PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA—As the U.S. continues to inch toward war with Iraq, a jealous and frustrated North Korea is wondering what it has to do to attract American military attention.
"What does it take to get a few F-16s or naval warships deployed to the Yellow Sea?" North Korean president Kim Jong Il asked Monday. "In the past month and a half, we've expelled U.N. nuclear inspectors, withdrawn from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, restarted a mothballed nuclear complex capable of producing weapons-grade plutonium, and threatened to resume missile tests. You'd think that would be enough to get a measly Marine division or two on standby in the Pacific, but apparently not."
Kim said his nation is "way more deserving" of B-52 deployment than Iraq.
"Bush says his number one priority is eliminating weapons of mass destruction, but he sure doesn't act that way," Kim said. "Iraq may have weapons of mass destruction and may be developing more. The DPRK, on the other hand, does have weapons of mass destruction and isn't about to stop making them any time soon."
"Can I be any more clear?" Kim continued. "We have nuclear bombs and delivery methods. Kablooey! There goes Anchorage! But does Bush care? Nope—he just goes on about how we're 'a diplomatic issue, not a military one.' If he even mentions us at all, that is."
"It's like I don't even exist," Kim added.
In the nine years since coming to power, Kim has earned a reputation as a megalomaniac and tyrant, interring dissenters in camps, living in opulence while his citizens starve, and calling members of the North Korean navy "human bombs." In spite of such actions, he has failed to provoke the ire of the U.S.
After years spent trying to antagonize the U.S., relations between North Korea and America finally showed signs of deterioration in 2002, when, during his State of the Union address, President Bush accused the Asian nation of being part of an international "Axis of Evil." The provocative words, Kim said, sent his hopes of a military standoff with the U.S. skyrocketing.
"When Bush named us as part of his Axis of Evil, I was so happy," Kim said. "I thought to myself, 'This is it. We are finally going to have a military conflict with this two-faced hyena.' He'd been ignoring me so long, I really didn't think he cared."
Still, Kim's hopes for a U.S.-North Korea crisis quickly faded as Bush began to focus all of his energies on Axis of Evil member Iraq. In October 2002, Kim made yet another attempt to anger the U.S., admitting to enriching uranium in violation of a 1994 accord. The admission, however, did not produce the desired escalation in hostility.
Kim said he has not given up on attracting U.S. military attention, vowing to invade South Korea if necessary.
"I am by no means ready to quit, but this is very frustrating," Kim said. "I guess if your name's not Saddam, you're not worthy of America's hatred."
"Everyone in my country refers to me as 'Dear Leader.' Is that not disturbingly cultish?"Kim continued. "I do not understand why President Bush is so much more interested in Saddam than me. I'm a strange, despotic, unpredictable madman, too, you know."