Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 22, 2006

(Non?)-Missiles

In a WaPo op-ed two Clinton defense officials are calling on Bush to bomb North Korea's rocket test site.

[I]f North Korea persists in its launch preparations, the United States should immediately make clear its intention to strike and destroy the North Korean Taepodong missile before it can be launched. This could be accomplished, for example, by a cruise missile launched from a submarine carrying a high-explosive warhead.

I am sick of U.S. pols to argue for starting wars on countries that have neither the intent, nor the ability to hurt the U.S.. All this based on very doubtful intelligence.

Those famous Taepodong II missiles are an unknown. They may even not exist. Nobody has more than an idea what their capabilities are supposed to be.

The assumed capability is that it could possible reach a corner of Alaska. But there is no chance such a missile could reach the U.S. homeland. Also such a missile may be intended as a satellite carrier, not as a weapon system.

On June 18 it was reported that the missile was fueled and ready to go. If the missile, that may be on it's launchpad or not, was really fueled up at the time of the report, it would be a bunch of waste by now. The fuel is extremly corrossive and eats through its tanks within a few days.

So all this brahoah may just be an attempt to justify the incapable missile defense program in the U.S. and Japan. Then it may be that North Korea does want to launch a small satellite.

Are these really sufficient reasons to start a war?

Posted by b on June 22, 2006 at 02:22 AM | Permalink

Comments

@Bernhard:

That should be "mainland", not "homeland", in the paragraph that starts "The assumed capability". Alaska is a homeland for some of us.

Posted by: The Truth Gets Vicious When You Corner It | Jun 22, 2006 2:51:18 AM | 1

On the other nuclear front, Seems Ahmadinejad is gaining currency on the arab street, even on the Sunni arab street. http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0621/p06s01-wome.html>LINK

Posted by: anna missed | Jun 22, 2006 4:19:09 AM | 2

In my opinion, "preemptive military action" is an immoral doctrine which seems to have become totally acceptable now by US leaders and much of the population. I was surprised at the little outrage by the World with earlier instances such as the US "Operation Just Cause" or the Israeli bombing of Saddam's Nuclear Site.

It appears few lessons have been learned from the Iraq invasion.

On the other hand, I see national anti-missle defense systems as truly defensive and surprised at the critics, especially from a technology capability debate perspective.

Posted by: Rick Happ | Jun 22, 2006 5:49:57 AM | 3

Does anyone think North Korea would be so stupid as to attack the USA at any time with one missile? The response would be to turn the Korean peninsula into a radioactive dump.

This is a game of 'chicken' in which, unfortunately, we all risk winding up getting roasted.

Let them shoot their damn missile. We shoot them all the time.

Posted by: hopping madbunny | Jun 22, 2006 6:53:11 AM | 4

Yeah, for the U.S. to even talk about any action it would take in response to a meaningless missle test is provacative - but I guess, for some reason unknown to me, the Bush regime wants to provoke.

Posted by: Rick Happ | Jun 22, 2006 7:18:41 AM | 5

I see national anti-missle defense systems as truly defensive

Unfortunately, no. The only reason for the defense is to allow the offense

Posted by: DM | Jun 22, 2006 8:11:14 AM | 6

Gee, while we're at it, why not wipe out China's missile launch sites and Russia's. After all, they have missiles that can reach the US. Why not just bomb every country that has missiles that can reach the US? While we're at it, why not bomb every nuclear power plant in the world because they are able to enrich uranium?

I remember how astonished N. Korea was to be put on Bush's "Axis of Evil" list when it happened. As they said, they weren't involved in terrorist activity anywhere nor had they attacked anyone anywhere. Kind of like, "Hey, man, what gives? What the hell did we do?"

And the truth is they did nothing and weren't bothering anybody. But Bush needed a non-Muslim country to put in his Axis lest he be called an Islamophobe and rile up a billion Muslims with attacks solely on Muslim countries. So, remembering that there was once a bit of tiff with N. Korea back around 1950, he figured that half of Americans still considered our former enemy an enemy (ex-enemies are like ex-mothers-in-law) -- name recognition is important, as well as old hard feelings -- and he went ahead and put them on the list instead of Syria or Libya, etc. After all, how many N. Koreans in the US would get pissed? Seemed pretty harmless at the time to him. But then N. Korea, as a result of Bush's threats, decided to up the priority on developing some way quickly to protect themselves. I would do it, you would do it. As for how much of what they have developed as a deterrant is actually operational is anyone's guess.

Prior to Bush's absurd inclusion of N. Korea as part of the evil doers of the earth, the reunification talks between North and South Korea were going well. Now, it doesn't look at that promising anymore. I would expect had reunification progressed, one of the first requirements would have been for US bases and personnel to be removed from S. Korea. Rumsie would have a coronary!

Posted by: Ensley | Jun 22, 2006 9:05:23 AM | 7

As outlined several times above, baiting N. Korea by #1 superpower is illogical, dangerous and a waste of resources.

The prime objective is to create and inflame conflict wherever possible. This was done from Vietnam forward and most likely for both WWI and II.

So quit fretting about our "incompetent" leaders and focus on their true objective instead.

Posted by: rapt | Jun 22, 2006 9:16:41 AM | 8

@Rick Happ,

Yeah, the homing device installed inside the Korean missile makes shooting it down a slam dunk.

LOL!

Posted by: gylangirl | Jun 22, 2006 10:28:06 AM | 9

"I remember how astonished N. Korea was to be put on Bush's "Axis of Evil" list when it happened. As they said, they weren't involved in terrorist activity anywhere nor had they attacked anyone anywhere. Kind of like, "Hey, man, what gives? What the hell did we do?"."

What did they do? They got along without credit cards, that's what!

None of the "Axis of evil" countries borrow huge amounts of money from the US controlled IMF and are therefore not easy to bring to heel by US "interests". Especially after they have been hit with the double whammy of trade sanctions *and* military threats from the United States of Barbaria.

Socialism in any form, whether by authoritarianism, theocracy or democratic election is the *real enemy*

.02

Posted by: pb | Jun 22, 2006 12:50:37 PM | 10

"So all this brahoah may just be an attempt to justify the incapable missile defense program in the U.S. and Japan."

Yeah. What if they sent all their "defence" missiles off and missed.

The best weapon ever launched would then be: Egg.

Posted by: pb | Jun 22, 2006 1:23:54 PM | 11

Note, this is not pre-emptive war. This is preventative war, which is something else entirely. Further, preventative war is usually frowned upon by the world's major religions even more than pre-emptive war, which just might have a justification. Preventative war almost invariably does not.

Our constitution has a mechanism whereby such a strike could be made against North Korea legally. It's called a "declaration of war." If that is what is being called for, then I suggest they be more specific. I challenge them to get a declarative up-or-down vote on attacking North Korea preventatively.

Posted by: PrahaPartizan | Jun 22, 2006 3:41:46 PM | 12

RE: gylangirl, post #9 "LOL"

I didn't know the North Koreans had such advanced technology as maneuvering warheads. Legacy (current) ballistic warheads do not alter their flight paths sharply once they reach space. Maneuvering warheads represents a difficult physics challenge because changing course at such high speeds could easily cause a warhead to disintegrate. (We are talking here of multi-miles per second, as I'm sure you realize.)

Maneuverability would let a warhead thwart missile defenses, because basic countermeasures rely on sensors to project a warhead's flight path and impact point so that an interceptor missile can be guided to the right spot to knock out a warhead.

Again, sorry I am so far behind as to the knowledge of North Korean technical capabilities.

Posted by: Rick Happ | Jun 22, 2006 10:39:10 PM | 13

Rick, the American plan for a "missle shield" is defensive-only in the same way that Donald Rumsfeld is. It involves preventing any other nation from setting up similar military satellites. It also involves pointing the anti-missile missles at the potentially dangerous nation so as to blow them up before they get out of that nation's airspace.

I'm pointing my gun at you just in case you try to shoot me.

Thank goodness it doesn't actually work at all.

Posted by: Rowan | Jun 22, 2006 11:04:52 PM | 14

Rowan,

Forget about the U.S. for one moment; I would venture to say that all the major (nuclear) military nations of this planet are working diligently on missle defense from many angles (no pun intended).

Years and years ago, as a member of the Planetary Society, I attended a conference in Washington D.C. on this very subject. At that time the U.S. effort was called SDI. I felt special just being there and talking with some of the top physicists in the country. I actually talked with Carl Sagan, and he was against the program entirely. I talked with Phillip Morrison, who worked on developing the first atomic bomb. He was very philosophical and moved around in a motorized wheelchair. I talked with Richard Garwin who was also one of the speakers there. (Garwin had just contributed to an article, "Space-based Ballistic-Missile Defense", Scientific American, Volume 251, Number 4, 39-49pp. Oct.1984) I believe Garwin was from IBM, and he was against SDI also, but when I questioned him in person about some facits, his answers rang hollow.

Anyways, I left convinced that the objections to SDI were mostly political and not scientific. I still believe that today.

As far as being defensive or offensive, quite simply, I think nuclear bombs are what we should fear and would cause more damage than spaced based lasers if one is thinking in terms of offensive destruction and death.

I am not up to speed on the current plan, with all the secrecy going on, but I would probably assume that the U.S. is attempting a monopolistic stance in space as you state. However, monopolizing technology or space is not necessary. It is these crazies like Rumsfeld that is the problem.

As the saying goes, the sword eventually overcomes the shield in human history, but who would be so foolish and enter into any ballistic battle without the best armor possible?

Posted by: Rick Happ | Jun 23, 2006 1:15:39 AM | 15

A response to yesterdays Korea oped in WaPo:

No, Don't Blow It Up

For 1,971 days the Bush administration ignored North Korea's missile program as unimportant and unthreatening to the security of the United States. Then it woke up. Unfortunately, the alarm clock was North Korea's preparation to test a long-range missile. By simply putting a Taepodong ICBM on the launch pad, North Korea has managed to turn truly smart people into foolish ones.
...
Make no mistake: A missile test is a step in the wrong direction, and the appropriate first response would be for the United States to reimpose the specific sanctions that were lifted in 2000 as a direct result of the missile moratorium.

But the missile test is not a violation of anything more than our pride, ripping a gaping hole in the false logic that talking with the North Koreans somehow rewards and empowers them. To the contrary, we should be opening avenues of dialogue with Pyongyang. The six-party process should remain the clearinghouse for action and the primary vehicle for talks with North Korea, but not the only vehicle. Direct talks have a role. Talks among subsets of the six parties are also valuable as long as the United States is a player and not simply sitting on the sidelines.

By not talking with North Korea we are failing to address missiles, human rights, illegal activities, conventional forces, weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and anything else that matters to the American people. Isn't it about time we actually tried to solve the problem rather than let it fester until we blow it up?

Posted by: b | Jun 23, 2006 2:07:19 AM | 16

@Rick Happ,

Apparently the joke went way over your head, much like the ballistic missile.

Getting the joke requires recalling recent military test fraud committed in the interest of defense industy profits. It involves cheating by installing a homing device in the target missile so that the interception test is guaranteed not to miss [again].

And ,yes, we get it: you are very special.

Posted by: gylangirl | Jun 26, 2006 10:17:22 AM | 17

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