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April 29, 2005

Wow

The new issue of Foreign Policy has a blurb on the increasing anti-Americanism of South Korea's textbooks. To demonstrate, they offered up this question from a teacher's packet on the 1991 Gulf War:

"Which of the following descriptions of Iraq after the Gulf War is incorrect?

1) Infant mortality increased by 150%, and in some areas, 70% of newborns had leukemia due to sanctions.

2) The United States and Britain conducted a bombing campaign against Iraq for 11 years after the war, causing terror among the Iraqi people.

3) Cancer among Iraqi children increased by 700% because of depleted uranium left from the bombing.

4) The infant mortality rate of Iraqi children in 1999 was 300% higher than it was a decade earlier.

5) Not one Iraqi starved to death after the war because of the extensive food relief program."

In case you were wondering, the correct choice -- meaning it's false and the others are true -- is 5. This is what's making it into the textbooks of our allies. I really can't imagine what our enemies are reading about us.

April 29, 2005 | Permalink

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Comments

That is not good. We used to be heroes in S Korea.

Posted by: merlallen | Apr 29, 2005 7:44:14 PM

If they truly want us out, why not hint that we might actually leave. Of course we would also take the billions that we annually pump into that economy with us and might even quit trade if they embrace the North Korean Communists.

That should scare the crap out of them. The South Koreans are now truly capitalists to the core and rich by the standards of that part of the world. Who believes they would wish to again be poor?

Posted by: Robert Zimmerman | Apr 29, 2005 7:58:11 PM

OT, but the classic of politicized textbooks is this from Yes, Prime Minister:

Jim Hacker: "Math has become politicized: If it costs 5 billion pounds a year to maintain Britain's nuclear defences and 75 pounds a year to feed a starving African child, how many African children can be saved from starvation if the Ministry of Defence abandoned nuclear weapons?"

Sir Humphrey: "That's easy: none. They'd spend it all on conventional weapons."

we laugh. . .but at the same time, it's kind of, you know, true. Not the concept of pitting defense spending against foreign aid, but we really could save African lives with small amounts of wealthy country GDP.

Posted by: roublen vesseau | Apr 29, 2005 8:25:07 PM

I have lived in South Korea for a while. My wife grew up there, Korean is her native tongue and though she is not Korean by ethnicity or citizenship, that is how she thinks of herself.

When I was in Korea in the late 90's, they loved us. We always got the best service, the best deals (once people understood that we weren't military and we could speak Korean). It used to piss Canadians off how they would get treated like royalty until it came out that they weren't Americans.

Part of this changed attitude is simple growing as a nation for them. They are one of the world's largest economies now, and have had 3 democratically elected presidents. They're starting to feel that they don't need to worship the USA anymore in order to make it in the world, which is good.

Of course, it would be nice if we didn't have the Dipshit in Chief screwing everything up for us. The last presidential election (before the impeachment fiasco) was basically a contest of who didn't like America more. Astounding that attitudes could change so quickly, but I guess no one is saying that Bush isn't accomplishing anything, just that he isnt' doing anything good.

I know I shouldn't feed the trolls, but Zimmerman, are you this stupid on purpose or is it just natural? At what point have the South Koreans embraced the North? And yes, let's just stop trade with S. Korea. No more Samsung, LG, Zenith, Hyundai, Kia anything in this country - and that's just the brands that I know off the top of my head. The Koreans trade with the whole world, and it is our economy that is propped up by their ability to sell us things cheaply, not theirs. If our market closed to them, it would hurt, but they do too much business in the rest of Asia, Europe, Africa and increasingly in South America for it to do the damage you hope for. If you want to make threats, just stick with "well, we'll just nuke 'em." You're apparently not capable of handling anything more complex.

Posted by: Stephen | Apr 29, 2005 11:53:06 PM

Well Stephen,

You make a great hateful post. However, you forget that while S. Korea is huge on replicating technology with inexpensive labor (which many countries could do with our help), the US has a comparative advantage in the actual development of new technology. If you think they are not dependent upon us, you are mistaken. (I will spare you the name calling in the interests of civility.)

As for your myopic view simply because you lived there and your subsequent poor reasoning, understand that this Anti-Americanism is not something new as you would have us believe, but has it's roots in the 19th century. Try this article and then get back to us.
http://www.kimsoft.com/2002/anti-uslwr.htm

Posted by: Robert Zimmerman | Apr 30, 2005 10:16:03 AM

Funny how Mr. Zimmerman doesn't address the exam question on its merits-the fact that every fact except the last is, in fact, demonstrably true. Why shouldn't Korean schoolchildren be taught the truth about the embargo?

Posted by: Geoff Egan | Apr 30, 2005 12:28:37 PM

Hey the local rep from Trolls R Us does better than Al (working to cover comments A-Z). As far as hinting the U.S. should leave goes, does teaching a contrasting (yeah) viewpoint even qualify as rude or just awake ?

Posted by: opit | Apr 30, 2005 12:47:55 PM

Funny how Geoff ain't Stephen, but still feels the need to stick his fat head in there anyway.....

Posted by: Robert Zimmerman | Apr 30, 2005 4:47:52 PM

S. Korea is huge on replicating technology with inexpensive labor (which many countries could do with our help)

Lets' take that on face value. Do you really think that the best use of our resources is to invest billions of dollars in, say, El Salvador or Swaziland to create an infrastructure capable of producing thousands of automobiles, a large portion of our upscale clothing and serious amounts of steel and other manufacturing materials - all because there's a textbook which points out several uncomfortable truths about the US-led embargo against Iraq? Do you really think that it would be easy to set up another nation to take the place that S. Korea does in our economy?

As far as the 19th century goes, I've been to the memorial for the Catholic workers who were slaughtered out of nationalistic fervor. I also know that Koreans are taught that the USA defeated Japan, freeing them from 35 years of brutal rule in which the Japanese tried to systematically erase their culture. Koreans are taught that they would all be living like the North Koreans if not for Truman and MacArthur and the thousands of Americans who fought there for their freedom. Somehow these facts, of events that happened in the 20th century, tend to overshadow the nationalism of the 19th. As I said, some of the rising anti-Americanism is just a way of expressing their desire to go it alone among nations, without being "helped" along by the USA. But the current mood, especially in places like Pusan, is largely a result of Bush's ill-advised and quite dangerous rhetoric/actions regarding North Korea.

While I definitely have a soft spot for Korea, what really set me off was the extreme nature of your rhetoric, apparently seeing no problem with attempting to destroy the economy of one of our strongest allies - and sustain massive damage to our own - merely because someone dares tell the truth. This kind of American exceptionalism is what got Bush in the White House 2 times, it's what keeps putting Rethuglicans in office, it's what is ultimately going to ostracize us from everyone else in the world.

Posted by: Stephen | Apr 30, 2005 6:47:38 PM

While I definitely have a soft spot for Korea, what really set me off was the extreme nature of your rhetoric, apparently seeing no problem with attempting to destroy the economy...

Whoa there big fella......here is what I actually said....

"If they truly want us out, why not hint that we might actually leave."

Posturing has always been a big part of politics and there would be nothing wrong with this rhetoric to help them solidify their intentions and help them decide if theirs is not the rhetoric that is in the extreme.

Posted by: Robert Zimmerman | May 1, 2005 2:02:55 PM

"If they truly want us out, why not hint that we might actually leave."
I doubt the motive of the Gulf wars. Is it really for justice or for the oil?

Posted by: wow | Sep 9, 2005 10:07:12 PM

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Posted by: peter.w | Sep 15, 2007 7:11:04 AM

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