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The 'axis of evil'

The Bush declaration of an 'axis of evil' to include North Korea is baffling.

Even many of America's European allies who have been onboard up to now have expressed concern over Bush's statements.

The inclusion of North Korea after the inter-Korean reconciliation and in the face of South Korea's "sunshine policy" makes no sense.

No North Koreans have yet been implicated in the WTC attacks or any other operation by international terrorists.

It seems at most, North Korea has provided weapons to states that have supported terrorism themselves. But, of course, North Korea is not alone in this, as the U.S. has played that game many times before.

In fact, Iraq and Saddam Hussein once benefited from American military and economic assistance. Even Osama bin Laden was once for all practical purposes on the U.S. payroll.

That antagonism with North Korea started well before the Sept. 11 events. It seems part of the Bush administration strategy in the region. Is an Asian enemy necessary for U.S. national interests?

The grand pronouncement against North Korea is of no great benefit for Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) either.

The Patriot Act has cast an atmosphere of suspicion against members of the APA community that has led to many cases of harassment.

The growing number of immigrants from Islamic regions of South, Southeast and Central Asia has given a Muslim face to the APA community.

But the problems have not been limited to the Muslim APAs. Sikhs, Filipinos, Samoans and other Asians with brown skins, but who are not Muslim, have reported incidents of harassment or unfair treatment at the hands of the authorities.

Recent statements made by United States Attorney General John Ashcroft during a 9 November radio interview don't help either.

In an interview with conservative Christian syndicated columnist and radio personality Cal Thomas, Ashcroft reportedly said: "Islam is a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for him. Christianity is a faith in which God sends his son to die for you."

Statements like these can create a Crusader mentality. They have no place coming from an official of Ashcroft's stature.

Now, with North Korea included in the 'axis of evil' we can expect further 'lumping' of APAs collectively as 'bad guys.'

There are real enemies of the U.S. out there. Creating imaginary enemies, for whatever reason, is not something we need in the new millennium. Otherwise, the 'New War' may take us down the same tired old road.