Pentagon: Only Way to Destroy North Korea Nukes Is Ground Invasion -- With Millions Dead
November 6, 2017
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Yuliya Talmazan and Associated Press
In response to a letter from two Democratic congress members asking about casualty assessments in a conflict with North Korea, the Pentagon replied the only way to locate and destroy with complete certainty all components of North Korea's nuclear weapons program is through a ground invasion. Pentagon planners conceded that such an act of aggression would "at the very least," cause "millions of deaths in just the first few days of fighting."
Pentagon: Ground Invasion the Only Way to Destroy North Korea Nukes
War Would Result in Millions Dead,
Catastrophic Troop Losses
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(November 5, 2017) – While US officials have repeatedly make clear that their goal with respect to North Korea is denuclearization, Pentagon officials are increasingly willing to admit that they view the "only way" to accomplish that as not just a war, but a full-scale US ground invasion of North Korea.
Officials are a lot less willing to make public what the implications of such a protracted ground war would be, saying an accurate assessment of the losses in such a war would be difficult. It's not a big secret, however.
At the very least, millions of people would die in this sort of war. The toll could be broad across the entire region, with millions presumed to die in South Korea alone, with Japan and Guam also likely to be targeted, and a "catastrophic" loss of US troops participating in the war.
A number of opponents on the war in Congress are pushing for more public assessments of the consequ4ences of the conflict, saying they believe the American public should know what's at stake going in. These lawmakers are also keen to make it clear that President Trump cannot unilaterally attack North Korea without Congressional authorization.
Ground Invasion Only Way to Destroy
North Korea's Nuclear Arsenal, Pentagon Says
Yuliya Talmazan and Associated Press
(November 5, 2017) -- The only way to locate and destroy with complete certainty all components of North Korea's nuclear weapons program is through a ground invasion.
That blunt assessment from the Pentagon is in response to a letter from two Democratic congressmen asking about casualty assessments in a conflict with North Korea.
Rear Adm. Michael J. Dumont of the Joint Staff offered the assessment in response to a letter from Reps. Ted Lieu of California and Ruben Gallego of Arizona.
In a joint statement issued Saturday, 15 Democratic lawmakers and one Republican -- all military veterans -- called the assessment that a ground invasion would be required to destroy the North's nuclear arsenal "deeply disturbing" and said that such an action "could result in hundreds of thousands, or even millions of deaths in just the first few days of fighting."
The statement goes on to say that entering into a protracted and massive ground war with North Korea would be disastrous for US troops and allies.
"There are no good military options for North Korea. Invading North Korea could result in a catastrophic loss of lives for US troops and US civilians in South Korea," the statement reads. "It could kill millions of South Koreans and put troops and civilians in Guam and Japan at risk."
The revelation comes as President Donald Trump starts his Asia trip, where the subject of North Korea's nuclear ambitions is expected to be high on the president's priority list.
The Pentagon letter to lawmakers also points out that North Korea may consider the use of biological weapons despite its international obligations, and is likely in possession of a chemical weapons stockpile.
It suggests a classified briefing would be required to discuss the details of how to eliminate North Korea's nuclear weapons located in deeply buried, underground facilities and counter North Korea's ability to retaliate with chemical and biological weapons.
A report by the Congressional Research Service released last month estimates as many as 25 million people on either side of the border, including more than 100,000 US citizens, could be affected by an escalation of a military conflict on the Korean peninsula.
The members of Congress say it's their intent to have a full public accounting of the potential cost of war, so the American people have a solid understanding of what the commitment to military action entails.
"We must pursue every other option before even considering a massive ground invasion," their statement reads.
But the Pentagon says coming up with even the roughest casualty estimates can be challenging, adding that casualty estimates will vary significantly depending on the nature, intensity and duration of a North Korean attack, the readiness of alliance forces as well as how much advance warning there would be.
Dumont's letter points out the Joint Force fully supports economic and diplomatic pressure campaigns led by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with regard to North Korea.
However, President Trump has previously told Tillerson that he was "wasting his time" trying to negotiate with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, belittling previous negotiation efforts and adding that "only one thing will work."
But aside from provocative statements against North Korea's leadership on his personal Twitter account and threats to unleash "fire and fury" on the rogue state, the administration has not explicitly talked about the possibility of a ground invasion before.
The lawmakers say if President Trump does intend to pursue a military option against North Korea, he must come to Congress as required by the Constitution.
"The stakes are too high and the potential outcome too grave for President Trump to violate his constitutional duty to come to Congress to authorize and oversee use of force," their statement reads.
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