TRUTH, HOWEVER UNPLEASANT, MUST WIN OUT, plus, DID THE SILVER LAKE SOLAR PANELS CAUSE A DANGER AT THE PITTSFIELD AIRPORT?
By DAN VALENTI
As someone told us this morning, THE PLANET’s commentary on Korea certainly came at the right time. It just so happened that the latest fireworks (the North’s attack, the South military exercises with the U.S.) occurred as we were preparing our series on this site based on Historian Bruce Cumings’ penetrating book, The Korean War: A History.
Korea is important for a couple reasons. First, the nuclear security of the planet (planet earth, not THE PLANET) may rest upon what happens there. Second, the U.S. experience there provided valuable lessons that we failed to learn (see Iraq and Afghanistan, $3 trillion later).
Cumings book presents his analysis of the indisputable facts of history, post WWII. Literally the day after we vaporized Nagasaki, Dean Rusk at behest of the War Department unilaterally divided the peninsula into two nations at the previously insignificant 38th parallel. By September 1945, the U.S. had 30,000 troops there. Why? Why didn’t we do what we did at the end of all previous war? Why didn’t we return to a peace time economy?
Kim Il Sung, misjudging America’s strategic interest in Asia and thinking he was dealing with an honorable nation, saw the chance after the U.S. defeating common-enemy Japan to avenge the wrongs committed under the brutal occupation of America’s recent foe (but now friend, Japan).
The North invaded the South to punish Japanese collaborators, the way the French did with Vichy’s Nazi collaborators. The North’s actions would have ended in victory in a couple of months, and we should have let the civil war run its course, but no. The U.S., under the thin aegis of the U.N., intervened in June 1950. America actually won the “first” war, in the South, which was fought from then to the end of the year.
If we had stopped there, we could have easily exited Korea with face preserved. We didn’t. Kim Il Sung’s masterstroke was counting on the war mongering U.S. generals and officials to chase his armies into the North. We lost that war and for 2 plus years drenched the utterly defenseless populations of North Korea in oceans of napalm.
The North Korean perspective has never been told in the West. This is the truth of Korea that virtually no one here wishes to admit. The freedom fighter for the North were heroes for their county in fighting the Japanese in Manchuria and on their own peninsula. They fought the occupiers the same way the patriots fought the British in colonial America. They figured and still do that their blood earned them the moral right to governance.
As long as this perspective is not included in a meaningful way, we shall have trouble there. The North will not give up. It is a nation literally built on a military-first philosophy, one that is actually reasonable given the horrors the nation has endured for 100 years, when Japan first began to interfere with Korean autonomy.
Look, THE PLANET is the first to recognize the positive actions of the South Korean government since the late 90s in regards to unification. We also know of the noble sacrifices of so many GIs during the Korean conflict. Our point is to argue for the insertion of the missing element in our understandings of history there, the present there, and the future there.
Lesson to be learned: When we do not have a truthful accounting of the past, particularly of gross injustice, we can never have a peaceful present or a bright future. Whether it’s the gross injustice committed by nation against nation or one person victimizing another, a moral and equitable society is not possible without a truthful accounting of the past. Think about it.
‘Song Bird to Pittsfield Airport, Where are You, Over’?
At last THE PLANET found a Pittsfield story that had no down side: the installation of several acres of solar panels on Silver Lake Boulevard next to Fourth Street on one side and the PEDA property on the next. These panels are producing energy and providing a model for how a green energy system might integrate into a green economy.
What’s not to like? The use is perfect for the parcel, it’s green, it has produced positive PR, and it will help leverage PEDA, even if only by a small amount. Perfect game, right?
Not so fast. Out of the western skies came “Sky King.” This reliable source says that in the due diligence for the solar project, officials neglected to consider how it might affect pilots coming in on visual approach to the Pittsfield Airport. It appears that the alignment of the panels on certain sunny days at specific times and during certain parts of the season are causing a blinding reflection from the sun on the approach to the airport.
This created a dangerous situation that had to be rectified. Enter, the emergency request and approval by the city a few months back for an IFR flight system. Maybe THE PLANET was asleep during the discussion, but we don’t recall officials sharing with us this safety issue. Why?
If “Sky” is correct, and since he is a frequent flier we have no reason to think he is, pilots who land at the airport during those times (and we don’t know specifically the determining factors, i.e., what days, what hours, what part of the year,etc.) must come in on instruments. In broad daylight. With not a cloud in the sky.
Which leads to a question: Had the controlling authorities communicated with each other, and officials had realized this in the first place, could the solar array have been oriented differently or in some other way modified to prevent an additional expense on the multi-million dollar expansion project? As it was, the request for more money was presented in typical hurry-hurry-hurry fashion. As we have seen so many times before, when the city of Pittsfield acts this way, it has a way of backfiring, or have you forgotten about the 1,000 EV Worldwide jobs that never materialized?
“Only in Pittsfield,” as “Sky” put it. After that, he promptly downed a Nabisco fig newton “Your’e darn tootin’, we like Fig Newtons”). After that, he rescued his niece Penny. The bad guys tied her up and left her in a chair at their hideout. We didn’t mind, though, because she had on a tight B&W blouse. You came of age back in the day the moment you concentrated more on Penny than on the airplanes.
Any why was it that in every other episode, she got tied up and had to try and wriggle out of the ropes? Not that we ever noticed, mind you.