The trouble is not that they are coldblooded enough to 'think the unthinkable,' but that they do not think.1)
The beginning of the problem was his confession.
Should he not have confessed?
He was a baby‐faced 22 years old. A young man who had a dream of flying in the blue sky, and who dutifully walked down, step by step, the path before him. I guess inside him must have wiggled a young man’s desire for a little exciting romance, too. He walked for 4 years. He sweated for 4 years. He arrived at a point that one could call “the end”.
The problem seems to have started when he looked back.
Why did he not remember the warning of the angels that had descended to punish ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’ with brimstone and fire?
Maybe Lot’s wife, who had looked back against the warning not to, transcended time and space and came and whispered irresistibly tempting words to him. In any case, he looked back. To see what kind of path the 4 years had been.
The problem became bigger when he tried to look into the future.
That was the real reason he should not have looked back. He who looks back on his path is bound to reflect on its course ahead. That was the decisive mistake that he should not have committed, the final trigger. The first thing that is absolutely forbidden! All those who attack are forbidden to reflect on the attack!
Let’s say it was ‘reflection’. In fact, it wasn’t anything.
Since it wasn’t anything, that’s what it’s being called, so why did it become a problem?
Let’s say it was a ‘confession’. Even so, it wasn’t anything.
Since it wasn’t anything, that’s the only way it can be called. So what was all the fuss about anyway?
He wrote a short diary on his blog.
“F15K, you’re a really good machine, but you look like a murdering machine to me these days. I’m disturbed. I will be operating this machine, but I guess I may end up killing by mistake people who do not need to die.”
Reflection on the machine
Reflection on good machines
Reflection that they may be murdering machines
This disturbing reflection
The biggest problem of all the problems erupted when the common‐sense anguish of the 4th year Air Force Academy cadet was made into a question in an exam by ‘some students who were crazy about solving problems’. They were fundamentalist philosophers who believed that the existence of “something that isn’t anything” always originated from “something”, and were extractionists who had uncovered that all reflections were conceived from leftist delusions and incestuous breeding. The almighty ability of these students lied in their capacity to fit any problem into their prefabricated answers.
The carpet bombing of the conservative press started. Before he could get on a bomber and push any button, he became battered by the surprise, lightening carpet bombing. The bombing in his reflections had become reality, only reversed, under different circumstances. JoongAng Bombing Daily led the way, supported by Chosun Bombing Ilbo. According to their editorials, the Air Force Academy cadet was someone with “anti‐military, pro‐Communist thoughts who could not be trusted with a 100 billion won per unit F‐15K, and who has been contaminated with the leftist education of the Teachers and Educational Workers Union.” He even became, without realizing it himself, “someone who openly writes Communist statements on his blog.” The irresponsible and excessive language of the press was enough to change reflection to delusion. The “something that isn’t anything” became “something.” His path of 4 years was severed then and there.
A good gun, no matter how good it is, is born to kill.
A good gun is a gun that kills people well.
A good bomber, no matter how good it is, is born for mass murder.
A good bomber is a bomber that kills people well.
Even without Hannah Arendt’s assertion, the gene of violence is the ‘means’.
The means speaks on behalf of violence.
The means of violence, in particular those that are controlled by the state, are the spokespersons for this century’s state‐of‐the‐art precision sciences. From the elementary sciences of mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology to the many applied sciences such as precision machinery engineering, optics, electromagnetics, and so on, the modern engine behind these sciences has been none other than war. It’s necessary to think about the tight relationship that the weapons economy has with international politics. The fact that in modern history advances in weaponry equaled advances in science, the irrefutable fact that such advances were the object of a nation’s praise and patronage… Nevertheless, the forbidden ‘reflection on facts’… And the painting of those who do as communists…
The global trend of weapons shows disguised as festivals has also arrived in Korea.
The state, corporations, arms dealers, and regional communities hold these extravagant shows hand in hand, for national security, for the reinforced Korean‐American alliance, for corporations who have dedicated themselves to the development of state‐of‐the‐art sciences, for strengthening international competitiveness, for fostering regional tourism, for educating children, and for everything else you can think of. It’s show time.
Air shows, helicopter rappel shows, tank shows, machine gun shows, missile shows, be‐a‐pilot shows, mine shows, chemical, biological and radiological weapons shows, anti‐terrorism shows, nighttime infiltration shows, military uniforms shows, army biscuit shows, all sorts of shows…
The climax of the spectacle is the fantastic super operation using A‐10 Thunderbolt fighter‐bombers and the AH‐64D Apache Longbow helicopters to rescue our troops who have been taken hostage by the enemy. The firm determination that anyone messing with our side will not be forgiven, and the warm humanism of valorizing each and every soldier on our side down to the last guy form the essence of this operation. Let’s not mention the ‘gratuitous sacrifices’ that the operation may inadvertently entail. Ridley Scott’s film Black Hawk Down illustrates the development of the tight sense of camaraderie and poignant humanism all too well.
Every time a bomb explodes, every time a shouting order is echoed, applause and cheers follow. “Hurrah, bravo!”
Yes, hurrah, bravo…
Maybe it was ‘hurrah, bravo’.
The cadet in question upon mounting the good F15K machine and pushing down the red button should have shouted “Hurrah, bravo”, nothing more, nothing less.
It was an ‘anguish’ that is not allowed in those who attack.
And what is not allowed for viewers of imaginary bombing attacks is ‘feeling disturbed’.
Warning : Perception Requires Involvement.1)
Those who are mired in forbidden anguishes, forbidden perceptions, forbidden memories, forbidden thoughts dream of escape. But escaping is not allowed; only forced ejections await them.
Let us, at this point, recall a forbidden memory.
On the morning of August 6, 1945 at 8:16 and 2 seconds, the dream of the superweapon became a reality. The first atomic bomb with strength equaling 12,500 tons of dynamite dropped out of the skies of Hiroshima without any warning. A new kind of war had started. The first second of the new war went like this.
0.0 second : The bomb goes off at the peak of the morning rush hour, at approximately 600 meters above the Shima Hospital located in the center of Hiroshima. The temperature of the city center reaches the millions in degrees Celsius in one 1 millionth of a second.
0.1 second : A fire pillar of approximately 300,000 degrees Celsius measuring 15 meters in diameter is formed. At the same time, neutrons and gamma rays reach the earth, and cause direct radiation damage to living organisms.
0.15 second : The fire pillar grows bigger, and the radioactive waves spread even faster. The air is heated to a bright red.
0.2–0.3 second : An incalculable amount of infrared rays are emitted, inflicting burns on people.
1.0 second : The fire pillar reaches its biggest size, becoming 200‐300 meters in diameter. The waves that escalated the fire continue to spread at the speed of sound.
With this bombing attack, 100,000 people died on the spot. And another 100,000 died, slowly, one by one, due to the radiation exposure.4)
These disturbing memories, these disturbing thoughts, these disturbing scenes, these strange loyalties, these good and murderous machines...
Once again, I borrow Hannah Arendt’s words.
“Where all are guilty, no one is; confessions of collective guilt are the best possible safeguard against the discovery of culprits, and the very magnitude of the crime the best excuse for doing nothing.”
What the heck does that mean?
Warning : Sago requires Sago.5)
1) Hannah Arendt, 1969, On Violence, trans. Jung Han Kim, Seoul: E‐who Publishing Co., 2000, p28.
2) This phrase comes from the artwork that Antonio Muntadas translated and exhibited in different languages. It could mean that perception inevitably requires to involvement, or also that the prerequisite of involvement is perception. To this, a “warning” is added, which I understand as “You may get hurt if you know this”, which, reversed, could also be understood as “It’s better not to know this.”
3) Sven Lindqvist, 2001, A History of Bombing, translated in Korean by Nam Soeb Kim, Hankyoreh Publishing Co.,2003, p240.
4) Hannah Arendt, 1969, On Violence, translated in Korean by Jung Han Kim, E‐who Publishing Co., 2000.
5) NOH Suntag copying Mr. Muntadas The term of ‘Sago’ has two meanings in Korean, ‘thinking’ and ‘disaster’.