Sunday, August 13, 2017

Another Korean War Would Be ‘More Serious in Terms of Human Suffering’ Than the First

War with North Korea is not an option. The United States participated in one war with North Korea with devastating consequences that officially has not ended. A second Korean war would be even more devastating than the first.

Moreover, there is the war in Afghanistan that has been ongoing since 2001. And our armed forces are involved in conflicts in Iraq and Syria.

Nevertheless, President Donald Trump on Friday tweeted that "military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded" if the regime of Kim Jong Un should "act unwisely."

How does Trump order a nuclear attack? He just does it. If the president, as Commander and Chief of America’s Armed Forces, wants to strike, barring any Congressional action to stop it (i.e. if they have sufficient time to act), the Pentagon has to carry it out.

The dueling threats issued by President Trump and the North Korean military have prompted questions about U.S. procedures to launch a preemptive nuclear attack. The answer is stark: If the president wants to strike, his senior military advisers have few options but to carry it out or resign,” writes the Washington Post.

The arrangement has existed for decades, but is salient after Trump warned Tuesday that future threats by North Korea will be “met with fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.” Pyongyang responded by saying it is considering a preemptive missile strike against Guam, and Trump doubled down on his remarks Thursday by refusing to take a U.S. preemptive strike off the table and suggesting his comments might not have been tough enough.

Administration officials, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, have sought to ease the tension, while at the time same time warning North Korea that if it carries out an attack, it will be met with a crushing response. But they also have underscored that it is Trump’s prerogative to use whatever rhetoric he believes is appropriate as commander in chief.

I was not elected. The American people elected the president, Mattis told reporters traveling with him Wednesday to the West Coast. The rhetoric is up to the president.

The Korean War ended with an armistice and the loss of at least 2.5 million lives in July 1953 with North and South Korea still divided into two hostile states. The war accomplished nothing. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said a fight with North Korea would be more serious in terms of human suffering than anything since the original Korean War ended in 1953 and a war that fundamentally we don't want. 

Having just been fired as commander of allied forces in Korea, a defiant Douglas MacArthur appeared before Congress and spoke of human suffering so horrifying that his parting glimpse of it caused him to vomit.

“I have never seen such devastation,” the general told members of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees in May 1951. “I have seen, I guess, as much blood and disaster as any living man,” he added, “and it just curdled my stomach.”
North Korean artillery troops
conduct a firing exercise.

KCNA / Reuters

By Dan Lamothe