30  Oct
USFK comfort women

This interesting article has appeared in the Joongang Daily.

PYEONGTAEK, Gyeonggi – At 69, Cheon Chang-suk lives alone in a tiny cell with moss-covered walls. She starts her day by collecting recyclable materials off the streets of her neighborhood, items she redeems for less than 1 cent per kilo at local stores.

In the eyes of the Korean government, Cheon is one of many underprivileged citizens who receive monthly welfare aid worth 380,000 won ($271), the minimum cost of living that people with no income get from the state.

But Cheon says the Korean government owes her more because her life was irrevocably turned upside down by the turbulence of modern Korean history.

During the chaotic and impoverished months following the cessation of hostilities of the Korean War (1950-1953), Cheon began working as a yangbuin, a term coined by locals for Korean bargirls and sex workers at major American camptowns, or gijichon in Korean.

Gijichon sprang up across Korea around 1945 when U.S. troops arrived here to begin their post-World War II occupation. The primary function of these brothels was to provide sexual services for U.S. soldiers in a controllable, confined area, a move seen to also protect local women from the American military men.

The camptown economy peaked in Korea during the 1960s when the country was in desperate need of foreign currency to rebuild its war-torn economy.

Camptown prostitution and related businesses on the Korean Peninsula contributed to nearly 25 percent of the Korean GNP, according to Katharine Moon, a professor of political science at Wellesley College, in a 2002 study.

According to Cheon, the Korean government supported the camptown brothels, hoping the industry would boost regional economies.

In fact, recent studies here by scholars and nongovernmental agencies have suggested that the Korean government helped build and maintain the brothels after the Korean War, supporting the claims of women like Cheon.

Note that the rationalization for these prostitutes is exactly the same one the Japanese had for the so-called “comfort women”.

Moving on to the last paragraphs –

People working on behalf of women like Cheon are looking for solutions with reference to the Korean sex workers forced to serve the Japanese military during World War II. Koreans registered as so-called comfort women receive a one-off government payment worth 43 million won and an 800,000 won monthly stipend. But the public doesn’t view women involved in camptown prostitution in the same way they see the comfort women because camptown sex workers went to work voluntarily.

Another issue that weakens Cheon’s case is that some of the camptown prostitutes were already working in local brothels, which does not bolster the argument that they were victims of the Korean War.

“It’s a subject that still requires more research, because the enemy or the historical context is not as clear as the comfort women,” says Lee Jeong-hee, a Democratic Labor Party lawmaker who is considering putting Cheon’s case into a bill.

“We need to see this issue beyond historical injustice and look at it from the broader perspective of sex trafficking and the individuals involved from the past to present.”

Actually, many of the comfort women were prostitutes as well. Most of the answered ads in the same way as the camp town women answered ads. Government doctors tested the women, just like the Japanese did. Women were registered, just like the Japanese did. The only difference is that the comfort women were camp followers, following the Japanese camps as they advanced and retreated throughout the war, while the American camps were stationary. The US congress opened a can of worms when they passed the comfort women resolution. Expect this to come back to haunt the US at some point.

Read the rest of the article yourself.

More occidentalism commentary on the comfort women.

Korea Registered “Comfort Women” for UN Soldiers

“Jamae”: Selling Oneself into Slavery

King Sejong Ordered Comfort Women for His Troops

Comfort woman gives contradictory testimony

More contradictory comfort woman testimony

Background of the 1993 apology to comfort women

Posted by Matt, filed under diplomacy. Date: October 30, 2008, 1:41 am | 18 Comments »

From the Korea Times. This letter writer seems to have bought all of the false arguments about Takeshima/Dokdo.

Dear editor,

Though it seems late to voice such an opinion, Japan’s claim to Dokdo is historical, geographical and legal idiocy. The only result of Japan’s claim to Dokdo has been to intensify an already strained relationship between Tokyo and Seoul.

Even a layman who knows how to turn on the news or click around the Internet should come to the obvious conclusion that Dokdo belongs to Korea.

First, Korea claimed Dokdo in 512. Japan did so in 1905 under an imperialist policy.

Second, various maps, from ancient to modern and from France to Japan, show Dokdo as Korean territory.

Third, and most legally important, the Cairo Conference of 1943 declared that Japan would be expelled from all territory taken by violence and greed.

It is no historical secret that Japan was defeated by the Allies in 1945, and was thus required to return all territories acquired through force.

While Japan appears to have some legitimate claims to Dokdo, they all fail when placed under even light scrutiny. In fact, most of Japan’s assertions are ridiculous.

They range from allegations that Koreans were unaware of Dokdo’s existence to allegations that Dokdo could not be found on Korean maps: ridiculous.

Essentially, based on Japan’s use of logic they should annex all of Korea and everything else they acquired in the early 1900s.

Any person aware of the Dokdo issue should ask a simple question: “Why is Japan still trying to claim Dokdo?” All countries want more fishing rights, but what is Japan hoping to accomplish by claiming the islets that are indubitably Korea’s? Japan’s actions are nonsense.

Firstly, his first point happens to be totally incorrect. Korea didn’t claim Takeshima/Dokdo in 512 AD – a look at the documents supposedly supporting that claim reveals the assertion is nonsense. Japan’s claim on Takeshima/Dokdo in 1905 was a formality to cement their sovereignty over the island in accordance with international (meaning western) law. Before that Japan had a long association with the rocks, including knowledge of it’s location and land usage. However, being an uninhabited island, sovereignty could not be determined at first glance, so Shimane Prefecture took steps to incorporate the Liancourt Rocks into it’s territory.

The Liancourt Rocks were not gained by force, and indeed, there was no conflict or war of words over them at all. If the writer of the letter has information that shows the Liancourt Rocks are “indubitably” Korea’s, then he should bring forth this new evidence.

This foreign English teacher should also take note that his opinion is only valued by Koreans for it’s validating effect. This kind of opinion makes him a “good foreigner” while any other type of opinion would make him an “unqualified foreign English teacher” that needs to “study history” and “respect Korea”. The Korean media pushing Dokdo is the same Korean media that is spreading the idea that foreign English teachers in Korea are dope smoking child molesters. Perhaps he will learn someday. It is sad seeing so many foreigners play foreign monkey for Koreans. No self respect at all.

Thanks to MP for the link.

Posted by Matt, filed under diplomacy, Verus Historia. Date: October 21, 2008, 1:17 pm | 120 Comments »

Interesting article with lots of examples from Doug Bandow at antiwar.com.

Capitol Hill was recently roiled by an issue of no obvious concern to America: the World War I genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire against its Armenian population. But the tendency of Washington policymakers to concoct foreign policy to satisfy influential interest groups has become quite common, from Haiti to Israel to Eastern Europe to Turkey.

Consider the emotional controversy over the Armenian genocide resolution. What conceivable relevance did this issue have to the U.S. government?

The genocide was begun almost a century ago by a nation that no longer exists. Everyone who planned the murders and most likely everyone who participated in the killings are dead. The successor state of Turkey is unlikely to stage a repeat performance. Most congressmen know little enough about U.S. history, let alone the circumstances of the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

Yet if our esteemed solons feel competent to judge the Ottomans, why stop there? Should Congress denounce Italy because the Romans destroyed the city of Carthage and sowed the ground with salt? Or chastise Mongolia because Attila the Hun spread death and desolation throughout Eurasia? Perhaps Britain deserves chastisement for botching the partition of India and Pakistan.

Surely the murderous expulsion of ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia, Poland, and other states after World War II warrants attention. Italy’s conquest of Ethiopia should not be ignored. But also deserving mention is Ethiopia’s brutal depredations against Eritrean secessionists. And who can forget the horrors committed by alleged republicans during the French Revolution?

Of course, the Armenian genocide resolution was introduced to bash Turkey, not to teach history. The Armenian lobby hoped to use the U.S. Congress as its club. In seeking to advance its agenda, the lobby exhibited an almost frivolous disregard for the impact on U.S. foreign policy. Only when the magnitude of the threat to U.S.-Turkish relations become too obvious for even a hermit to miss did the House Democratic leadership sideline the resolution. Whether Congress should have yielded to Turkish pressure after making the measure a priority is an open question. But on its merits the resolution should never have come up.

There is more, and I invite everyone to have a read. However, he left out the comfort woman resolution out of his fairly comprehensive list. The comfort woman resolution illustrates the point – a complicated issue from long ago, with complicated causes, with questionable testimony before the congress, for the purpose of an ethnic minority living in America to pursue their agenda of bashing Japan.

Posted by Matt, filed under diplomacy. Date: October 13, 2008, 12:00 pm | 2 Comments »

There is a troll about purporting to be me posting on blogs and sending emails to bloggers, claiming to be me. BE CAREFUL – This individual is trying to stir up trouble between the various bloggers.

If you think I have sent you an email, or wrote a comment on your blog, confirm with me on [email protected]

If the mail or comment in any way is strange or attacks another blogger, especially Michael the Metropolitician, Kushibo AKA Jonathan, or Robert from the Marmots hole, you know it is not me.

I reported it to the cyber-crime division of the NSW police, so we will see what they can do. In the meantime they have advised me not to make any mentions of the stalker on this blog. Someone has a lot of time on their hands and no life.

Posted by Matt, filed under Uncategorized. Date: October 13, 2008, 11:32 am | No Comments »