Commentary: Congressman Billybob sez

HIGHLANDS, N.C., Jan. 23 (UPI) -- This here's the 334th Report ta the Folks Back Home from the (More er Less) Honorable Billybob, cyberCongressman from Western Carolina.

The subjeck this week is the two dances ov dishonesty what the federal gummint is conductin inna cases ov Iraq n North Korea. "Diplomacy" offen requires the participants ta lie, specially bout what their nation intends ta do inna future.


Yer Congresscritter is very eggsperienced inna art ov lyin, but he's a li'l shy inna diplomacy department. So, I'll turn this over ta ma able assistant, J. Armor, Esq.

Necessary Lies -- Iraq & N. Korea

"Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice Doggie!' till you can find a rock." This is attributed to many people, ranging from Eleanor Roosevelt to Will Rogers. On best evidence, it came from Wynn Catlin. Here's how it applies to Iraq and North Korea.


Start with an obvious point no one in the Bush Administration, nor anyone in Congress on either side of the aisle, is willing to utter in public. No "leader" of any nation who has engaged in mass murder, and who possesses weapons capable of killing people in the hundreds of thousands, or millions, can be allowed to live and remain in charge of his government.

Suggestions that Saddam Hussein, the "glorious leader" of Iraq, can merely step down, or go into exile, are geopolitically stupid. The only question is whether it will be Iraqi bullets that stop him (and his psychotic sons), or American bullets. The possibility of a home-grown revolt against Saddam has been publicly raised, repeatedly. The fact that the American military will kill Saddam, rather than capture him or chase him into exile, has been avoided like the plague.

Whether Saddam winds up hanging from a lamppost in Baghdad, the way Benito Mussolini did in Milan in 1945, depends on whether it is Iraqis, rather than Americans, who corner him first.

America has ample transport planes and substantial numbers of "special forces" which can be deployed on 24 hours' notice. But to mount an all-out assault on Iraq (or any other nation), months of preparation are necessary to get needed troops, tanks and other heavy equipment in place and to establish necessary supply lines. Remember Napoleon's comment, "An army marches on its stomach."


We're still in the process of saying "Nice doggie" about Iraq, while we finish getting our "rock" in place. In short, we are still engaging in the "necessary lies" required by diplomacy before we attack --- sometime in the next few weeks.

In recent days, the press has been full of suggestions that Hussein might "go into exile." This is another necessary lie. There is a one-word answer to this idea. Since the President's Security Advisor, Condi Rice, is a student of history, she and he both know that word. It is "Napoleon."

Emperor Napoleon was defeated and exiled in 1814. In 1815 he returned and retook control of France and its armies. Had he not been defeated at Waterloo, a narrow defeat as histories of the battle demonstrate, he could have launched a new war and left another million or so people dead. The threat from an exiled Saddam Hussein is just as large, but does not require massed armies. It requires only money, a handful of scientists, and a handful of operatives, all of which he has.

One objection raised to our impending attack on Iraq is that "North Korea is more urgent because they already have nuclear weapons." Many who make this claim are hypocritical, because they equally oppose an attack on North Korea.


As a good soldier, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has dutifully said, "The United States is capable of fighting on two fronts at the same time." This is true but deceptive. Were the United States confronted with active fighting in Iraq and North Korea at the same time, several negative consequences would follow. All reservists, not just selected ones, would be called up. Pressure on the nation would increase. The critical danger would be, what happens if we face a third crisis? What if our "friends" in China chose this opportunity to cross the Taiwan Strait and crush its democratic and prosperous rival, once and for all?

So, if we have to say "Nice doggie" about Iraq for a few more weeks, it is doubly true that we must say "Nice doggie" about North Korea, and more so about China. First we must polish off the regime of Saddam, eliminate him, and create a supervised, caretaker administration in Iraq. Some offer lame excuses that we should not attack Iraq because we cannot or should not engage in "nation-building." They should read history books and see what we accomplished in Germany and Japan after World War II.


Kim Jong-il of North Korea, like Saddam, is a psychotic mass murderer. There are only two legitimate reasons for treating him as less of a threat. One is logistics --- we are days away from being ready to attack Hussein, but we are months away from being ready for North Korea. The other reason is that Saddam is, today, supporting deaths from terrorists and threatening his entire region. Kim Jong-il is not in that position today, though he will reach that position within the next year.

North Korea's admission that it has broken its agreements on nuclear weapons has only one immediate consequence. It has promoted itself to next on the list for American military "attention." What form will that take?

While we continue, publicly, to say "Nice doggie" to North Korea, we are planning how to bomb the North Korean nuclear weapons facilities, both above-ground and buried. This would be similar to the Israeli pre-emptive attack to destroy an Iraqi nuclear facility near Baghdad 15 years ago. That put Iraq out of the nuclear weapons business for a while. Israel was roundly condemned by world leaders, including the French and the Germans who are in "Nice doggie" mode most of the time.


But North Korea, by starving its people to the point that hundreds of thousands are dying, eating grass, and risking their lives to escape into China, still has a million-man army and hundreds of artillery pieces capable of firing shells into the South Korean capital, Seoul. So, the United States cannot merely take out the nuclear facilities. We must also take out those artillery pieces, and to mount defenses to prevent Seoul from being overrun in the opening week of any conflict.

Is there a way out of this particular box? Yes. The answer is found in the fall of East Germany, with few shots fired and almost no deaths, in 1989. East Germany was a murderous regime whose people were held as slaves in their own homes. This is the same as North Korea. But two principal differences apply.

One-third of the population of East Germany could see West German television broadcasts. They had access to the truth about how bad their government and their lives were, compared to West Germany. The North Koreans hear only what their government puts out. The few radios they have receive only government broadcasts.

The other main difference is the escape route that opened for East Germans. They were permitted to travel within the communist block. When Hungary opened its border to Austria, East Germany began to bleed. Any citizen who wanted to escape could go to Austria, and then back to West Germany.


Those two facts, communication and transportation, doomed the Stalinist regime in East Germany. The regime fell of its own weight, shortly after the Austria option opened. There is no similar arterial bleeding of population from North Korea to the South. For the foreseeable future, the barbed wire and the guns at the DMZ in Korea are as effective as the Berlin Wall was in Germany for decades.

So, where is the possibility for the barbarian government of North Korea to fall without a war, as did East Germany? It lies in the North Korean military. Most generals have sufficient contacts with the outside world, or with South Korea, to know what a horror their government has become. Perhaps enough of them understand their only long-term choices are death, or revolt against their own government. Add to that equation two other elements. They know that the families of their soldiers are among those who are dying of starvation. They also know that the United States will be extremely generous to any who lead such a revolt if it is successful.

To understand this possibility, read the history of the unsuccessful attempt by German generals to kill Adolf Hitler during World War II. Leaders of that effort included Gen. Erwin Rommel, perhaps Germany's greatest general, ever.


Although no representative of the Bush administration has said a word about this North Korean option, I know American military leaders are keen students of history. They are aware of the "Hitler Option" for North Korea. I submit they are pursuing this idea, actively but quietly. This is the simplest and least expensive option in both blood and money. But while looking for this "rock" it is essential the United States repeat the "Nice doggie" mantra.

Looked at over the next decade, it is clear the North Korean government must fall, and the North be reunited with the larger-populated (and prosperous) South. The inevitability is as clear as it was for decades, concerning East and West Germany. It must happen. It will happen. The only question is whether a new and final Korean War of some size will be part of the price.

Although I know many people in the American military now, or are retired from service, nothing said here is based on inside information, classified or not. Instead, it is based on geopolitical reality, and a reading political and military histories.

There was a time when 3,000 miles of ocean were a sufficient insulation for the United States from the concerns and wars of overseas nations. That geographic truth underlay President George Washington's advice in his Farewell Address to the American People, to "avoid foreign entanglements."


Even the development of thermonuclear warheads, and intercontinental ballistic missiles to go on them, did not end the isolation. As long as the United States and the Soviet Union were the only nations capable of such attacks, the MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) philosophy could still keep the peace. No other nation could attack us. And whatever their faults, the leaders of the Soviet Union heeded our capacity to destroy their nation.

We now face enemies who can deliver nuclear weapons into our cities by tramp freighter or truck, not a missile or plane. And the leaders of these nations, or in some cases organized non-national movements, do not have the bare minimum rationality displayed by leaders of the Soviet Union.

For the sake of millions of Americans who will otherwise die in a nuclear attack, sooner or later, we have only one choice. We must take down by force every leader of every hostile nation or group capable of mounting a nuclear attack on the United States. We must do this as quickly as possible. We must be pre-emptive, and not wait for an attack before acting. We must eliminate these leaders in the order they threaten us, and are capable of acting.


There is one more requirement. Our diplomats, and all of our leaders, must lie, lie, and lie again about our intentions, until we are in a position to act in each case. These necessary lies must continue until our gloves come off.

So there is a clear message in this for Iraq, North Korea, all the surviving leaders of al Qaida, and many others. Our public words now are both vague and contradictory. Still, the message is clear.

It is, "Nice doggie."


(About the author: Congressman Billybob is fictitious, but prolific, on the Internet -- the invention of John Armor, who writes books and practices law in the U.S. Supreme Court. Comments and criticisms are welcome at [email protected]).

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