As North and South Korea lunge toward another war, it now seems to me that one of South Korea's two big accusations is false. This possibility is raised by a single South Korean scientist.

You may remember that when the shuttle Challenger exploded on nationwide TV, Congress quickly set up a board of inquiry. Its membership list made it more like a board of whitewashing: "unforeseen circumstances" and so on. But one persnickety scientist, the genius Richard Feynman, snooped through every lab in NASA and quickly figured out the cause. The political members tried to stop him or shut him up, but they failed. The rubber gasket between two giant cans of the main rocket had hardened in the sub-freezing Florida morning, and broke open.

Ka-boom. A few NASA types had said the rubber was undependable, so NASA's face was now beet red.

South Korea formed a similar commission after the mini-warship Cheonan sank last March, again with members likely to support a favored scenario. This tragedy would be blamed on North Korea. Again, a scientist among the appointees stepped forward and disagreed. The boat simply ran aground, said he -- and now he's being sued for "libel" by the South Korean government.

His viewpoint is readable in his "letter to Hillary Clinton," which she probably never saw. It's a PDF file with a long web address, but I have set it up as http://tinyurl.com/cheonan-sinking, for you to look at. I do love whistle blowers.

David Royce

Westport