Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Pre-Emptive Strike

In an amazing development, two Clinton-era defense officials have called on President Bush to strike the North Korean missile on its launchpad should Pyongyang persist in its determination to fire the device. Excerpts from a signed article in the Washington Post by Ashton B. Carter and William Perry.

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. 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.

Therefore, if 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. The blast would be similar to the one that killed terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq.

There's one difference between Zarqawi and Kim Jong Il which will doubtless not have escaped William Perry. Kim Jong Il is a sitting head of state and, should the Taepodong be blown up in his face, can patiently devote his time to discovering how to revenge himself given he "has obtained six to eight bombs' worth of plutonium since 2003 and is plunging ahead to make more in its Yongbyon reactor". If Kim remains defiant, what do we do for an encore? Everyone knows the answer, but they ought to spell it out now, lest people say they didn't know the facts before they signed up for the ride.


Blogger DanMyers said...

"but they ought to spell it out now, lest people say they didn't know the facts before they signed up for the ride."

They won't explain the statement, just use it when GWB "does the hard work" and perfection is not achieved. Sounds like most of the "meetings" at a large company I used to work for.

Excellent politics - bet the farm, and all that....


6/21/2006 09:42:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If the US can hit it in the lift phase of flight, that would be best.
Star Wars worthy of the name, no matter the System used.
That would send a shiver down a Mullahs spine, declaw the tiger, so to speak, flim on FOX, CNN & al-Jeezera, of course.

6/21/2006 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

I don't see the strategic benefit.

If we can develop the defenses, it would be better to let them spend the money on a system that we can neutralize. If we can't develop the defenses, then we need to do something that will really make a difference in their capabilities. Economic vulnerability seems to be their weakest point. Restriction of Japanese ports could be a big stick.

6/21/2006 10:33:00 PM  
Blogger quantum said...

JJ Mollo -- that's exactly what i think. if we can shoot it down, why do it now and make them try harder to create a non-shootdownable missile?

6/21/2006 11:22:00 PM  
Blogger blert said...

China is behind Korea.

This gambit is to draw us away from Iran.

Timing is all.

6/22/2006 12:26:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

quantum - JJ Mollo -- that's exactly what i think. if we can shoot it down, why do it now and make them try harder to create a non-shootdownable missile?

Well, Carter and Perry make a good point:

N Korea cannot mass produce these weapons and sell them to Iran, Al Qaeda, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, well as make dozens of nuclear-tipped ones for themselves to hide in their thousands of deep hard rock tunnels and caves - Until they conduct a successful test firing, confirm operation of flight test data in good function by telemetry, and check accuracy of the dummy nuke warhead carried.

Chances of war are high though if we did a preemptive ground strike - and the S Koreans would be the ones burned badly by us if the Norks went nuts...Err..even further nuts...

Would be good if the Nipponese SDF directed US/Japan Aegis assets to take a shot if the missile passes over Japan, just our call if it is on a polar trajectory towards N America, or south towards Australia, S Korea, the Philippines.. That would be a diplomatically defendable act. N Korea is a little hemmed in - the other directions take their missile over China or Russia - not even 'Lil Kim is crazy enough to put an ICBM across the territory of those guys.

On the plus side, N. Korea has been China's useful proxy for 50 years to vex us and Japan, is the armpit of the world, and finishing that regime off has many up sides once to get past massive loss of S Korean life.

Not an easy call. And I wish it was Clinton and Perry in Office deciding this - rather than Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld.

Post-attack plan? Why have a plan? The people of N Korea will treat the attack as a liberation, cheer us, blow off a little steam, and be back at work Monday

6/22/2006 12:29:00 AM  
Blogger sam said...


I think our missile defense is less than perfect. I was reading some comments from a retired Air Force General the other day. He was saying we've got about a 40% chance of taking it out in the boost phase with some missiles off of our Aegis frigates in the area.

The 2nd option he said was to use Sparrows stationed at Fort Greeley and Vandenberg. He said those have a kill probability of 60%. So you fire 2 of them to increase your odds.

6/22/2006 12:52:00 AM  
Blogger sam said...

Ah, Cedarford beat me to the Aegis slant.

6/22/2006 12:56:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

It would be a mistake to test fire an anti-missile at the expected Korean launch. If we miss, the program would be compromised. If we hit, there would be a vigouous change in first strike capabilities and tactics by potential aggressors. It is better to keep potential enemies guessing about US capabilities. A cruise missile launch against the launch site makes more strategic sense. It is far more likely to succeed and demonstrates a robust American intolerance for hostile nations attaining strategic weapon systems designed to threaten the West. Let them keep guessing as to the capabilities of Star Wars.

If the South Koreans have a problem with this, I have an impeccable source that has already identified a site for strategic redeployment of US troops. Okinowa. He was after all a marine colonel.

6/22/2006 02:44:00 AM  
Blogger felix said...

Makes sense to me. Why wait for launch and take a chance on missing the rocket? Simply destroy it in place while launch prep is going on. The explosion would also destroy the launching area. And the authors even call for giving No. Korea 1 hour to evacuate personnel before we strike. Nice Touch.

This would also send a powerful message to Iran.

6/22/2006 04:50:00 AM  
Blogger sam said...

I like your thinking, Felix. But doesn't giving them 1 hour notice mean that they would just then fire? I mean it's fueled up and ready to roll (no, i won't use that term in this context), it's fueled up and ready to launch.

6/22/2006 05:04:00 AM  
Blogger sam said...

China concerned about N. Korean missile:

South Korea ‘s Unification Minister Lee Jong-seok said it was still unclear whether the North would fire a missile but the "government is getting ready for all possibilities," according to his aide Kim Sung-bae.

About 1,000 people including army veterans and activists staged an anti-North Korea rally in Seoul, condemning the North‘s missile threat.

Still Unclear

6/22/2006 05:15:00 AM  
Blogger felix said...

If the No. Koreans can just fire the missile right now, then I agree we forget the warning. The Perry article, however, appears to say that there is a whole "preparation" cycle that has to take place before launch.

I am reminded of the scene in the Indiana Jones movie--I think the first one--where Indiana (Harrison Ford)is presented with a blood-thirsty, sword carrying, menacing savage who goes thru a sword swinging demo in front of Indiana in preparation to kill him. At which point, Indiana pulls out his holstered pistol and, bang, the bad guy is dispatched. In other words, as regards North Korea, why fool around with a mid-air shoot down? Just destroy it in place.

6/22/2006 05:26:00 AM  
Blogger felix said...

If the Bush administration has been considering the destroy-in-place option, this article can be seen as a green light for the operation from the "sensible" wing of the Democratic Party.

6/22/2006 05:30:00 AM  
Blogger sam said...

S. Korea: North missile test not imminent:

Worries over a possible North Korean launch have grown in recent weeks after reports of activity at the country's launch site on its northeastern coast where U.S. officials say a Taepodong-2 missile — believed capable of reaching parts of the United States — is possibly being fueled.

China on Thursday issued its strongest statement of concern over a possible North Korean missile launch, and Pyongyang warned of clashes in the skies as it accused U.S. spy planes of repeated illegal intrusions.

Worries Over Launch

6/22/2006 06:24:00 AM  
Blogger Tom Paine said...

Two points:

One: No one takes North Korea seriously -- except for the nukes. Conversely, everyone takes IRAN seriously -- even without nukes. Because Iran is a long term -- and growing -- threat to world stability.

By contrast, the NorKs are completely surrounded by societies that are whole orders of magnitude stronger than they are – and two of which are themselves run by barely-reformed thugs who would nuke NK out of existance (in a heartbeat) if it it ever became seriously annoying to even their economic interests.

Two: Bush has time left for only one more major foreign policy “initiative”. On the scale of long-term importance, that must be Iran – and he is focused on that. So he will not be distracted by "The Mouse that Roared".

I predict that the bushies will frown real hard at the NorKs over this missile "test", but that’ll be it.

6/22/2006 06:33:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If the NorKs siphon off the fuel and store the rocket, well and good. If it stayed on the launch pad, unfueled, all the better.

A preemptive strike, unneeded,
if the missle could be brought down after launch.

A lot of premium energy would be released. Proof positive to the Mullahs that their weapons developments are for naught.

Mr Reagan knew the value of just the idea of missle defense. The power of it's successful employment would give our foes pause.
Their best toy becomes a fireball in the sky. While in the best celluloid cowboy tradition, we only shoot in "self defense".

I am puzzled though, wretchard, when you say, "... If Kim remains defiant, what do we do for an encore? Everyone knows the answer, ..."

I certainly do not know the presumed, correct, answer.

Any more so than "knowing" who the enemy in Iraq is. Mr al-Sadr meets all of my presumed criteria for a radical islamist enemy of the US, but is not so treated. Amnesty has already been granted to Mr al-Sadr, which I "knew" could never happen. Not after his spring time rebellion and the murder indictment by an Iraqi court.

6/22/2006 07:01:00 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Davis said...

Accelerate delivery of SM-3 to JNSDF. If the launch is toward Japan, SKor, Philippines, let them launch it with whatever technical assistance is necessary.

6/22/2006 07:41:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...


It is my impression that the Clinton and Perry team (with significant help from Albright and Berger) did resolve this problem years ago.

We just have to watch the success story in action!!!

Get your champaign glasses ready!!!

6/22/2006 07:44:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Rockets are notoriously touchy. There was a time in the 60s when I thought we we're working our way to the moon one yard-at-a-time.

Shouldn't take much technical wizardry to see that the NKs have the same experience.

Just like publishing documents that might put a single soldier's life at risk, there's no reason to do anything more than rattle ABM swords today. It's more important to save that capability (and insure that all potential enemies doubt its effectiveness) for a serious threat.

6/22/2006 08:07:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Ari Tai,

If the anti-missile capability is effective, showing it would be a good thing...

If chancy or ineffective, showing our lack of capability would be a bad thing

6/22/2006 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

I think that in balance al-Sadr helps more than he hurts at the moment. al-Sadr's death squads are one of the few incentives for the Sunnis to give up their civil war and submit to democracy.

(Coalition forces are opposing the Sunnis too, but in some areas of Iraq the local population is complicit, so the resistance gets away with it.)

6/22/2006 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

Every Saddamite al-Sadr kills is a step forward too. I would never call al-Sadr a friend, but the enemy of my enemy makes a useful temporary ally.

6/22/2006 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger John Samford said...

Actually, a liquid-fueled missile has a short launch window. The chemicals are extremly volatile and the DPRK doesn't have a lot of experience with holding a launch after fueling. It is a tricky business, as many launch pad explosions show. If they don't launch in the next couple of days, they will have to start unloading the missile, which is a very dangerous process. Or launch. If they screw it up and the ICBM blows, then the USA will get the blame. What we need to do is take the credit. Make the despots worry that we have some way of making ICBM's blow up on the pad.

"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."
- Napoleon Bonaparte

The more opportunities your enemy has to make mistakes, the greater his chance of making one.

"Confusion to your enemies"
- Conan the Barbarian

6/22/2006 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If the objective really were to kill all the "Saddamites", it could be done by unleashing Col. Saad and his troops.

Regardless, at Westhawk they have an interesting piece on announced planned troop deployments to Iraq.

The draw down has begun, and will amount to a 27% reduction in combat brigades by year end.

To interesting quotes from the piece, the first. "...Manpower totals quoted on the two statements add up to 113,000. This compares to roughly 132,000 currently in Iraq and the Iraqi government’s stated goal of having U.S. manpower below 100,000 by the end of this year. ..."

But the second, part of an AP story from Camp Anaconda,
"... In the last four months, the Army has tagged 7,000 Humvees and 17,000 other pieces of equipment to be shipped to the United States to be rebuilt. They then will be distributed among active and reserve units at home, or possibly returned to equip Iraqi security forces. ..."

The pull out of equipment has already begun, the troops rotated back to US, beginning to not be replaced.

When the MSM begins covering this story, is that "good" or "bad" for the effort? Or will it depend on the spin.

Word leaks out, the US is covertly bugging out, White House denies claim.


Mr Bush announced today the fulfillment of the primary Mission Goals in Iraq. That in partnership with the Iraqi government the US was inititiating a manpower draw down. In conjunction with our other allies, Japan, England and the Ukrainians. While at the same time building up the Iraqis independence of action. Providing improved logistical capacity with trucks and Humvees, recycled from the conflict.

6/22/2006 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

One of the background pieces for westhawk's piece is by AP Correspondent Ryan Lenz was embedded with the U.S. Army Field Sustainment Brigade, which oversees the Army's military equipment in Iraq.

The link is to the San Diego Union-Trib.

6/22/2006 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Desert rat said...

"A preemptive strike, unneeded, if the missle could be brought down after launch... Proof positive to the Mullahs that their weapons developments are for naught.... The power of [missile defense] successful employment would give our foes pause. Their best toy becomes a fireball in the sky."

I agree with Desert Rat that we should attempt to destroy the NorK ICBM after launch with our ABM system (a perfect live test). However I would give the odds at about four to one against successful destruction of the ICBM. Past tests have always been directed towards an RV with a large inflatable "decoy" next to it. The decoy greatly simplified the kill vehicle's task of locking onto the target.

Despite the high probably of failure, I see this as a win-win scenario. If we destroy the NorK ICBM then we demonstrate the futility of our enemies developing strategic weapon systems. However if we fail to destroy the NorK ICBM then we demonstrate the fallibility of an ABM defense and the importance of preemptively removing enemy strategic weapons. Either outcome is desireable.

6/22/2006 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger John Samford said...

cedarford, What massive loss of S. Korean life? You and the other doom and gloomers are taking to much council of your fears.
Where is your evidence? The DPRK is a dictatorship. The Military doesn't have access to ammo, until right before it is needed. That is SOP (standard operating procedure) for Stalinist style dictatorships. They don't want the troops have ready access to ammo for fear those troops will use said ammo on the tyrant.
So you can forget that wet dream of yours about thousands of DPRK 122mm tubes opening up on Soul. The S. Korean intelligence service is VERY effective. They will know when Kim starts handing out the keys to the ammo bunkers. Prolly before the N. Korean generals do.
If you think the S. Koreans are stoopid, you have never lived there.
The whole Idea of those people sitting in their living rooms watching the North open up on them (yes, they all have TV's) is racialist, insulting and reeaally stoopid.
They have cars too. They also have roads there. Big ones, as big as anything here in the USA. Especially around Soul(Seoul). I'll bet Seoul can evecuate faster then a similar sized American city. I wouldn't be suprised to find Seoul empties out before the DPRK can get the ammo bunkers unlocked.
Then there is the problem the DPRK has of hiding their arty in caves. That makes it really easy to take the arty out of action. Non-military people have this insane notion that you have to destroy something to render it combat ineffective. Civilians never seem to grasp the concept of mission kill. If you close the opening of the tunnel, then anything in the tunnel is useless against anything not in the tunnel.
ROK special ops are among the best in the world. They are as good as the SAS, SEALs, G-9, Spetzna or Unit 101. Plus they get more practice, having been at war for the last 50+ years.
My prediction for the butchers bill in South Korean non-combatants is less then 1,000. Half of them from traffic accidents on the way out of town. The hand full of tubes that actually get off rounds will not kill a dozen people. Meanwhile, the ROKs can be on the Yula within 4 days of crossing the mine fields in the DMZ.
How many times does a 21st century army have to destroy a WW2 era army before you guys figure it out?
Afghanistan was going to cost us 10,000 casualties, Iraq 50,000.
What were the actuals? 8 and 186, or something like that.
Smart weapons, night vision and combat information management systems give the typical 3rd world conscript army less of a chance then the Aztecs had against Cortez. Although 202 defeating 1.2 million is a record that will stand for quite a while.
Second place (AFAIK) goes to Richard de' Cour (King Richard the Lionhearted) who attacked 3,500 Muslims with 14 Crusader Cavalry and defeated them. ALL it takes is balls, something that is in short supply in the 21st century.

"there are not enough chinamen in the world to stop a fully armed Marine regiment
from going where ever they wont to go"
- Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller

6/22/2006 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

It would be nice to know what the real capabilities of the missile defense system is; i.e. how confident we really are that it would work. The worst thing would be to try and shoot it down and not succeed.
I vote for the preemptive strike.

6/22/2006 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Liquid fueled missiles can sit loaded on the pad for years, as the Titan IIs did in the U.S. and many Russian ICBMs still do.

The propellants used in the Tapeodong, which is based on the SS-1 Scud, are basically mineral spirits and Nitric Acid - not nearly as bad as the stuff we and the Russians use. And lots and lots of Nikes and SA-2's AA missiles sat around for years and years loaded with that stuff and hardly ever blew up. The fuel is basically what you use to clean paint brishes and the oxidizer requires far less precautions than does, say N2O4 or even LOX. A Scuba tank and rubber gloves will do.

Admitedly, detanking can be dicy if you are a complete and total incompetant that cannot use the Self Service lane at a gas station. And after you detank, if you were equally stupid in designing the rocket - and did not incorporate prevalves - you likely need to clean it out and change the seals.

I think that Carter and Perry are feeling the hot breath of history on their necks and want the 2nd Taoepodning launch taken out before their legacy - and maybe Los Angeles - takes another hit and they start getting invited to Texas necktie parties.

By the way we are talking about Flight No. 2 - The N Koreans already launched one on 31 Aug 1998 that made it almost all the way to Alaska, follwing a CIA report that said "Ain't Gonna Happen Soon" and a Congressional study that said "You Wanna bet?"

You gotta admire the North Koreans's sense of timing. They come clean on their nuke program a few days after Jimmy Carter gets the Noble Peace price for shutting them down and start doing missile test preps as the Eurowobblies meet with Pres Bush over one of their most promising ballistic missile customers.

Gotta be Karl Rove's work!

Either that or that Liberal Nightmare: Reality.

6/22/2006 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger brahim said...

This development is pure politics.

It's just a tactic on the part of the Dems to create a later excuse to criticize Bush and the Reps for not following their "good advice."

That's why it's a suggested strategy with no apparent strategic benefit.

6/22/2006 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

John Samford quoted...

"there are not enough chinamen in the world to stop a fully armed Marine regiment from going where ever they wont to go" - Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller

Nice words. The USMC still got its ass kicked in the battle of the Chosin Reservoir. The Marines didn't leave behind their dead and wounded so honor was preserved. However it's a grevious error to underestimate the capabilities of the Chinese.

6/22/2006 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

ex helo,
I'd agree that if not confident of the ABM capacity, preempting the launch could be an option. But if the confidence levels were high that a successful interception was possible, I'd go for that option.

There is after all only the one rocket and we know where it is.

6/22/2006 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger BostonShepherd said...

If a pre-launch attack is authorized, can someone please make sure the video drone is on station?

For crying out loud -- no warning. Why not eliminate as many NorK missle technicians as possible? We're going to catch hell for preemptive action, might as well increase our mileage.

And it'll be most amusing to see how Russia and the PRC "announce" the incineration of their "observers" at the launch site.

6/22/2006 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger The Machinist said...

May I suggest taking it out on the pad with ABL, if it's available? Any sabotage would do - and prevent NK from getting any test benefits at all - but the laser would not risk any SOF personel, nor be detected as would a cruise missile. Just all of a sudden the rocket would explode.

OF course ABL is in testing but the chief issues are aiming, which is easy for a stationary target at ground level.

Just a thought.

6/22/2006 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Meanwhile our earnest ally, President Karzai is unhappy with US & NATO tactics being used in Afghanistan.

"... More than 600 people, mostly militants, have been killed in recent weeks as insurgents have launched their deadliest campaign of violence in years. At least 14 coalition soldiers have been killed in combat since mid-May.

“It is not acceptable for us that in all this fighting, Afghans are dying. In the last three to four weeks, 500 to 600 Afghans were killed. (Even) if they are Taliban, they are sons of this land,” he said. ..."

It is an report carried by msnbc.

6/22/2006 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

There is liitle to be gained by a pre-emptive strike against the Korean missile test. It will be a loss diplomatically. The politics and diplomacy will favor US action after a successful Korean launch. The second test launch would favor a US preemptory strike. The point to the North Korean test is all for politics and prestige. It in itself is a non-military event. An unsuccessful US attempt to shoot it down would be a major coup for them. The world would expect the US to be able to shoot it down. Please explain to me what the US gains if we miss? .

6/22/2006 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

Karzai needs a vacation or someone sent him a dead fish. He would not last the echo of the last chopper.

6/22/2006 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

Indulge me one further point. It would be better to let the Koreans launch number one so that we can determine their capabilities.

6/22/2006 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...


This next one is Number 2!

Number 1 was launched on 31 Aug 1998. It was either a successful ICBM test or - as the N. Koreans claim - a failed space launch (which they claim was successful, too, but no one else saw the satellite).

6/22/2006 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

“I strongly believe ... that we must engage strategically in disarming terrorism by stopping their sources of supply of money, training, equipment and motivation,” Karzai said during a press conference.

Maybe Karzai wants to invade Pakistan, the source of terrorism.

6/22/2006 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

The West, now basically the US and England are going through the throes of death by a thousand cuts.

The ChiComs and Russia are still supplying as much antithesis as they can toward our demise. We're well into WWIII and we still don't use our full might to dust off the interlocutors of communism. Most treat communism as anacronistic. Our State Department and Defense Department are in disarray.
We have not learned to kill en mass,without remorse against the interlocutors and it would be so easy for us to do. We do not have the will, and the cuts are mounting.
We should start by striking Iran and North Korea. Without mercy. But once again there is no leadership with the will or guts to do so. We have a moral duty to our citizenry to initiate, not just contemplate these actions.
I guarantee after obliterating most of the Muslim world and turning North Korea to calcine earth, winning hearts and minds will be a breeze.
No doubt we would have to withstand a withering rebuke from the UN and Amnesty International which is enough to deter, golly, just about anyone.
Nurse , another bandage please.

6/22/2006 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...


Eight years between launches is not a test. It is nostalgia.

6/22/2006 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Bonnie said...

There's also a nuclear EMP burst in our upper atmosphere, which could make 9-11 look like a tea party. All electonics would fail; power grids, water systems, computers, cars.

This launch might not be a test, in other words, but a sneak attack a la Pearl Harbor by the Chinese using their dummy, Kim il Jong.

I'm not too conspiracy minded, but I do know a bit about EMP. I hope this rocket mysteriously explodes on the launch pad. Best for all concerned.

6/22/2006 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

I read most of the blog as a discussion of, do we hit the missile on the pad, or do we intercept it.
One missile on a pad isn't the problem nor either proposed solution the answer.
But a 500 page policy paper is no doubt in the works.
Obliterate these societies, from the air. And don't tell me we can't do it.

6/22/2006 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger Yusef said...

The article argues for preemption now, but if it's right to strike the North Korean's ICBM now, why wasn't it right to strike their nuclear facilities in 1993? Surely that would have been the superior cut-off point.

As things stand now, the North Koreans appear to posess a number of nuclear bombs. This being the case, how would war on the Korean peninsula doom the North Korean regime (as the article argues they "must surely know")? Could they not simply threaten to use their nuclear weapons against the south and/or Japan if the regimes survival was threatened?

An important question unaddressed in the article: if we did destroy this ICBM, couldn't the north simply build another, keep it hidden underground, and bring it up to be test fired quickly and secretly?

I would tend to agree with brahim's take on this article. It's easy to advise extreme action when you're not in power and don't have to deal with real world problems and conseqences.

What I would like to know is what economic levers still exist to put pressure on the North. Perhaps it is time for those of us in the U.S. to ask this question: why should we continue to engage in one-sided "free trade" with China, while China is ecomonicaly propping up a regime that presents a deadly threat to our survival?

6/22/2006 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

2164h: Well, gee, since the first test they admitted to having a nuclear program, and very possibly nuclear weapons. Further tests would have given us a better look see at the missile but may not have told them much - they likely only get a look at the 1st stage burn, govin their no doubt limited tracking capabilities.

Reports were that the solid fueled third stage did not work so well on flight No.1. Since that time a N. Korean ship went to Syria and Germany and took on a load of the materials required to make modern solid rocket motors, among other things.

6/22/2006 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

From CNN:

On North Korea and its possible test of a long-range ballistic missile, Cheney rejected a pre-emptive U.S. military strike, saying current diplomatic moves can deal with the issue.

"I think, at this stage, we are addressing the issue in the proper fashion," he said. "Obviously, if you are going to launch strikes at another nation, you better be prepared to not fire just one shot. The fact of the matter is, I think, the issue is being addressed appropriately."

Cheney was asked about a Thursday op-ed piece in The Washington Post from William Perry, defense secretary under President Clinton, and Ashton Carter, Clinton's assistant secretary of defense, which said the United States, if necessary, should strike beforehand and destroy the missile before North Korea tests it.

Cheney said that, while "I appreciate Bill's advice," such an action could worsen the situation.

6/22/2006 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...


Makes my point of blah,blah,yaddah,yaddad,yaddad.

You cannot and no nation has ever managed the the plans they put on paper for the operation of the Earth. You just DO when you have the power, while your adversary is weak, and deal with the rubble later.

6/22/2006 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Not that we can not, habu, I'd never tell you that.
But that we will not, upon that you can rest, assured or not.

The short story of Camp Taji's COIN operations, at westhawk, and then the kidnapping of 85 workers from a factory in that very city, on the same day. Illustrates the failures of the current tactical policy, better than any narrative.

A preemptive strike into Pakistan, taking down aQ in it's sanctuary, Mr Karzai may have a new & novel idea, there.

Mr Karzai seems unconcerned about the possible threat from his homegrown insurgents, perhaps he thinks they are not going to be a threat. Not without outside help, Assistance from Warizistan may be all the problem really boils down to. From Mr Karzai's perspective.

6/22/2006 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

Don't get me wrong. I fully realize we will not. But I can and will continue to encourage killing the enemy ruthlessly and in huge numbers.
Joseph Galloway's latest column illuminates with perfect clarity why we won't. Succinctly the "ruling class", Congress, captains of industry, government officials are so disassociated from the 1% of Americans who fight and die that they cannot and will not make successful decisions.
You have such panty waist leadersip in Washington and State governments that the "thousands cut" will eventually bleed us blanco.
My objective is not to gloss over war as a video game and to inform people that you need war and in war you kill and kill more. It's the one thing the entire world understands. Millions of deaths.
We can give or we can receive the killing but it is an inescapable fact, and I for one want us to do the killing. Do it in as gruesome a way as possible. The hearts and minds crap is for pusillanimous elites who don't know history and don't care about the defenders of their liberties.

6/22/2006 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger jim, northern CA said...

Yeah, I'm with Boghie.
Cedarford: "I wish it was Clinton and Perry in Office deciding this.."
So, didn't they solve this already? How did that turn out, btw? Did any Dem, ever, express any remorse? Acknowledge unforeseen consequences?

6/22/2006 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Jim, northern ca: After the North Koreans admitted that they had never shut down their nuclear program, I heard a former Clinton policy advisor/North Korea "expert" say on the radio: "Gee, this is a surprise. We never imagined they would do something like this. Who woulda thunk?"

So I guess that stunned shock at being played for suckers is their version of "remorse."

6/22/2006 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

We already have the correct potentially winning strategy in Iraq. The only thing that matters now is whether the Sunnis choose peace, or to keep fighting the central government. The pressure from the Shia, our forces, and the political carrots being waved in front of them are the keys.

We can't fight an entire population, the Sunnis. Either they need to be turned to democracy, or Iraq gets partitioned. Continued occupation in that case would be neither moral nor useful.

6/22/2006 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

If Karzai wants to find the alternative to warfare with the Taliban he should look in the mirror. His job as political leader is to lure the potential Taliban soldiers into the political system, leaving only the hard core to be killed in battle.

Karzai made a big deal out of letting most of his enemies go, which is supposedly the Afghan way. Supposedly that would lead them to join the government instead of heading out to the caves to be rebels.

6/22/2006 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

"Mr Reagan knew the value of just the idea of missle defense. The power of it's successful employment would give our foes pause. "

you mean faux pax?

Couldn't help it. Yeah a miss in boost phase would not be very reassuring. It's harder to know when the bad guys are launching and from where. The Soviets had excellent mobile missile systems.

There are decoys... MRVs, and now the Ruskies have developed a steerable war head after the midcourse phase that puts a damper on any incept calculus. Maybe it would be better to take out the launch facility and the rest of that turds strategic capabilities while you're at it.

6/22/2006 03:07:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

Wu Wei ....said "We can't fight an entire population, the Sunnis"

Old American saying.

"The can'ts never could"

6/22/2006 03:19:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

It's impossible and never worked. If the entire population keeps on fighting, then the only two choices are to kill them all or stop the war. It's tough to believe anyone could argue with that.

Fortunately according to Rumsfeld in today's press conference, the Sunni Resistance is negotiating now for their equivalent of "peace with honor". That proves my point, that an all our war on Sunnis would have been a bad strategy and instead we needed a combination of diplomacy (for the Sunni people) & war (for their terrorists).

Life isn't as much fun for the Sunnis any more. Rumsfeld announced that Iran is training & arming Shia commandos [and we know they have been fighting Sunnis]. The US had to hold back on rolling up some Al Qaeda leaders until they had Zarqawi, but no more. Iraqi has an inclusive elected government that the Sunnis themselves voted for.

For awhile there the Sunnis had it as good as Arafat: support terrorism, deny supporting it by saying they are opposing only the foreign "occupiers", and at the same time demand to be negotiated with. With an elected government, rival Shia terror squads, and more Baathists vanishing every day, their dream of turning back the clock seems less likely every day.

6/22/2006 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

Interesting article from DOD. Calling Al Qaeda jihadis is a compliment, saying they are following their religion properly.

"We should describe the Islamic totalitarian movement as the global hirabah, not the global jihad"

6/22/2006 03:56:00 PM  
Blogger oseaghdha said...

Cedarford flatulated thusly: "And I wish it was Clinton and Perry in Office deciding this - rather than Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld."

Um, er, that particular clown car stopped at the White House, and along with the world reknowned peanut farmer gave the Norks the technology to eventually help create this situation.
To be pineing for them now is a bit odd.
Hell, maybe we can reassemble the Dream Team after all. When they are done with lil Kim, they can go sort out Kosovo.

6/22/2006 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

wu wei,

It is possible to argue anything, the left has proved that over the last 60 years. Example. Wealth creates poverty. They've been trying to sell that one since Hegel, Marx, and Engels.
But more to the point. You don't have to kill them all. 98% would be fine and really focus the other 2% on following another path.

6/22/2006 05:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Why would I WANT to detank in the self-service line?
Maybe Karzai figures we ought to be bombing where AQ are trained, funded, and led from?
Might even hit Z2 or someone else there.
Perhaps he's been reading BC's comments.

6/22/2006 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

But NOT the Shining Path.

6/22/2006 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger John (Useful Fools) said...

The probability that the Norks would actually hit the US (or try an EMP strike - much harder than a previous poster implied) is pretty low.

They may be nuts, but not THAT nuts. Either a nuclear attack or an EMP attack (for which they probably do not have the technology - it takes a BIG bomb to do much on the EMP front) would leak to immediate nuclear retaliation, and when the dust cleared, there would not longer be a NK government. Just as we didn't hesitate against Japan and Germany, we would no doubt require an unconditional surrender after such an attack.

Americans may have grown soft, but we were pretty soft before WW-II. The right provocation and the enemy would be sorry - well, if the enemy was still alive.

BTW... on EMP - the effects are over-dramatized. Much of our infrastructure is less susceptible than before. For one thing, FEMA quietly causes infrastructure providers to harden facilities, and the protection used against lightning damage is close to what you want against EMP.

It would be seriously stupid of NK to try such an attack, even if they had the large weapon required to do much damage.

6/22/2006 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Do I get half credit if I master the nozzle, but not the computer?

6/22/2006 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Fortunately, Doug, no one will ever let you get your hands on a ballistic missile.

I used to have 10 of them. Was looking for some reentry vehicles for them to keep the wind out of the front end during a possible series of SDI tests and Sandia asked me "Did you want those with the devices in them?"

Told them no. I decided being my own nuclear power would be a real hassle.

6/22/2006 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

Ah, the Shining Path ... almost makes one nostalgic..

I'm sure there's some Feng Shui outfit in Southern California that's adopted such a benign, come hither sobriquet.

How about, "Waiter, I'll have some more Brigatta Rossa"

6/22/2006 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

National News from The Associated Press

U.S. Military Intercepts Medium-Range Missile in Test 100 Miles Above the Pacific
06-22-2006 5:03 PM

HONOLULU -- A Navy ship on Thursday intercepted a medium-range missile warhead above the earth's atmosphere off Hawaii in the latest test of the U.S. missile defense program, the military said.

The Missile Defense Agency said the test had been scheduled for months and was not prompted by indications that North Korea was planning to test launch a long-range missile.

The USS Shiloh detected a medium-range missile after it was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, then fired a Standard Missile-3 interceptor.

The interceptor shot down the target warhead after it separated from its rocket booster, more than 100 miles above the Pacific Ocean and 250 miles northwest of Kauai, the agency said in a statement.

The test marked the seventh time in eight attempts the military has successfully shot down a missile target with an interceptor fired from a ship.

6/22/2006 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

rwe knows I'm busy with the ones that blow up on the way up.
On Purpose.

6/22/2006 07:24:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Tom Paine - Two: Bush has time left for only one more major foreign policy “initiative”. On the scale of long-term importance, that must be Iran – and he is focused on that.

A policy intitiative, yes. But Bush, Rumsfeld botched the post-war up enough and we are bogged down bad enough in Iraq that few trust the two of them to "get Iran right" in a military conflict. Even Republicans. The highest priorities the American public have are stopping the invasion past our Borders (something Presidente` Jorge favors for his corporate cronies), the escalating health care, entitlement, and energy crisis and of course Iraq. Iraq, where even a growing number of Republicans believe it's a largely failed war - and the endgame is a mild Civil war, tossing every American out as unwanted occupiers, awarding oil and reconstruction contracts to any nations BUT America and it's "special friend", then perhaps in ten years the average ingrate Iraqi might turn around and say "for unclean infidels still deserving to die, Americans weren't so bad".
John Stamford (9:46AM post) - Your neocon triumphalism has taken you into delerious levels. I call it your "North Korean Cakewalk War" scenario.

According to you, who pretends some expertise in Korean military absent in others who have been there, including myself:

Only 1,000 or so casualties can be expected in Seoul because of "rapid evacuation, no artillery able to fire for a long period of time(you neglect missiles from the NORK force), and their hardened facilities surrounded by fight to the death infantry somehow easily taken out by "superb special ops soldiers".

You express your strange belief that the NORKs have no ammo ready.
Then remarkably stupidly, pull out your race card and say that anyone who doesn't believe that Seoul can be rapidly evacuated in the midst of a HE and WMD barrage (mainly nerve gas) "in big S Korean cars" - is racist. Which applies to most of us who have actually been in Korea who say it would be a horrific mess of mass slaughter if the NORKs opened up. A term, I guess, that also applies to "racist" S Korean military and political leadership who project a minimum of 500,000 dead S Koreans in the first week of a non-nuclear war.

Half a million big reason why the S Koreans aren't itching for a war with the NORKs but hope to see their new alignment as key economic partner with Rising China and the NORK economic collapse lead to peaceful reunification.

After pulling the race card, you close with two vaguely racist maxims of military jingoism:

Smart weapons, night vision and combat information management systems give the typical 3rd world conscript army less of a chance then the Aztecs had against Cortez. Although 202 defeating 1.2 million is a record that will stand for quite a while.

The "high tech gap" you glow about with the NORKs - was even more pronounced when we put our night vision, superior communications, elite special ops troops, precision naval fire and ultra-accurate artillery up against the Vietnamese. There is a danger in extrapolating kicking butt against one target and claiming it proves your invincibility against all foes. After Conquistadors kicked Aztec butt, they in turn had their "invincible" butts handed to them by English and Dutch forces.

"there are not enough chinamen in the world to stop a fully armed Marine regiment
from going where ever they wont to go"
- Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller

Chesty, the greatest Marine ever, said that as encouragement to the troops as the Marines were in full, desperate retreat from 3rd World Conscripts at Chosin Reservoir, busy trying to salvage themselves, their wounded, and frozen dead.
RWE - Amusing story about testing warhead re-entry cones and the offer to give you some nuke-filled ones to play with when you said the testing wasn't perfect. ( since it was just the ablative shells?). First time I saw a nuke warhead I was scared to be in "IT's" presence. The shock over it's amazingly small size was even more disconcerting.

6/22/2006 07:59:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) is the instantaneous release of a wide spectrum of electromagnetic radiation from the nuclear disintegration of the material in a nuclear device. There should be a classic bell curve of energies per frequency, following typical black-body radiation emmissions, with the peak determined by the mass of the material and the efficiency of the design. (Please, anyone with physics training correct me...)

The earth’s atmosphere is opaque to a lot of frequencies, and distance will attenuate all frequencies according to the inverse square law, just like any other form of energy. A single nuclear weapon even in the range of hundreds of kilotons, can NOT disable the entire country. (Think about it... during the 1950’s there were plenty of atmospheric tests AND high-altitude tests of devices with far greater yields than the Hiroshima & Nagasaki bombs, and none of them caused any detectable EMP damage outside the test areas...) Most of the country would be beyond the horizon for a low altitude detonation, and protected by the intervening atmosphere by a high-altitude blast. ªPlease, anyone with physics training correct me...)

What is vulnerable is the worldwide system of satellites we’ve placed: communications, weather observation, GPS, etc.

The people who will immediately suffer are all the trendy folks driving their big-ass SUVs off-road in the wilderness. They’ll have to get out a compass and a topographic map, if they’ve strayed far from the trail. Hope they brought along some extra jerky.

But seriously, our military may need to re-establish ratings in celestial navigation, as a backup to GPS-dependent plotting. Subs have inertial guidance. What other military vehicles use such stuff? I would think the GPS satellites have been hardened to reduce their vulnerability to EMP... Presumably scientists, the military and system designers have been considering this for decades.

6/22/2006 08:07:00 PM  
Blogger Armagnac Esq said...

Sorry if someone's pointed this out in the 70 odd posts above...

..but surely the time for pre-emptive strikes was when they were still trying to obtain the nuclear devices that most analysts agree they now have?

Reactions to North Korean posturing also frequently fail to account for the extent of genuine NK fear and hatred of Japan.

Japan has earned this, frankly, through failing to address the evils of WWII, which for Koreans was only the tail end of decades of vicious occupation.

6/22/2006 08:09:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Habu thinks California will get by with Celestial Seasonings.

6/22/2006 08:10:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Oh, yeah. Of course, non-military Non-hardened communications systems could be affected. Cell phones, internet, commercial TV & Radio — anything dependent on microwave transmission & reception.

I assume all of you have backups, eh?

I personally have a large supply of fine-grained mud, suitable for clay tablets, and a bunch of chopsticks saved from take-out meals. I will re-invent cunieform writing, and learn to each bugs.

6/22/2006 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

In addition, I have stockpiled a substantial supply of chalk with which to mark the shadow outlines of acquaintances vaporized in the blast, and so memorialize them.

I'm sorry, which religion is "Red" and which is "Blue?"

6/22/2006 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...


"I will re-invent cunieform writing, and learn to EAT bugs."

6/22/2006 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

With the bust of the Sears Tower Seven, in Miami, Ms Malkin raises an intersting point for all the search profilers on the NYC subways and the TSA waiting lines.
Some of the suspects are "blacks".

Not Arab but, African Mohammedans.

Now we'll have to stop and search every black person in America, only prudent course to take, no?

6/22/2006 08:35:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Election Reform '08

6/22/2006 09:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

More New Tone News:
Space Shuttle renamed
"Space Subtle"
Move called warlike and provocative by 10 Clintonistas in the CIA held over because of, you guessed it:
The New Tone.
Word leaked to MSM by sources in the CIA who requested anonymity due to the top secret nature of the information.

6/23/2006 04:38:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Cederford: No, I just needed some RV's to keep the wind out of the front end of the missiles while something shot at them (cue the Star Wars theme music here). They were configured for the old MK II copper heat sink warheads and it obviously would be cheaper and easier to get some of the old RVs rather than build something new that fit the top of the rockets. We never did find but one, a training model - and it turns we had that one in the warehouse and MDAC was trying to dispose of it even as I was looking for 4 more. And by the way, if you want to see the DRMO surplus people get excited, have one of them misread an NSN and think you are trying to surplus a real nuke.

Also, the old MK-II shows that it really is very easy to build a re-entry vehicle. It is much harder to build one that is fairly light and does not come in at a subsonic velocity.

Mad Fiddler; EMP is an atmospheric phenomanon and is a problem for electronics here on Earth. It can propagate beyond the line of sight, to a degree. Our satellites can withstand nuke bursts as long as it is not so close as to actually fry them. I suspect that even the civillian birds can handle the effects to some extent because they have to withstand the space environment for extended periods.

I would suspect that the North Koreans could do a high altitude EMP-producing burst much easier than they could hit a city - you don't need an RV to do that, teh very crtical problem of fusing is much easier, and accurcay is less critical. However, whether done over Japan or over the U.S. the result would be like shooting a Kodiak Bear with a .22 short. When he gets over being scared by the noise and the sting....

6/23/2006 05:58:00 AM  
Blogger Bonnie said...

Okay, mad fiddler, you get the coffee spewing award for today. I haven't laughed so hard at the last three Hollywood comedies I've watched. Not that that says much of anything, alas.

I agree with rwe that the results of an EMP would be like shooting a bear with a .22. Although taking down the World Trade Center was also like shooting a bear with a .22.

I'd prefer not to get shot, with a .22 or otherwise. Let's swat this rocket but good before we get there.

6/23/2006 08:13:00 AM  
Blogger Yashmak said...

You guys might be interested in the 747 ABL developement program.

My company made the gimbal/housing for the nose of the developement aircraft, so we get occasional progress reports.

Apparently, it's ready to go into production. I wouldn't be too surprised to hear that a 747 with a mis-shapen nose has recently been sighted at one of our airbases in the Pacific.

6/23/2006 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/23/2006 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger John Samford said...

Schedule for the R-12 IRBM, which uses the same fuels as the Dong 5

# Readiness condition 4: the missile was stored at the technical position unfuelled, and without the gyro package. Guaranteed life in this condition was seven years, with 205 minutes reaction time from go order to launch.
# Readiness condition 3: the missile was in the technical position with the gyros and warhead installed. Guaranteed life three years, reaction time 140 minutes.
# Readiness condition 2: the missile was installed on the launch pad. The gyro system was installed and brought to readiness, then shut down. Fuel connections were made, but no fuel was pumped into the rocket. The missile could be held for three months in this state, with a 60-minute response time.
# Readiness condition 1: the missile was on the pad as in readiness condition 2, but fuelled with TG-02 kerosene. To launch required only activation of the gyro package and pumping of the corrosive AK-27I oxidizer. In this condition the missile could be held for one month with a 30-minute reaction time.

Here is the FAS site on the DPRK missiles. They say the Oxidizer is AK-271, a Soviet Oxidizer developed in the mid 50's

Please note that the Missile isn't completely fueled until 30 minutes before launch. It can be held for 1 MONTH with Kerosense aboard and the guidence system in place. The 30 minute reaction time is what it tames to fill the AK-371 tank plus about 10 minutes.

Somebody here is bullshiting and it obviously ain't me.
Ceaderford, I asume your personal attack was caused by a lack of logic and the evidence to support that logic. I will ignore it. Live is too short to argue with moroons over something about which they know nothing.

6/23/2006 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/23/2006 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Samford - No, my personal reflections on your stupidity were purely motivated by your stupidity in claiming an all-out NORK attack on the South would only result in a "thousand or so - mostly by car accidents" civilian casualties before the "super-commandos" neutralized all the 22,000 WMD & HE launchers raining down on S Korea.

Unlike you, I've seen the war games casualty projections and they are fearsome - despite your sappy, pollyannish military jingoism.

The strong warning I gave, directed at your reckless comments, are to inform other posters that your head is ideologically driven stright up your rectum on this matter.

6/23/2006 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

As some have already suggest this is a political ploy from the left.

"I voted for the preemptive strike - before I voted against it..."

6/24/2006 04:06:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Dear RWE,

Thanks for the further information on EMP. I've looked up some info and found a fairly comprehensive online text from Princeton on the effects of nuclear weapons.

The link is:

6/25/2006 06:47:00 AM  

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