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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 7/1/09

North Korea – Impending Missile Launch May Require US Military Action

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A dangerous situation is brewing on the Korean peninsula and it has me, someone who is typically anti-war, of the opinion that we might need to act militarily to stop a potential catastrophe.


The North Koreans are planning to launch a new longer-range missile, called the "Unha-2" on or about July 4th. There are arguments about the capabilities of this missile, but it is generally agreed that at the least, the missile will have the capability to reach Alaska and Hawaii. Some estimates have the missile able to reach the continental United States.  See this article from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and this article from the Plano Star for discussions regarding the capabilities of North Korean Missile Technology. The North Koreans have said they will aim the missile about to be launched in the direction of the United States.


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If you combine the capabilities of this missile with the fact that North Korea has tested two nuclear weapons over the past three years, the concern becomes very serious. The UN considered it serious enough to ban all weapons exports from the DPRK. To make matters worse, the North Koreans have threatened to "shower the US with a nuclear fire" if "attacked" see and as I mentioned have already said they will target the US with this missile.  


Scientists are of the opinion that the North Koreans do not have the technology to miniaturize a nuclear warhead so that it could fit on its new longer ranged missile, but if you were responsible for the defense of the United States, could you take that chance? I don't think I could or would.


If the North Koreans start fueling the missile or otherwise get the missile close to being ready to launch, unless the United States can verify with 100% certainty that it is not fitted with a nuclear payload, I think the missile has to be destroyed on the launch pad. If we attack, the North Koreans would only have themselves to blame. You cannot threaten other countries with a WMD attack and then prepare to launch a missile in their direction a few days later and expect the target country not to react. Being anti-war doesn't include ignoring a situation like this.          


This is not an Iraq situation where there is a question if the DPRK has weapons of mass destruction. We all know they do. This is also different from Iraq in that the North Koreans have a verifiable long-range delivery vehicle that can reach US soil. Finally, this is different from Iraq in that virtually every country in the world and the UN agree on all of these points.


President Obama has received criticism from Republicans for not being more firm with his North Korea policy. If in fact the US military hasn't received orders to be ready to destroy this missile if necessary, that criticism would be well founded, but the problem is that OpSec, or Operational Security would dictate that such orders be kept secret. However, there is a hint about what might be going on in terms of US defense.


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A political blogger for the International Business Times, Steve Leser is a hot national political pundit. He has appeared on MSNBC's Coundown with Keith Olbermann, Comedy Central's Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Russia Today's (RT) Crosstalk with (more...)
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