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Fast and furious: Korea edition

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Fast and furious Korea edition

A few weeks ago I wrote about my opposition to continuing the war in Afghanistan. I explained why. My opposition to remaining in Afghanistan was based on personal experience and a firm understanding that continued fighting is useless. It doesn’t mean I’m a libertarian or a liberal who thinks if we just try to get along with everyone all war can be avoided.

Korea is a whole other ball of wax. Kim Jong-un is directly threatening the United States, not to mention the rest of the world, with hydrogen warheads on his ICBMs, which may or may not be able to hit something other than the Sea of Japan.

North Korea’s current leader is far more confrontational than even his father and grandfather were, and it seems that things may be coming to a head after more than 65 years of stalemate on the Korean Peninsula.

Korea is an interesting socio-political example. You have the Republic of Korea (ROK) in the south which is capitalist, free, prosperous. They have successful trading relationships with much of the world.

Then you have the deceptively named Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the north. Communist, totalitarian, with people living in abject poverty, and what little the country does have used for their military, largely coming from their communist patron, China. North Korea’s military is formidable, but it’s really all they have, making it inevitable that they will eventually want to use it to conquer their southern brothers, and conquer the wealth they’ve accumulated.

When the North comes across the DMZ it will be with the coiled energy of six decades of military buildup. Their artillery will rip apart the massive minefields we’ve laid in wait for them. North Korean commando units will likely infiltrate the South prior to any invasion and wreak havoc. Tanks will enter Seoul in a matter of days, at best. More likely, hours. Maybe we beat them back, at which point Kim Jong Un launches ICBMs carrying nuclear weapons at Tokyo and Washington DC.

That’s the nightmare scenario, of course. There is another option. We could hit them first.

Many on the American Left have expressed displeasure at President Trump’s rhetoric regarding this particular portion of what President George W. Bush called the “Axis of Evil.” Personally, I hope his rhetoric matches the action we actually take.

This country is struggling through difficult times. We’re in serious debt, radical groups of every stripe are rising to create chaos, and this hurricane season is making up for the fact that we have not had a serious hurricane problem since Katrina. The last thing we need is a lunatic running around the Far East with nuclear weapons. What we need second least is to get into yet another protracted war.

President Trump’s rhetoric is not dissimilar to Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ own rhetoric on the matter. Mattis is someone who has much more credibility than Trump on these matters, having served his entire adult life as a Marine officer and is one of the most respected generals in a generation. There is little doubt that he has a plan for every contingency, and I’m sure he is telling Trump exactly what I would tell him, which is this is not a war like we’ve seen in the last half century.

This will not be about politics, or making sure the people of the DPRK like us. Should another open conflict with North Korea come, this will be about the complete annihilation of Kim Jong Un’s military forces, in the air, on the ground, and at sea.

North Korea’s naval forces will be of little concern to our Navy, but as we’ve seen with recent collisions at sea, there is always the possibility of terrorist attacks causing significant damage to our ships. Their air forces are older, and our Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, not to mention the ROK’s very competent Air Force, should have no problem handling them. However, the DPRK has a robust anti-air defense network, including plentiful modernized radars, missiles and anti-aircraft guns. Our pilots would face the densest anti-air network possibly in history.

The B-2 Spirit stealth bomber and the fifth generation F-22 Raptor would no doubt find themselves gainfully employed. B-1Bs and F-15Es, some of them flown by old friends of mine, would likely shoulder the bulk of the strike duties. Mobile surface-to-air missile (SAM) batteries would still be a threat even after the stealth aircraft had whittled the stationary SAMs down to size.

Establishing air supremacy very quickly would be vital. The Korean Penninsula doesn’t have a lot of land to trade for time, and Seoul, the capital and home to a quarter of the population of the ROK, isn’t far from the DMZ.

The ground war will be messy. We can move soldiers fairly quickly by air, but moving M-1A2 Abrams tanks, Strykers, and Bradleys is much more difficult and time consuming. Equipment prepositioned at various locations cuts down on the time, but as I mentioned already, time is at a premium. The armies of the US and ROK will need to slow the advance of the DPRK until the Air Force and Navy can start to cut off their supply routes and then kill the advancing units.

I have no doubt we will win, but the casualties will be high, and we have to make certain we hit the DPRKs nuclear capabilities very early on to prevent a scorched earth retaliation. The war will be fast and furious, but if it comes, I hope it will be one trouble spot we can finally leave behind and allow the ROK to integrate what is left of the DPRK into their society with a minimum of help from us. We don’t need more mouths to feed. I’ve already pointed out we have enough problems already.

Benjamin Wilhelm served as a commissioned officer in the United States military for 10 years, serving one combat tour in Afghanistan. He is a recipient of the Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge among other military awards. Ben has worked in a variety of private sector businesses both large and small. He is a former military and civilian firearms instructor and an advocate for veterans issues. Ben is a strict Constitutionalist who sees the Federal government as an out of control leviathan, and the federal debt as a burden that will break the country. Ben is a divorced father of two boys.

Military

Trump misses the whole point of big military parades

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Trump misses the whole point of big military parades

Many countries put a lot of effort and spend a lot of money polishing their missiles, repainting their vehicles, and transporting a big chunk of their military apparatus just to display them to the people in a parade. President Trump got the idea from a French parade. We see images all the time of North Korean and Iranian military parades.

There’s a reason these and other countries have these parades. It comes down to an old business adage, “fake it ’til you make it.”

The United States doesn’t have to fake it. That’s why it should be no big deal that President Trump’s vision of a big parade seem to be postponed at best.

How Trump’s big military parade evaporated into thin air

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/08/17/how-trumps-big-military-parade-evaporated-into-thin-air.htmlWashington already has quite a few parades, including some with military participation held on Memorial Day and July 4. There was even a 1991 victory parade following the Gulf War complete with 8,000 marching troops, an F-117 Stealth Fighter, some tanks and a Patriot Missile Launcher.

But even that grand display of military hardware from the Gulf War didn’t seem to be what Trump had in mind. He noted that France had represented uniforms and equipment from different wars and that the Bastille Day parade lasted a full two hours. Trump said he envisioned a similar military extravaganza next July 4 down Washington’s famed Pennsylvania Avenue, which connects the White House to Capitol Hill.

Nations often try to build confidence and raise nationalism through parades. In many countries, it’s the best opportunity for the people to get a glimpse of the men and equipment set to protect them. It’s a confidence builder.

Not many Americans would say our military is too small or lacks technological advancements. A parade is not necessary to build American confidence. It would simply be a waste of taxpayer dollars.

The President may not get the big parade he wanted, but at least he and the rest of us know our military is effective whether we put it on display or not.

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Foreign Affairs

Robert Wood Johnson on the failed Iran deal

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Robert Wood Johnson on the failed Iran deal

As ambassador to the United Kingdom, Robert Wood Johnson understands the situation in Iran. He’s acutely aware that sanctions against Iran are the only thing short of military intervention that can prevent them from producing nuclear weapons in the near future. The Iran deal, the alleged hallmark of President Obama’s and Secretary of State Kerry’s legacy, has been clearly demonstrated as an utter failure.

Iran has not backed down. They’ve only placated the world when absolutely necessary with lies on top of lies. The United States is fighting back by pulling out of the deal and laying sanctions on Iran, but they need more to join the fight. Johnson is calling on his host nation to follow suit.

“Far from becoming a more responsible member of the international community, as we had all hoped, Iran grew bolder.”

Source: The Hill

US ambassador urges UK to pull out of Iran nuclear deal

http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/401458-us-ambassador-urges-uk-to-pull-out-of-iran-nuclear-deal“It is clear that the danger from Iran did not diminish in the wake of the [2015 Iran] deal,” Johnson wrote. “Far from becoming a more responsible member of the international community, as we had all hoped, Iran grew bolder.”

“It is time to move on from the flawed 2015 deal,” he continued. “We are asking global Britain to use its considerable diplomatic power and influence and join us as we lead a concerted global effort toward a genuinely comprehensive agreement.”

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Military

Donald Trump on the proposed new branch of the US armed forces

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Donald Trump on the proposed new branch of the US armed forces

Nobody has ever accused President Trump of being eloquent. The way he’s handling the new “Space Force” concept is, well, very Trumpish.

His actual Tweet is something you can’t make up:

“Space Force all the way!”

Go team, go!

Pence unveils plan for Congress to create Space Force by 2020

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/09/pence-unveils-plan-for-congress-to-create-space-force-by-2020.htmlTrump first floated the Space Force idea as a part of his national security strategy March 13. On Thursday, he expressed his enthusiasm for the plan in a tweet shortly after Pence made the announcement, saying: “Space Force all the way!”

The president described in March how he had originally coined the term as a joke, while discussing U.S. government spending and private investment in space. Trump then directed the Pentagon in June to immediately begin the creation of the new branch.

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