and the lack of hope of people being “used” and exploited.

America’s missile defense system demonstrated exactly what it says it is: defense. Yes, there is a rocket and guidance system. No, there is no warhead or offensive capability. No, you would never want to modify missile defense to be offensive. The missile defense system is engineered and optimized to provide a hit-to-kill space vehicle that can find and smash into a nuclear weapon carrying reentry vehicle. If you wanted to hit a target on land; you sure wouldn’t start with this technology.

In fact, everyone from the American media to common Russian men and women on the streets of Moscow have, for years, referred to the missile defense system as “the shield.”

There is an old saying about a warrior, intent upon threatening his foe as he “rattles his saber.”

Have you ever heard about a warrior “rattling his shield”?

The men and women who wrote that blatantly foolish, foaming at the mouth North Korean reaction to America’s missile defense test, are probably low to mid-level Communist functionaries trying to please their bosses. The bosses are so naïve that they think someone in America might take notice. Or they just don’t care if we pay attention or not because they only have to make their bosses happy.

The big bosses are the ones with decent houses and lives. Most of the people in North Korea are starving or living just above the line Americans would consider to be Neolithic.

Many of the Middle Eastern “terrorists” we encounter live within a similar construct. When Fox New reporter Steve Centanni and cameraman Olaf Wiig were captured by Hammas terrorists in the Gaza region of Israel, the two were threatened with death because, the terrorists said, “you are both Americans.” Wiig, a New Zealander, protested the accusation from his captors. But they didn’t know where New Zealand was; or that it was a sovereign nation and not a part of the United States.

Wiig had to draw them a map.

The point is this: many of the “terrorists” and other foes America faces are not very sophisticated. They are being exploited or used by powers with the money and influence to manipulate masses of people to achieve dubious aims. Usually the users are seeking more wealth and prosperity. They care nothing for the lives of the minions they manipulate and cause to be killed.

Didn’t Yasser Arafat become wealthy? And how did he do that? Hard work? No. “Chairman” Arafat pulled the wool over the eyes of the ignorant. He used his people to become a world leader. It is hard to prove that he helped his people achieve anything except their own terror.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is no different from the other dictators who use and manipulate people. Iran has the poorest airline safety record in the world. On September 1, 2006, another Iranian air liner bit the dust. As many as 80 souls were lost, all innocent citizens of Iran who placed their lives and trust in the hands of their careless government. They were on a holy pilgrimage.

The airliner, on landing, blew a tire, probably because the tire was well beyond its recommended service life. For want of a tire 80 lives were lost.

Some will say that Iran’s airliners are in such poor shape because the US imposes economic sanctions upon Iran, prohibiting Iran from buying the highest quality Boeing equipment. But the facts would belie the claim. The sanctions against Iran started in 1979, and the United States works hard to ensure that economic sanctions are largely targeted at national leaders and not the population en masse.

The US ambassador to the UN just said yesterday, “We have no quarrel with the Iranian people. In fact, we work hard to ensure that sanctions limit the leadership and have little effect on the people.”

Ahmadinejad has a responsibility to buy new Russian airliners and then to maintain them to the highest safety standards possible.

But he doesn’t have to take care of the people. He is an absolute ruler with no obligation to the people. There are no real “voters” in Iran the way there are in the US. There is no free and open media in Iran. Like in North Korea, the people can hear little but what the government feeds them.

And we all know that Ahmadinejad backs Hezbollah and offers to “eliminate the Zionist state from the face of the earth” whenever he can.

Do you think for one second that Ahmadinejad cares one bit for the lives of Hezbollah or the innocent lives of the Lebanese lost in the recent war?

Cuba, Vietnam and China also come to mind as nations with similar characteristics. No true accountability of the leadership to the people. Any voting is window-dressing and rigged. And no free and open media. No freedom of speech. In Vietnam and China you can’t even get to such internet websites as the one maintained by the US Department of State or The Washington Times.

When Fidel Castro went into the hospital last month, what was the first major political decision of his designated stand-in, his brother Raul? Raul proclaimed an end to TV satellite dishes in Cuba. No more western TV and news.

What we in the west need to realize is this: there is a mass of humanity, much of it living under Communism or poverty or ignorance or all three. Many of these people, in fact most, share two things: they are exploited and powerless to control their real destiny because they cannot vote in free and open elections. And secondly, they have limited access to education and news and the media. Maybe none at all.

The war on terror has similarities to the Cold War. Both confrontations featured oppressed, exploited and uninformed zealots managed by bosses using them who faced a free and open society relying upon democratic values and volunteer military men and women to fill the armed forces.

The North Koreans demonstrated in spades as they feverishly and eagerly prepared a press release on missile defense what it is like in North Korea. That press release only demonstrated what we already knew: in North Korea and elsewhere the population lives in an upside-down world. We should pity them. We should not rush to their destruction.

We need to draw them a map.

President Bush has said before that democracies do not make war on other democracies. Yet we still are waiting for the “Hearts and Minds” campaign that can end oppressive regimes aligned against us.

"We are great with TV but we are getting crushed on the P.R. [Public Relations] front,” President George W. Bush told NBC News reporter Brian Williams on August 29, 2006.

Why is that? Why can’t we explain the benefits of democracy?

The western democracies need to figure out how best to strike a blow at the oppressive user leaders who manipulate masses of uninformed zealots against us.