April 12, 2013
Contact: Mike Reid firstname.lastname@example.org 314-766-4657; David Swanson email@example.com 202-329-7847.
Veterans For Peace has just released this statement:
As a major U.S. peace organization of veterans, including members who served in the Korean War, Veterans For Peace (VFP) is deeply concerned about the increasing risk of another open conflict on the Korean Peninsula at this time.
CNN reported on Thursday that, "Developments in and around North Korea are so worrisome that they appear to have frightened Dick Cheney." Bellicose rhetoric and maneuvers are indeed extremely worrisome, but it is important that we understand where the hostility is originating if we are going to be able to counter it.
North Korea has withdrawn from the armistice agreement that supposedly ended war over half a century ago. North Korea is threatening military action. Yet, North Korea spends some 0.8% of what the United States spends on war preparation. The United States has the ability to obliterate North Korea. The United States is not just threatening war on North Korea, but practicing it by dropping inert bombs on Korean soil. And, of course, North Korea has not forgotten the United States' primary role in destroying its cities and killing millions of its people over a half century ago.
The United States this year, for the first time, has been using B-2 bombers and F-22 stealth jets in Korean air space in clear violation of the Korean War Armistice Agreement, which prohibits "introduction into Korea of reinforcing military personnel…(and) combat aircraft, armored vehicles, weapons, and ammunition." (Paragraph 13C & D) North Korea's declaration that it, too, will abandon the armistice was not the first move in this dance of death.
That Korean War has never fully ended, not in terms of the elimination of hostilities, and not in terms of the withdrawal of foreign troops. The United States has maintained operational control over the South Korean Army all of these years, an army of 650,000 troops today.
Last year President Barack Obama allowed South Korea to maintain cruise missiles with greater range than before, missiles now capable of hitting anywhere in the North. Obama is also providing South Korea with drones for the purpose of spying on or attacking the North. The Obama administration is, at the same time, promoting the construction of new and larger military bases around the region and in South Korea, including on Jeju Island -- the strategic purpose of which appears to be purely to "contain" (that is, provoke) China. U.S. military "exercises" in the region are predictably provoking threats from the North to attack the U.S. bases from which its bombers are taking off.
Although U.S. officials have been accusing DPRK (North Korea) of "provocative acts," a careful review of events shows that the United States bears greater responsibility in provoking and threatening DPRK with new sanctions, military build-ups, and major war drills under the name "Key Resolve/Foal Eagle."
North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, according to the only American to talk to him, basketball player Dennis Rodman, said, "Tell President Obama to call me. Because if we can talk, we can work this out." Our Nobel Peace Laureate president responded by sending over stealth bombers to simulate nuclear bombing attacks.
This year's joint war game for U.S. and ROK (South Korean) troops is far more threatening in its scope, intensity, and length, than other recent exercises. More than 10,000 U.S. and 200,000 ROK troops are taking part in the war drill for 2 months. The United States is, for the first time, using multiple strategic assets, including B-52s, B-2 stealth bombers, and the nuclear attack submarine USS Cheyenne, to practice nuclear attacks on North Korea.
This is in the context of a major U.S. military build-up in the region, a build-up being accelerated, using North Korean bellicosity as justification. The United States has increased its troop strength in South Korea from 28,500 to 37,000; beefed up its so-called missile defense system around Korea and Japan; sent Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles to South Korea last fall; and moved 12 F-22 Raptors and 300 staff to Okinawa on January 14, 2013.
And this new militarization is in a historical context that is probably better understood by Koreans than by most Americans. The U.S. decision in August 1945 to artificially divide an ancient homogenous Korea into two, upon the surrender of the Japanese; the subsequent U.S.-directed reign of terror in South Korea, 1945-1948; the U.S. sponsorship of a separate regime in South Korea in 1948; and then, consequently, the open Korean War, 1950-1953, which included U.S. carpet bombing of the country, killing at least 20% of the population, surely must rank as one of the cruelest tragedies of the Twentieth Century. This is virtually unknown history in the West, and today's issues relating to Korea cannot be understood without knowing about this diabolical assault on the Korean nation's rights to integrity, independence and self-determination.
To de-escalate the current danger of war on the Korean Peninsula, VFP urges the following steps:
1) The U.S., ROK and DPRK governments should immediately stop the current war drills in and around Korea, along with all military threats or cyber attacks against each other;
2) The U.S. should withdraw immediately all new U.S. troops and weapons brought into Korea in recent years; and remove all nuclear land- and sea-based missiles and weapons from Korea (and neighboring Japan, if any), and from the Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and Sea of Japan.
3) The U.S. Secretary of State or a high-level special U.S. envoy should visit ROK, DPRK, and China to initiate a four-party talk to end the Korean War officially, and finally, with a peace treaty this year.
4) The U.S. public should reject and denounce fear-mongering about North Korea.
North Korea spends about 0.8% what the United States does and 29% of what South Korea does on its military. North Korea is not a serious threat to the United States.
But the United States is recklessly helping to provoke a new war on the Korean peninsula that could prove as horrific as the last one, or worse.
The United Nations is playing a biased role similar to its role in the past, pressuring North Korea, but not the United States or South Korea, on human rights abuses. There have been 9,000 missile launches since World War II. North Korea has had 4. There have been 2,000 nuclear bomb tests. North Korea has had 3. How many countries have been sanctioned by the United Nations over this? Only one: North Korea.
The United States has no business being in Korea. The United States has ignored the North's calls for a peace treaty since 1974. It is time, at long last, to stop posturing for war and begin talking about peace.
Veterans For Peace also supports the Statement Opposing U.S.-South Korea Joint Military Exercises Key Resolve, Foal Eagle, as drafted by the Working Group for Peace and Demilitarization in Asia and the Pacific.