April 13, 2013

"Bomb North Korea, Before It’s Too Late."

That's the title of an op-ed in the NYT by a Jeremi Suri, a history/public affairs prof. ("The Korean crisis has now become a strategic threat to America’s core national interests. The best option is to destroy the North Korean missile on the ground before it is launched. The United States should use a precise airstrike to render the missile and its mobile launcher inoperable. President Obama should state clearly and forthrightly that this is an act of self-defense in response to explicit threats from North Korea and clear evidence of a prepared weapon.")

And here's Rush Limbaugh, a couple days ago: "Folks, we have discovered the missile silos in North Korea. We know where they are. My question is, why are they not rubble? If we know where they are and we haven't taken them out, what is this automatic assumption that if they launch, we are going to obliterate their country? Do any of you believe that would happen? I'm serious. North Korea launches nukes at us. They can't hit us yet, so they fall whatever hundreds, thousands of miles short. But the intent was clear. You think we'd retaliate?"

122 comments:

The Drill SGT said...

The problem is something like 30 thousand Nork Arty/rocket tubes (short range stuff) within range of 10 million people in Seoul...

As for attacking the IRBMs themselves. The NorKs tore up the armstice and have declared war. so...

jr565 said...

While it does sound extreme, if we do know where they are and a bomb can take them out, then why not?

We keep trying to talk to the N Koreans and offering to open up communications. On more than four occasions we've got the N Koreans to come to the table and promise something if we just give them something. And they never deliver.

Jay said...

what is this automatic assumption that if they launch, we are going to obliterate their country? Do any of you believe that would happen?

Of course not.

Either the US believes North Korea doesn't have any payloads worth worrying about or we are lying.

The notion that the Obama Administration would retaliate is silly and absurd.

Jay said...

By the way, I'm guessing the people in Seoul are wishing that stupid, hick, cowboy was still in the WH. Because I'm sure they know that the "sequester hip-hop dance party" President doesn't even know where Seoul is or what all the fuss is about...

edutcher said...

What Sarge said, plus the fact we probably have to get clearance from the Red Chinese (y'know, the guys who all the Lefties tell us are our friends). They'd have to deal with the refugees.

And, of course, there's always Dai Nippon. Just because the Norks couldn't hit Choom's retirement palace in HI (built by Penny Pritzker), doesn't mean downtown Kyoto couldn't disappear.

Jay said...

By the way, I'm guessing the people in Seoul are wishing that stupid, hick, cowboy was still in the WH. Because I'm sure they know that the "sequester hip-hop dance party" President doesn't even know where Seoul is or what all the fuss is about...

Of course he does. I bet at the hip hop dance, he belted out the words, "I'm a Seoul man, I'm a Seoul man...".

(had to...)

edutcher said...

PS By his own admission, foreign and military policy is not Rush's metier.

Steven said...

NK is not certain to launch. If they launch, the missiles have a reasonable probability of not working correctly. If the missiles work, US missile defenses have a good chance of intercepting them. If the interception fails, the NK targeting systems have a high probability of delivering their payloads to somewhere relatively harmless. And even if they arrive on target, the warheads have a reasonable chance of being squibs anyway.

So, here's the question; do you risk starting a shooting war that will kill tens of thousands of civilians in an allied country to stop a launch that might, but probably won't, kill tens of thousands of Americans?

If you do, are any of your alliances going to be worth the paper they're printed on after you do?

Dante said...

It's China's problem. Tell them to off the dictator, or we will.

Russ said...

It would probably kill hundreds of thousands in short order.

NK has a huge amount of conventional artillery in generally unassailable emplacements within range of Seoul.

tim said...

War no war, one thing is for certain the headlines will be "President Obama takes just and right action."

Lem said...

I read somewhere, or maybe I heard on the radio that former secretary William Perry (under Clinton) and some other prominent guy like Perry (I believe he might have been a professor) wrote a paper together outlining the case for destroying the missile at the launch pad.

If the determination is made that we are going to have to do it sooner or later... I say we start talking tough soon.

So far the administration has not talked NK. If they decide to hit NK suddenly w/o much talk, it will look like Obama didn't think it trough and decided on the spur of the moment.

Why hasn't Obama prepared the nation for a POSSIBLE attack on NK?

Is anybody home in DC?

Lem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
phx said...

Why hasn't Obama prepared the nation for a POSSIBLE attack on NK?

Think we should be given updated instruction manuals for run, duck and cover?

WestVirginiaRebel said...

The problem with this argument is that it's not sixty years ago; China is still sort of an ally to North Korea and there's no real way of predicting how they'd react to a preemptive strike. And unlike North Korea they do have the ability to attack the U.S. and Japan.

AllenS said...

We don't need to do that. Just send John Kerry over there and have him explain to the North Koreans that he has 3 purple hearts. "Don't fuck with us. I still, to this day, have the hat."

That should put the fear of God in them there commies.

rcocean said...

Funny how China, Japan, and Russia don't care but we do. They're right next door to NK, and we're 5,000 miles away.

Guess its because we're so much smarter. Right?

Lem said...

Ignoring NK is not working!

garage mahal said...

The Grey Lady sure is a lefty propaganda house organ isn't it?

The blundering idiot that wrote this op-ed used to be employed by UW-Madison, of all places. [That other leftist, communist hotbed.]

The Isthmus [that other liberal commie rag] was giving Suri tongue baths as late as 2009. "He's 37, he punches Hippies, and he's making Waves! Rising Star!"

Welcome to my world.

Lem said...

Think we should be given updated instruction manuals for run, duck and cover?

If you think China cares more about NK than trade with us... then you think the Chinese are stupid.

Synova said...

And we search the rubble and the silos have all the parts including nuclear but none of it functional and it will all be lies about WMD, right?


phx said...

If you think China cares more about NK than trade with us... then you think the Chinese are stupid.

I get your point, I just think it's probably more complicated than you're accounting for. If the Administration started "preparing" us - whatever or however you mean - it could influence the other players in ways we don't intend or desire.

I don't know how you can really prepare the public anyway although I'm open to hearing about it.

James Pawlak said...

Silos? No. But, we should know where the NK "flower child leader" is at every moment and convert that spot to a small, shallow, glass lined and slightly radio active crater---And let the generals know we know where they are.

jr565 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lem said...

I hear you Synova... but here is the thing.

If there is no way of knowing for sure, I rather not find out by getting hit.

Lets Take these mo**rF**rs at their word.

(if only I was of a certain age I sign up tomorrow... make that Monday)

Pettifogger said...

Lem said: "If you think China cares more about NK than trade with us... then you think the Chinese are stupid."

I think China is a complicated place with civilian and military authorities vying for power. I don't think there's a simple or safe answer to what China would do.

phx said...

But, we should know where the NK "flower child leader" is at every moment and convert that spot to a small, shallow, glass lined and slightly radio active crater---And let the generals know we know where they are.

I'm going to guess....we don't know where they are. Note how we didn't get Sadam until long after the fact.

Rusty said...

The Drill SGT said...
The problem is something like 30 thousand Nork Arty/rocket tubes (short range stuff) within range of 10 million people in Seoul...

It is believed that full half of the arty is inoperable due to lax maintenance and lack of spare parts.
In the unlikely event that Lilkim manages to duct tape a warhead on top of one of his sky rockets it will be brought down in short order. Furthermore the Norks know it too. It is I believe 99.8% bluff, but just in case the .02% isn't I'm glad we have navy and Airforce in the area.
Although I have it on good authority that we can do without 75% of our military.

jr565 said...

Ultimately the issue is how badly do we not want NK to acquire nuke capability and how worried are we at the consequences of them achieving their result.

The NKoreans have been playing this game to stretch out the clock while they continue to build weapons. Noone seriously believes they are actually going to capitulate so its ever more of the "If you do this we will have to do mean things," then when they do them its "if you do this we will have to do mean things", then when they do them again its "If you do this we will have to do mean things". Kind of like the UN threatening to pass a resolution when Iraq doesn't comply.

At a certain point, saying we will do mean things is meaningless if we never do them. ANd at a certain point the clock will run out. Then either the hawks or the doves are right. Only if the clock runs out in NK's favor and the hawks are right it will be that much more dangerous to actually deal with NKorea.
And we probably would have wished we had dealt with them before the doomsday clock hit midnight.

This is not me saying that we should therefore bomb them. But I am saying that if the threat is real, it's better to deal with it before it becomes impossible to deal withThere will be costs, but there will also be costs if we wait, NK does finish its production and then we are at the mercy of NK. Which situation is it better for us to deal with?

Jim Howard said...

I'm a right wing wacko and retired Air Force officer. I spent a long time in South Korea, including a solid year (1992) at a remote ROKAF location.

We don't want to fire first. We don't need to fire fist.
Little Kim wants us to fire first.

Take a deep breath. Remain calm.

And wish that the damn Democrats had not had this unscientific religious issue with 100% defensive anti-missile weapns.

F said...

I'm still thinking it would be a valuable lesson to Kim and his military if we took out the Pueblo. They still hold it, it's still our property, and it's a great propaganda coup for them. A single kinetic weapon from orbit would take it out very neatly and show Kim that nuclear weapons (that Kim suspects we would never use anyway) are not the only arrow in our quiver.

wyo sis said...

We should be careful when we assume either China or NK will do things the way we think they'll do them or for the reasons we think they might have.

Hagar said...

If NK screws up on a nuclear test it could be a lot worse for the Chinese or the Russians than for us.

I wish we had someone more convincing than Obama/Kerry to suggest that to them.

phx said...

We should be careful when we assume either China or NK will do things the way we think they'll do them or for the reasons we think they might have.

Perspicacious.

jr565 said...

At a certain point you have to call N Koreas bluff. Or just give N Korea what it wants.

mexican standoffs dont last forever.

phx said...

At a certain point you have to call N Koreas bluff. Or just give N Korea what it wants.

mexican standoffs dont last forever.


Think we should blink first?

phx said...

And in a more lighthearted moment, just to give you some bait, this kind of scenario is exactly the reason I voted for Obama.

jimbino said...

Rush Limbaugh got it right once and wrong once.

"Launch" is a transitive verb that must take an object.

Correct: The missile was launched. They launched the missile.

Incorrect: The missile launched.

garage mahal said...

You fought in a war, veteran?

You're country needs you again. It's called "Chained-CPI". But don't believe the lies. [Both James Carville and David Brooks agree!]

Firehand said...

Lem, Obama's talked tough before; how'd that work out?

Looking around the web, it's interesting how many people who screamed "Star Wars!" and laughed and whined about the waste of money on missile defense are now sounding quite confident in the systems that've been built.

SOJO said...

I haven't been able to take the N Korea threat seriously since it's obviously this young guy posturing. Of course, other young guys posture and then back it up, so that could be very very wrong, but to be rash with something so obvious would be a mistake.

jr565 said...

I was watching the movie Space Balls on tv the other day (yeah yeah, I know it's terrible. I was waiting for something else to come on and caught the last 15 minutes. And yeah it's still as bad as I remember).

But... there was a scene in that movie that reminds me of our dealings with N Korea, and Iran, and Iraq (until Bush dealt with Sadaam).

Helmet and the Han Solo/Skkywalker character (Lonestarr) are fighting and have the following exchange:

Dark Helmet: So, Lone Starr. Yogurt has taught you well. If there's one thing I despise, it is a fair fight. But if I must, then I must. May the best man win. Put 'er there.
[Reaches out to shake Lone Starr's hand and instead takes his Schwartz ring]
Dark Helmet: The Ring! I can't believe you fell for the oldest trick in the book! What a goof! What's with you man? Come on! You know what? Here let me give it back to you.
[throws it down the grate]
Dark Helmet: Oh, look, you fell for that too! I can't believe it, man!
....
Dark Helmet: So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.


Again, it's an absurd scene, but it does show the stupidity of our being "good".

John Kerry going over there and making vague threats and suggesting we have diplomatic relations is the equivalent of Lone Starr going to shake Helmets hand after knowing that he's Helmet and wont fight fair.
This is not a new situation, but a repeat of an old situation. How did it work out the last time?

What gets rid of the Sadaams and the Qadaffi's of the world is to actually call their bluff. Recognizing that the cost may be to high to do so.

However, if we are just going through the motions to pretend that we are getting tough, all the while allowing them to go further with their stated goals, then we should at least acknowledge that its nothign but kabuki and we are just letting them get what they want.

So why not just skip tall the foreplay and give them what they want. if they want N Korea then they can have it. If they want nukes that will reach us so they can threaten us every day of the week why not?

Its not as if we can actually hold their feet to the fire or anything. BUt it sure seems as if they can hold OUR feet to the fire. And why is that?
Because we are stupid.

AllenS said...

garage mahal said...
You fought in a war, veteran?

You're country needs you again. It's called "Chained-CPI".


What in the fuck are you talking about?

jr565 said...

phx wrote:
And in a more lighthearted moment, just to give you some bait, this kind of scenario is exactly the reason I voted for Obama.

Why, you like when Presidents kick the can down the road so their successor has to deal with the problem, which was made worse because his predecessor never did anything about it so its now a far worse crisis than previous?

Harold said...

"If the missiles work, US missile defenses have a good chance of intercepting them."

Which missile defenses do you mean? The ones that the liberals, who are now depending on them to work, fought tooth and nail against , saying they were impossible, and that Reagan was an idiot for believing they could be built?

Or some of the newer laser kill weapons that may or may not be built, and if they are, are still top secret to the point no one really knows if tehre are any other then test platforms? Oh, wait- they're also impossible according to liberal theology.

According to liberal theology, there can't be any missile defense systems- they cannot work. Do you remember the big brouhaha about that, in teh not to distant past, or do we need to pull up quotes from liberal icons? The beuty of google- old quotes never go away...

jr565 said...

And phx, since you said that was why you voted for Obama, I have to ask your opinion on his action in Libya (which he did before you voted for him the second time around).
Which kind of sounds like what I was suggesting might have to be done with N Korea.
Though in the case of Qadaffi, what bluff did we actually call there?

The Drill SGT said...

ABM defenses are not perfect. However, what they do, both to a NorK and to a Russia is insert uncertainity into the target planning. how good are they? which of my launches will ve targeted?

For the norks; if I launch my 5 ICBMs, how many will blow on the pad, how many will go ballistic (in the unconrollab;e sense) and how many will US ABMs knock down? I could be wiped out with no hits

For the Russians. I plan on using 2 ICBMs on each of my key targets, but ABMs mean I can't count on a launch of 2 per, to get through to any given target, so now I need 3 or 4 per target...

Uncertainity is the enemy of target planning...

phx said...

Why, you like when Presidents kick the can down the road so their successor has to deal with the problem, which was made worse because his predecessor never did anything about it so its now a far worse crisis than previous?

Personally I don't really know how to evaluate how previous president's have done on North Korea, other than to note it's been a while since it was a hot war.

rhhardin said...

NK is trying to internationalize the problem.

SK can defeat them easily one on one otherwise.

The US is trying to de-internationalize the problem by deploying antimissle missles.

More or less according to Belmont Club somewhere recently.

here.

The Drill SGT said...

I remember a POTUS that labeled Iraq, Iran and NorK as the "Axis of Evil". Lots of folks made fun of that, but our two biggest security threats this year? yep...

Palladian said...

What in the fuck are you talking about?

He's used this line before and I didn't know what the fuck he was talking about then, either.

What is clear is that he doesn't know the proper use of apostrophes.

phx said...

I remember a POTUS that labeled Iraq, Iran and NorK as the "Axis of Evil".

Yes, a brilliant strategic move that kept us free from harm.

Meade said...

Dante said...
"It's China's problem. Tell them to off the dictator, or we will."

I agree. President Xi Jinping needs to address the Chinese people from the Chinese Oval Office and announce Operation North Korean Freedom. "The people of the People's Republic of China and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder."

He should then urge the United Nations to enforce North Korea disarmament mandates, even if it precipitates a diplomatic crisis. If he's lucky, 20 other nations will join a war effort and the Xi Jinping Administration can designate them "the other coalition of the willing."

cubanbob said...

Funny how China, Japan, and Russia don't care but we do. They're right next door to NK, and we're 5,000 miles away.

Guess its because we're so much smarter. Right?

That friend is atomic strenght stupid. The Russians and the Chinese really do care. They may act low key in public but behind the scene they must be crapping in their pants. From Australia to Japan every Pacific Rim country has to be seriously thinking of going nuke at this point. That has got to make the Russians and the Chinese very nervous. They are no doubt praying that Obama can quietly scare little Kim straight. Little Kim's nuke threat isn't just for the US and its allies. A Nork middle that can hit the US west coast can hit Moscow and and all of China. It's an extortion racket for the US, China and Russia to keep the aid flowing and not topple the dynasty.

edutcher said...

phx said...

I remember a POTUS that labeled Iraq, Iran and NorK as the "Axis of Evil".

Yes, a brilliant strategic move that kept us free from harm.


If, of course, people like phx had let him do his job.

We had Iraq pacified and Iran boxed in.

The Norks were quiet because they figured Dubya might come for them next.

Then Choomie and Pelosi Galore and Shotgun Joe began to give us the benefit of their foreign policy expertise and the Dick from IL started comparing our guys to the SS.

If we're in this mess, it isn't Dubya that's to blame.

phx said...

If, of course, people like phx had let him do his job.

It's phx's fault.

cubanbob said...

If, of course, people like phx had let him do his job.

It's phx's fault.

When you vote for cretins like Obama, to an extent it is.

phx said...

When you vote for cretins like Obama, to an extent it is.

Leave it to a right-wing Althouse commenter to double down on stupid.

garage mahal said...

He's used this line before and I didn't know what the fuck he was talking about then, either

What is so complicated about it?

Cedarford said...

Drill SGT lays out the main problem. We would not change the regime in N Korea unless the S Korean military does the job.
They will not do the job if the US attacks without S Korean consent. Because there would be millions of lives lost in S Korea as a result of a unilateral US military strike that starts a full-scale war.
China would also find it easier to be a supporter of the NORKs, sending in supplies and replinishment weapons if the US did "1st Strike".

Meanwhile, the Chinese cannot be happy about the loss of face of Russia and Japan telling them to rein in their mad dog, and being unable to do so. Nor about public discussions in Japan and S Korea about building their own nukes if it seems the US is not concered about WMD that could be dropped on S Korea or Japan tomorrow and only concerned with and prepared to act if the NORKs get an ICBM that is launched on targets in CONUS.

Forgive the Japanese and S Koreans for thinking Tokyo, Kobe, Seoul, Pusan matter as much to them - as LA or Denver or DC matter to us.

edutcher said...

phx said...

When you vote for cretins like Obama, to an extent it is.

Leave it to a right-wing Althouse commenter to double down on stupid.


no, that's what you did when you tried to make this Dubya's fault.

And, while we're here, let's not forget the wonderful Agreed Framework set up by our former Serial Rapist in Chief and his Dancing Diva of Diplomacy, Madeleine Albright.

phx said...

no, that's what you did when you tried to make this Dubya's fault.

Quote me where I did that or STFU.

cubanbob said...

When you vote for cretins like Obama, to an extent it is.

Leave it to a right-wing Althouse commenter to double down on stupid.


Try as you may, you can't escape the stupidity of your choice in candidates.

phx said...

Try as you may, you can't escape the stupidity of your choice in candidates.

Well I can't escape my choice. Whether it was stupidity or not remains to be seen, particularly in regards to the North Korea problem.

So far, from where I stand no regrets.

rcocean said...

If only McCain were elected, we'd be at war now. Probably a couple hundred thousand dead, and billions spent "liberating" NK, but at least we could sleep at night, free from the North Korean Juggernaut. And the East Sea could be free for commerce.

We missed our chance in 2008.

edutcher said...

phx said...

no, that's what you did when you tried to make this Dubya's fault.

Quote me where I did that or STFU.


Ooooh, what happened to all that conciliation?

Something about an Axis of Evil and how much good it did.

And don't do a some phony folksy and try to weasel. We all know what you meant.

But thank you for getting nasty. It means I hit a nerve.

rcocean said...

After we liberate North Korea, we need to do Iran and the stand up to Putin and put a stop to his outrages.

After all, we're all Georgians now.

Mary Beth said...

Recently President Xi said, "No one should be allowed to throw a region and even the whole world into chaos for selfish gains." Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that the the central government would not "allow trouble-making on China's doorstep."

I don't think that they specifically said they were talking about North Korea but it's pretty clear that they were.

rcocean said...

Never forget. We need to bear any burden and pay any price to advance freedom around the world.

Of course, by "we" I mean other Americans. Personally, I plan on staying home and making money.

Thank You.

rcocean said...

In 2008, America missed her chance for Greatness. Had we elected the "Maverick" we'd had amnesty and open borders. No more living in the shadows for our undocumented immigrants. Plenty of happy, underpaid Mexicans to pick our lettuce. Freedom for Iran, Georgia, and North Korea.

Some see the downside. War, depressed wages, higher taxes. I say these namby-pambies just don't understand the greatness of McCain's world view.

Steven said...

rcocean - Funny how China, Japan, and Russia don't care but we do.

Just because you aren't paying any attention to the Japanese doesn't mean they aren't expressing their concerns.

Harols - Which missile defenses do you mean? The ones that the liberals, who are now depending on them to work, fought tooth and nail against , saying they were impossible, and that Reagan was an idiot for believing they could be built?

Yeah, the ones they starved. SDIO was well on its way to building us a Shuttle replacement, too, but Clinton moved that project over to NASA when he neutered them into the BMDO, and NASA's been shit since Von Braun left.

mariner said...

"North Korea launches nukes at us. They can't hit us yet, so they fall whatever hundreds, thousands of miles short. But the intent was clear. You think we'd retaliate?"

"WE" would sure-as-hell retaliate.

Obama? Hagel? Kerry? I doubt it.

Aridog said...

AllenS said...

We don't need to do that. Just send John Kerry over there and have him explain to the North Koreans that he has 3 purple hearts. "Don't fuck with us. I still, to this day, have the hat."

Oh, Gawd no...I heard Kerry proomounce the name of ROK's capital as "Sue-ell today.

Even fucking Wiki gets it right with English pronunciation as "soul" ...which is how I heard it and spoke it, in Korean and English, for the nearly three odd years I lived there.

Where does Kerry get his information?...his effete affectations? ... never mind, he pulls it from out of his lying ass. Kerry is possibly the only American more absurd than Kim Jong Un.

mariner said...

phx,
Leave it to a right-wing Althouse commenter to double down on stupid.

A two-time Obama voter accusing ANYone else of doubling down on stupid?

bagoh20 said...

North Korea reminds me of Max Cady in "Cape Fear". South Korea is the lawyer's family, and the U.S. is the cops. The movie has just started.

The Godfather said...

Granted that if the kid-dictator of North Korea fired off his missiles we could shoot them down. So what? What's he got to lose? He'd still be the kid-dictator of North Korea.

What we ought to have him worry about is that the last time we took out after a member of the axis of evil it took US-led forces a couple of weeks to reach Baghdad. This isn't 1950. How long would it take the US to destroy the North Korean army?

Now, I agree that the biggest problem is credibility. Even the kid-dictator is smart enough to doubt that Obama and Hagel would launch that kind of attack. So I recommend that Obama bring G.W. Bush out of retirement and appoint him as Special Interim Secretary of Defense for North Korean Affairs. I think that would do the trick.

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bagoh20 said...

I think we can justify flattening North Korea as mercy killing to end the poverty and starvation.

edutcher said...

Aridog said...

Where does Kerry get his information?...his effete affectations? ... never mind, he pulls it from out of his lying ass. Kerry is possibly the only American more absurd than Kim Jong Un.

Oh, I can come up with one name...

bagoh20 said...

"Some see the downside. War, depressed wages, higher taxes."

They said if I voted for John McCain, these things would happen, and they were right.

phx said...

But thank you for getting nasty. It means I hit a nerve.

It means your stupid. You think I'm saying something I'm not, and you can't show how you came to that conclusion.

edutcher said...

You said it. And you proved it with your little hissy fit.

Calling me stupid just reinforces it.

Matt said...

"It means your stupid."

LOL

Joe said...

Per capita, North Korea is the most heavily armed country in the world. They have enough conventional artillery to level Seoul several times over. They have hundreds of tons of nerve agents. On top of that, the country is run by lunatics who would retaliate.

We bomb a missile pad (it's highly unlikely the North Koreans have silos) and North Korea decimates South Korea. Even if only a third of the population of Seoul is killed, that's 3.5 million people who would die within 36 hours.

phx said...

You said it. And you proved it with your little hissy fit.

Calling me stupid just reinforces it.


Well, you got me there.

bagoh20 said...

Hey, did you guys hear that John Kerry is our new Secretary of State?

How the hell did the North Koreans pull that off?

Jay Vogt said...

There is not one single good reason for the US to maintain a military presence on the Korean Peninsula past this weekend. We should ignore all this and bring our solders home. The South Koreans have been ungrateful for our protective umbrella, the Chinese have been duplicitous and morally apathetic and the Japanese have actively rejected any sense of strategic regional realpolitik. Too bad for them that they're f**ked. Not our problem.

When it all comes completely unglued, I am sure that the US will do the right thing and provide food and medical assistance to the poor, poor people of NoKo.

Gene said...

A lot of people want to go to war, not because we are in danger but because some nutcase insulted us. What insults me is the notion we that we need to go to war when our vital interests are not at stake.

Lyle said...

We aren't going to bomb North Korea without South Korea okaying it. They'll be attacked as a consequence as will our soldiers there.

Dante said...

Meade,

Not certain if that is sarcasm or not. China is going to be a world player politically. The world needs to know how they are going to deal with the messes they made.

Dante said...

A lot of people want to go to war, not because we are in danger but because some nutcase insulted us. What insults me is the notion we that we need to go to war when our vital interests are not at stake.

Of course they are at stake. Japan and SK will arm up if NK can not be dealt with, and at this point I suspect that means NK has to throw away their nukes and their long range missiles.

If you wait until something actually happens, like a nuclear bomb is dropped, then the future becomes highly unpredictable.

That's something I never appreciated about Ron Paul's approach. It's like, you have to wait until things get really bad, and then throw everything at it.

The Bush approach was try to stabilize the ME. My approach is to get access to the hundreds of years of oil we have in the states, and sever the ties.

But, there has to be a good reason why we aren't doing that. I can't imagine what it might be, though.

Dante said...

Lem: If you think China cares more about NK than trade with us... then you think the Chinese are stupid.

This is very interesting. Imagine all the chess pieces on the Table. Nuclear Japan. Nuclear SK. China dealing with the dictator they propped up. Iran vying. The Chinese viewpoint toward human rights, and it's people (chattel, or personal property), and how they can move their own image in the world to a responsible player.

There are many changes going on. There is a lot of room for individual nations to advance their interests.

The US has the opportunity to move China away from it's thieving belligerent ways.

The big fear I have is that Obama really doesn't have the interests of our nation at heart. That deep inside, he has some kind of animosity towards it, like Michelle does. But perhaps he really doesn't care that much. It's hard to say.

Gene said...

Date: Of course [our vital interests] are at stake. Japan and SK will arm up if NK can not be dealt with . . .

I don't know that our vital interests are at stake. We didn't go to war in Korea originally because South Korea was some vital ally. We were trying to stop what we thought was the inevitable march of communism across the planet. That clearly hasn't happened. If the countries next to North Korea (Japan, South Korea and China) aren't willing to deal with the issue I don't know that we have to.

Dante said...

That clearly hasn't happened.

Why do you think the march of communism stopped?

virgil xenophon said...

Is this the Harry's Place Gene? You spreading your BS here now as well?

Gene said...

Dante: Why do you think the march of communism stopped?

Well, it wasn't because of our war with North Korea in the early fifties. And it wasn't because of our war against Charlie in Vietnam, which despite the deaths of 58,000 Americans we still lost anyway. Communism lost because it was an inherently corrupt system which, due to a misreading of human nature, destroyed all economic incentives, leading the rulers to resort to totalitarianism to get anything done. The good news is totalitarian systems eventually collapse. North Korea will be no exception.

Mitch H. said...

NK has a huge amount of conventional artillery in generally unassailable emplacements within range of Seoul.

*Not* unassailable. Given time and determination we could turn the artillery emplacements to rubble. It's what the time would make of Seoul that causes everyone pause. The prospect of a hundred thousand dead over a weekend scares the shit out of everyone, and it has for two decades now.

It is believed that full half of the arty is inoperable due to lax maintenance and lack of spare parts.

So the first salvo kills five thousand civilians instead of ten thousand? Yay! And I *hope* the NKor tiger is paper to that extent - it would make sense after some forty years without anything other than small-war rabbling on the peninsula - but hope isn't a strategy.

And in a more lighthearted moment, just to give you some bait, this kind of scenario is exactly the reason I voted for Obama.

And that's why you are an idiot and unworthy of your franchise. That feckless dilettante cretin is far more likely to pop off and kill hundreds of thousands than even-keel Romney would have been.

If only McCain were elected, we'd be at war now.

Hard to say. His affect was so unhinged that he met Nixon's criteria of "being too crazy to screw with". Since the Korean dynamic is a matter of the NKors acting like a pair of Osaka yakuza terrorizing the tourists for pocket-change, having "crazy badass granpa" in the White House would have cooled the fuck out of their shake-down routine.

Gene said...

virgil xenophon: Is this the Harry's Place Gene? You spreading your BS here now as well?

I have never heard of Harry's Place. You may have someone else in mind.

As for your calling my posts BS, such slurs bring to mind something Margaret Thatcher once said. She was always pleased, she said, when her enemies made personal attacks on her--because it meant they didn't have any good arguments left.

edutcher said...

Gene said...

Of course [our vital interests] are at stake. Japan and SK will arm up if NK can not be dealt with . . .

I don't know that our vital interests are at stake. We didn't go to war in Korea originally because South Korea was some vital ally.


No, we went to war because Japan had become a vital ally.

Gene sounds like the kind of Lefty (or Libertarian) that springs up any time we start thinking about offensive operations and are usually the first ones to call our guys war criminals.

The Pudgeball from Pyongyang is more Peking's problem than ours, but if this moron actually starts shooting off nuclear missiles, it's going to be our problem very quickly.

Robert Cook said...

"The Bush approach was try to stabilize the ME."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Yeah, and American troops in Vietnam burned down villages to save them, and our air forces dropped bombs, napalm and Agent Orange on people and landscapes below to win the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese!

Roger J. said...

I honestly have no idea how to deal with this situation. Fortunately, Barack Obama, John Kerry and Chuck Hegel (and a overly PC Joint Chiefs of Staff) are on the job--what could go wrong.

Roger J. said...

Apologies--Its Chuck Hagel--Georg Hegel was another dude in Germany.

glenn said...

We don't do it for the same reason the Euros didn't do anything about Hitler and the Germans until his deed was almost done. Starts with C and ends with T. Has 9 other letters.

Rusty said...

Joe said...
Per capita, North Korea is the most heavily armed country in the world. They have enough conventional artillery to level Seoul several times over. They have hundreds of tons of nerve agents. On top of that, the country is run by lunatics who would retaliate.

We bomb a missile pad (it's highly unlikely the North Koreans have silos) and North Korea decimates South Korea. Even if only a third of the population of Seoul is killed, that's 3.5 million people who would die within 36 hours.

Actually the United States is the most heavily armed country in the world.

NORK strategists have determined that fully half of the vaunted NKorean artillery is inoperable due to lack of maintenance and spare parts. The same goes to military preparedness Half the troops suffer from malnutrition. As for nerve agents, provided the actually exist, conditions have to be just right to deploy them or you risk killing your own people. The NKorea leadership are crazy like foxes. Bluff has worked before. A really big bluff will work now.
That is not to say we should assume the gun is unloaded. That would be a mistake.
Call his bluff. His only hand is to threaten Japan and hope everybody folds.He has no cards and he knows it.
of course I could be wrong. LilKim could be being manipulated by the NORK generals. This could be their gotterdammerung.

Gene said...

edutcher: Gene sounds like the kind of Lefty (or Libertarian) that springs up any time we start thinking about offensive operations and are usually the first ones to call our guys war criminals.

If I were a lefty I wouldn't have spent 5 1/2 years in the US Navy after college, nor would I have gone to my old patrol squadron's 45th reunion in Jacksonville, Florida, last summer. If I were a lefty I wouldn't have sought out the ball cap with my squadron patch when I went bike riding today.

As for my being a libertarian, I plead (mostly) guilty to that, especially when it comes to supporting the first and second amendment.

As for calling our soldiers war criminals, that's something I've never done. But I do believe both of our last two commander in chiefs have criminally ignored our constitution. I'd especially like to know why Obama thinks he can out drones to kill American citizens on nothing but his own say-so.

Finally, regarding my distrust of most of this country's "offensive operations" of the last 10 years, I think the US would be much stronger if we put a moratorium on optional wars for a decade or two and rather spent the money on our decaying infrastructure, especially in the dying manufacturing towns of western Pennsylvania where I grew up.

harrogate said...

rcocean with a string of thread winners even though comically, most thread participants don't even know it.

My favorite? So hard to choose but probably this one:

"Never forget. We need to bear any burden and pay any price to advance freedom around the world.

Of course, by "we" I mean other Americans. Personally, I plan on staying home and making money.

Thank You."

bagoh20 said...

" rather spent the money on our decaying infrastructure, especially in the dying manufacturing towns of western Pennsylvania where I grew up.".

I grew up there too, and I don't think the government spending money would have prevented them from their demise, and suggesting that as a solution does make you a lefty. The government has spent trillions "saving jobs", while regulating and taxing them right into the hands of the Chinese regardless.

Our defense spending is one of the few success stories with government actually saving and creating jobs in the last 30 years, albeit overly expensive, but that's the way they roll on all things.

Meade said...

Dante said...
Meade,

"Not certain if that is sarcasm or not."

It was not sarcasm.

Chip S. said...

"I'm Bertrand Russell, and I approved this plan."

Joe said...

Let's say only 33% of North Korea's artillery actually works. That's enough to level Seoul in 20 minutes instead of six.

This counts only the artillery. They have hundreds of non-nuclear missiles and a military force exceeding a million soldiers.

Start a war there and you're looking at a minimum of one million civilian deaths and millions more non-fatal casualties. You really willing to make that gamble?

Gary Rosen said...

"Funny how China, Japan, and Russia don't care but we do."

Yeah I'm sure you have real deep insight into what they think.

Rusty said...

joe. that's assuming they can get off a salvo. keep in mind they have no air cover to speak of and no air borne intelligence.

Paco Wové said...

"Why do you think the march of communism stopped?"

"Well, it wasn't because of our war with North Korea in the early fifties"


I'd argue that stopped it pretty good on the Korean peninsula.

Gene said...

bagoh20: suggesting that [infrastructure spending] as a solution does make you a lefty.

Well, if if any government spending is a lefty solution, your idea of spending on defense is a lefty solution too. Eisenhower built the interstate highway system (a useful investment if there ever was one). Is he in your opinion a lefty too?

We have spent trillions on a couple of dumb wars these last ten or twelve year and all we really have done is make the rubble bounce. It has made out country poorer, not richer. You spend a million bucks on bombs and all you have to show for it at the end of the day is new holes in the ground. You spend the same money on new bridges or roads here at home and you have something which will help people and serve the economy for the next 50 years.

Gene said...

Paco Wove: I'd argue that stopped it pretty good on the Korean peninsula.

We hardly vanquished communism in Korea. It's still there 60 years later. All we did was push the North Koreans back to their original lines. It was a stalemate, not a victory for us.

30yearProf said...

Obama will take a tiny risk to kill 1 man (Osama) but he will not take a bigger risk to dispatch a MAJOR threat. Why? Perhaps because if he uses AMERICAN force to destroy NK's missles, who's next if our policy is consistent?

The Iranians.

Joe said...

Rusty, what do you mean "get off a salvo?" Are you under some sort of illusion that the artillery would be neutralized in one strike? We don't even know where the hell they are.

Even if we assume the best, in order to destroy nuclear missiles which can't hit the US, how many civilian casualties are acceptable? Has the US become that callous about war?

(Isn't a bit hypocritical for Rush and others to criticize Obama's attach on Libya, yet advocate one on North Korea?)

Gene said...

Joe: how many civilian casualties are acceptable?

You're right. I don't understand this rush to war just because some loony tunes dictator somewhere has insulted us. It doesn't make my blood boil and I don't want to run off to bomb his country (and get half of South Korea) blown up in the process.

If he starts killing Americans we have to respond. But we at least ought to wait to see what the fat kid with the bad haircut does before we send in the cruise missiles and B-2 bombers. If the North Koreans are dug in with much of their army and weapons hidden underground it will be like trying to capture Okinawa and Iwo Jima all over again.

Land wars in Asia are bad for our boys.

Rusty said...


We have spent trillions on a couple of dumb wars these last ten or twelve year and all we really have done is make the rubble bounce

Th Kurds and Afghan women might disagree.

Rusty said...

Joe. we know where the majority are hidden. We have air superiority

Gene said...

Rusty: Th Kurds and Afghan women might disagree.

Some might. Other Afghan women might be pissed at Obama for sending a drone to blow up bridesmaids and children because members of the Taliban were at the wedding too.



anna99168 said...

If you guys(I'm south Korean ) going to bomb N Korea, is it gonna hit S Korea?(3/4 of my family members live at S Korea):(

Peter said...

As a history professor, the author must know that air power by itself does not win wars.

If we're going to bomb NKorea, are we also willing to send infantry? If not, perhaps we shouldn't be starting something we're not willing to finish.

And if NKorea is actually capable of producing working nuclear weapons, I'd think the greater danger to the USA would be that they'd sell them to obtain some hard currency.

A shipping container is still a more likely delivery vehicle than an ICBM.

What they're doing is talking crazy in the hope that it'll win them some appeasement cash. It's like pulling the steering wheel off in a game of "chicken." I surely hope we do not encourage such behavior by making it pay off.

But if we're not willing to go to war then we're essentially neutered when it comes to countering NKorea's threatening behaviors.