Monday, May 17, 2004

Monday Koreafarts

HOLY SHIT-- the signs have been popping up here and there, but it looks like the Iraq situation may have forced our hand: major elements of the 2ID (Second Infantry Division) will be leaving Korea to go to Iraq. The Marmot has the scoop here. Budae Chigae covers the angles here. According to the Marmot, this move is causing the Korean pols no small amount of consternation. According to Charlie, there are parallels to our 1990 drawdown in Germany. And he's been tracking this whole affair.

I'll admit to some cruel satisfaction: we've been needing to get our troops out of Korea one way or the other. But at the same time, I'm not looking forward to what's in store for the troops who leave here. Keep them in your thoughts. Also, keep Korea in your thoughts: this isn't going to be easy. I see this as part of a necessary process of weaning. In the end, it's better for everyone involved: South Korea is strong enough to resolve its security issues on its own, and the US-SK alliance has gotten... well, stale, if not leprous. The cycle of blame needs to be broken, and this is a rather fortuitous way to start doing it.

The Marmot deals with propagandism in this post about a recent knifing incident and the way it's being handled by organizations like OhMyNews.

Also from Budae Chigae: a post about the shutdown of a radio broadcast that set up shop not even a month ago. The broadcast, "Free NK," was run by North Korean defectors. An article about it in the Chosun is here. This shutdown galls me. It's a sign that South Koreans are still very much in denial about the shit happening in North Korea. They feel free to condemn US actions (and I'm not saying there haven't been times when our actions were condemnable), but ignore the monster looming north of the DMZ, their supposed "brothers." This never ceases to amaze me. In America, we call each other on our bullshit: no one can sit in a blissful vacuum. If you're a conservative, you can bet you'll hear from the liberals, and vice versa. Here in Korea, despite the wider variety of political parties, society is nevertheless much more blindered when it comes to crucial political issues.

This very much ties into the troop question. The sooner we get out, the sooner SK can start to reckon with the enormity of its own problems. With no US to blame, and no one but itself to manage security, SK will be forced-- finally-- to confront the hard decisions it's been avoiding (most of them monetary). It'll also be forced to confront its own coddling of the North, and the larger, deeper issue of the still-pervasive victim mentality.

For more on the disgraceful neck-stabbing incident (a drunk US soldier stabbed or sliced a late-20s Korean man in the neck, doing enough injury to put the Korean in the hospital), check out Oranckay here and here.

Given the breakneck speed of the 24-hour news cycle, this is old news, but just in case you somehow missed it: late last week, Noh Mu Hyon returned to his post as South Korea's president, making conservative expats very happy to have their bitch back to slap around. Jeff in Korea has the best coverage here. Jeff has, in my opinion, an even better blog post right before that one re: the Constitutional Court and Korean logic, which he views as more inductive than deductive in nature. I think this is required reading. For me, it made certain things clear.

The Yangban on the Kwangju Massacre.

The Rathbone Press comments on 2ID deployment to Iraq. Scroll down a bit and read why Owen also thinks Korean candlelight vigils are a great idea. Not all Canadians lean Stavros-ward.

Dr. Larsen provides us with a hilarious stress test.

I haven't seen "Troy" yet, since it's not out in Korea, but I think I'm going to agree with Wooj's review of it. The Pythi Master also has a great post about his educational background, from children's books to porn.

I'm thinking I may have to dump Goldbrick. There's been no activity since late March, and I've got other interesting blogs I'm thinking of sticking on the sidebar. No hard feelings to the man; I simply have the attention span of a flea, and if a blog isn't active, it's not going to stay on the blogroll forever. A shame; Goldbrick was (and still could be) a great blog. I'm sure Mr. Carr is up to his eyeballs in work, though, so that's probably why the blogging has suffered. Best solution: guest bloggers. Probable replacement for Goldbrick: Xeniteia, which I've found very intriguing.

If you missed the Party Pooper's "Gaywatch" the first time around on his old blog, here it is again, with updates.

If you've seen those old dudes on bikes with huge piles of flattened cardboard boxes stacked a mile high on the rear rack, you may have wondered where they go with those boxes. Korea Life Blog has the answer to where bad boxes go when they die.

Joel does perverts. Hey, Wooj-- ever used the "I'm a byeon-t'ae" excuse? Sounds like it might come in handy. Or not.

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A quick note: you probably knew that the Washington National Cathedral, like other cathedrals, features an array of gargoyles and grotesques-- sculptures that are both functional and aesthetic.

But did you know that one of the WNC's grotesques is none other than Darth Vader? I discovered this when I did a search on Vader on Wikipedia. Here's where Wikipeda's entry directed me. The next time I'm back in DC, I'm taking a pair of binoculars with me to see if I can find Darth.


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