Ashton B. Carter and William J. Perry (from the Clinton Administration) wrote in WaPo North Korean technicians are reportedly in the final stages of fueling a long-range ballistic missile that some experts estimate can deliver a deadly payload to the United States. The last time North Korea tested such a missile, in 1998, it sent a shock wave around the world, but especially to the United States and Japan, both of which North Korea regards as archenemies. They recognized immediately that a missile of this type makes no sense as a weapon unless it is intended for delivery of a nuclear warhead.
A year later North Korea agreed to a moratorium on further launches, which it upheld -- until now. But there is a critical difference between now and 1998. Today North Korea openly boasts of its nuclear deterrent, has obtained six to eight bombs' worth of plutonium since 2003 and is plunging ahead to make more in its Yongbyon reactor. The six-party talks aimed at containing North Korea's weapons of mass destruction have collapsed.
Should the United States allow a country openly hostile to it and armed with nuclear weapons to perfect an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering nuclear weapons to U.S. soil? We believe not. The Bush administration has unwisely ballyhooed the doctrine of "preemption," which all previous presidents have sustained as an option rather than a dogma.
You did not like us doing it in Iraq, which was in violation of 18 UN ammendments, and which was shooting at our warplanes almost daily, and yet you want us to commit an act of war on North Korea, and just blow up one missle, when if we do anything, it should be to totally destroy all of its nuclear facilities and the conventional facilities it would immediately use to destroy South Korea.It has applied the doctrine to Iraq, where the intelligence pointed to a threat from weapons of mass destruction that was much smaller than the risk North Korea poses. (The actual threat from Saddam Hussein was, we now know, even smaller than believed at the time of the invasion.) But intervening before mortal threats to U.S. security can develop is surely a prudent policy.
Hot Air blogged A couple of points worth noting. First, there’s no indication that I’ve seen that North Korea has miniaturized any nuclear weapon to the point that they can arm their Taeopodong-2 or any other missile with a nuke. The vehicle currently on the pad is a test fire and a threat in that its range is sufficient to hit Hawaii and Alaska. Second, Clinton-era officials have been entirely duplicitous on the Iraq war; many of them were hawks in the 1990s only to become doves once the actual shooting started (including Clinton himself, Gore, Albright, Berger and several others). The two quoted above, William Perry and Ashton Carter, display some of this Democrat duplicitousness in a passage flagged by Austin Bay:
The Bush administration has unwisely ballyhooed the doctrine of “preemption,” which all previous presidents have sustained as an option rather than a dogma.
In other words a threat, that is never carried out, except possibly with cruise missles.It has applied the doctrine to Iraq, where the intelligence pointed to a threat from weapons of mass destruction that was much smaller than the risk North Korea poses. (The actual threat from Saddam Hussein was, we now know, even smaller than believed at the time of the invasion.) But intervening before mortal threats to U.S. security can develop is surely a prudent policy.Within one paragraph, they contradict themselves re preemption, or rather, they’re typical Democrats in the sense that they’re for it when they’re for it and against it when it’s politically easier to be against it in retrospect because things didn’t work out peachy. Advocating striking North Korea now is pretty much cost-free for them. If we don’t do it, the missile fires and our interceptors miss, they can say “We told you so.” If we don’t do it, the missile fires and we hit, they can say “But what about the telemetry?” and they’ll have a point. If we do hit the missile on the pad they can take credit, until things go south and at that point they’ll make a quiet exit. No one paid attention to them before this article appeared, and they’ll be forgotten along with Al Gore’s 2002 speeches praising President Bush and egging on war with Iraq. The media will never make them justify this article.
Blue Crab blogged Well, now we know where the Clinton administration got it's penchant (bordering on a fetish) for launching cruise missile attacks. Carter and Perry go on to blithely dismiss the chances of some sort of negative consequences from pulling this little prank. You know, like a war starting or anything.
Is this an attempt by some Democrats to prove how warlike they are? Could be. Is this a smart move politically or militarily? To quote the estimable authors, "We think not". Generally launching missiles at a foreign power with an enormous standing army right next door to one of our allies would be considered, how shall I put this, idiotic? Insane? Dumb as a box of rocks? All of the above, I think.
PreciselyOTB blogged Andrew Olmstead thinks this is “nuts,” though, given that our forces are stretched so thin with our deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq.
I don’t like the idea of a North Korea with nuclear missiles. But then, I’m not fond of the idea of China or Russia with nuclear missiles, either, but it’s an imperfect world. Launching an attack on North Korea opens up too many potentially disastrous outcomes for it to be a viable plan. Much as I dislike the thought, living with a nuclear North Korea seems like the least bad outcome available to us at the moment.Were a ground war with the DPRK a likely outcome of a preemptive strike, I’d be inclined to agree. That outcome, however, seems incredibly remote. The nuclear threat is the only plausible one North Korea poses. We could topple Kim’s regime in less than two weeks and he knows it. And, unlike Iraq, we’d have no reason to occupy and risk fighting guerrillas.
USS Neverdock blogged I find it interesting to hear the Washington Post sounding so hawkish and unilaterlist, the very things they constantly criticize Bush for.
The hope that Bush will do it, and then they will jump on him afterward.It's true something must be done, but what? The Post is calling for another Cuban missle crisis. Are we ready for that? North Korea might not be so easily isolated and Cuba wasn't divided north and south with two large armies facing each other.
And why isn't the Post calling for Iran's nuclear facilities to be attacked?
If you really want to get North Korea's attention, move three aircraft carriers into the area (two on one side, one on the other). You don't have to do anything, but you might want to have some spare underwear handy, because the Glorious Leader is likely to soil his.