Heads up: Pentagon report suggests North Korea might already have nuclear missiles

posted at 4:21 pm on April 11, 2013 by Allahpundit

Via Eli Lake, who had a separate timely piece this morning quoting experts who think the world should be taking this latest NorK tantrum more seriously than it is. Fast-forward to this afternoon’s House Armed Services Committee hearing with Hagel and Joint Chiefs Chair Martin Dempsey. Lake:

According to the [Defense Intelligence Agency] report, “DIA assesses with moderate confidence the North currently has nuclear weapons capable of delivery by ballistic missiles however the reliability will be low.” That line was read aloud by Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Republican from Colorado, on Thursday during a House Armed Services Committee hearing. Lamborn was questioning Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, who seemed taken aback and declined to answer the question, saying, “I haven’t seen it and you said it’s not publicly released so I choose not to comment on it.”…

The DIA’s conclusion also has implications for how the U.S. assesses progress on Iran’s nuclear program. North Korea has shared advanced missile technology with Iran, according to a February 2010 diplomatic cable disclosed the same year by Wikileaks. North Korean engineers were also found at the Syrian nuclear site bombed by Israel in 2007 known as al-Kibar, according to photos released by the U.S. government nearly a year after the strike.

If NK knows how to miniaturize nukes and stick them in missile warheads, Iran eventually will too. I’m not sure what that bit about “reliability” in the excerpt means, though. Does it mean their missiles are so rickety that they’d fail in the air, as as has happened before? Or does it mean they could hit something on the ground but probably not the specific target they’re aiming it? There’s not much comfort in the latter: Imagine Kim deciding he’s going to flex the ultimate muscle by nuking some uninhabited atoll and instead he hits Japan or Guam. Nuclear war, full stop. Michael Totten wonders, what if Kim’s serious this time?

Kim almost certainly isn’t serious, but what if he is? How would we know? His attention-seeking theatrics are identical to the behavior of a lunatic hell-bent on blowing the region apart. If war breaks out next month, everyone who has been paying even the slightest bit of attention to the Korean Peninsula will slap their forehead and see, with the clarity of hindsight, that every warning we could possibly need, want, and expect was right there in front of us.

The North Korean military is nothing like Saddam Hussein’s or Moammar Qaddafi’s. Pyongyang has such an enormous array of artillery batteries targeting South Korea (the capital, Seoul, is only 30 or so miles away from the border) that hundreds of thousands of people could be killed over the weekend. North Korea would eventually lose at the hands of South Korea and the United States. It would be finished forever as a state. But the cost in lives would be unspeakable.

The regime is like a honeybee. It can sting only once, then it dies. But it’s like a honeybee the size of a grizzly bear.

Read this Time piece about the significance of April 15, Kim Il-Sung’s birthday, to North Korean saber-rattling. The Kims do tend to get a bit friskier in early April per Time’s chronology. Cross your fingers for an uneventful weekend, as unlikely as that now seems. Even Dick Cheney’s worried. Exit question: How on earth is it that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff hasn’t yet seen the report Lamborn’s quoting here?

Update: A defense expert at British think tank tells the Times, “They now have a deliverable warhead,” albeit no missile — yet — that could reach American soil beyond bases in Japan. Does Iran have a deliverable warhead too?


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Axe on April 11, 2013 at 6:04 PM

Gonna miss you while I am in blackout mode once I get back, between your sense of humor and the depth of your musings, you have made this year a bit more palatable.

AP won’t respond, I was over the top on purpose, only confirming his hidden alphaness. His not responding is the key to that acknowledgement;) Kinda like Kevin Costner in Waterworld, that strikes me as the real AP persona.

MarshFox on April 11, 2013 at 6:48 PM

The thing is even if they have the capability to detonate a nuke over Nebraska and fry all of our electronics the headquarters of the Pacific fleet in Honolulu will be unaffected, will retaliate and will flatten North Korea so it’s still a suicide for the Kim regime to do it. If you’re committing suicide anyway then why bother with the secondary effects from an EMP blast? They would be taking their only shot and just crossing their fingers that the device even functions correctly and then that the blast is successful in causing the havoc they’re hoping for before the rest of the world rushes into the US with aid. Seems like a bad bet to me. If the goal of the Kims is to watch America burn before they do then drop the nuke on a city. Way more casualties that way and way stronger visuals.

alchemist19 on April 11, 2013 at 6:37 PM

Yea why make a shot at killing 200 million americans and disabling the command and control system of the United States Military. Why indeed…and yes that is what happens if this crazy son of a gun launches and EMP strike on us. Far worse than anything one nuke dropped on even NYC would be….

And if you think the Pacific Fleet is gonna launch a nuke strike on anyone without a whole bunch of politicians lining up then you haven’t been paying attention. Our military isn’t designed anymore to take shots by itself. Benghazi anyone?

And lets just go ahead and dispense with the idea that Kim is some rational actor drawing up a list of pros and cons…and totting them up.

PierreLegrand on April 11, 2013 at 6:51 PM

Time for a Jay Z and Beyonce ‘cultural’ visit.

vinman on April 11, 2013 at 4:27 PM

yeah, they could visit a N Korean forced labor camp and tweet their first impressions from there…though finding a rhyme for ‘labor camp’ might be a challenge for that cultural titan, Jay-Z…

jimver on April 11, 2013 at 7:08 PM

So what are the odds that they have also underestimated the mass of an object that the Norkies can put in orbit around the Earth? FOBS anyone?

slickwillie2001 on April 11, 2013 at 7:26 PM

Does this situation sound familiar? I seem to recall an uproar a few years ago by democrats re. weapons of mass destruction.
What will you do now Mr. President?

diogenes on April 11, 2013 at 7:33 PM

The thing is even if they have the capability to detonate a nuke over Nebraska and fry all of our electronics the headquarters of the Pacific fleet in Honolulu will be unaffected, will retaliate and will flatten North Korea so it’s still a suicide for the Kim regime to do it. If you’re committing suicide anyway then why bother with the secondary effects from an EMP blast? They would be taking their only shot and just crossing their fingers that the device even functions correctly and then that the blast is successful in causing the havoc they’re hoping for before the rest of the world rushes into the US with aid. Seems like a bad bet to me. If the goal of the Kims is to watch America burn before they do then drop the nuke on a city. Way more casualties that way and way stronger visuals.

alchemist19 on April 11, 2013 at 6:37 PM

I don’t understand why you see retaliation from the REB from an EMP as a given. If an EMP strike is successful, the spin from Russian and China will be “poor Americans, their iPods and cellphones have stopped working.” The damage however will be in the trillions, and will make 9/11 look like a Code Pink protest.

After that, you really expect the REB to launch nuclear strikes on North Korean cities and start firestorms that will incinerate ten million people, and China and Russia will do nothing?

You are completely missing the perverse beauty of this kind of asymmetrical warfare.

slickwillie2001 on April 11, 2013 at 7:40 PM

alchemist19 on April 11, 2013 at 6:37 PM


You really need to read “One Second After” straight away.

PolAgnostic on April 11, 2013 at 7:48 PM

Additionally, here are some points to consider if a EMP strike is launched on us.

1. Much of our water supply is controlled by electricity, if not all of it. If they go offline because the electrical system is fried then the last thing I want the military doing is starting a war. You don’t start a war when the people you are defending are literally dying of thirst. I would hope the military would use whatever command and control systems they have, won’t be much because all of the military bases depend on civilian power, to coordinate rescue of the american population.

2. How many of you have food stockpiles? How much do you have stocked? Enough to last 6 months? It might take at least that long to get some sort of supply chain rigged up…and I have fasted for 3 days at a time but a 180 fast is asking a lot. So by that time a WHOLE bunch of people are going to be looking for your stash of food. And I love ya man but my kids are hungry, you got to give it up…boom.

3. How do you know where to find food? All the power is out radio is gone, internet is gone, Amazon is gone, it isn’t like you are gonna hear about those Army food trucks delivering food 15 miles away.

4. Have you looked into the logistics of water supply for a family of 5? I have and it ain’t pretty. Just drinking, no bathing.

Someone earlie said we would go back to 1450…probably more like 2000bc.

No baby if someone lights off a nuke 200 miles above Topeka we are well and truly screwed….overwhemingly screwed. Planning doesn’t help because unless you have at least 30 well armed people living with you it will simply be stolen. Hopefully you won’t die.

PierreLegrand on April 11, 2013 at 7:53 PM

“Kim, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?”


Do it

dmann on April 11, 2013 at 7:55 PM

Gosh and let’s not talk about all the airliners that will simply auger into the ground…probably around 4000 are in the air at any one moment…BOOOOOM.

Then all the medicines…diabetics better study up on holistic ways of managing your diabetes.

All the folks living on kidney, heart and various other medical miracles…sorry.

One Second After will scare the crap out of you. Forward by Newt Gingrich…

And how do we stop an irrational actor who is actively murdering his own people? Threaten his people with nuclear destruction? What if the crazy bastard is suicidal or a fanatic like Dinnerjacket?

WW1 killed upwards of 65 million people…why did it start? Was that a rational decision? Were there any truly crazy people like Kim and Dinnerjacket? Nope…supposedly rational actors started a war that killed 65 million that led to another war that killed 70 million that enabled the communists to kill 100 million.

Let’s not forget how crazy the world is…normalcy bias sucks.

PierreLegrand on April 11, 2013 at 8:03 PM

if they can put it on a missile they can put it in a backpack. Austin is not so far fetched now not with the wide open southern border.

unseen on April 11, 2013 at 8:10 PM

PierreLegrand on April 11, 2013 at 6:51 PM

Be proactive, off yourself………m’kay!

dmann on April 11, 2013 at 8:11 PM

oh and if it can hit japan it can hit China or Russia. How will the chicomns and Russians react to a nuked city on thier soil?

unseen on April 11, 2013 at 8:18 PM

Be proactive, off yourself………m’kay!
dmann on April 11, 2013 at 8:11 PM

heh…Nah because I want to be around to say I told you so.

PierreLegrand on April 11, 2013 at 8:19 PM

After that, you really expect the REB to launch nuclear strikes on North Korean cities and start firestorms that will incinerate ten million people, and China and Russia will do nothing?

You are completely missing the perverse beauty of this kind of asymmetrical warfare.

slickwillie2001 on April 11, 2013 at 7:40 PM

You are assumming that China and Russia are not a part of NK’s game.

Let’s see NK lunches an EMP takes out command and control and most of America strength. China moves on the USa asia allies. Taking out Japan, Tawian, Phillipines. Russia attacks from west taking the black sea back andmoving back into eastern europe taking on our troops in Europe. Iran launches attacks in the middle east agains tIsreal.
Obama is p-laying golf.

unseen on April 11, 2013 at 8:24 PM

PierreLegrand on April 11, 2013 at 8:19 PM

I don’t recall the Norks having any SLBM capability. Thats what they would need in order for your ridiculous scenario to be even remotely possible. Forget the hype, stick to the facts!

dmann on April 11, 2013 at 8:35 PM

i’d like to take a time out here and thank the hard leftists that dominate every facet of this country for being such stand up, out and proud Luddite Morons on SDI.

Leftists of course have no vision other than that which flows from the 19th century…yes, they are that stupid. Regrettably they are not only stupid but dangerous. Dangerous because they have delayed an entirely sensible missile defense system

no doubt it pained barry and his Leftist cohorts to even have to acknowledge out defensive weapons after they stabbed Poland in the back

So thank you all for being the leaders who talk without thought, lead without understanding. Just talk in slogans and rhyme, just for the bling

r keller on April 11, 2013 at 8:35 PM

I don’t recall the Norks having any SLBM capability. Thats what they would need in order for your ridiculous scenario to be even remotely possible. Forget the hype, stick to the facts!

dmann on April 11, 2013 at 8:35 PM

Look up…see that twinkle in the sky? That is a North Korea Satellite passing over the US every 24 hours.

So they COULD already have a small nuke up there ready to go. Iran has practiced launching a SCUD off of a freighter…that works really well too.

Hype? You need to put down the playstation controller and read up.

PierreLegrand on April 11, 2013 at 8:46 PM

Look up…see that twinkle in the sky? That is a North Korea Satellite passing over the US every 24 hours.

PierreLegrand on April 11, 2013 at 8:46 PM

Yeah, it’s twinkling because it’s still tumbling and out of control.

I also find it difficult to believe that the norks have been able to miniaturize a nuclear weapon to the point that it will fit inside a rectangular box 2.5 feet square and 3.5 feet tall; and weighing in at about 220 pounds.

That would be some lightweight nork nuke.

Solaratov on April 11, 2013 at 9:01 PM

We need a crash change in the military. We need slow down some weapons systems and build a star wars system. With no BS contractor red tape crap.

We need missiles to knock warheads.
The ability shot down satellites.
The portability of some of these systems.

But I have no faith.

Oil Can on April 11, 2013 at 9:09 PM

Wait, remember in the debate between Biden and Ryan, Biden laughed at the notion (as if it were a laughing matter) of a nuclear armed Iran or North Korea. He stated that we would know well before hand if they had the capability to launch a nuclear attack.

ShadowsPawn on April 11, 2013 at 9:26 PM

Why try to think around this nut. Just take what he says at face value and assume it to be true. That means he is too dangerous to be allowed to live another 24 hours. Just kill his lard ass and deal with whoever they replace him with. If whoever that is declares another war on us kill him too. Teach the rest of the world’s loons a lesson at the same time.

MikeA on April 11, 2013 at 9:33 PM

I also find it difficult to believe that the norks have been able to miniaturize a nuclear weapon to the point that it will fit inside a rectangular box 2.5 feet square and 3.5 feet tall; and weighing in at about 220 pounds.

That would be some lightweight nork nuke.

Solaratov on April 11, 2013 at 9:01 PM

.
30+ years ago I was looped in on the then current state of nuclear weapons technology and the scaleable use of “tactical nuclear weapons”.

The bulk of those weapons fit inside the volume you have laid out. At that time, the estimate was between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. there were in excess of 10,000 “battlefield” nuclear weapons.

The smallest would take out about four city blocks. The larger ones (which still fit in your volume) were in the half megaton range for effective yield. One of those weapons detonated above the United States would result in the “One Second After” scenario.

That was 30+ years ago. The people who were improving the designs back then are still alive have trained TWO new generations who now have more processing power in their laptops today than the supercomputers being used for nuclear weapons design back then.

Every single technology component required has benefitted from the same technology acceleration over the last 30+ years … including the “but these are the REALLY hard parts to make”

The horsesh1t “North Korea does not have the capability” argument was busted at a Congressional hearing today.

If you want to stick your head in the sand, be my guest.

Suggesting we are still dealing with Hiroshima and Nagasaki weapons technology from 70 years ago is a fairy tale.

PolAgnostic on April 11, 2013 at 9:35 PM

How long do you think a “nuclear” war with NK would last? I’d give it one minute, tops.

GarandFan on April 11, 2013 at 9:41 PM

Kim almost certainly isn’t serious, but what if he is?

Why do these imbecile “journalists” always assume that these maniacs actually follow logic, as opposed to believing what they say in plain language?

The last time we ignored the rantings of a maniac, thousands of Americans died on American soil…

dominigan on April 11, 2013 at 9:57 PM

Michael J Totten, has been an overseas war correspondent and generally shouldn’t be lumped in with the rest of the MSM, just FYI.

SgtSVJones on April 11, 2013 at 10:14 PM

What would Jimmie Carter do?

hahahahahahahahahahahhahahhahahahahahahaha
suckers.

WryTrvllr on April 11, 2013 at 10:14 PM

How long do you think a “nuclear” war with NK would last? I’d give it one minute, tops.

GarandFan on April 11, 2013 at 9:41 PM

.
North Korea has spent the last 60 years hardening their defenses and increasing their offensive capabilities across the board.

One nuclear weapon detonation can permanently change the world in 1/1,000,000th of a second.

It’s EASY

- an EMP pulse weapon over the United States
- a yacht with a nuke aboard on the Thames River next to Big Ben
- Or next to the Stature of Liberty
- Or on the Potomac River

Anyone of a hundred, simple scenarios and a global economic collapse would be triggered.

For those simple minded souls who argue, “Why would the North Koreans commit mass suicide?”

Pause a moment and consider Jonestown or 9/11/01.

The economic stimulus policy initiated this week by Japan was referred to by the Chinese version of one of our Federal Reserve Board members as, “The economic equivalent of an act of war againt China.”
While our government is running $ 1 trillion defecits and our Central Bank is spending $ 1 trillion/year to stimulate our economy, Japan’s lastest move compounds the Chinese governments attempts to rein in runaway inflation that is degrading the quality of life for their 1.6 billion people.

Is there anyone who thinks destabilizing China does not pose massive risk?
Or give them incentive to strike back?

PolAgnostic on April 11, 2013 at 10:18 PM

PierreLegrand on April 11, 2013 at 7:53 PM

Something else to keep in mind…

My cousin is a network security expert doing research on the security surrounding electronic switches in infrastructure. When he described his nightmare scenario, it wasn’t anything I had even considered. While he described it as a hacking attack, it would occur even easier with an EMP attack…

The security around our train track switches is practically non-existent even though DHS has been alerted for years. The nightmare scenario my cousin described centered around screwing up the train track switches to the point where engines are stranded on the tracks.

Coal powers 40% of our country. Shut down the trains, you shut down the coal, which shuts down the power. Once the backup generators run out of fuel, the power really shuts off. Once the power shuts off, the pumps at the gas stations go offline, and the big pumps on the fuel lines that crisscross our country go offline. Once the train engines burn through their diesel fuel, it’s a chicken and egg scenario… you need power to pump the fuel and fuel to run the engines, to get coal to the powerplants to generate power for the pumps.

It would take weeks to get things back online.

dominigan on April 11, 2013 at 10:22 PM

Does this situation sound familiar? I seem to recall an uproar a few years ago by democrats re. weapons of mass destruction.
What will you do now Mr. President?

diogenes on April 11, 2013 at 7:33 PM

Pretty much my first reaction as well.
If NK does succeed in starting a war with the US, how long before Dems repudiate their initial support?

AesopFan on April 11, 2013 at 10:38 PM

Suggesting we are still dealing with Hiroshima and Nagasaki weapons technology from 70 years ago is a fairy tale.

PolAgnostic on April 11, 2013 at 9:35 PM

Thanks for the heads-up; always appreciate your commentary.

MarshFox, if you are still listening: be safe – get home – thanks.

AesopFan on April 11, 2013 at 10:42 PM

AesopFan on April 11, 2013 at 10:42 PM

Still here, but like I said my time grows short, we’ll see how this plays out, but I have a ringside seat so unless the worst happens I will keep you informed on what I know, as long as it is public anyway.

MarshFox on April 11, 2013 at 10:53 PM

Michael J Totten, has been an overseas war correspondent and generally shouldn’t be lumped in with the rest of the MSM, just FYI.

SgtSVJones on April 11, 2013 at 10:14 PM

Totten’s work in Iraq was (is?) invaluable.
Here’s another link.
Read Mike and J. E. Dyer if you want to get the best military policy analysis on the web.

AesopFan on April 11, 2013 at 11:20 PM

The leftists are all commies.

Schadenfreude on April 12, 2013 at 1:28 AM

One would naturally think it impossible that anyone would hesitate – even for an instant – to honor the woman who tackled communism head on as prime minister of Great Britain. Lady Margaret Thatcher was a principled politician who helped to foster the special relationship between Great Britain and the United States that we all benefit from today.

A Senate resolution to honor Lady Thatcher was supposed to pass last night. However, per well placed sources on the Hill, Democrats have a hold on the resolution.

To refuse to honor a woman of such great historical and political significance, who was deeply loyal to the United States, is petty and shameful. One truly has to wonder, what is it about Lady Thatcher that gives them pause? Her unfaltering commitment to freedom? Or perhaps the way she fought for individual liberty and limited government?

The House used traditional bereavement procedures, the same model they used for John F. Kennedy. It’s a simple, solemn means of honoring the individual by passing a resolution and immediately adjourning. Similarly, Great Britain’s House of Commons was recalled, bringing members of Parliament back from vacation to honor Lady Thatcher.

Those actions were a fitting response to the death of one of the world’s greatest post-World War II leaders.

Schadenfreude on April 12, 2013 at 1:46 AM

If I’m operating under the theory that no leaks in Washington are accidental, I have to wonder why this report came out when it did. There is no “good news” version of an answer.

chapman on April 12, 2013 at 2:07 AM

AesopFan on April 11, 2013 at 11:20 PM

If by Mike you mean Mike Yon, yea I have him bookmarked and have been reading him since ’05. I have also read a bit of Dyer’s work but not as much.

SgtSVJones on April 12, 2013 at 3:08 AM

If NK knows how to miniaturize nukes and stick them in missile warheads, Iran eventually will too. I’m not sure what that bit about “reliability” in the excerpt means, though. Does it mean their missiles are so rickety that they’d fail in the air, as as has happened before?

Yes, I believe that is what being conveyed.

ted c on April 12, 2013 at 7:47 AM

The regime is like a honeybee. It can sting only once, then it dies. But it’s like a honeybee the size of a grizzly bear.

A helluva dilemma, eh?

ted c on April 12, 2013 at 7:49 AM

Happened on Barry’s watch….
If N. Korea has nukes and missiles so does Iran…

albill on April 12, 2013 at 7:49 AM

One truly has to wonder, what is it about Lady Thatcher that gives them pause? Her unfaltering commitment to freedom? Or perhaps the way she fought for individual liberty and limited government?

Schadenfreude on April 12, 2013 at 1:46 AM

The ideal of freedom that she and Reagan together fought for is like sunlight to the vampires belonging to the party of slavery, segregation and racism.

dominigan on April 12, 2013 at 8:58 AM

If NK knows how to miniaturize nukes and stick them in missile warheads, Iran eventually will too. I’m not sure what that bit about “reliability” in the excerpt means, though. Does it mean their missiles are so rickety that they’d fail in the air, as as has happened before?

No. Reliability refers to the ability of the warhead to successfully detonate once delivered to a specific place by missile. It’s harder than you think and reliability issues have even plagued famous US systems… Polaris might as well have delivered rocks rather than warheads for many years because of a fault.

lexhamfox on April 12, 2013 at 9:38 AM

We knew already that NoKo has nukes…because Clinton GAVE them the technology. The only question that the public has been uncertain about is exactly what the range is. Now we have a better idea: can hit Japan or Guam, but not Hawaii or mainland U.S.

For now, I am less worried. Although I doubt many Texans would miss Austin if it were nuked, it’s still Texas and we’d be obliged to avenge it.

TXJenny on April 12, 2013 at 9:51 AM

Debka File is reporting we are at DEFCON 3 but I have seen no other confirmation.

dddave on April 12, 2013 at 9:52 AM

When Hagel and Kerry were nominated to SoD and SoS respectively, I commented somewhere on HotAir that WWIII may be the result. Could be!!

Dasher on April 12, 2013 at 10:39 AM

LegendHasIt ate your lunches.

Schadenfreude on April 12, 2013 at 4:02 PM

“North Korea would eventually lose at the hands of South Korea and the United States.”

And what is the evidence to back that statement?

The Korean War?
The Vietnam War?
El Salvador? Where our involvement was limited to 55 trainers.
Gulf War 91?
The Iraq War?
Afghanistan?
Libya?

After defeating the Axis Powers in WWII in about 3.5 years, we fought a single country aided by Chinese infantry and almost no armor to a stalemate. Technically, we are still in a state of War with North Korea.

After defeating the Axis Powers in WWII in about 3.5 years, we fought in Vietnam for 10 years, suffered 58,000 KIA and hundreds of thousands of WIA; and then surrendered politically under the masquerade of “Peace with Honor” — words as empty of honor today as when they were first uttered.

In El Salvador, we risked the collapse of Central America to communist insurgents to maintain an artificial and utterly mineless strategy of restricting our efforts to 55 military trainers who were not allowed to leave the Salvadoran compounds on combat missions.

In the 91 Gulf War we defeated the army before us in record time, but we surrendered politically to allow Hussein to continue to fester, leading us into another war 10 years later.

After defeating the Axis Powers in WWII in about 3.5 years, we allowed ourselves to get bogged down in yet another 10 war with no clear victory. Ultimately we left the country much as it was when we invaded it–an chaotic mess of warring tribes and a government that would support Iran in case of war in the Middle East.

Afghanistan is the same lesson. We could win a world war against the most powerful military forces in the world at the time in about 3.5 years, but we allowed ourselves to be bogged down in that God-forsaken (literally) landfill of a country for 10 years.

Libya is more dangerous today than it was under Qaddafi. And there are 20,000 or so surface to air anti-aircraft missiles missing, many of which could be in the hands of terrorists. So was that a win?

You would think that we would have learned the lessons of WWII. You win wars by crushing the enemies’ will to fight, which includes their basis of support, which includes the people that support them.

What if we had tried to defeat Germany, Japan, and Italy by focusing on winning the hearts and minds of those people instead of crushing their will to fight and destroying their ability to fight.

In 1947, we changed the name of the War Department to the Department of Defense. Have ever noticed that we have not won a major war since then? Have you ever wondered why? Have you ever asked yourself if you would prefer to win a war in one year with 20,000 KIA than to lose a war in 10 years with 58,000 KIA?

Have you ever noticed that wars are instruments of political power and not military strategies. If you left it strictly to the military, North Korea would not exist today (remember McAuthor wanted to settle the matter once and for all with nuclear weapons in 1952, but Truman fired him), North Vietnam could have been utterly defeated in less than a year (the military initially wanted to invade North Vietnam but the politicians said no). Latin American insurgencies would have been eliminated (but the politicians preferred another 10 plus year war). We would not have been in Iraq and Afghanistan for 10 years (but the politicians wanted to do nation building–but not like after WWII were we dictated what those governments would be). Libya would not be as dangerous today if we had stayed out of it (although it would still be a retched place to live).

War is not for the fainthearted. By its very nature it should fast, brutal, and unforgiving. The hearts and minds can come after victory.

The biggest problems with our ability to fight wars are our politicians. Our military has the capability to utterly destroy both conventional and unconventional enemies–if the politicians allowed the military to do so.

Sorry for the rant, but I lost a lot of good Marines for nothing because of fainthearted politicians during my 21 years in the Marine Corps. There should be an amendment to the Constitution that says we will not commit our armed forces unless the majority of Congress approves and only if the objective is to crush the enemies’ will to fight in the shortest time possible. Victory will require high casualties for a short period of time, but many fewer than fighting for 10 years and then leaving without finishing the job.

BMF on April 13, 2013 at 11:22 AM

Comment pages: 1 2