Saturday, October 31, 2009

Kim's Double Vision

It's starting to seem like if you're looking for a strange news story of the day you need look no farther than North Korea. The latest, from the Christian Science Monitor, is a question: last August, did former President Bill Clinton meet with North Korea's Kim Jong-Il or a Kim Jong-Double?

That's the speculation of several Japanese and South Korean analysts. During his mission to rescue two wayward American journalists, Clinton met with Dear Leader Kim. In the official photos from their meeting Kim looked far healthier than he had just a few months ago - keep in mind that for awhile in the summer 2008 the speculation was that Kim had died, now it is widely believed that the 68-year old suffered a severe stroke that has left him enfeebled.

The image of the plumper, healthier August '09 Kim is prompting a number of North Korea watchers to speculate that Clinton actually met with a Kim Jong-Il double, and that in recent months doubles have been making trips around North Korea to reinforce the idea that Kim is still the man in charge. Some analysts interviewed by the CSM went on to say that doubles may have been doing all of Kim's public appearances since 2000, and even that Kim may have actually died years ago but is still being used as a figurehead by North Korea's ruling cabal.

Whether this is true or not is anybody's guess, though Kim wouldn't be the first despot to use body doubles, Saddam Hussein was also reported to have a troop of stand-ins, including one who made his annual swim across the Tigris River.
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