Monday, May 16, 2005

Hair of the dog

If there were a WMD case for preemptive war, then it was (and is) much stronger regarding North Korea, which openly boasted of its progress towards building nuclear weapons, than it ever was for Iraq. Iraq was supposed to be the easy one, the warm-up act to intimidate Iran, North Korea, or any other country that wanted to oppose the US. The incompetents in Washington probably anticipated some insurgency in Iraq, but not on the scale that they got.

The problem with the occupation of Iraq is that the fighting must be done between US soldiers and local insurgents. No matter how much we try to 'Iraqize' the conflict by training local forces, the ultimate goal of the insurgents is always to harm US personnel. Terrorism against civilians is part of their technique, but their main target at this point is the US occupation.

Iran might well play out in similar ways.

But North Korea offers the option of Let's You and Him Fight. That is, once the US military obtains a battlefield victory over North Korea, then South Korean troops fight whatever insurgency develops. Pardon me for predicting, but I don't think that will be much.

Now, the freaks in Washington, the people who operate the president, may very well know that he is spent. He himself, and the supposed values that make him distinct, are going to be increasingly reviled by Americans and by history. So, they may reason, why not use him while we still have him in office, and gamble on something that may snatch victory from the jaws of defeat? At the least, an invasion of North Korea can keep things dynamic and maybe open some new ground for the '08 candidates (some combination of McCain and Powell is my guess).

The Korean people, and Japan and China, may shudder in horror at this prospect. But a war over there, in which mostly Koreans get killed, even if there are mass civilian casualties, possibly due to the use of an atomic weapon against Seoul, makes sense in a poll-driven, racist kind of way. The use of an actual WMD in a Korean conflict could bolster support for the president's ignorant and dangerous foreign policy in the minds of many Americans. "He was doing the right thing invading countries looking for WMD, because look what happened when he invaded North Korea!" Plus, The War going into '08 would be the Korean war, not that increasingly forgotten thing in Iraq.

It's a war we could win fairly quickly, in the "Mission Accomplished" sense of the initial, conventional military conflict involving planes and tanks. There would likely be little insurgency after reunification, and even if there were, the South Koreans would have to do the dying.

The North Koreans have very difficult supply problems. They can barely get food to their garrisons. They have difficulty deploying and staying on alert for extended periods. We may toy with them for months, forcing them to stay on alert while we feint.

For their part the North Koreans have two trumps. One is that they likely have one or more atomic weapons, home grown, or Soviet and acquired on the black market. The means of delivering the weapon by missile are possibly subject to frustration by US weapons, such as land- or sea-based theater missile defenses. Delivery by airplane is even less likely. So the weapon is probably already pre-positioned in South Korea. You can bet that the geniuses in Washington aren't looking for it, and are going to act mighty surprised if it goes off. "No one could have predicted that, any more than they could have predicted 9/111!"

The other, and better trump, is this supposed huge number of hardened artillery that the North Koreans have ready just North of Seoul. I think I heard that they could fire in excess of 100,000 rounds per hour into Seoul. Seoul may be big, but after a day of that, the city is going to look like the Moon.

So, if the US is going to drag South Korea into a preemptive reunification war, there has to be a plan for attacking and silencing as many of those guns as possible. Or there will be a plan for the orderly evacuation of the population of Seoul. We may concoct a story about an imminent North Korean invasion, or some ruse related to a North Korean nuclear test, to get those people out of there before the invasion.

Or, maybe the people in Washington welcome the idea of mass civilian casualties on the South Korean side. "See, I told you our enemies are barbarous, and I thank God that George W. Bush was taking the fight to them from the first day of his presidency!"

I was away with my son all day and only did these in the afternoon... Left grip is 40 pounds (36, 40, 40), right grip is 91 pounds (90, 85, 91), left leg balance is 9.9 seconds, and inhale volume is 4750 mL.

But Tom Clancy did
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