Minneapolis, MN – Anti-war activists gathered here at May Day Books, June 6, for an anti-war event titled “New War Crisis in Korea?” The featured speakers were Mick Kelly, the editor of Fight Back! newspaper and Meredith Aby, a leader of the Anti-War Committee. The event was sponsored by May Day Books and the Anti-War Committee.
Meredith Aby spoke about how the current ‘crisis’ is a pretext for U.S. intervention in East Asia, how it is unlikely North Korea sunk the South Korean ship, what is motivating the accusations against North Korea, why North Korea has the right to defend itself and what our tasks are in the anti-war movement to try to prevent an escalation on the Korean peninsula.
Aby stated, “When looking at how this is a pretext for war, I am drawn to compare it to a previous pretext for war in a different U.S. war in Asia. On August 2, 1964, the United States announced that three North Vietnamese torpedo boats had launched an unprovoked attacked on a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin. The incident handed President Johnson the justification he needed to step up military intervention in Vietnam. In 1971, the New York Times reported that the incident had been faked to provide a pretext for escalated military intervention. There had actually been no attack. This recent ‘attack’ of a South Korean ship has all the markings of another Gulf of Tonkin incident.”
“On May 20 the South Korean government announced that it has ‘overwhelming evidence’ that one of its warships was sunk by a torpedo fired by a North Korean submarine. In reality, there is no direct link between North Korea and the sunken ship. And it seems very unlikely that North Korea had anything to do with it,” Aby continued.
She also pointed out, “The director of South Korea’s National Intelligence, South Korea’s Defense Minister and the South Korean head of the marine operations office have all come out publicly saying that North Korea did not sink their ship. They argue they didn’t detect any North Korean ships or torpedos in the area and that it would take more than one torpedo anyway to sink their ship. They refer to the incident as an accident instead of an act of war and counter-propose that the ship hit a reef.”
Aby concluded by stating “While millions of U.S. workers face layoffs, wage and benefits cuts, along with foreclosures and evictions, North Korea is a small country that manages to provide all of its people with full employment, free health care, housing and higher education. Clearly, it’s the United States that is wasting national resources on war and militarism, while failing to provide for the needs of our own people. Not one dime of our tax money should be spent making war, or playing war, or threatening war, against the Korean people.”
“Instead, we want see peace on the Korean peninsula, and the reunification of families north and south. We have to call for an end to U.S. intervention there. We must oppose sanctions and U.S./UN inspections of sovereign territory, including ships in international waters, [and]call for an end to ‘war games’ conducted by the U.S. and South Korea along the DMZ. We must call for the closing of U.S. bases in South Korea and Japan and the departure of all U.S. troops stationed there.”
Mick Kelly placed the current crisis in an historical context, talked about the struggle for the reunification of the Korean peninsula and about the accomplishments and challenges facing the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Kelly noted, “Foreign powers have long attempted to dominate Korea, politically, economically and via military means. For their part, the Korean people have responded heroically. They have used every means at their disposal to achieve the unity of their nation and national independence.”