FILE - A member of Veterans for Peace local Chapter #161 holds a sign for the VFP organization at the Pentacrest on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. (The Daily Iowan/Courtney Hawkins, file)

Laursen: We aren’t the good guys anymore


When we think ‘North Korea’, we should not think war.

By Lucee Laursen

Every Friday, the 161st chapter of a group called Veterans for Peace has a peace vigil on the Pentacrest. Although the event takes place almost every week, it may catch someone’s eye a little more this Friday. In the midst of a
possible war with North Korea, tensions around war seem to be high. I believe that peace is the correct answer for America and its citizens.

I interviewed John Jadryev, a Korean War veteran and member of the Iowa City Veterans for Peace chapter, and asked him what he thought about the possibility of a war with North Korea. He told me that war is not the answer.

He said, “We need to think about why they don’t trust us.” Jadryev said that during the Korean War, more than 2 million Koreans, both North and South, died. Koreans had also watched the United States nuke Japan in World War II. “They have seen us bomb country after country,” Jadryev said. “Maybe they think if they have a nuke, we won’t invade them.”

To me, this began to make me understand both sides of the situation.

After talking to Jadryev, it became clear to me that it is most important for the United States and its citizens to understand where North Korea is coming from. In no way am I saying that North Korea having a nuclear weapon is not a threat. However, in order to solve this potential issue, we must think of what is really causing the conflict. North Korea clearly views us as a threat. They do not hate us because of our freedom but because of the way we do things. Since World War II, the United States has invaded country after country, most of which are not equipped with nuclear weapons. North Korea, a country still developing its nuclear-weapon technology, clearly feels threatened by the pattern.

Regardless of the cause, North Korea having nuclear technology is still seen as a threat. Some people believe that war is the best solution to this problem. The United States has enough resources and power to potentially win a war, and if we were able to win a war with North Korea, we would eliminate the threat. However, is it truly worth it? War is costly. Thousands will die, and billions if not trillions will be spent. Is it truly worth the potential elimination of a risk?

The permanent solution will not come from winning a war. It will come from getting over our differences, understanding where each nation is coming from, and being willing to work on our relationship with North Korea.

Jadryev said numerous times during our interview, “We aren’t the good guys anymore.” I do not think the the United States is the villain by any means, but war should not be our first or even second thought when it comes to our relations with North Korea. For now, groups such as Veterans for Peace will continue to spread their message. Hopefully, this will make people curious — curious about other cultures and reasons behind differences. Many times, they are rooted deeper than war can ever solve.


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