Sinking of Cheonan “clearly the work of North Korea’s military”

posted at 12:15 pm on April 22, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The Times of London picks up a report from Yonhap News that will put the two Koreas into a dangerous confrontation.  An investigation into the sudden explosion and sinking of South Korean corvette Cheonan has concluded that the ship was struck by a torpedo amidships.  Calling this “clearly the work of North Korea’s military,” the conclusion will force Seoul into some sort of retaliation — which could touch off another war on the peninsula:

Last month’s deadly sinking of a South Korean naval ship was caused by a North Korean torpedo, a news report said today, adding to pressure on the South’s President. Lee Myung Bak, to respond to one of the worst acts of military provocation since the Korean War.

The South Korean defence ministry declined to comment on the claim by the Yonhap news agency, the latest in a series of reports suggesting that the mysterious sinking of the naval corvette, Cheonan, on March 26 was a deliberate and unprovoked attack by North Korea.

Forty-six sailors are dead or missing after the attack, which cut the 1200-tonne vessel in two. But President Lee’s Government appears to be struggling to find an appropriate response, which will demonstrate its resolve in the face of aggression, but stop short of a costly and unpredictable war.

That may not be the last word on the cause, although the motive remains clear. The probe also considers the possibility of a suicide attack by submarine on the ship, prompted by a clash in November whose outcome embarrassed Pyongyang and its military. The Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported that the DPRK plotted its revenge by training “human torpedoes,” which may seem a little far-fetched but still possible. A standard torpedo launch would have been tracked by other ships, whereas a suicide (or remote controlled) submarine vessel could have remained undetected until detonation.

Lee won his election by promising a get-tough policy with Kim Jong-Il, saying that he would shoot three or four bullets back at Kim for every two sent their way. Now he has his opportunity to put that toughness on display, but it’s a delicate balancing act. Almost any kind of military retaliation would result in war, for which Seoul may be more prepared but still extremely vulnerable. Any kind of large-scale military action will leave tens of thousands dead, and missiles will rain down on the South almost from the start.

Lee also has to weigh the amount of support he can expect from the US if the Korean War reignites, especially from an act by Seoul against the North. Would Barack Obama take action against Kim under those circumstances? Or would the US back away from its security obligations, especially considering the close financial relationship between the US and China? Don’t expect to see anything too aggressive, as Lee most likely doesn’t want to discover the answer to those questions.


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Comment pages: 1 2

The North has been buying weapons on the black market for years, and that is one reason the nation is starving. Everyone, except Iran is fed up with North Korea. Even China.

saiga on April 22, 2010 at 1:23 PM

So explain why a few ships from NoKo have been taken via UAE and a few other Nation with arms in them to Iran…. They are buying items for nukes and Iran is a willing taker.

upinak on April 22, 2010 at 1:31 PM

They have concentrated artillery centered on the main population center of South Korea. It won’t be pretty.

MadisonConservative on April 22, 2010 at 1:20 PM

True, but the South has anti artillery radar that can return fire before the rounds hit. The preemtive strike against the North’s nukes will be the thing to watch for. Once thats done, I suspect cooperation between the South and China will force big political changes in the North.

Kim is a nut and China knows it. He is starting to sling mud on China, and they will do something.

The big problem is North Korea is one of only a few Communist governments left, and China doesn’t want this Mao style government to disgrace Chineese communism and threaten it’s communist rule.

saiga on April 22, 2010 at 1:32 PM

Cutting off food aid to North Korea would have devastating consequences.

Rebar on April 22, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Kim is a nut and China knows it. He is starting to sling mud on China, and they will do something.

The big problem is North Korea is one of only a few Communist governments left, and China doesn’t want this Mao style government to disgrace Chineese communism and threaten it’s communist rule.

saiga on April 22, 2010 at 1:32 PM

If china wanted change there would be change , they like what the nork is doing so they can play good cop.

the_nile on April 22, 2010 at 1:35 PM

Cutting off food aid to North Korea would have devastating consequences.

Why, did the get some?

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on April 22, 2010 at 1:35 PM

Prediction: what will happen here…Nothing and the US under Pres Obama will work very hard to make sure nothing of substance ever occurs.
And no angry letters are not an example of “something”

LincolntheHun on April 22, 2010 at 1:36 PM

saiga on April 22, 2010 at 1:32 PM

Umm check into News about Burma. Look at NoKo and China.. being friends concerning this.

upinak on April 22, 2010 at 1:36 PM

Don’t worry, Lee, Obooba’s got yer back.

Akzed on April 22, 2010 at 1:36 PM

So explain why a few ships from NoKo have been taken via UAE and a few other Nation with arms in them to Iran…. They are buying items for nukes and Iran is a willing taker.

upinak on April 22, 2010 at 1:31 PM

No doubt about it. N. Korea needs money badly, and weapons is all they have to offer.

This event could bring an end to the whole “axis of evil” between Iran and North Korea. In a strange set of events, North Korea may bring down Iran as an unintended consequence. Wouldn’t that be special.

saiga on April 22, 2010 at 1:37 PM

They have concentrated artillery centered on the main population center of South Korea. It won’t be pretty.

MadisonConservative on April 22, 2010 at 1:20 PM

Can they guarantee their ability to get off a shot before those guns are destroyed?

TheUnrepentantGeek on April 22, 2010 at 1:37 PM

Why, did the get some?
Dread Pirate Roberts VI on April 22, 2010 at 1:35 PM

Madeline Albright, genius that she was, worked out a plan to give N Korea food if they shut down nuke production, and they did, right up until they received the food, declared the US voided the treaty, and started back up.

LincolntheHun on April 22, 2010 at 1:38 PM

Cutting off food aid to North Korea would have devastating consequences.

Rebar on April 22, 2010 at 1:33 PM

And would be a horrible consideration. The people are already starving. The party leaders will take all the rations. Attempting to force a revolution could backfire seriously if we accept any part in the misery of the citizenry.

MadisonConservative on April 22, 2010 at 1:38 PM

Can they guarantee their ability to get off a shot before those guns are destroyed?

TheUnrepentantGeek on April 22, 2010 at 1:37 PM

Let’s put it this way: let’s put hundreds of cannons covering whatever city you live in, and ask yourself if you want to take that chance. Unless they’re going to evacuate millions preemptively, the risk is gargantuan.

MadisonConservative on April 22, 2010 at 1:39 PM

Yes, I Can (feat. Kim Jong Il)

Christien on April 22, 2010 at 1:40 PM

If china wanted change there would be change , they like what the nork is doing so they can play good cop.

the_nile on April 22, 2010 at 1:35 PM

I agree, and i also think China wants change there. I think their approach is to allow North Korea to self distruct so they don’t have to loose face by taking down a fellow commie government.

Once Kim is gone, China will set up a different power structure there.

saiga on April 22, 2010 at 1:40 PM

GREAT. North Korea attacking South Korea, Russia harassing Eastern Europe, Iran approaching nuclear weapons capability, elections coming soon in Britain, [peaceful, but still] protests and upcoming elections in the US, the US Dollar caving and with it our credibility, China becoming bolder, and in the middle of it all, Obama bowing to tyrants and undermining Israel.

WHAT COULD GO WRONG???

Animator Girl on April 22, 2010 at 1:41 PM

Or would the US back away from its security obligations, especially considering the close financial relationship between the US and China?

Obama will back away because he is the Chicken-$hit in Chief.

csdeven on April 22, 2010 at 1:42 PM

I agree, and i also think China wants change there. I think their approach is to allow North Korea to self distruct so they don’t have to loose face by taking down a fellow commie government.

Once Kim is gone, China will set up a different power structure there.

saiga on April 22, 2010 at 1:40 PM

No , they want norks to continue creating random problems for the west. Less pressure on china and more leverage for them.

the_nile on April 22, 2010 at 1:43 PM

GREAT. North Korea attacking South Korea, Russia harassing Eastern Europe, Iran approaching nuclear weapons capability, elections coming soon in Britain, [peaceful, but still] protests and upcoming elections in the US, the US Dollar caving and with it our credibility, China becoming bolder, and in the middle of it all, Obama bowing to tyrants and undermining Israel.

WHAT COULD GO WRONG???

Animator Girl on April 22, 2010 at 1:41 PM

It’s all just coincidents , not relating to Obamas weak posture and betrayal of allies.

the_nile on April 22, 2010 at 1:45 PM

Umm check into News about Burma. Look at NoKo and China.. being friends concerning this.

upinak on April 22, 2010 at 1:36 PM

What do you mean? Burma is a floundering mess with all kinds of unrest. North Korea is monolithic.

I think China is trying to tramp out the unrest and keep it out of China. Remember, China also has a border with Afghanistan and other religious radicals. Communism is Godless, and feels threatened by religion.

The North Korean dynamic is a horse of a different color.

saiga on April 22, 2010 at 1:45 PM

It’s all just coincidents , not relating to Obamas weak posture and betrayal of allies.

the_nile on April 22, 2010 at 1:45 PM

Totally. Obama is the most genius president EVAH.

I’m sure a nice speech by The One will make everybody friends again. Book Air Force One for Seoul!

Animator Girl on April 22, 2010 at 1:50 PM

No , they want norks to continue creating random problems for the west. Less pressure on china and more leverage for them.

the_nile on April 22, 2010 at 1:43 PM

I don’t think so. Back with Mao, China was dirt poor and pulled stupid stuff like the Cultural revolution. Now that they have money and a growing economy, they have far more to loose, and I don’t think they are willing to let the tail wag the dog and screw up their expanding markets.

Time will tell, but China knows north Korea has little to loose other than their government, where as China has a large growing economy and an upwardly mobil population.

Ill bet on the money winning out.

saiga on April 22, 2010 at 1:50 PM

Threaten South Korea. Tell them if they retaliate, we won’t support them.

That way we prevent a conflict.

Spathi on April 22, 2010 at 12:36 PM

If you’re serious about that and not being snarky I want your lunch money right now. If you give it to me without any resistance I promise (snicker) not to slap you around much. If you do it that way you prevent conflict.

Oldnuke on April 22, 2010 at 1:51 PM

Funny, but every time I mention the “Cult Rev” in china, my posts don’t post right away. Whats up with that?

saiga on April 22, 2010 at 1:52 PM

The Norks have enough dug in artillery to level Seoul in a couple of days. They also have quite a few Scuds of various ranges. Seoul would have to be evacuated before starting any large scale operations. Breitbart source on NK artillery.

GnuBreed on April 22, 2010 at 1:55 PM

Neither China or South Korea wants to see the north fall. Both countries would have to absorb a starving unskilled population.

The south studied German reunification, took notes and didn’t like the answer.

Heck, the north has entire airfields dug into mountains to protect them from attack. And artillery that can be fired from within a mountain. Even the folks who plan to take these locations out don’t think it can be done by air.

An assault (if the NK soldiers put up a fight) would make Iwo Jima look tame by comparison.

There was a book on it somewhere and Strategy Page or FAS will surely write on this soon.

cozmo on April 22, 2010 at 1:56 PM

No , they want norks to continue creating random problems for the west. Less pressure on china and more leverage for them.

the_nile on April 22, 2010 at 1:43 PM

I was trying to respond to your comment. In summary, China has money now and a growing economy. Years ago, they had little to loose except the government. I think the smart money in China needs new markets, and North korea is not worth the drama. When you are a large international vendor like China is now, PR matters, and North Korea is bad PR.

saiga on April 22, 2010 at 1:57 PM

These conflicts always start by boats for some reason ala Gulf of Tonkin, which turned out to be bogus later on.

Spathi on April 22, 2010 at 2:01 PM

saiga on April 22, 2010 at 1:45 PM

I told you to check it out concerning Burma.

upinak on April 22, 2010 at 2:01 PM

cozmo on April 22, 2010 at 1:56 PM

Very true. But, the best way to keep all those refugees from flooding into China and the South is to upgrade the quality of life in the North. I guarantee you the Chineese are working on a plan for that as we speak.

Time is not on North Korea’s side to be sure.

saiga on April 22, 2010 at 2:02 PM

Funny, but every time I mention the “Cult Rev” in china, my posts don’t post right away. Whats up with that?

saiga on April 22, 2010 at 1:52 PM

It’s the ‘R’ word.

DarkCurrent on April 22, 2010 at 2:02 PM

SK won’t do anything. Barry’s got their back. And they know how much that’s worth.

GarandFan on April 22, 2010 at 2:03 PM

These conflicts always start by boats for some reason ala Gulf of Tonkin, which turned out to be bogus later on.
Spathi on April 22, 2010 at 2:01 PM

How much of an idiot are you? This boat sank.. and they said it was either NoKo or a “Flock of Seagulls” and guess what… it was NOKO!

nevermind.. you are worth my time.

upinak on April 22, 2010 at 2:04 PM

upinak on April 22, 2010 at 2:01 PM

I think that is the wrong link. It is about Iran.

saiga on April 22, 2010 at 2:05 PM

These conflicts always start by boats for some reason ala Gulf of Tonkin, which turned out to be bogus later on.

Spathi on April 22, 2010 at 2:01 PM

The attacks, maybe. The deaths…not quite so. Somebody, somewhere counted those sailors as expendable.

Dark-Star on April 22, 2010 at 2:05 PM

DarkCurrent on April 22, 2010 at 2:02 PM

You know, you are probably right.

Aint that something.

saiga on April 22, 2010 at 2:06 PM

When you are a large international vendor like China is now, PR matters, and North Korea is bad PR.

saiga on April 22, 2010 at 1:57 PM

Yep

DarkCurrent on April 22, 2010 at 2:07 PM

I think that is the wrong link. It is about Iran.

saiga on April 22, 2010 at 2:05 PM

You are right.. here is the correct link.

But Fox had something on it yesterday… very odd.

upinak on April 22, 2010 at 2:10 PM

Spathi on April 22, 2010 at 2:01 PM

Benefit of the doubt for any Communist or Islamic fundamentalist nation, instant condemnation of any Western or democratic nation.

You’re sick.

MadisonConservative on April 22, 2010 at 2:11 PM

Lee also has to weigh the amount of support he can expect from the US…

Even Joe “mark my words” Biden was able to see this one coming. It appears though that out of respect for our new socialist leader our enemies waited more that six months so that it would not seem so obvious.

pitythefool on April 22, 2010 at 2:12 PM

They are designed to be very very difficult to take out short of a nuclear attack.

Steveangell on April 22, 2010 at 1:06 PM

So the problem is?
the_nile on April 22, 2010 at 1:15 PM

Seoul would get fallout most likely it is that close.

Seriously though so is the border. North Koreans are not stupid these positions are as close to the border as possible to make them impossible to take out without giving up our positions. Taking them out is simply not possible with nuclear either. A real war would take out at least 100,000 South Koreans very quickly. If it happens it would get very nasty very fast. Easily becoming the worse conflict since WW2 because of newer weapons than existed in the Korean or Vietnam wars. Furthermore North Korea has Nukes and could use them taking out millions.

Not so sure in this case that Bush could have handled it much better. Except it is very unlikely that North Korea would have done this then. As Joe said “Obama will be tested”.

Steveangell on April 22, 2010 at 2:12 PM

As crazy and “provocative” as KIJ is, does anyone here believe that he would have pulled this sort of thing if Bush was still in charge… or if McCain/Palin had won?

Johnny 100 Pesos on April 22, 2010 at 2:13 PM

NoKo has a little small man syndrom. That is their problem. And you know what happens when small man syndrom takes over…. they explode until put back in their place.

upinak on April 22, 2010 at 12:51 PM

This insane little man can start a conflict that could draw in china, the U.S. and perhaps the world. It’s why I suspect NK will get away with this. A child that is acting out for attention will continue to escalate, so I wonder what the next provocation will be. A direct attack on SK or our troops?

DFCtomm on April 22, 2010 at 2:15 PM

saiga on April 22, 2010 at 1:32 PM

The Norks have an estimated 20,000 artillery pieces within range of Seoul, and how many of them are in bunkers are unknown. I don’t think counter-battery fire will be all that effective.

Holger on April 22, 2010 at 2:15 PM

These conflicts always start by boats for some reason ala Gulf of Tonkin, which turned out to be bogus later on.

Well, the second “attack” was incorrectly reported to the White House. No lies were told; they just got bad information. Although one can criticize LBJ for going with unsubstantiated information.

But the NVA did attack a US ship two days earlier.

SteveMG on April 22, 2010 at 2:18 PM

But Fox had something on it yesterday… very odd.

upinak on April 22, 2010 at 2:10 PM

This article is very interesting, but it backs up my point. Burma is not terribly worried about outside threats, but more worried about domestic threats. They are an economic basket case replete with unrest. China is the puppet master there, and I would not be surprized if China isn’t using Burma as an information engine about North Korea’s processes and secret military infrastructure.

Those Chineese can be sneaky.

saiga on April 22, 2010 at 2:22 PM

Animator Girl on April 22, 2010 at 1:41 PM

Why so negative? Just brush you skittle pooping unicorn, smoke a little medical MJ and everything will be fine.
Just like Pres Obama promised.

LincolntheHun on April 22, 2010 at 2:23 PM

The Norks have an estimated 20,000 artillery pieces within range of Seoul, and how many of them are in bunkers are unknown. I don’t think counter-battery fire will be all that effective.

Holger on April 22, 2010 at 2:15 PM

Point taken. Look at Iwo Jima. However, I really think that if North Korea got that far out of the bag, the Red Army would shut it down. North Korea is surrounded by water on two sides, and unhappy neighbors above and below. They can’t even feed themselves. An attack on South Korea would be the end for them, and i believe they know it.

It seems clear to me thy are dancing on a very very thin line. They need to keep presenting a threat to recieve extortion money to survive. Making it on arms sales alone won’t cut it. Foreign aid is what keeps them afloat. Attacking South Korea in a big way would insure their demise by stopping. All income including an embargo on shipping to sell arms.

They are already screwed. The only questions are when they crash, and how big a bang do they make when they crash.

saiga on April 22, 2010 at 2:32 PM

Gird your loins!
Biden was only off by about a year.

OxyCon on April 22, 2010 at 2:40 PM

Sounds like someone’s just bought themselves a strict “I’m concerned” from our CiC. Just pray that he doesn’t alter it to an “I’m DEEPLY concerned.”

DrAllecon on April 22, 2010 at 2:42 PM

They are already screwed. The only questions are when they crash, and how big a bang do they make when they crash.

saiga on April 22, 2010 at 2:32 PM

They too studied Germany and the fall of the other totalitarian regimes in Eastern Europe. Those at the top feel that they have nothing to lose. Those in the middle are being pulled (by China and the south) and purged (by the one’s who have nothing to lose) while those on the bottom starve.

China and the south are working hard for a soft landing that keeps the borders intact while the north take shots at all sides for either material or a propaganda gain. They think they know how far they can go and haven’t crossed that line. The only one’s who really want the north to fall are those in the north at the bottom. And they are starving.

Smart folks would have caused that fall before the NK’s got nukes. There just weren’t enough smart people running things then, or now. They just hope for the best, or that the stuff hits the fan after they are gone.

cozmo on April 22, 2010 at 2:50 PM

The North has a long history of provocations:
The Pueblo
Tunnels under the DMZ
The Panmunjom Axe Murders
The Rangoon Bombing
Blowing up passenger jets
Mini Sub insertions of agents who engage in multi-day fire fights
Kidnappings
Assassinations
Incidental firefights across the DMZ
North Korean Special Forces crossing the DML
Sinking civilian vessels
North Korean Ships penetrating Southern waters

The north uses these provocations for domestic propaganda. The country’s population is largely unhinged from reality after generations of abuse and propaganda.

R Square on April 22, 2010 at 2:50 PM

A war with the North would be catastrophic for both sides but would quickly favor USFK-ROC. North Korean agents would likely blow things up in strategic terrorist attacks, the North would likely detonate their water bomb, flooding the south and massive artillery barrage of Seoul and CRC.

American losses would be significant within the first phase of the war. Again, north Korean agents would wreak havoc and artillery pieces are most likely zeroed in on specific buildings.

A 2nd Korean war is hard to imagine as North Korea would be over run after a short period of massive destruction on both sides.

R Square on April 22, 2010 at 3:04 PM

Why so negative? Just brush you skittle pooping unicorn, smoke a little medical MJ and everything will be fine.
Just like Pres Obama promised.

LincolntheHun on April 22, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Obama to Animator Girl: WHY SO SERIOUS?

Animator Girl on April 22, 2010 at 3:10 PM

Calling this “clearly the work of North Korea’s military,” the conclusion will force Seoul into some sort of retaliation — which could touch off another war on the peninsula

I seriously doubt that South Korea will do any more than flap their gums again.

A liitle history

1968, Park Assassination Attempt – Commandos of North Korea’s 124th Army Unit attack the Korean presidential palace, the �Blue House,� coming within 500 meters of the president’s residence before being stopped. 28 commandos and 37 South Koreans are killed in the incident.

1970, Another Assassination Attempt – A North Korean agent attempts to place a bomb intended to kill South Korean president Park Chung Hee at the Seoul National Cemetery. The agent is killed.

1974, Yet Another Presidential Assassination Attempt – A Korean resident of Japan visiting Seoul attempts to kill President Park and kills Park’s wife instead.

1983, Burma Bombing – North Koreans attempting to assassinate South Korean president Chun Doo Hwan detonate a bomb in Rangoon, the capital of Burma. They kill four South Korean Cabinet ministers and 13 other South Korean delegates.

1987, KAL Flight 858 – A female North Korean agent places a bomb aboard a South Korean jetliner. It explodes over the Andaman Sea, killing all 115 people on board. This is seen as an attempt to derail the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

MB4 on April 22, 2010 at 3:17 PM

South Korea under the Obama bus in……5…….4…….3….

PappyD61 on April 22, 2010 at 3:25 PM

Lee also has to weigh the amount of support he can expect from the US if the Korean War reignites, especially from an act by Seoul against the North.

Lee may be talking with Bibi on the phone right now.

“Hey Bibi, do you think I can count on Obama? Hello, Bibi, Bibi … .. Bibi, are you still there?”

There was a time when we had tactical nuclear mines and artillery warheads in South Korea but Jimmy the First removed them.

MB4 on April 22, 2010 at 3:25 PM

Just like Iraq, the WMD wildcard can always wreak havoc. Kim has no problem being the world’s pariah, so using chemical weapons in a full scale war wouldn’t be that much of a stretch. Hitting the major US Airbases in Osan and Kunsan with persistant chemical agents could slow down air operations enough to keep his artillery firing for days or possibly weeks. Sure both bases have PATRIOT batteries, but a North Korean Special Forces team outside the wire with a mortar could take out the radar right before a massive scud barrage.

In the military decision making process, there are always two enemy courses of action that are analyzed. They are the Most Likely and the Most Dangerous. If Kim really wanted to go all in, he could also use one of nukes on Osan and take out the 7th Air Force Headquarters, and use his long range scuds on the US Airbases in Japan as well. That is a Most Dangerous scenario.

BohicaTwentyTwo on April 22, 2010 at 3:26 PM

I’m confident that the president put North Korea on notice with an angry letter expressing his outrage over this unprovoked attack, which threatens even more angry letters in the future for every attack on our South Korean allies who really hate the Americans.

Mad Kimchi on April 22, 2010 at 3:43 PM

Benefit of the doubt for any Communist or Islamic fundamentalist nation, instant condemnation of any Western or democratic nation.

You’re sick.

MadisonConservative on April 22, 2010 at 2:11 PM

It’s leaving libertarianism behind for Paulism, and worse.

exception on April 22, 2010 at 3:46 PM

Let’s put it this way: let’s put hundreds of cannons covering whatever city you live in, and ask yourself if you want to take that chance. Unless they’re going to evacuate millions preemptively, the risk is gargantuan.

MadisonConservative on April 22, 2010 at 1:39 PM

I’d say the risk is already there. If the Norks are willing to take out the occasional ship what else will they be willing to attack? How long before they decide it’s time for a pre-emptive strike?

TheUnrepentantGeek on April 22, 2010 at 4:25 PM

Well now this is interesting, but not unexpected. As a Korea watcher I have been keeping an eye on the Cheonan Incident for a while. Sad to see that I was right, and North Korea was responsible for the sinking.

Now what will President Yi do? He is in a very difficult situation, no matter how you look at it. Victory would be a foregone conclusion but at what cost? Will the KPA fight? And what of Gim Jeong-il’s much feared artillery?

And of course: What will Obama do?

Shogun144 on April 22, 2010 at 5:01 PM

Not so sure in this case that Bush could have handled it much better. Except it is very unlikely that North Korea would have done this then. As Joe said “Obama will be tested”.

Steveangell on April 22, 2010 at 2:12 PM

–North Korea’s economy situation has been declining faster and faster over the last ten years. This may have more to do with them running out of other options than anything Obama has or hasn’t done.

Jimbo3 on April 22, 2010 at 5:37 PM

This may have more to do with them running out of other options than anything Obama has or hasn’t done.

Jimbo3 on April 22, 2010 at 5:37 PM

Just keep telling yourself that. Its South Korea’s president that has put the fear of failing into the North. He shut off the freebies and now the north has no fear of the US since Obama has changed the policy towards them.

cozmo on April 22, 2010 at 5:47 PM

South Korea needs to execute a retalliation with no clear South Korean fingerprints on it…so that it takes North Korea at least a couple of months to figure out what happened…but eventually delivers a message.

landlines on April 22, 2010 at 6:40 PM

And of course: What will Obama do?

Shogun144 on April 22, 2010 at 5:01 PM

Obama’s record is clear: If his hand is forced, he will give a meaningless speech. Then he’ll do nothing and claim that whatever is happening is somebody else’s fault.

landlines on April 22, 2010 at 6:44 PM

Seem to be a lot of people severely over-estimating NORK capability. This is 2010, not 1950.

U.S. ground forces may be somewhat “Stretched” (But that’s more a result of our rotational practices, which would go out the window in the event of a major war), but have any of you guys even heard of the U.S. Navy? (Which is not “over-stretched” and maintains decent capability despite the best efforts of the Dems)

In particular, U.S. submarines? (Which carry conventional cruise missles in addition to nukes, etc) Aircraft carriers? Surface ships carrying cruise missles? Etc. etc. etc?? (We also have bases in Japan, well within range of Korea).

Any attack on U.S. air bases in South Korea would NOT leave NORK free to continue shelling for “days” as that artillery would be gone in a matter of hours.
Oh, and China needs us far more than we need them. If all ties with China were cut, Americans would have to pay a few more bucks for some of their junk – whereas China would lose its economy. (All those “bonds” are only worth what we are willing to pay for them.)

Nope, the ONLY real problem here is one BHO – otherwise the U.S. would be sitting pretty.

P.S. Those who accuse South Korea of resting on U.S. defense laurels apparently have no clue about South Korean military capabilities.

Fatal on April 22, 2010 at 6:53 PM

U.S. Navy? (Which is not “over-stretched” and maintains decent capability despite the best efforts of the Dems)

The US navy is a “blue water” navy, combat with North Korea would be littoral. The NK’s and the south and China are set up for littoral combat. The two new Littoral warfare ships (Liberty and Freedom) and the Cyclone class ships are not enough.

And, as had been said many times, the Capital of South Korea is within artillery range of the north from the outset. Several million civilians are in the cross-hairs.

Yeah, the US could take out the NK artillery in a matter of hours…you willing to bet your life on that? Iwo Jima was a much smaller battlefield and a fleet the size of the current US navy couldn’t take out its artillery. North Korea has been preparing for the next war for over 50 years. Even in their current state things would be a mess.
Even the bunker busting bombs (of which the number is limited) cannot pierce a mountain. The NK’s have entire bases as buried as deep as NORAD’s headquarters.

P.S. Those who accuse South Korea of resting on U.S. defense laurels apparently have no clue about South Korean military capabilities.

Fatal on April 22, 2010 at 6:53 PM

The south makes some really nice equipment. I particularly like their mini-Abrams. If the defense were entirely in the hands of the Americans in country, it would be a replay of the first Korean war with a possible different outcome.

cozmo on April 22, 2010 at 8:38 PM

At the start of the second Korean War, Hussein could not be reached for comment until he finished his round of golf, whereuon he stated, “I have no comment at this time. Someone will get back to you later.”

Friendly21 on April 22, 2010 at 8:45 PM

North Korea can murder south Koreans anytime they want and this gutless world will do NOTHING.

royzer on April 22, 2010 at 9:26 PM

North Korea can murder south Koreans anytime they want and this gutless world will do NOTHING.

royzer on April 22, 2010 at 9:26 PM

As if the world ever really cared. It cares even less when only the North Korean civilians are dying. The world doesn’t count, it will be the US, Britain, Australia, NZ and possibly Canada and France. The South can handle the job, they have been learning and practicing, the tough job will be taking care of what is left. Depending on how the north fights. This has been brewing for decades, and technically the first Korean war hasn’t ended. The US cannot be everywhere all the time. And when it tries, it is excoriated.

In a perfect world it would be done for the North Korean civilians. In the real world, it has to be balanced with the cost in brave young lives and treasure.

cozmo on April 22, 2010 at 9:39 PM

We tried to do something in 1950 if any of you people remember. What did we get for our 53,000 dead troops? NOTHING!! Let the goddam civilians in North Korea eat shrapnel for all I care. They bought into the communist bullshit so now let them reap their crop. I have no sympathy for the murderous bastards. One year of duty over there taught me a lot as a young soldier. Blame the right people – the Soviets and the Red Chinese. Let them feed them!!! We owe them nothing. Period!

LarryG on April 22, 2010 at 9:48 PM

The North sinks one of the South’s vessels, the South needs to drag a symbolic mass of the ship’s wreckage (and memorial headstones for each victim) to the current DMZ and present it as evidence of a terrorist act and demand that the Northern war criminals be delivered to justice.

Or, first, all aid to such a lawless regime will cease.

And, second, any further provocations will be met with a remorseless response.

profitsbeard on April 22, 2010 at 10:01 PM

This North Korean attack smells like an Iranian test.
Remember, the Korean War started at the instigation of
Stalin to distract from Berlin and the cease fire was called shortly after Stalin’s demise in 1953.
The next Iranian test will come from Venezuela.

RobCon on April 23, 2010 at 10:37 AM

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