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The Pentagon's intelligence arm has assessed with "moderate confidence" that North Korea has the ability to deliver a nuclear weapon with a ballistic missile, though the reliability is believed to be "low."
Wow! US intelligence just now discovered that North Korea can deliver nuclear bombs with missiles! I guess the next stage of total ignorance until the last second would be making the same discovery when Seattle disappeared in a fireball!

But at least all the chief warriors of our awesome military establishment are on the same page. Or not.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, who was testifying before the House committee, appeared to be caught off guard when asked by Lamborn whether he agreed with the DIA assessment.

"Well, I haven't seen it," Dempsey replied. "And you said it's not publicly released, so I -- I choose not to comment on it."

That guy wouldn't have looked any stupider if he dropped trou.

And of course every day brings a brand new metaphor for how close to war we are.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said North Korea has “been skating very close to a dangerous line” and should tone down its “bellicose rhetoric” to ease mounting tensions in the region.
Then Hagel stepped back from the near-term, and painted a beautiful little picture of our Army of Tomorrow, when the Pentagon will be transformed into "an agency administering benefit programs, capable of buying only limited quantities of irrelevant and overpriced equipment."

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Comment Preferences

  •  The Issue Is Miniaturization, Can They Shrink a (11+ / 0-)

    nuke down small and light enough to fly on a missile. Reports I was hearing today say this if true is a new development. It's commonly reported as a non-trivial problem to solve.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 06:38:36 PM PDT

  •  Technically (3+ / 0-)

    we drop bombs from drones on people in Afghanistan or Pakistan who threaten to blow up a skyscraper, so threatening to nuke us should be requiring some action beyond talks of it just being posturing.

  •  As always, this is foolish panic-mongering. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paul1a, Aspe4

    Presume North Korea has the capacity to reliably launch a handful of actual nuclear warheads using long range missiles. Ignoring the fact that their first nuclear test fizzled, and that their program overall is quite primitive.

    Do you seriously think North Korea's leadership will invite instant and total annihilation of their entire country by launching a missile at the U.S.? Really? They have certainly proven themselves to be vile, vicious, selfish troglodytes happy to condemn thousands of their own citizens to death by starvation to preserve their rule. But they are not suicidal.

    Remember, people. For decades we faced a Soviet Union armed with literally 10,000 thermonuclear warheads, half of them deployed and ready to launch. They didn't do so because they knew any attack would result in their own annihilation by a retaliatory strike. The relevant term is 'deterrence'. Worked for decades. Still works. Even with vile, autocratic foreign leaders.

    •  the problem is the craziness of NK (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Frank Whitaker, randomfacts, Aspe4

      The Soviets had a horrible government, but they didn't talk crazy like NK.

      We probably have to just hope it's all posturing to avoid a military coup. We can't actually do anything, because of Seoul.

      •  Kruschev: "We will bury you". (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aspe4

        I beg to differ. Soviets did indeed indulge in some pretty crazy rhetoric. They also tempted fate with adventures like trying to sneak nuclear-armed missiles into Cuba. But at the end of the day they knew that an actual nuclear strike would mean their own extermination.

        The same holds true for North Korea's crazy leaders. I mean, Kim Jong Il had a South Korean movie director whose work he liked kidnapped and held captive for years to make movies just for him! Now that's some serious crazy right there. Yet it's always been quite apparent that North Korea's leaders, crazy as they are, have a very powerful desire to preserve their own lives and their privileged position at the head of their bizarro-world state.

        •  "We will bury you" in Russian culture (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koNko, Paul1a, Ralphdog, Aspe4

          means "We will outlive you, and be present at your funeral." The Soviets never thought that they could manage a first strike where they could survive the counterattack.

          North Korea has been blustering in this fashion since the Soviets installed Kim Il Sung after the Japanese surrender in WW II. They tried a ground invasion, and they haven't tried anything more than provocations and one assassination attempt since. (I was in South Korea as a Peace Corps volunteer during the assassination attempt. One of the North Koreans fragged a bus, killing a friend of a friend of mine, among others.)

          An actual attempt by North Korea to attack either South Korea in force or the US with missiles would be a disaster, resulting in massive death in both Koreas at the beginning, and the nearly immediate annihilation of the North Korean government and military. There would be some US deaths at military bases in Korea right at the beginning, until the artillery barrages against Seoul and a few other places could be ended, but very few in combat.

          The next step would be an emergency military government in the North, probably under UN auspices, but without much interference from China or Russia, and reunification with the South. That would be an expensive and difficult transition for Koreans, worse than German reunification in many ways because of the backwardness of the NK economy and the decades of starvation and helplessness of the population, but that's all. The South would open the rail lines for trade with China and Russia, and so on, and we would all get on with things. After a generation or so peace in the region would just be normal and ordinary.

          Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

          by Mokurai on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 09:46:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Khrushchev's "We will bury you" statement (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Aspe4

            was made in the context of the historic competition between capitalist and socialist economy. It was not a war threat.

            Khrushchev claimed and may actually have believed for awhile that the Soviet economy would surpass America's by 1970.

            Except during the Korean War Soviet leaders never engaged in the kind of wild militarist rhetoric we've been hearing from North Korea.  

      •  The crazy talk is all part of the game (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aspe4

        NK knows what they're doing.  They've been doing it for 60 years with success.  It's all posturing.  They have a new leader, and he's out kicking the geopolitical tires to see what he can get in the way of concessions.  

        On the US side, you don't have to worry because they have no oil or anything else to take.  

        They're not crazy, btw.  Evil, yes, but not nuts.  Kim himself was educated in Switzerland, as were many of the top dogs in NK.  They know and understand the West better than you think.  Our media doesn't like to point this out because "unhinged dictatorship with nukes" plays better than "fat kid is giving us the raspberry".  

  •  NK has to put fake rockets in their parades (0+ / 0-)

    because their real ones suck so bad.  Seattle?  Please.  If the thing can make it halfway to Guam without blowing up of its own accord, I'll be impressed.  The damn things are tinkertoys, and they only have a couple of them.  

    Even if they did, say, have a few reliable nukes that could be delivered with a real rocket, then what?  They're going to launch them at the USA?  Or Japan?  Or even Seoul?  For what purpose?

    Frank, I appreciate your efforts to keep us updated, and I really am not trying to be a jerk here... but you must answer my question, please.  What, exactly, would NK gain by starting a war, especially a nuclear war?  Knowing what you know now about how their government works, where they were educated, what their lifestyle is like and the dough they have stashed in Switzerland, why the hell would they do it?  

  •  North Korea's leaders (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Frank Whitaker, Aspe4

    would not deliberately launch a nuclear war, but their irresponsible rhetoric might very well drive them to some act of aggression with the mistaken assumption the US and South Korea would not retaliate.

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