The Advent vigils (four weeks in a row) began yesterday at Bath Iron Works (BIW) here in Maine. BIW is the place where Navy Aegis destroyers are built that are presently being used as part of the U.S.-South Korea (ROK) war games which are bumping up against the coastline of North Korea. I noticed that the USS Cowpens is a part of this U.S. naval battle group that is being led toward North Korea by the aircraft carrier named the USS George Washington.
I know about the USS Cowpens because it was the ship that fired the first shot (cruise missiles) in the 2003 U.S. shock and awe attack on Iraq. I know this because the woman who was driving the USS Cowpens at that historic moment has become a friend of our family and was at our home for Thanksgiving just three days ago.
This young woman was a Lieutenant in the Navy and was the Officer of the Deck at the time of the Cowpens attack on Iraq. She has since gotten out of the Navy and is now a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). She has not yet gotten over the pain of her role in that unprovoked, immoral, and illegal attack on Iraq.
North Korea knows all about the U.S. proclivity to attack smaller countries for no good reason. In years past the world has watched the U.S. beat up on Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Granada, Panama, Libya, Somalia, Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. North Korea must wonder if their day is coming soon as well.
As I noted in other recent blogs on this subject, the U.S. and South Korea have been running aggressive military war games each month since last July and these massive drills are directed right at North Korea. North Korea must each time put their military and their population on alert because they can't take any chances. Having seen the U.S. record of attacking weaker countries they must consider that this time the war games could be for real.
As I stood on the sidewalk in front of BIW for the hour-long vigil today I held a sign with a picture of a train painted on it by one of our local artist friends. The sign read "Built in Bath". Some of the passing Saturday early-shift workers got the message and smiled as they drove home. The truth is that a number of those working inside BIW know that their "product" is a first-strike attack military machine. They'd rather be building rail systems or wind turbines. But we make weapons and we make war in America today and military production is one of the few jobs around in our declining economy. It's like those who worked in the death camps for Hitler's Army during WW II. It was a job and they wanted to believe that their country was right - Germany uber alles. In America we say - USA, USA, #1!
The U.S. is outfitting these Navy Aegis destroyers with "missile defense" systems and activists in South Korea and Japan clearly understand the role of these warships in U.S. military strategy. The U.S. intends to use these MD systems to pick-off retaliatory strikes after a Pentagon first-strike attack on North Korea or China. The U.S. is doubling its military presence in the Asian-Pacific region for a clear reason.
Like any bully, the U.S. military is poking a sharp stick at North Korea (and China) and basically daring them to fight back. The U.S. (and their junior partners in South Korea and Japan) are out to militarize the region and are just itching for a military response that would then "justify" an overwhelming response.
The U.S. weapons corporations love this game of hardball, or as it used to be called, gunboat diplomacy. The power tripping U.S. government intends to keep pushing North Korea into a corner and will keep pissing on them until they get another response. At the rate things are now going it likely won't take long.
The key factor in all of this is China. How long will China allow the U.S. to keep pouring gasoline on the hot fire in the Asian-Pacific? They hold our debt yet know that if they cut the U.S. loose then the entire global economy will suffer even more. But China is quickly getting fed up with U.S. military bravado in their back yard.
China must support North Korea because if that country is toppled then the U.S. would put military bases right on China's border. This was an important reason for the Korean War in the first place, the U.S. wanted to take control of the entire Korean peninsula and thus have bases right alongside Russia and China.
If the American people knew half of what was going on in their name they'd be freaking out but due to corporate control of the media, and generations of government brainwashing, most of our citizens are in the dark. Virtually all they know about any of what is going on right now in Korea is what they are told by the same people who are stirring the boiling pot of war.
Sadly most Americans have to learn the hard way. Hopefully it won't take a shooting war with China to wake the public up from their deep sleep.