Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

July 19, 2005

The Gulag of North Korea

Filed under: — Different River @ 8:47 pm

I think the story of the horrible torture and deliberate starvation of North Koreans by the government of North Korea is not getting enough attention here in the U.S. — or anywhere else where this blog is readable, for that matter.

As a reminder, consider this story:

A North Korean defector who survived 10 years in a prison labor camp said he told President Bush last month that the United States should do more to help those who flee the communist regime.

‘The people who are at the camps, the [North Korean] government wants to kill them all,’ Kang Chol-hwan said in an interview with The Washington Times. ‘Instead of executing them, they kill them slowly, making them work in forced labor. That was the hardest part.’
Mr. Kang, 37, said prisoners are fed very small portions of corn and salt that make it ‘impossible to survive’ without additional food. As a result, prisoners survive by eating cooked rats and snakes, and live lizards, he said.

And these are the lucky ones.

(Hat tip: The Amateur Economist)

Commodore Uriah P. Levy, USN

Filed under: — Different River @ 7:13 pm

A fascinating story.

Another excellent new blog

Filed under: — Different River @ 1:56 pm

Welcome to the newest blog from a student at George Mason University — Capital Freedom, which starts out by explaining why without property rights, no other rights can be guaranteed.

Oh, and by the way — The UN Population Program is, according to the UN’s own definition, guilty of genocide.

If the first five days are any indication, this is going to be a great blog!

(Hat tip: Don Boudreaux of Cafe Hayek.)

Being Left Means Never Having to Check the Facts

Filed under: — Different River @ 11:57 am

David of David’s Medienkritik in Germany points out that German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer has justified his opposition to the Iraq War by claiming that his pre-war predictions had come true. Except they haven’t.

[I]n a SPIEGEL ONLINE interview, Joschka Fischer was asked if he had always taken the "right tone" with the United States during his time in office as Germany’s Foreign Minister. His answer was unfortunate if not entirely predictable in that it focused almost exclusively on the Iraq war. Mr. Fischer re-asserted that Germany was right to oppose the war and pointed out that his concerns over Iraq had been "confirmed", calling the war a "mistake". Mr. Fischer nevertheless concluded that he was in favor of transatlantic friendship and was a "Transatlantiker" through and through, but stated that he would not be a "follower" of the United States like "Frau Merkel."

One also has to wonder which of the following predictions, made by prominent members of Schroeder and Fischer’s governing coalition before the war, have since been "confirmed"?:

Claudia Roth (Greens) predicted that an attack on Iraq would unleash a firestorm in the wider Middle East, implying that the entire region could be thrown into a state of war.

Olaf Scholz, Secretary General of the SPD (Schroeder’s Social Democratic Party): The war will "likely result in the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent people."

Heidi Wieczorek-Zeul (SPD), Minister of Development Aid: She expected "hundreds of thousands of innocent people, civilians, children, women" to become war victims, and she expected two to three million refugees. Like Roth, Zeul also said that the Iraq war would "unleash an unimaginable firestorm" in the region.

The former SPD-politician Erhard Eppler expected "the lives of hundreds of thousands, possibly millions (of people) at risk".

Jürgen Trittin (The Greens), Minister for the Environment: "The Ministry of the Environment has several studies, among them UN documents. According to these 40.000 to 200.000 victims of military actions can be expected. (…) We are afraid, that up to 200.000 more people might die from the consequences of a war."

Christian Ströbele, MP (Greens): "Tens of thousands of deaths…"

Wolfgang Thierse, President of the German Parliament (SPD): "I think of the millions of people in Baghdad, who will be victims of bombs and rockets."

The only prediction remotely close to being true was that of Christian Ströbele, unless of course, one actually lends credence to the profoundly flawed results of the Lancet study. But Mr. Ströbele likely expected the deaths to be the direct result of US military action during an actual attack on Iraq. They haven’t been. Many of the deaths to date have been caused by a ruthless insurgency consisting of former Saddam supporters and Islamo-Fascist terrorists who have blown away innocent children bystanders by the dozens and brutally beheaded kidnapped civilians.

And whether or not the US had invaded Iraq, the violent fanatics at the root of the ongoing havoc in Iraq would have almost certainly found another way to kill and oppress their fellow men, either as Saddam’s henchmen or as followers of bin Laden. Mr. Fischer and all of his left-wing friends were clearly wrong when they predicted that US intervention would create a swell of popular support for Al-Qaeda sponsored terror in the Middle East. A new poll strongly indicates that the very opposite is true. Middle Easterners and Muslims around the world are increasingly rejecting suicide bombings and terror. Only an increasingly fanatical and isolated minority continue to support Al-Qaeda. The very real emergence of democracy in the Middle East in places like Iraq and Lebanon has caused many to rethink their views and begin to hope for a better life for the first time in decades.

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