Why North Koreans Aren’t Allowed to Launch Rockets

A Critical Appraisal

Young Sam enters the living room where his father sits in a reclining armchair with newspaper. The plasma TV is on and the news is discussing the failed launch of the North Korean Taepo Dong-2 missile. Sam knows that the United States and many other countries also launch missiles and rockets, so he cannot understand why it is so terrible when North Korea does so. He pauses thoughtfully and turns to his father.

Dad, why is the government so upset about North Korea launching a rocket?

“Well, son, our government says it threatens regional security and violates international law.”

Why isn’t regional security threatened and international law violated when we launch a rocket? I mean how would we have gotten to the moon if we hadn’t launched rockets?

“Why so many questions? Have you finished your homework already?”

Finished Dad. Our teacher taught us that we should ask questions and develop our critical thinking ability. I’m trying to do that.

“Didn’t your teacher teach you to respect your elders? We have to trust our leaders because we are the good guys. We are fighting for democracy, and the North Koreans are Commies.”

So being a Commie means they are bad guys?

“That’s right, son.”

So we can launch rockets because we are good guys, and they can’t launch rockets because they are bad guys?

“That’s right. Just think, the North Koreans are wasting money on weapons while their own people are starving.”

But I heard that we are cancelling our food aid to those starving people. Is that what good guys do, Dad?

“Look son, if we give food aid to the North Korean people, their dictators will use money to build rockets instead of feeding the people.”

Have they ever used their rockets against us?

“No, but they might.”

I learned in social studies that we bombed them in the Korean War, but they’ve never come over here and bombed us, so I don’t understand why they are the threat and why we are not a threat. I guess it is just because we are the good guys. If we launch rockets, it must be okay because we are the good guys. If they launch rockets, it is a bad thing because they are the bad guys?

“Now you are getting it.”

That must be the same reason we can have nuclear weapons but the Iranians can’t: because they are the bad guys, and we are the good guys.”

“Now you are thinking critically, son.”

Kim Petersen is co-editor of Dissident Voice. He can be reached at: kim@dissidentvoice.org. Read other articles by Kim.