Why Attacking North Korea is Suicide
People who want a war in Korea haven’t looked at a map of Asia recently.
Bordering China to the West and Russia to the North, The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is separated from South Korea by the DMZ (De-Militarized Zone), which stretches from one side of the Korean Peninsula to the other. The DMZ is kind of a misnomer, as the name suggests an absence of military activity, which is certainly not true.
160 miles and only about 2.5 miles deep, it’s pockmarked with a million or so anti-tank and anti-personnel mines. These exist to keep the 1 million plus DPRK soldiers guarding the border from waltzing into South Korea and taking over the entire country. North Korea is dug in tight. It’s not going anywhere.
On any reasonable list of the 5 most dangerous places in the world, you’ll see the DMZ at the very top. Kashmir, between Pakistan and India, usually vies for second place. Dangerous not for what happens (though people die in those places all the time) but for what COULD happen. The Paks and the Indians have been warring over Kashmir for decades, and they have nukes with legendarily terrible command and control safeguards in place.
North Korea borders two nuclear armed world super powers who don’t really care for US foreign policy, and don’t really like having a key US ally in their backyard. The analogy for The United States would be Mexico, if it were taken over by the Taliban. And had nukes.
Even if geography was not an issue, the DPRK has an estimated 15,000 artillery pieces trained on densely populated Seoul, just 35 miles away from the DMZ, well within range of their conventional, chemical, and biological weapons.
We’re fairly sure they have bio-weapons. We know they have chemical weapons. Kim Jung-Un assassinated his brother with VX gas, the same VX gas they made an entire movie about — The Rock, starring Sean Connery. And conventional weapons, historically, have done far more damage than nuclear ones. The 1945 Allied raid on Dresden, Germany killed an est. 300,000 civilians — 2–5 times the number of people who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, combined.
The US has about 15 bases in South Korea as well, most well within range of those 15,000 artillery pieces. So that’s almost 29,000 US military, plus another 200,000 American citizens living in Seoul and surrounding areas. This of course completely discounts all the souls in Japan, the Philippines, and Australia, who are already well within range of North Korea’s missile strike capabilities, to say nothing of the inevitable Russian and/or Chinese counterattack if/when this thing goes south.
The only way into North Korea is through the DMZ, through those million mines and those million DPRK soldiers — radicalized by decades of Anti-Western propaganda. Is 1 million soldiers a lot? By comparison, The Germans had about 400,000 troops in the whole of France during the Battle of Normandy. So, yes.
When you have a world leader threatening another world leader with a preemptive nuclear strike on the most dangerous real estate in the history of the world, it is cause for concern. But cooler heads will prevail, you say? Really? Which heads are those? The impulsive madman with his finger on the button, or the guy running things in Pyongyang? POTUS has unrestrained access to the US nuclear arsenal. Kim Jung-Un doesn’t have anyone holding his leash, either. This could get really bad.
What happens when 15,000 artillery pieces — which, by the way, are hidden in reinforced concrete and steel bunkers — all fire onto Seoul (population 9.7 million) and onto US military bases that, again, are well within the blast range?
It is in no way unrealistic to believe that casualties could number in the millions. In the first couple of hours. Combine massive explosions with dense population centers, raging fires, collapsing buildings and chemical weapons, and you’ve got a recipe for the greatest humanitarian disaster since Stalingrad. And that’s just the first day.
Interestingly, this whole brinkmanship with North Korea seems to have started over one story in the Washington Post about one report from the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) warning that North Korea is weaponizing their nukes to fit on ICBMs. Two points about that. First, the DIA has issued that report before, 4 years ago. Second, we have 17 intelligence agencies, 16 of which have not confirmed the truthfulness of this report. So, 92% of US intelligence agencies, for whatever reason, have not actually said they agree with this one report from the DIA.
President Obama got tons of crap for not “getting tough” with North Korea. As if there is a solution to this insanity. We’ve been engaged in a ceasefire with North Korea since 1953. It’s not likely to end anytime soon.