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Gordon Cucullu- Contributor


Former Green Beret lieutenant colonel, Gordon Cucullu is now an editorialist, author and a popular speaker. Born into a military family, he lived and served for more than thirteen years in East Asia, including eight years in Korea. For his Special Forces service in Vietnam he was awarded a Bronze Star, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, and the Presidential Unit Commendation. After separation from the Army, he worked on Korea and East Asian affairs at both the Pentagon and Department of State as well as an executive for General Electric in Korea. His first major non-fiction work, Separated at Birth: How North Korea became the Evil Twin, is based in large part on his extensive experience in Korea and East Asia as a governmental insider and businessman. [website] [go to Cucullu index]

Separated at Birth : How North Korea Became the Evil Twin
Gordon Cucullu

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A Giant Step Toward Freedom
The Iraqi elections…

[Gordon Cucullu] 2/4/05

Pundits may say that the Iraqi people ‘gave the finger’ to the terrorists and Baathist remnants on Sunday January 30, 2005. Watching women in black burkas, old men, the infirm, young professionals, and soldiers shout with joy, dance in the streets, and wave their purple-ink-stained fingers proudly for the world to see reinforces the slang interpretation of the phrase. This was the ultimate rejection of fear, intimidation, murder, assassination, kidnapping, car bombing, and terror. It was a slammed door in the face of those who hoped to establish either a Taliban-like state in Iraq or a revived version of Saddam’s Baathist dictatorship.

Stories abound of extraordinary valor from ordinary people: a man carried his 90-year-old mother to the polling place in a wheelbarrow, a group of veiled, black-clad women for the first time in their lives saw a door of light crack open for them, a 44-year-old woman tragically killed by terrorist mortar fire as she stepped from her door to head for the polling place, and those who brought her body for public viewing, not to intimidate but to inspire others with her bravery. It was a scene that brought tears to the eyes of even a traveled war correspondent like Fox’s Geraldo Rivera.

The reaction among American and Coalition forces was huge: for our troops this was a victory as decisive as the Battles of Fallujah and Najaf. Our troops are aware that any victory – particularly one in the bitterly fought and shadow warfare of the Global War on Terror – must be measured on its own merits, certainly, and also must be seen not as a destination or culmination but as one of many steps toward security and freedom. Nevertheless, the troops recognize full well that the simple act of showing up at the polling place, of walking about casually with an ink-stained finger, of dancing defiantly in the streets, any of these would make the person as a target for terrorist attack and are acts of enormous bravery.

The military are smarter about such things than the appeasers or Bush-haters in this country and Europe. The anti-war, anti-human rights groups fear their own shadow. They dwell in a pessimistic world where they seem compelled to invent reasons to procrastinate, defer responsibility, and appease. They deny the existence of evil yet act subservient in its presence. They parse old administration statements about the war in order to find points that they can attack. They apply an equal degree of concentration to seek negativity that characterized the priestesses at Delphi when they sorted through the entrails of goats. And with much the same result: they spread fecal matter over everything.

But the people of Iraq have lived in the dark for far too long to be deterred by such carping. They now look toward the light, the light of liberty and freedom that President Bush pledged in 2003 and echoed in his Inaugural Speech. There are certain doors in human history that once opened become increasingly difficult to close. High among the list is the door of freedom. Rare indeed is the dictator who can squelch freedom after democracy has had the opportunity to take root. Sometimes they can delay liberty, but they can never again completely shut the door. Our troops realize this and so do most of the American people. We have but to look at our own history and example to realize the magical liberating power of freedom. The Afghans and Iraqis are learning it.

Most tellingly our enemies realize it also. Make no mistake, the enemies of America and of the human rights are gritting their teeth in frustration and anger at the showing of the Iraqi people. Tag Iraq on to the elections in Afghanistan and Palestine, however flawed the latter may have been, and the world is shown a face of Islam that has never before existed: a republican form of government with guaranteed freedom for all – women, minorities, other religions and other ethnic groups. Have they achieved this worthy goal? Not yet, but liberty is not instant rice; it takes time to cook to perfection. The torch can be passed to an oppressed people - historical examples include Germany, Japan, South Korea, El Salvador, and others - but the people must accept, grow, evolve, and perpetuate their own version of democracy. President Bush said it well when he noted that we do not seek to impose the American system upon anyone else, but we will make certain that they are free to select their own way to freedom.

Last month’s earthquake sent a tsunami of death across continents. This Iraqi election is sending shockwaves of freedom around the world. Obviously the first impact will be to those states nearest the event. Iran is now bracketed by a free electorate in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its neighbor Pakistan is reforming dramatically, and just beyond it lies India the world’s largest democracy. Among the Persian-rooted population in Iran are many Western-educated, sophisticated, young, ambitious men and women yearning to be free. Given even a modicum of overt and covert support they ought to be able to throw off the oppressive yoke of the theocratic mullahs on their own.

Saddam’s Baathist mirror image is Syria. Knowledgeable analysts have said that while the body of the insurgency is in Iraq its head hides in Syria. Syria has been a state sponsor of terrorism for years, is committed to the destruction of Israel, and is hiding Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction. As Saddam’s regime collapsed, criminal Baathists and terrorists fled Iraq to seek a refuge that was freely granted by Damascus. From that sanctuary they direct the terrorist activities in Iraq primarily through a generous cash flow that pays many of the bills associated with the insurgency. President Assad of Syria pretends that he is not aware of the training camps for international jihadists that function across a very porous Iraqi border. His intention was to shut down, delay, or impede the Iraqi elections fatally. This failure will dog him as popular hope spreads through Syria and his own despotic regime begins to come unglued.

In distant North Korea the winds of change are blowing with increasingly higher velocity. Not to overstate it, but even a gentle breeze is welcome in a land overcome by stagnation. Kim Jong Il could shrug off the defeat of the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan. But the capture of Saddam, killing of Uday and Kusay, killing or capture of 75% of al Qaeda leadership, and most of all, three successive elections in places deemed impossible for democracy has to rattle his cage. More importantly perhaps than the mental state of the Dear Leader, is the unrest circulating at levels below him. A cadre of old Party stalwarts that may have at best grudging support for Kim has to wonder what their choices are going to be as the noose increasingly tightens on North Korea.

More than ever leaks from the country indicate that popular unrest, long brooding beneath the surface, may be near the boiling point. It is quite possible that Kim, isolated by the intense but ephemeral personality cult he has constructed, may not be aware of the mental state of his people. After all, who will dare tell him information that would upset him? The pot in North Korea while not yet near the boiling point, is beginning to heat.

A giant step toward world freedom was taken by the Iraqi people. Around the world more and more people watch events unfold and restlessly wait their appointment with destiny. tRO

Curious about North Korea? Learn more in Gordon’s best-selling book Separated at Birth: How North Korea became the Evil Twin became the Evil Twin, Lyons Press available at bookstores now.

copyright Gordon Cucullu 2005




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