There used to be a time when the Daily Kos was the place to go for reality-based content. When quality writers like Emptywheel, Buhdydharma and Toquedeville could be found regularly. Then came the Democratic Primaries and things got really ugly, really fast. It was as if the place became infested with wingnuts, the way you were attacked for being progressive. Many fled, never to be seen again.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still quality writers to be found at Daily Kos. Guys like MinistryofTruth and Crashing Vor. It’s just that the site has been steadily drifting away from being reality-based for quite a few years now.
And today, they officially jumped the shark.
We remain preoccupied with criticizing Obama for not personally overseeing a oil spill. Maybe Obama has been paying attention to other immediate crises.
Evidently, the Obama supporters will now desperately grasp for any straw to explain why Obama isn’t getting the job done in the Gulf.
Now, it’s not that some diarist made some pathetic excuse for Obama’s weak handling of the Gulf disaster that makes this an official Daily Kos Jumps the Shark event. No. It’s that this diary actually reached the reclist without a smidgeon of actual, you know, reality-based content. It’s rise to reclist glory was based soley upon the fact that it was a lame attempt to make excuses for Obama – and a subtle attempt to push for war with North Korea. Because THAT, my friends, would be the real distraction. A second Korean war would distract Americans from the Gulf disaster.
First off, the diarist gives us the MSM condensed version of the showdown developing on the Korean peninsula:
Yesterday, North Korea cut off diplomatic ties to South Korea. That is right, a nuclear power has aggressively attacked their major military rival, killing and injuring dozens and now it is escalating.
Ohhhh scary! Not a word of context. No explanation as to why North Korea suddenly attacked a South Korean warship, why North Korea cut off diplomatic ties. No mention of what motivated either side in this latest showdown.
Instead, the diarist feeds us disinformation:
A sick old man is thought to be creating this crisis so his son can take over when he dies. Kim Jong-il has enough atomic fuel for 8 weapons and is trying to bolster the credentials of his designated heir, Kim Jeong-un, 27
Ohhh, more WMD talk, I’m scared! Yes, there’s a link to this totally unfounded assumption, but the link doesn’t even suggest that Kim is creating this crisis to bolster his son. It’s like the diarist pulled that idea wholly out of his own ass.
Then the diarist ends on a subtle warmongering note.
We are on a precipice and one of our loyal allies needs our support. But while we really don’t want a war on three fronts, Obama may be forced to do something dramatic in the near future. Today South Korea conducted antisubmarine drills off the coast of North Korea, and the agreement to end accidental attacks was officially abandoned by South Korea (North Korea abandoned it yesterday.)
Want to know what’s REALLY going on in the Korean peninsula and find out the REAL reason North Korea sank a South Korean naval vessel? You know, a Reality-Based discussion of what is happening over there? I’ll even give you an alternative to sanctions and sabre rattling and WAR that would probably satisfy both sides and make the peninsula a far more peaceful place for years to come.
This is the diary I posted at Daily Kos in response:
To understand why North Korea sank a South Korean navy vessel, one must be aware of the circumstances surrounding the Battle of Daecheong. Likely, few, if any, on this website has ever heard of it.
The Battle of Daecheong took place in November 10, 2009 near Daecheong Island at the Northern Line Limit. The Northern Limit Line was set by U.S. forces in 1953 but has never been recognized by North Korea nor is it mentioned in the 1953 Armistice Agreement. Initially, it was drawn to prevent South Korea from crossing north, but has since been changed to prevent North Korea from crossing south.
Over the last half century, North Korean fishing boats have routinely crossed the line, many times escorted by N.K. patrol boats. Prior to the Battle of Daecheong, there had been two minor skirmishes along the border, the first and second Battles of Yeonpyeong, in 1999 and 2002 respectively.
Here is a description of the Battle of Daecheong:
The incident began around 11:27 am when a North Korean navy patrol boat crossed down through the NLL even though boats from the South Korean navy warned them twice. After one more warning announcement, one of the South Korean patrol boats fired a warning shot. In response, the North Korean boat began firing upon the South Korean ship. This resulted in a short exchange of fire between the sides. The North Korea vessel expended approximately 50 rounds, and the South Korean craft returned fire with 200 rounds.
The Korean Central News Agency, the official news agency of North Korea, accused the South Korean Navy of provoking the confrontation, reporting that “the North side let a patrol boat of the Navy of the KPA on routine guard duty promptly go into action to confirm an unidentified object that intruded into the waters of its side. When the patrol boat was sailing back after confirming the object at about 11: 20 a group of warships of the South Korean forces chased it and perpetrated such a grave provocation as firing at it. The patrol boat of the North side, which has been always combat-ready, lost no time to deal a prompt retaliatory blow at the provokers. Much flurried by this, the group of warships of the South Korean forces hastily took to flight to the waters of their side.”
After the battle, the South Korea patrol boat had suffered only superficial damage (reportedly 15 bullet marks on the ship’s side) with no casualties, while the North Korea patrol boat was left partially destroyed. Though there was no official announcement from North Korea, a news agency in South Korea reported a rumor that North Korea suffered four casualties (1 KIA / 3 WIA). On the other hand, a defector said about 10 North Korean sailors were killed in action.
Not to justify the North Koreans, but simply to give this situation the proper context, one could just as easily claim that these waters are in North Korea as South Korea. In fact, one can better understand the domestic pressures upon Kim Jong-il if one considers that from the North Korean perspective the Battle of Daecheong represented the attack of one of their vessels in their own territory.
This is why it was theorized afterwards that General Kim Myong-Guk was demoted after the battle.
The JoongAng Daily published photos of General Kim Myong-Guk released last June and this week. The earlier picture showed Kim with the four stars of a full general, while this week’s photos showed just the three stars of a colonel-general….
…One theory is that General Kim was demoted over North Korea’s beating in the last naval clash with the South.
Now spring forward to March 26,2010. The Chenoan goes down near the Northern Limit Line near the South Korean island of Baengnyeong. A torpedo attack is suspected.
Then in April, North Korea celebrates the 78th Anniversary of the Korean People’s Army
The training well showed the decisive resolution and merciless striking force of the KPA soldiers replete with the fighting spirit to annihilate the aggressors at one stroke, if they dare intrude into the inviolable land, sea and sky of the DPRK even an inch, and take thousand-fold revenge upon them.
and who is in attendance and sporting a fourth star again? General Kim Myong Guk.
A key general in the North Korean Army has been returned to four-star rank after a demotion earlier this year, and South Korean government and intelligence officials are scrambling to find out why.
It is not until May that the Chenoan Report comes out:
The South Korean corvette Cheonan was split in two by the shockwave and bubble-jet effect resulting from the underwater explosion of a 250 kg torpedo.
The parts dredged up from the sea floor where the Cheonan was sunk match the schematics of a weapon offered for sale by North Korea, the CHT-02D torpedo.
A hand-written Korean inscription, translating to “No. 1,” was found on one such part. The same marking appears on a North Korean torpedo found by the South seven years ago.
“A few small submarines and a mother ship supporting them left a North Korean naval base in the West [i.e., Yellow] Sea 2-3 days prior to the attack and returned to port 2-3 days after the attack.”
No other country had a submarine in the area at the time.
It becomes obvious that North Korea was behind the attack on the Chenoan, that the Battle of Daecheong was seen by North Korea as an attack on a NK vessel in NK waters and that Gen. Kim Myong Guk was given a chance to redeem himself by avenging that attack.
The key to resolving this issue peacefully is not to ratchet up sabre rattling on both sides. The key to resolving further incidents like this is to resolve the boundary dispute created by the U.S. unilaterally imposed demarcation of the Northern Limit Line. Until both sides agree upon who controls these disputed waters, confrontations like this are going to continue and war, not peace, will be the outcome. Ideally, a buffer zone should be set up. One that keeps both navies away from each other but would allow fishing vessels to safely operate within it.
Now obviously, President Obama knows everything I have just detailed above. His intelligence sources would have told him what was really happening. He knows that the sinking of the Chenoan was simply tit for tat, not the first move of a nuclear confrontation.
And Obama knows that the South Korean response – blasting propaganda across the DMZ and enforcing new sanctions – was an act of escalation that was met in kind by the North.
Of course, spreading word that there is no cause for war with Korea, that there are solutions available to prevent war and that this attack didn’t come out of the blue, as the MSM would have Americans believe, doesn’t interest the inhabitants over at Daily Kos. Reality-based reporting only proves that, no, this isn’t a distraction to Obama, in fact, at best, it’s only going to serve as a distraction FOR Obama by taking the focus off the worst manmade disaster in human history.
And as if to rub salt in Daily Kos wounds, on this same day Obama tells reporters that:
“I take responsibility. It is my job to make sure that everything is done to shut this down,” Obama declared at a news conference in the East Room of the White House. Obama said many critics failed to realize “this has been our highest priority.”
“My job right now is just to make sure everybody in the Gulf understands: This is what I wake up to in the morning, and this is what I go to bed at night thinking about. The spill.”
“There shouldn’t be any confusion here. The federal government is fully engaged,” he said, underscoring his central point.
Funny, how differently the world looks when your feet are firmly planted in reality – instead of jumping over a shark.