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Kim Jong Un Pledges Nuclear Attacks on the United States

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Earlier this week, as the Senate and House Foreign Affairs Committees were wrestling with subtle issues surrounding the Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans, I mentioned that the new leadership and new membership there, and at the Office of the Secretary of State, would be facing real and important Issues in the coming months and years.

Now we are faced with a threat from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un much stronger and more immediate than any rhetoric thus far heard from belligerent Iran.

The North Korea National Defense Commission, headed by the young Jong Un himself, expressed the deeply felt hatred of Pyongyang for the United States. “We do not hide that a variety of satellites and long-range rockets which will be launched by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea one after another and a nuclear test of higher level which will be carried out by it in the upcoming all-out action, a new phase of the anti-U.S. struggle that has lasted century after century, will target against the U.S., the sworn enemy of the Korean people.” The Commission pledged to “conduct a nuclear test as part of a ‘new phase’ of combat with the United States…” they boasted that the forthcoming nuclear testing would be part of a new phase of confrontation with the United States. “Settling accounts with the U.S. needs to be done with force, not with words, as it regards jungle law as the rule of its survival.”

Can we call these harsh words rhetoric? Even in the event little or no substantial proof of this ill-intent is forthcoming, can we ignore these threats, formally put forward by the leader of an enemy nation?

United States envoy on North Korea Glyn Davies has urged Pyongyang not to explode a nuclear device. Following a meeting with officials of the North Korean government, he said, “Whether North Korea tests or not, it’s up to North Korea. We hope they don’t do it. We call on them not to do it. It will be a mistake and a missed opportunity if they were to do it.”

White House spokesman Jay Carney addressed the threats: “North Korea’s statement is needlessly provocative and a test would be a significant violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions. Further provocation would only increase Pyongyang’s isolation, and its continued focus on its nuclear and missile program is doing nothing to help the North Korean people.”

Scientist/expert Siegfried Hecker reports that North Korea has enough enriched plutonium to build four, possibly eight bombs. Pyongyang is working at breakneck speed to build missiles that can carry nuclear warheads to the United States. Some believe they already have that capacity. In October a spokesman for the National Defense Commission claimed that the United States in North America was within missile range. Photos at a nuclear test site in Punggye-ri indicate ongoing activity according to a Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies website.

United States Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta chose his words carefully. He holds that there are no outward indications that North Korea is preparing to conduct a nuclear test. He conceded it would be difficult to determine. In a press conference at the Pentagon he said, “We are very concerned with North Korea’s continuing provocative behavior.” He emphasized that the United States is “fully prepared” to deal with any provocation.

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About John Lake

John Lake had a long and successful career in legitimate and musical theater. He moved up into work behind the camera at top motion pictures. He has done a smattering of radio, and television John joined the Blogcritics field of writers owing to a passion for the liberal press, himself speaking out about the political front, and liberal issues. Now the retired Mr. Lake has entered the field of motion picture, television, and video game (now a daily gamer!) critique. His writing is always innovative and immensely readable!
  • Igor

    The NoKo threats are intended for domestic consumption, to cow citizens into obedience, and to dispirit them.

    Despite constant DoD pronoucements about the theoretical problems of Boost Phase Intercept, BPI remains a viable counter measure to the primitive NoKo missiles. Circling invisibly 8 miiles above NoKo launch sites, drones such as the Global Hawk can carry BPI strike missiles that have to travel a short vertical distance to kill a lumbering missile as it attempts to spring free.

    One can measure the eagerness of DoD to obscure BPI capabilities by comparing current DoD pronouncements of a 24 hour Global Hawk flight time with the 8 day time that was known 10 years ago.

  • John Lake

    Back in the 50’s Americans were assured they were fully protected by a vast anti-missile missile network. $$Millions$$ in the 50’s was a lot of money. A few short years ago it was revealed, or leaked, that the system wouldn’t really have provided much protection.
    If Jong Un is bluffing, as he has in the past to achieve aid from nations, he is doing it well. Consider that he ordinarily refuses such aid.
    These threats, as I said, go far beyond the most extreme statements of Ahmadinejad. Some in congress would probably vote to strike now; all must take the matter seriously and devise some swift deterrent.

  • Jared

    This regime should be dismantled. If you dont know about their concentration camps, google Yodok.

  • John Lake

    The cruel camps wherein entire families are forced to live out their lives have been revealed lately. Yes the regime should be dismantled, but nation building has proved costly and inneffective.

  • Doug Hunter

    The entire nation is a prison camp. Let their neighbors deal with the dysfunction… what business is it of ours?

  • John Lake

    Now Doug, we can’t sit by and let such horendous things go on. Our indomitable need to interfere is the source of continuing criticism from Russia.
    But of course the point is our current awareness is not related to the camps, but to the threat of a nuclear attack.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    I really don’t worry much about NK having ballistic missiles. Why? Because they know beyond any doubt that if they were to launch, the retaliation would be near-total devastation of their entire country – including the families of every one of those in power.

    Which is in large part why we’ve had no significant war between nuclear-armed powers – as nuts as we all are, and as off-the-rails as our rhetoric gets, we all know better. The MAD doctrine holds. It won’t hold forever – some idiot will pull the trigger sooner or later, a few million will die, and the response will be terrible…and the world will learn once more the lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    In fact, one could say that if missiles were the only worry, then NK and Iran having nuclear-tipped missiles is a perversely good thing, because not only do they know better than to strike (since it would be a nationwide version of suicide-by-cop), it also means that chances are that even if we get another I-wanna-be-a-war-president George W. Bush in office, he’s not going to attack those countries…even Dubya knew better than to attack a nuclear nation.

    But the only worry – and it’s a bad one – is that someday, one of these nations will either develop suitcase nukes or simply put one on a yacht and sell it to the highest bidder among the terrorists. But even then, IIRC, I remember reading something about the radiation produced by the plutonium (or uranium) in a bomb having its own signature, a fingerprint if you will, that can be traced back to the reactor where it was first produced…

    …which takes us back to the nationwide suicide-by-cop thing.

    So, in the big picture I’m really not that worried. Perhaps it’s time we all stopped worrying and learned to love the Bomb.

  • Deano

    Barring the fact that their ability to actually hit what they aim at is a long way from proven, the headline for the article is blatently misleading.

    As I understand, North Korea is threatening to go forward more nuclear weapons testing AND will also be testing their long-range missile capabilities. At no time have I heard they were “pledging a nuclear attack on the United States” and the article actually doesn’t state such a connection. The headline is pure supposition.

    Let’s try to keep headlines for articles from degenerating into flaming piles of horse s**t…

  • John Lake

    Glenn:
    Your basic projecting that no one will launch because that would be foolish applies if everyone were like you and I. But Kim Jung Un is not like us, and he is at the least, unpredictable. “Some idiot will pull the trigger…” That ‘idiot’ is waiting in the Pyongyang wings.
    When you say North Korea, or Iran should have weapons as a deterrent to war, you merely agree with Ahmadinejad, and presumably with the young Kim.
    Years ago, before the turn of the century, I was highly visible on talk radio. I made the suggestion that someday, some adversarial group might place a nuclear bomb in the back of a 40 foot tractor-trailer, and park alongside the World Trade Center. I had no idea how close I was to predicting the future. So, your suitcase nuke, or yacht-with- a- bomb concept might just happen.

    And Deano:
    As usual, the “powers that be”are protecting us from the truth. If you will check my links, you will see that the new NK leader made some very direct threats.
    “And a nuclear test of higher level which will be carried out by it [NK] in the upcoming all-out action, a new phase of the anti-U.S. struggle that has lasted century after century, will target against the U.S., the sworn enemy of the Korean people.” The [NK] Commission pledged to “conduct a nuclear test as part of a ‘new phase’ of combat with the United States…” they boasted that the forthcoming nuclear testing would be part of a new phase of confrontation with the United States…”
    In addition, some experts say they might be able to reach the continental U.S. at this time, and that they have capacity to make at least one nuclear bomb which could be launched.

  • John Lake
  • Igor

    I have no doubt in the crazies of NoKo and Irans willingness to start intercontinental atomic warfare that will extinguish all life on earth. It’s the “suicide by cop” syndrome of crazies everywhere, whether demented teenagers in Newtown, or dogma-drunk maniacs in the halls of Tehran. They are glorified by a final auto-de-fe that drags everyone else into death.

    IMO, this is the endpoint of life itself: species suicide.

    About 50 years ago, Enrico Fermi, after considering the ease with which the essential chemicals of ‘life’ could be created in a flask filled with primitive gases and shot through with some lightning (Urey-Miller) and the hundreds of millions of galaxies each one filled with millions of millions of stars, many of which could produce life, was led to ask “where are all the people?”

    Why are we not run over by interplanetary intergalactic travelers of life forms superior to our own?

    This question turns the old Drake equation on it’s head by asking: why is the incidence of intelligent lifeforms zero when so many inviting opportunities abound?

    Lifeforms must be self-destructive, suicidal. Maybe it’s just what you’d expect from the struggle for survival.

    So, eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we suicide, whether we want to or not.

    Perhaps we’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when. If we survive the mineshaft gap!

  • John Lake

    True and well said, Igor. Clearly we humans have some deeply rooted fatal flaw in our genes that dooms us to a here today gone tomorrow scenario.
    Millions of stars, billions of planets. Actually, some strange and alien life form should be arriving at any moment. Recall the Twilight Zone episode, wherein we trusted the strangers from space because they carried a book, “To Serve Man.” In the final scene, as citizens were surging into the spacecraft to visit the new planet, a women who had interpreted their language came foreard pleading, “Wait..Stop!! — It’s a cookbook!!”

  • Glenn Contrarian

    John –

    I disagree – I really don’t think they’re that stupid. It sorta sucks that we’re depending the regional security (and to a lesser extent our own) on whether or not a particular leader is stupid…but really, what choice do we have short of invasion? And it’s not only NK – it’s also Iran and Pakistan and whoever else joins the club in the coming years.

  • Clavos

    some idiot will pull the trigger sooner or later, a few million will die, and the response will be terrible.

    True, and Kim Jong Un is as likely a candidate for that role as anyone in the world today.

    Don’t dismiss him too lightly, Glenn; I think he’s capable of sacrificing the whole country, including his own family, if he thought he’d be left with enough to continue.

    One thing I learned from my tour in Viet Nam is that most Asian cultures do not value human life anywhere near as much as we do — and that’s an advantage for them when fighting us.

  • Deano

    John,

    If you actually had read the comment I wrote I noted that your headline does not reflect the reality of the rhetoric.

    Your headline is very specific: “Kim Jong Un Pledges Nuclear Attacks on the United States”…but he doesn’t.

    He does not pledge nuclear attacks and neither your quotes nor your link to the Washington Post article reflect that fact.

    There is no issue with the content of the article – you seem to be quoting the news sources accurately – however the headline on the article is supposition and smacks of fear-mongering overstatement.

  • John Lake

    Deano. So the sticking point is the concept within the word, “Pledge.” In fact, the western media is understating the threats, as is Leon Panetta. Here is a statement, from the North Korean National Defense Commission, who used the formal title of that nation, The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and said, “It plans to carry out a new nuclear test and more long-range rocket launches, all of which it said are a part of a new phase of confrontation with the United States. The North’s National Defense Commission said the moves would feed into an “upcoming all-out action” that would target the United States, “the sworn enemy of the Korean people.” So we can debate, is that a “Pledge”, or an acrimonious statement made at a time of high emotion.
    “We do not hide that a variety of satellites and long-range rockets which will be launched by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea one after another and a nuclear test of higher level which will be carried out by it in the upcoming all-out action, a new phase of the anti-U.S. struggle that has lasted century after century.”
    I am not fear-mongering, on the contrary, the media is understating. There may be wisdom in that. On the other hand, the journalist in me is out to sell some newspaper. But the words speak for themselves.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    One thing I learned from my tour in Viet Nam is that most Asian cultures do not value human life anywhere near as much as we do — and that’s an advantage for them when fighting us.

    I can argue both sides of that issue. Just because they’re willing to sacrifice their lives for something they believed in – in this case, it was their independence – does not mean they value life any less.

    Once a nation or a culture is forced into war (whether by another nation or by its own leaders), the people will sacrifice their lives much more readily than before…and the more brutal the war, the less human life is valued – e.g. WWII’s eastern front, all sides during WWI, America’s genocide of the native Americans…and if we were invaded by a more powerful nation, you’d find that people would be just as willing to throw their lives away as those you saw in ‘Nam.

    That said, it was noted in WWII that the Allies on the western front would – when faced with overwhelming odds – give up rather easily. On the eastern front, however, the Russians would quite often fight to the death even when out of ammo, wounded, and starving. But then, the Soviet soldier was fighting for his homeland and knew that the Germans would likely kill him anyway if he surrendered, and he was already ordered to never retreat on pain of being shot by the commissar.

    I guess all situations are different…but I would say if the only determinants as to how much a culture values life are its level of education and the length of time that it has not seen war inside its borders. If those two variables are removed, I really think there would be little difference in how much the different cultures value life.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    I don’t see Warren’s articles anymore – does that mean what I think it does?

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Yes, Glenn, it does.

  • Dr Joseph S. Maresca

    How can N.Korea be serious about unification with S.Korea given these kinds of statements? The important thing to do is to monitor their capability to deliver these weapons via long range missiles.

  • John Lake

    While we can’t know who influences Kim, we do note that he changes his mind with never a flinch.

  • Dr Joseph S. Maresca

    In this country, at age 25 or so Kim would be a freshman congressperson. In Korea, he is tantamount to a head of state. My impression is that his statements reflect more on his great difficulty in remaining in power from internal challenges. If he acts bellicose toward the West, he becomes a hero in his own country. If he talks favorably about the West, he might lose power from an entrenched bureaucratic state which will be nearly impossible to change.

    Gorbachev changed Russia; however he was older and much more experienced with a legal background to boot. In addition, his wife Raisa Gorbachev was a PhD (maybe in Philosophy) if I can recall correctly. Both of them were at the top of the intelligensia in Russia, as well as high on the political ladder of success. Besides, Gorbachev marvelled at how Canada could prosper given the similarity of the climate to Russia. For this reason, he saw possibilities for change in Russia. Kim has not yet come to similar realizations yet and he may never do so.

  • John Lake

    Kim walks in the footsteps of his father. If he survives long enough, he might see the wisdom of vision. We haven’t heard much of late from Kim’s siblings, who are far savvier. (MSWord: not more savvy, savvier)

  • Ronnie

    Honestly the whole country is nothing more than a bunch of fanatics who would love nothing more than to kill every American they possibly could in the name of their leader-“god”. I doubt the threat of retaliation would stop Kim from launching a nuclear attack, it would, in his mind, put him down in their history books as the greatest leader there ever was (Assuming the country even existed after a nuclear strike by the U.S.). In my opinion, North Korea shares more semblance with an armed cult than any type of civilized nation. They will bring war to the west, it’s not a matter of if, but when.

  • John Lake

    #24
    Since many agree with that summation, Ronnie, we shouldn’t be surprised to see some response from our new Secretary of State, and the administration.

  • John Lake

    USA Today, Feb 11, 2013

    President Obama on Tuesday called North Korea’s third successful nuclear test a “highly provocative act” that “undermines regional stability” and threatens action by the international community.

    He said North Korea’s nuclear program constitutes “a threat to U.S. national security.”

    The White House released the statement early Tuesday after North Korea detonated a miniaturized nuclear device at a northeastern test site, state media said, defying U.N. Security Council orders to shut down atomic activity or face more sanctions and international isolation.

    The North said it used a “lighter, miniaturized atomic bomb” that still has more explosive force than past tests.

    The United States Geological Survey said earlier Tuesday that it had detected a 4.9 magnitude earthquake in North Korea.

  • Les K.

    Don’t you think Un Kim has boxed himself in with his people making little option but to bomb the U.S. upon creating a nuclear warhead? The only option he has after all the rhetoric and propaganda is if he cannot create the warhead. A nuclear warhead is not the only warhead he can use. He can build many launchers and pepper the U.S. in the hopes that some will make it passed our defenses.

    But the question is why does he want to do this? In his education didn’t he learn how big the U.S. is and what offensive weapons we have? Now, we have drones. I’ll bet we have stealth drones now. Doesn’t he know that his countrymen live in the U.S. and he would be killing them?

    Doesn’t he know that he gave us license to preemptively strike as soon as he declared war on the U.S.?

  • John Lake

    #27 Les
    Good comment!