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The Crimes of Kim Jong Il By: Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, March 29, 2005


One of the most horrific aspects of the Nazi Holocaust that killed upwards of 6 million European Jews and 5 million others (including Gypsies, Poles, Russians, the infirm, mentally ill, aged, political undesirables, and anti-Nazis) was the industrialization aspect that Hitler's regime used to impersonalize the most personal of crimes: murder. The mass extermination of human beings by the German Reich seemed to be a culmination of the dark aspects of ancient German mythology and the twisted misuse of modern industrial techniques resulting in unspeakable evil. So repelled was the civilized world that a major factor in founding the United Nations was to enforce the pledge of 'never again' when it came to genocide and crimes against humanity.

Tragically, the UN has failed dismally in that mission. We don't have to look deep into it to see why. An organization composed of fatally flawed parts is incapable of rising above the worst of its members. The fault of the UN has been that abusive, criminal regimes have equal standing to free democracies. As a consequence, the metonymic beat of international horror continues unchecked, often unchallenged, even ignored, down through the decades into the new millennium. It is discouraging to look back on a catalogue of horrors that were overlooked, minimized, or rationalized. A short list includes millions of state-sanctioned murders in the
Soviet Union, the Peoples Republic of China, Cambodia, Rwanda, Congo, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Burma, Vietnam, the Balkans, and Cuba. There are others. Incredibly, this list is not exhaustive.

One of the worse regimes operating against all commonly accepted humanitarian principles is that of communist
North Korea. It is a small country. Population estimates range around 20-22 million; the government is so cloistered that real statistics are unattainable. But small size does not preclude gigantic abuse. Conservative estimates place the number of North Korean citizens killed by starvation in the past decade at 2-3 million. That is 10% or greater of the population. Apply that ratio to the US
or European population base and the real horror sinks in. Paradoxically, this mass starvation occurred during a period when the North Korean regime of Kim Jong Il was the largest recipient of American food aid of any other country. But Kim and his communist party minions spread food aid where it would do their regime the most good: to prop up the military and to sell on the black market to line corrupt bureaucratic pockets. His people, the Dear Leader, arrogantly said, could 'eat bark.'

The expression that "one human death is a tragedy; a million, a statistic," has been variously attributed to Stalin, Adolph Eichmann, and others of their ilk. Regardless of who said it, they all agreed with the core principle: the world will let a dictator get away with mass murderer. Kim Il Sung, the self-styled Great Leader and original dictator of
North Korea, behaved accordingly. So does his son and successor, Kim Jong Il. The two imposed a grotesque personality cult upon the people of North Korea of such pervasiveness that even Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong would be envious. They emulated those mentors by constructing a gulag of political prison camps of the most awful sort throughout the remote areas of North Korea
. The camps are a death machine into which alleged “enemies of the state,” criminals, and the “politically unreliable,” especially Christians, are condemned. Along with these “undesirables” typically go their families, often down to three generations because of the regime’s stated policy to “root out the poisonous ideologies.” Concentration camp inmates work under brutal conditions usually to their deaths, are kept barely alive by meager rations, denied medical attention, and routinely tortured and executed. Estimates are that 200,000-300,000 people at any given time are locked into these terrible prisons.

This is sufficient reason to indict Kim Jong Il for crimes against humanity. But there is more: Kim has pushed the envelope of abuse against his citizens much farther than starvation and imprisonment. Credible witnesses have given startling testimony about the Kim regime's experimentation with use of poison gas and biological toxins on concentration camp inmates. These reports have been suppressed, ignored, or exculpated by regime apologists. They have not been acknowledged or investigated by any agency of the UN, including those charged with oversight of human rights violations. Worse, our own State Department and two successive South Korean governments have tried to sweep these allegations under the carpet. This action is odious and inexcusable and demands immediate rectification.

No longer is the issue of abuse in
North Korea debatable. The evidence, preliminary but damning, is more than sufficient to warrant aggressive redress. Back from a recent investigative trip to South Korea, Abraham Cooper, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, wrote a piece for the Washington Post on North Korean poison gas experiments. Cooper interviewed North Korean defectors. He recounts in detail reports from Kim's former scientists and guards, and from some of the prisoners who survived and escaped. It is a chilling account of the most brutal, inhumane experimentation. To the reader Cooper asks the key question: “So why no worldwide outrage?” He correctly answers: “realpolitik trumps distant horrors.” The world will have to answer its own conscience, but such an attitude of indifference is not acceptable from America
and its allies, especially under the freedom policies stated by President Bush.

No longer may the business as usual attitude of some State Department professionals be permitted to continue. They wish - as does the South Korean government - to exclude discussion of human rights in the Six Party Talks and focus solely on nuclear weapons issues. In fact that has historically been a flawed policy: the North Koreans cheated on all previous agreements.

Meanwhile we propped up Kim's decaying regime, and the North Korean people suffered another decade of abuse. We now have an administration committed to stand by oppressed peoples around the world who are struggling to be free. It is long overdue for the president to be supported in this worthy endeavor by his own bureaucracy. Kim's crimes demand justice and the American people must insist it be served. The oppressed people of North Korea must be free now!


Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu has been an Army Green Beret lieutenant colonel, as well as a writer, popular speaker, business executive and farmer. His most recent book is Separated at Birth, about North and South Korea. He returned recently from an embed with soldiers in Iraq and has launched a web site called Support American Soldiers to assist traveling soldiers.


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