White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was sent to the podium Tuesday with a message – obviously carefully crafted for him by one of the foreign policy shops – and an order not to stray from it: He said North Korea “is in a period of national mourning” for the thankfully deceased Kim Jong-Il. And he repeated it five times during the briefing.
To characterize North Korea as in “national mourning” for one of the greatest despots and killers in history is an outrage of titanic proportions and a violation of our all our principles.
I understand that this statement has been cooked up by some PhD’s in political science to precisely convey a message that won’t offend the North Koreans so that they DON’T DO ANYTHING STUPID like start lobbing nuclear weapons around or invading the South.
But there must be a way to do this without saying something that conveys a sense that we think that grieving for a mass murderer is proper.
It’s as if we said the Ukrainians, starved in the millions by the tyrant, had undergone a “period of mourning” for Stalin.
The cute phraseology, “a period of mourning,” doesn’t cut it either. A period of mourning can be claimed as different than actual mourning.
But the careful wording is an attempt to have our cake and eat it too. The message that emerges is that we are respecting mourning in North Korea for Kim Jong-Il, even if our State Department attorneys feel they can claim otherwise.
And of course, we have no idea how much mourning is actually occurring. I saw the videos of all the weeping in North Korea, and it appeared to me they were trying to set the Guinness Book of World Records mark for “number of people crying without creating actual tears.”
Carney should have pushed back against making such a statement. And the foreign policy eggheads should show a little more respect for the estimated 700,000-1,000,000 deaths Kim is estimated to have caused.