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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Won't You Nuke My Neighbor

CIA Director Porter Goss made a stunning admission yesterday: “Having watched the pride of some countries in acquiring the world-stage status of having nuclear weapons -- and what that has meant for nationalism and leadership ... it becomes almost a piece of the holy grail for a small country that otherwise might be victimized living in a dangerous neighborhood."

Goss was speaking to the Senate Select Intelligence Committee (which incidentally should be called the “Selective” Intelligence Committee, but that’s another story). He said in stark, obvious terms – North Korea and other small nations pursue nukes to prevent other nations from attacking.

Normally, the line out of Washington these days is that “terrorists” and “extremists” are trying to “acquire weapons of mass destruction”, which is a bad thing that we will stop at all costs. The unchallenged implication is that the “bad guys” want nukes so they can terrorize the innocent, sweet-faced, freedom-loving United States.

Such jingoistic perversions are popular with the masses but rarely pass muster with experts and those who carefully pay attention to world affairs. North Korea and Iran have done little if anything to threaten their neighbors or any other country, especially in the last two decades, yet they have both been branded as targets by the world’s mightiest military – the US, which remember spends annually on its military almost as much as every other nation on the planet combined.

This is not to say that Goss was explicitly implying that North Korea was afraid of the US. A comment like that would send him to the George Tenet Memorial Soup Line in a heartbeat. No, Goss referred to an ambiguous “dangerous neighborhood”.

You need only listen to North Korean leaders, who, like the Iranian government, constantly complain about the US to know who they fear. And considering the present administration’s stated desire to use military might to attack any nation it deems a threat, it is easy to understand that fear.

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