Kim Jong-Il is dead

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il has died, CNN reports. And with him dies a great novelty Tumblog.

I think I just heard every venture capital firm fire up their private jets.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il dead, state TV reports - CNN


    1. Douglas MacArthur, you get right back in that box! Right this instant! 

      Though my uncle’s an 84-year-old Marine who’d still love to kick your ass. With the 4 1/2 toes on his left foot you so lovingly left him with as a memento of that victorious summer stroll to China. 

  1. Jokes and kim Jong-Dead to one side two questions:

    How likely will Unification be?

    Is there any good reason, given the disparity between North and South, why Unification should wait till North Korea gets on it’s own feet?

      1. The current heir apparent, Kim Jong-Un,was not raised from birth from this role. His oldest brother was the hoped-for heir, but that unfortunate incident at Disneyland took him out of the running.

        In any case, the IDEA of unification is big in the DRPK. The party line is that the only thing holding back reunion with the South, under the North’s enlightened leadership, is the imperialist puppet regime. Realistically, both north and south know that unification wouldn’t happen soon . . . the south doesn’t want to support their economic basket case neighbor through generations of rebuilding.

        1. Well, it’s not like a younger brother gets shipped off to North Korean dissident camp to be raised – all sons are typically raised to be potential heirs to a throne. 

    1. These may not be “good” reasons for reunification not to happen soon, but–

      One is that many S Koreans are too young to feel all THAT great a connection to N Korea. 

      Another is that it would be mightily expensive to S Korea. 

      Another is that bigger powers don’t necessarily want it to happen–the U.S., for instance, would have far less justification for keeping bases there. 

      Another is that K J Il wasn’t the only one in N Korea who thought the way he and his father did.

      That’s just for starters. Reunification is a nice romantic idea, but tons of obstacles stand in the way.

      1. the U.S., for instance, would have far less justification for keeping bases there.

        Excuse me, but WTF? It’s far more likely that the US would love Korean unification because that would give us an excuse to close bases. You’re right about the South Koreans being wary of the expense, though.

        1. There’s an implicit assumption I see people making that North-South Korean reunification would be like German reunification. I doubt that. More like putting the North under a junta of generals who can play the South and China off of each other, while Chinese contractors build infrastructure, the Chaebols exploit this new-pool of Korean-speaking and -reading cheap labor, and both raid the country’s trillion-dollar storehouse of mineral wealth. “Great expense”? Seoul’s CEOs are licking their chops just looking at it… as are Beijing’s.

          1. As KWillets says, what you describe is not reunifcation, just North Korea being more open to trade with and investment from South Korea. It could be a transitional situation leading eventually to political reunification once the North had undergone democratisation and the difference in wealth and living standards had been significantly reduced, but it would be wrong to talk about the two Koreas as reunified until they really were reunited as one country under one government.

        2. You seem to be operating under the assumption that the U.S. is primarily in S Korea to protect it from N Korea. Surely the U.S. has its own “interests” in the region?

          [Def Sec Leon] Panetta said, “I’ve made clear that even with the budget constraints that we are facing in the United States,” there is “no question that in discussions within the Pentagon, and discussions in the White House, that the Pacific will be a priority for the United States of America.”

          Mr. Panetta offered no specifics, although he said that the United States would maintain its “force projection” in the region — some 85,000 troops in all, largely in South Korea and Japan.

          1. Granted, we have multiple reasons for wanting bases in the region, but not having North Korea to worry about would mean one less thing to worry about, so there’s still no reason the US would oppose reunification.

      2. I must agree with papaya here; the US does not need such “justification” for bases there.  They would rather leave and reconfigure their interests there – according to most informed sources.

      3. I took Dean’s line “I think I just heard every venture capital firm fire up their private jets.” to mean that he felt there was opportunity to be had in NK, specifically through the possibility of leveraging cheap labor.

        Cynicism WELL aside, I think there’s a line of rationale that goes something like, “Yes, unification will be expensive, but it’ll be substantially cheaper than the cost incurred to manage having a rogue, nuclear state for a neighbor.”

        In essence, it’s the old adage: Do you want to pay for teachers, or prison guards?

    2. Following what Millie said, let’s not forget the population flow southward would probably overwhelm SK even if it was small.  The back-of-the-envelope figures on reunification are that it would be about 10x the cost of E and W German reunification.

      And there is also the sad and strange fact that the North Koreans are not likely to rise up and demand change anytime soon.  It was expected that they would rebel after the passing of Kim Il-sung, but instead there was a massive outpouring of grief.  We will have to wait and see what the people there choose for themselves before assessing the near term possibility of a long overdue unification.

      1.  What did Russia do when Stalin died? I forget, did they immediately dance on his grave, go democratic, and give the Warsaw Bloc its freedom? N Korea will democratize at its own pace.

        And, yeah, the US has X thousand troops in S Korea to protect it from N Korea, and would like nothing more than for N Korea to peacefully unify with S Korea.  Arguments to the contrary fly well on, less so on

        1. I’m not sure if you are using the Soviet example to agree or disagree with me, but two better examples may be Franco’s Spain (his death led to the blossoming of a democratic movement) and Park’s Korea (His death led to the suppression of a democratic movement and the perpetuation of dictatorship).  I hope NK looks more like the former.

          I have not seen any evidence for your claims about US desires for unification.  US policy has long been for stability, not unification.  Likewise, the US military presence has nothing to do with the benevolent desire to protect SK from NK.  The US is here to protect regional and global interests while projecting its power into Asia.  That this force may offer protection to SK is a lucky overlapping of interests, not a direct desire. 

          1. Franco was a one-off dictator, akin to Mussolini, Hitler or Pinochet; long as it was, ideologically speaking its regime could have been (and in fact, it was) defined as a temporary situation due to extraordinary circumstances.

            KJI is the *second* dictator/king of NK. The ideology underpinning his rule is now deeply enshrined in the political and ideological framework of the country. The establishment is too invested to just dismiss it. In this, NK is much more like the USSR, where it took another generation before senior politician could openly argue that Stalin was wrong.

    1. Yeah, but the hamburger would have been nothing without his other inventions – pickles, mustard, ketchup and fries.  And the bun!  Let’s not forget the bun. Or was that Kim Ill Sung? I forget.

  2. Rot in hell you vile monster. 
    You and your father damaged that country for decades past and untold decades to come. When the regime finally topples, it’s going to be staggering to find out just how badly you savaged that poor country and its inhabitants. 

    1. Goddamn right. Burn in hell,motherfucker.

      His son apparently doesn’t fall far from the tree. But he’s enjoyed a much easier life than his father, beginning his career as a 4-Star General. At age 18 or something. Even the Tsarevich started as an Lieutenant. The lack of challenges he’s faced may make him incapable of maintaining the hell his father’s forced upon the North Korean people.A freelance journalist managed to film and smuggle out a video of a party cadre shaking down marketplace merchants for rice to feed the army. I believe the video was shot in 2010, and though I had difficulty finding much commentary on it, what I did read indicated that his rule was maintained solely by keeping the Army fed. 

      However this develops, I wish the North Korean people food, warmth, and freedom. The comments on the CNN article were predictably asinine, superficial and utterly lacking in compassion. But there was a moving message of solidarity from a Libyan urging the North Koreans to shake off their oppressors. 

      From the US, I echo that message and send my wishes for liberty and a better life to those suffering in North Korea.

      1. From Europe, I echo that message and send my wishes for liberty and a torture free better life to those suffering in the US.

        1. ffff-abian please send us “tortured” Americans some of your Euros so we can buy sandwiches before your money goes *poof* and turns to fairy dust.

          1. To be followed shortly by ours… what little of it that isn’t going to political bribes and CEO raises.

            Plus when the European economy black holes do you really think we’ll be immune to the after effects? Even before as inter-connected as our world has become post-networking one country tanking could and has caused others to go with it… especially when everyone else is also dealing with their own economic demons.

            Then again I find the country/region bashing to be tiresome and annoying. Yes I’m an american, laugh at how stupid and narrow minded i am while I laugh back at you showcasing how alike we are.

            Now can we get to solving a few of the important issues out there?

          2. . . . “Now can we get to solving a few of the important issues out there?”
            Like which sandwich I will buy once the torture stops, right?

  3. Oh that’s sad.

    Bwahahahahahaha – just kidding.

    To bad he didn’t invent medical science among all his other great discoveries, inventions, advice, etc –  then he could have saved himself.

    1. Oh, his list of “accomplishments” is just amazing. Supposedly he shot 3-4 holes-in-one every golf game he played. 
      He was a vile man, who lived in a fantasy world overflowing with riches and staffed by sycophants. Meanwhile his country regressed into the past – both in public health as well as technology.

      Just look at how well he “advanced” his country with his engineering genius: 

      When the locks finally rust off of that prison cell of a country, it’s going to be a shock to all of us… 

      1. Meanwhile his country regressed into the past – both in public health as well as technology.

        Sounds familiar, although I’d swap tech with manufacturing.

  4. Here’s wishing for a healthier North Korea, that this somehow opens a path to better things for everyone involved.

  5. Quick! Sell all my hair spray stock — Kim Johg Il has gone to the Great Hair Salon in the Sky. 
    Crazy do, crazy dictator:

  6. I don’t know if this is strictly proper usage (given that he was mainly the Koreans’ enemy), but on the logic that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, I think it’s reasonable enough:

    Yimakh shemo v’zikhro.

      1. The deadly panthers eat whatever Dear Leader *tells* them to eat, and like it! Why, when I was a kitten, we would’ve *killed* to have been allowed to eat peasants! All we got to eat were rocks and used MiG parts. And we liked them. Hell, we *loved* ’em!

    1. I wonder if he’ll be embalmed.

      We should embalm all dictators while they’re still young enough to look eternally good in their mausoleums.

        1. The only improvement I can think of is if we put them all in the same place, like some kind of alternate-universe Madame Tussauds full of the world’s most hated people.

      1. …embalm all dictators while they’re still young enough…

        That would involve catching some of them while all progressive thinkers still believe them heroic.   Mugabe and Castro, for example.

        1. Yeah, whereas the game is easier for conservative thinkers, who tend to warm up to them when they get a bit more effective in their predicament — see Mussolini, Hitler, Franco, Pinochet etc etc…

  7. This is not to defend the Kims, but as Antinous knows, I like to take the contrarion position on things.

    Americans love to despise and scorn the North Korean plight, but time would be better spent trying to understand it. Trying to understand the history and the genesis of the Korean War.

    The Korean War was an incredibly brutal and ruthless war carried out in large part by the mechanized air power of the USA against the North Korean people. It was a war we had no business being involved in; before the war had started, the US had acted aggressively to prevent the creation of a democratic republic in the peninsula. The US newspapers at the time described Koreans as animal like savages who had no capability to govern themselves or regard for human life.

    The war could have been prevented had the US simply stepped back and let the Koreans figure out the post-Japan era for themselves. The Soviets were not well regarded, and it is unlikely the country would have gone communist. If they had gone communist, it would have been a much softer communism than what they have suffered.

    Once the war started, we acted batshit crazy. We deployed massive and unprecedented bombing and napalm campaigns over the whole country. We dropped more bombs than were dropped in the whole of WWII. We destroyed dams knowing that this would cause mass death and destruction of water supplies and rice harvests, hoping that if the people were starving they would come around to our side. We dropped thousands of tons of napalm – the flaming jelly that sticks to your flesh and burns until you die in utmost agony – on civilian areas all over the country. By the end of the war, it is estimated that 80% of all buildings in NK had been destroyed.

    Most importantly, we deployed nuclear bombers to the theater. We finalized plans to drop between 7 and 14 nuclear bombs all over North Korea, with the intention of cutting off the whole border with China. Of course, this would have killed millions and left the Yalu river running with radioactive blood. But the US military industrial complex, as now, was run by absolute maniacs. MacArthur very much wanted to nuke the whole country of North Korea, and he very nearly did, only holding back when Truman recalled him.

    For 30 years after the war ended,  we continually threatened NK with nuclear holocaust. Our threats were not empty, the US kept a fleet of nuclear bombers nearby, with the engines literally running most of the time, and pilots ready to go exterminate the North Koreans on 24/7 shifts.

    Now, this is not to excuse the actions of the psychotic kleptocracy that runs the country. But it’s useful to understand it. The North Korean regime does not consist only of Kim Jong Il; and there is a reason that the old guard is so virulently anti-west that they would go to literally any end to refuse to reconcile with the Americans. The Koreans, having survived for millenia between China and Japan, are proud people.

    Just as a child that suffers extreme and sadistic abuse in his or her earliest years is likely to grow up to be cruel, violent, and sociopathic; a nation that was born in absolute hellfire and a very real fear of instantaneous nuclear genocide is not going to be well balanced. It’s senseless to condemn the madness of NK without taking some time to understand it.

    It’s true that NK can be seen as the utter failure and madness of Marxist ideology. But, it should also be remembered as one of the most searing condemnations of America’s belligerent, warlike, ant interventionist foreign policy; where in the name of ‘freedom and liberty’ we have spent untold trillions creating great festering sores and incalculable human misery around the world.

    1. Dude, you’ve really got to stop Bogarting. See what happens when you smoke it all by yourself? These extreme paranoiac fantasies just get out of hand. Maybe you should have a nice cuppa and sit down over there.

    2. Give me a break bro. Some of the things you say I would normally agree with, but you seem to think you know how history would’ve played out in the absence of US intervention in Korea. What leads you to believe the entire Korean peninsula wouldn’t have fallen to Kim Il-Sung if the US had not supported the south? 

      It is well known that the US had a major interest in the region and that had they not quickly and effectively occupied Japan post WWII then the Russians were most certainly interested in taking Japan. They even took a couple islands north of Hokkaido in 1945. In any case you are judging the actions of those in power more than 50 years ago through a modern moral context, while ignoring the cruelty that both generations of Kims inflicted on millions of their people – even until this day. It’s estimated that more than 2,000,000 North Koreans died from starvation within 3 years after Jong-Il took the reigns post his father.

      I concur that the Koran war was a waste of human life and was just more suffering for the populations of BOTH Koreas, but ranting about the actions and decisions of men long gone does nothing to help anyone. The way you talk of the US waving their nuclear wang at NK whenever it was useful smacks of exactly what Kim Jong-Il did in 2006-7 when (after announcing they had nukes) he test fired a bunch of rockets into the Sea of Japan. 

      The guy was a fuck. Besides constantly gaming and messing up any international attempt to help the North Korean people, he also extorted money from any expatriate or displaced Korean family he possibly could in exchange for the opportunity to meet their NK relatives (yes, really). NK is known to have kidnapped several Japanese nationals (including a 13 year old girl) and is alleged to have perhaps kidnapped some Europeans.

      No matter what level of fear Kim Jong Il was raised under, he lived the high life, ate well and behaved like a spoiled little asshole, which is why you’ll have to excuse me while I laugh at this hilarious photoshop.

    3. Thanks for taking the time to write that, buddhaflow. Not that it’s going to go over well here. It’s like “news from Neptune” to most of the commetariat here, marinated as they are in a simplistic, binarized view of the West as basically good and Kim Jong-Il as the spawn of Satan. That sad reality is demonstrated especially well by teapot, who completely overlooks your characterization of NK leadership as a “psychotic kleptocracy” (if you criticize U.S. foreign policy, you simply MUST be saying that Kim was good!).

      Yes, as you wrote, America has a “belligerent, warlike, ant interventionist foreign policy; where in the name of ‘freedom and liberty’ we have spent untold trillions creating great festering sores and incalculable human misery around the world.” If ordinary Americans, and especially more educated ones like the general BB commentariat, were to realize and admit that, their relatively well-fed and secure lives would seem unjustly built on the backs those suffering that incalculable misery. That would make that all-American goal, being Happy, hard to accomplish; we’ve been trained into being well-adjusted to injustice. And since Americans are told by almost everything around them that the U.S., while a blunderer at times, is basically a benevolent presence in the world, going along with that belief is a much more comforting way to think about one’s country, and thus about the moral validity of one’s place in the world.

    4. “It was a war we had no business being involved in”

      Given that the US was occupying Japan, and Korea had been a territory of Japan (technically), and the US was a member of the UN, it had little way of avoiding the conflict.

      “it would have been a much softer communism than what they have suffered”

      The Kims assassinated more moderate socialists and communists, well before they started the war with the South.

      “Once the war started, we acted batshit crazy.”  

      Well, the North shouldn’t have started it then, should it?  Before the war, the US restrained the South’s military to the point where it didn’t even have any tanks.  It continues to stop the South from replying to the North’s armistice violations.  

      “a nation that was born in absolute hellfire and a very real fear of instantaneous nuclear genocide is not going to be well balanced”

      South Korea was born under very similar conditions, nearly annihilated by the North Korean and Chinese invasion, has endured constant military, terrorist, and now nuclear threats, and has now grown into a robust democracy.

  8. You can only hope there’s an afterlife and that it carries some sort of omniscience and ubiquity with it.

    REALLY Knowing how far he was and is despised and held as a model for ridicule in the world should be hell enough for the soul of Kim Jong Il, until the world forgets him.

  9. Interesting post, buddhaflow.

    By all means,  please post some more contrarian history.  In particular I would like to learn about the Polish attacks across the German border which led to WW Two.

  10. To quote Harvey Keitel in Pulp Fiction, “Let’s not just go sucking each other’s dicks just yet.” (OWTTE)
    Yeah, I’d pin any hopes on reunification right back up there on the wall next to seeing Nessie in this lifetime and finding out who shot JFK.
    These cats have a lot invested in keeping things right the hell as they are.  So do their neigh ors.  CHina and South Korea want reunification just about as much as they want nuclear war.  You gets millions of refugees for decades flooding across all borders for one thing.  Then there’s the wee matter of how all these guys in power are probably very interested in NOT seeing the Hague except to buy some chocolate, get a pint and maybe smoke some dope.

    But then I was wrong about the Spice Girls.

  11. And if you haven’t already done so, folks, you should either buy or tell someone doing Christmas shopping for you to put a copy of “THE ORPHAN MASTER’S SON” by Adam Johnson on their list or under your tree.  It’s amazing, depressing and one of the most harrowing accounts of life under Kim Jong Il you’ll ever read (though it is fiction).

  12. I don’t understand people who rejoice in the deaths of other people. Yeah he’s dead. I’ll be dead too- eventually, so will you. Death isn’t some Bad Thing that happens to bad people, it happens to ALL people. I don’t necessarily think high-fiving over someone’s death is gruesome, but it is pointless. Why not high-five over the fact that gravity works or that the sun is hot? I guess it helps helpless people pretend they are more moral people to hate a dictator that they couldn’t do anything else about.

    There’s no reason to celebrate. No one here has any reason to believe that things are going to get better in North Korea. Who cares that Kim Jong-il is dead, when the people he murdered and oppressed have in no way been un-murdered or un-oppressed? It’s merely evidence of the trivial detail that the march of time obliterates us all.

    1. Come on, this doesn’t have to be some moral grey area. 
      This guy was a true tyrant. His country demonstrates what a cult would look like if it were rolled out on a national scale. It’s a rusting, decrepit place where life is cheap and existence has been reduced to scrabbling for the crumbs that fall off the table of the party members or the army officials. 

      This isn’t a case of “the bell tolls for thee” reflection on death. The only sadness warranted by his death is that he managed to live for this long and subjugate the unfortunate people who were born inside those borders. 

      It’s worth pausing to consider that a demonstrably evil person is gone and there’s maybe a small marginal hope that maybe there’s a chance that progress will begin happening in a sad place where it’s been far overdue. 

      1. Come on, this doesn’t have to be some moral grey area.

        I didn’t do more than skim the rest of your comment since it is abundantly clear that you didn’t bother to comprehend mine. In the slightest.

    2. Sorry – but your post makes little sense.

      re: “I don’t understand people who rejoice in the deaths of other people. ”

      It’s not “Yay, he’s dead!” It’s “Yay, he can’t hurt anyone anymore!”

      re: ” Who cares that Kim Jong-il is dead, when the people he murdered and oppressed have in no way been un-murdered or un-oppressed?”

      Uh – because hopefully there will now be less people murdered and oppressed and the gov. sponsored cult will unravel.  It’s looking forward at the possibilities that he will no longer hinder.

      1. Great, they’ll just be oppressed by others. W00t. It’s not like this breaks any kind of continuum. The inevitability of the event robs it of special meaning. The assumption that this represents a meaningful decrease in evil is one that is based on a misapprehension of how evil works. The vast majority, perhaps all, of Kim Jong Il’s victims were not directly harmed by him, but through a vast statewide edifice that perpetrated the cruelty. Do we celebrate every time a secret policeman dies at a ripe old age too?
        And don’t tell me people aren’t rejoicing in his death- that’s simply untrue. 

  13. I don’t think there should be any criticism of the way Nork looks from space.

    On the contrary, we should commend them for their commitment to energy conservation.

  14. Finish this joke:

    Vaclav Havel, Christopher Hitchens, and Kim Jong-Il are standing outside the Pearly Gate, and are told by Saint Peter that today’s quotas are about to be met, and there’s only one slot left for Heaven, one slot left for Hell, and one slot left for Purgatory, and each of them needs to make their case for getting into Heaven…

    I know there’s a good punchline here, I just can’t figure it out…  :-)

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