Will North Korea Be Next?

Joel Bleifuss

James Woolsey, a former CIA director and current senior advisor to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, has revealed that the United States has developed a plan to invade North Korea, knock out the Yongbyon nuclear facility, and topple the regime of Kim Jong Il, whom President Bush recently called a “pig.”Woolsey and Thomas McInerney, a retired Air Force lieutenant general, write in the Wall Street Journal:Massive air power is the key to being able both to destroy Yongbyon and to protect South Korea from attack by missile or artillery. … We believe the use of air power in such a war would be swifter and more devastating than it was in Iraq. … We judge that the U.S. and South Korea could defeat North Korea decisively in 30 to 60 days with such a strategy.The invasion of North Korea, according to their plan, would entail the deployment of two U.S. Army divisions to bolster Korean forces, a call up of the National Guard and Reserve units, 4,000 daily air strikes, and the deployment of cruise missiles and stealth bombers to take out Pyongyang’s nuclear facilities.Like in Iraq, the raison d’être of this war would be to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction, i.e. the sale of North Korea’s weapons-grade plutonium to “rogue states” and terrorists. Woolsey and McInerney write, “The world has weeks to months, at most, to deal with this issue, not months to years.” Echoing their sentiments, former Defense Secretary William Perry told the Washington Post, “The nuclear program now under way in North Korea poses an imminent danger of nuclear weapons being detonated in American cities.”One of the drawbacks of bombing nuclear facilities is that the resulting explosions and meltdowns could spew radiation across East Asia and around the world. Woolsey and McInerney acknowledge that danger and say that precision bombs would “minimize radiation leakage.” But they don’t say how.

Joel Bleifuss, a former director of the Peace Studies Program at the University of Missouri-Columbia, is the editor & publisher of In These Times, where he has worked since October 1986.

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