Behind the Headlines
by Justin Raimondo

June 28, 2000


Most of us are either born with some sort of moral compass, or else we acquire it along the way, but some people are completely bereft of any moral sense. It seems almost a congenital defect, like a baby born blind, deaf or without any olfactory capacity. We call these people sociopaths. Bill Clinton comes immediately to mind, but clearly this is a bipartisan affliction, and conservatives are hardly immune. Case in point: columnist Jane Chastain's column in Tuesday's WorldNetDaily, headlined "No time to lift sanctions on North Korea."


Chastain, a radio commentator on KLTX in Los Angeles, claims that the reconciliation talks between the two Koreas were "choreographed" by Kim Jong Il – "North Korea's demented dictator" – and that the whole thing was a plot by the evil North Koreans to upgrade their nuclear weapons program. Chastain rants that:

"North Korea President Kim Jong IL may be a little eccentric, even crazy, but he is not stupid. For years now he has watched his Chinese neighbors taunt the United States, even threatening to nuke Los Angeles. What has it gotten them? Powerful concessions, billions in a one-sided trade agreement and billions more in outright 'assistance.'"


Those Los Angelenos were really shaken up by that Chinese general who ventured to ask whether the US would be willing to hang on to Taiwan at the price of losing Wilshire Boulevard. But who is taunting whom across the Taiwan Strait, with the ascension of a secessionist government in China's former province – and the US fleet patrolling the waters right off the Chinese coast? When the US finally gave full recognition to the Peking government, and downgraded Taiwan's diplomatic status, the US Congress went along with it on the condition that we commit ourselves to the military defense of our abandoned ally in perpetuity – a statute amounting to the de facto annexation of the island. Taunting? Our sociopathic foreign policy routinely humbles the national pride of proud and ancient peoples all around the globe, and our leaders reserve the right to violate the sovereignty of any and all nations in the name of "humanitarianism" – but we are the ones being taunted?


This is a classic sociopathic symptom – deep feelings of persecution in the mind of the persecutor, but there is also the emotional hardness, the hardboiled attitude that dismisses and distorts the very real results of the Korean summit:

"What really happened there that justified such a reversal? Some 100 of the 1.2 million war refugees now living in the south may be permitted to cross the border into North Korea for a temporary reunion with their starving relatives, the first such reconciliation since 1985. In return, a grateful South Korea has agreed to give $450 million in aid to its unrepentant northern neighbor."


Chastain either doesn't know or doesn't want us to know that the very first point agreed on by the two Korean leaders was to initiate a process leading to reunification: "The South and the North, as masters of national unification, will join hands in efforts to resolve the issue of national unification independently." This is enormously significant, for what it amounts to is nothing less than a joint declaration of independence. Independent not only of Korea's age-old antagonists, China and Japan, but also of the US. As "masters of national unification," the Korean governments of both the North and the South were telling the US and the world to butt out. And more power to them. . . .


But what struck me about Chastain's column was not the propagandistic distortion and selective representation of the facts – a routine feature of such screeds – but the offhand manner in which the moral question of imposing sanctions on North Korea was evaded. In painting her one-dimensional portrait of the villainous and "demented" Kim Jong IL, Chastain writes:

"In the face of a worsening economy and mass starvation last fall, Kim postponed the test of his latest missile, but recently stiffed a delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency that went to North Korea to make inquires about the nuclear program we helped to build."


This is Ms. Chastain's first – and last – mention of the horrific famine that has North Koreans eating the bark off the trees. To the reader who has not been following the news from North Korea, Chastain's remark is mysterious – because of its strange dissonance with her argument that the North represents a powerful military force. The real mark of propaganda is that it never provides any context, and Chastain tells her audience next to nothing about what is really going on in North Korea – or as little as she can get away with. Chastain's radio show is called, ironically, "What Washington Doesn't Want You to Know" – but what Jane Chastain doesn't want you to know, for one, is the contents of a 1998 US congressional study that reports two million North Koreans died over three years of famine. Ten percent of the population starved to death. Those who survive live under conditions unimaginable to any Westerner. A secret videotape smuggled out of North Korea by congressional aides looked like something out of a horror movie, with emaciated children permanently stunted, and too weak to even stand up, their stick-thin bodies shaking with hunger. Weeds, corn stalks, and grasses have found their way into the North Korean diet: mashed into powder, these ingredients are mixed with flour to make noodles and cakes. Sounds yummy. Perhaps Chastain would like to try some – sorry, we're all out of soy sauce.


The photograph of Ms. Chastain at the top of her WorldNetDaily column depicts a glossy, full-cheeked, and apparently well-fed young lady, bright-eyed and bushy-headed, her skin exuding radiant health: she is smiling fiercely, blood red lips parted to show off her pearly whites. Tailored to the nines and coifed to the max, Ms. Chastain is the perfect picture of American prosperity. I wonder how long she would last on a diet of weed noodles and fried tree bark? But this is the mark of the true sociopath – a complete lack of empathy for his (or, in this case, her) victims. The international community is now feeding every North Korean child under the age of seven – but Chastain is against it. According to her, we should keep the near-total embargo on food, oil, and manufactured goods desperately needed by starving children. With no feeling for the real suffering of real people, Chastain can blithely refer to "mass starvation," and then drop the subject as if it were nothing more important than a mass outbreak of chicken pox. A whole generation of North Koreans is wasting away in hospitals that "have become hospices," as Mark Kirk, one of the congressional delegation's four representatives, so succinctly put it – but who cares? If you're a sociopath, that's the whole point – you don't care.


Driven by inner demons, ruthless and bright-eyed, the sociopathic commentator – like the serial killer – lives in a threatening world teeming with enemies, and swirling with plots to subvert and perhaps even obliterate not only Los Angeles, but the rest of the country as well. Without the all-purpose communist villain of the cold war era, the advocates of a paranoiac foreign policy have conjured a number of threats, all clamoring for the attention of the public and our ever-vigilant rulers, including but not limited to the official "rogue states" – Serbia, Iraq, Libya, North Korea – now classified in much more diplomatic terms as "states of concern." Colombia has long been of concern to the US government and its corporate sponsors, who are looking to expand and create new markets throughout South America. It is a country rich with oil, with mucho Colombian petro-profits being pumped into the personal coffers of Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore – and Republicans like Chastain are in the vanguard of the War Party. Now there's the spirit of "bipartisan" cooperation: as Republican leader Trent Lott put it during the Senate debate:

"To those worried about slipping toward being involved (in Colombia), where better to be involved? . . . This is a question of standing up for our children, of standing up and fighting these narco-terrorists in our part of the world, in our neighborhood, in our region."


Our region? Since when have we annexed the Southern Hemisphere? Has anyone told the South Americans about this? A rogue superpower such as the US does not take such factors into consideration – and, once again, Jane Chastain is the perfect spokeswoman for our sociopathic foreign policy. In a column on the death of Capt. Jennifer Odom, her hi-tech surveillance plane shot down by leftist guerrillas over the Colombian jungles, Chastain's caricatured portrait of the Colombian crisis is almost unbelievably crude. According to her: "Capt. Odom died in an undeclared war the United States isn't permitted to win. It's much like the situation our troops faced in Vietnam that a younger Bill Clinton protested."


What would she have us do – send in the 82nd Airborne? Why don't we just nuke the rebel FARC headquarters and be done with it? The Vietnam analogy lacks the vital prop of the cold war – a foreign sponsor. Try as they might to sell the "war on drugs" like they sold the holy war on international communism to justify huge military outlays and huge profits for the "defense" industry, today's pro-war conservatives lack the passion and conviction of their predecessors. A war against communism at least seemed plausibly winnable – that is, if we didn't blow up the world in the process. But a war on drugs would have to be waged in perpetuity – a goldmine for the new warrior class, but a bit tiresome for the rest of us, who don't profit from "Plan Colombia." Another big problem for the War Party is that the evil "narco-terrorists" of South America invoked by Chastain and her fellow Republicans don't really live up to the standards set by the European drug lords, such as our allies in the "disbanded" Kosovo Liberation Army. The Colombian "narco-terrorists" are holed up in the Colombian rainforest, while the drug lords of the KLA are sitting in the cafes of Pristina, sipping their lattes, secure in the knowledge that they have both the US air force and the US Treasury at their full disposal.


But Chastain doesn't know about context, and doesn't care. All she knows is that "The outcome of this war not only will determine the fate of Latin America's oldest democracy; it will determine the fate of our inner cities as well." Oh, I see: the thugs who groped and humiliated those women in New York's Puerto Rican Day wilding weren't Puerto Ricans, they were Colombian guerrillas decked out in enough gold chains and gangsta chic to fool even their victims. A banner headline right above Chastain's photo breathlessly informs us that this is "a WorldNetDaily exclusive" – as if we didn't know.


We are told that "60 percent of the cocaine and 80 percent of the heroin flowing into this country is produced in Colombia." Put another way, however, this same statistic has profoundly different implications: the US buys sixty percent of its cocaine and 80 percent of its heroin supply from Colombia, to sate an appetite so voracious and dependable that it has become the mainstay of the Colombian economy. If there was no market, there would be no production: so why are the Colombians responsible? And will the invasion of Colombia – the core of Chastain's game plan – cut off the supply of drugs? Of course not: our KLA allies – who now control most of Europe's lucrative heroin trade – would be more than happy to take US aid money with one hand, and sell drugs to our kids with the other.


Now that Clinton, Gore, Lott, and Chastain have gotten their wish, and we have jumped with both feet into the Colombian quagmire, I wonder if any of them will have the honesty to one day rue their decision. I wonder if any of them will have the occasion to recall the prophetic words of Senator Slade Gorton, Republican of Washington, one of four who voted "no" to US aid:

""The capacity of this body for self-delusion appears to this senator to be unlimited. There has been no consideration of the consequences, cost and length of involvement." [The bill] lets us get into war now and justify it later. Mark my words, we are on the verge . . . of involvement in a civil war in Latin America, without the slightest promise that our intervention will be a success".


Gorton's words describe the sociopathic mentality to a tee. The sociopath lives in a fantasy world, with him at its epicenter. He is the world's sole superpower, and thus needn't consider that actions have consequences – for nothing can touch him, he is godlike in his power. Hubris is the overriding emotion and motivation of the sociopathic personality: in his ruthlessness and utter disregard for costs, he is reckless with the money – and the lives – of others. Chastain and her Republican buddies in Congress, along with Clinton, really believe that Colombia must be sacrificed "for the children" – the children of a decadent culture who like to get high while they fornicate and writhe to the gangsta rap beat. This is a concept that only a true sociopath could come up with. The emptiness of American culture, the decline of educational standards, criminal chic, the calculated depravity of Hollywood, the spiritual void left by a ravaging skepticism that obliterated all values, the rootlessness of a society in which the past is disdained and mobility in the service of the corporate machine is the given: none of these factors could possibly have anything to do with the prevalence of drugs in American society, now could it?


From Colombia to Korea, the arrogance and hubris of our rulers is matched only by the obsequiousness and intellectual dishonesty of their apologists and court intellectuals. It is surprising, and disturbing, to see that WorldNetDaily, once the flagship Internet newspaper of independent thinkers of all types and persuasions, is running such unadulterated globalist propaganda. I have always enjoyed WorldNetDaily as one of the few outposts of independent thinking in the journalistic universe, and one can only hope that this isn't a trend – for the stakes are high and the issues complex, deserving of a much more comprehensive and informed analysis than some minor talk radio host seems capable of. Many of our regular readers and contributors discovered through a link from WorldNetDaily, and I regret very much their recent tendency to run sensationalistic stories that claim some dire foreign threat is about to overrun us: if it isn't the Chinese, it's the North Koreas, the Russians, the Colombian "drug lords," the evil child molesters (who seem mostly to be homosexuals, according to WND) – the number of threats that have emerged recently from the pages of WND seems virtually endless. It's enough to drive anyone who takes it seriously quite mad – one might even say a bit sociopathic.

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