The news out of North Korea last month (of Kim Jong Il's death) gave me pause. I was in-country when his father, Kim Il Sung, died. And, as a Korean linguist, I went on a 24-hour operations cycle as our electronic eavesdropping ramped up to discern what was happening behind the Kimchi Curtain. There was one line of thinking that the generals wouldn’t stand for the ascension of the oddball, quirky, fey heir to the enduring dictatorship and totalitarian regime.
When Kim Il Sung died, it was just months after international hubbub concerning North Korea’s dismissal of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The peninsula was a precarious place then…at one of its more delicate moments since the long fermata of cease fire brought a manner of conclusion to the momentum of the Korean War.
My heart goes out to my fellow linguists at the 102nd MI BN of the 2nd Inf. Div. No doubt their Christmas was unpleasant...and they'll be spending a lot of weeks in the field this winter.