By Vladimir Chang
SEOUL -- South Koreans today thanked former U.S. President Jimmy Carter for putting their entire civilization within moments of thermonuclear annihilation.
"Yesterday I was just a fool thinking that the wonderful middle-class life I have created for myself and my family would continue indefinitely, perhaps even forever," said South Korean computer programmer Heung Moon. "Now I know that my job, house, family, and everything I hold dear in this world could be wiped out at any second upon the whim of a homicidal madman. Thanks, Jimmy Carter!"
"I've always wanted to see a beautiful orange mushroom cloud moments before being vaporized," said electronics company executive Lee Min. "Thanks, Jimmy Carter!"
South Koreans effusively thanked Carter for his famous 1994 trip to Pyongyang, during which he negotiated a deal, later finalized by then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, in which North Korea pledged to halt its nuclear program. The North Koreans used the deal to buy enough time to build a handful of nuclear bombs, which now threaten the very existence of all 49 million grateful South Koreans.
Carter is known to be the only person on earth who actually believed the North Koreans would uphold their side of the agreement. But the ever-polite South Koreans thanked the former president for his efforts anyway, saying that they were happy to be the victims of such a nice, well-meaning person.
Carter insisted on Monday that the complete and utter failure of his diplomatic efforts in North Korea, which led directly to Kim Jong Il's acquisition of untold numbers of thermonuclear devices, did not prove that his negotiations 12 years ago were futile.
"I don't care what the newspapers say," Carter said. "I know my efforts were worthwhile because they won me the Nobel Peace Prize. Are you going to believe one little nuclear explosion or five experts selected by the Swedish Parliament?"