Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.
The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
Prisoners of Azkaban
Sunday, September 12, 2004
So did North Korea test a nuclear bomb? The official answer seems to be no, but the responses are odd. According to a diarist on Kos, Rice gave a non-committal answer, "We don't know if it was a Nuclear test." Powell sounded more direct on ABC. When asked if the explosion of a few days ago was a nuclear test, Powell said, "No.... No indication that that was a nuclear event of any kind."
So why are we hearing different stories from Powell and Rice? It seems hard to believe that it wasn't easy very quickly to determine if a nuclear explosion had taken place. The monitoring equipment is already there, and North Korea is a small country, relatively easy to monitor. An explosion that created a visible mushroom cloud, reported by observers, would have created a vast amount of airborne radiation, easily detectable. (It also would almost certainly have dumped substantial radiation on China, and perhaps also Russia and/or South Korea, which those governments are unlikely to appreciate.) An act like that seems shockingly rash, even by Kim Jong Il's standards.
We'll know soon, but an early guess is that the explosion probably wasn't nuclear and probably wasn't intentional. Rice either had less information or just shied away from actually answering the question. But the alternate explanation, that it was nuclear and we're being misled to avoid exposing another Bush failure before the elections, can never be dismissed with this crew.
Note: Powell gave another amusing answer on Korea. Steph: "The President has said that the United States 'would not tolerate' a nuclear North Korea.... What does 'not tolerate' mean?" Powell: "'Not tolerate' means we don't think there should be nuclear weapons on the Korea peninsula."