OPINION: Korean conflict presents an emerging threat to America

June 25th of this year will mark the 67th anniversary of the North Korean invasion of South Korea that resulted in a bloody three year conflict that killed over 50,000 Americans and about 2 million Koreans. Another war on the Korean Peninsula will result in many millions more killed on both sides and quite possibly involve for the first time since WWII, an attack on the American homeland. A nuclear strike on American territory is increasingly probable.

Today, the sound of war drums is increasing as North Korea obstinately refuses to comply with United Nations resolutions to halt their nuclear weapons and missile programs despite heavy sanctions. Last year the American Commander of Pacific military forces said that the imposition of sanctions to force the North Koreans to comply with UN sanctions is a failure, that the North is determined to develop an offensive nuclear weapons capability and only military force and regime change will halt the North’s program. Over twenty years of negotiations, sanctions, bribes and bargaining by the United States and nations of the region has failed. The northern tyrant is single-minded in a relentless pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and continues putting most of their national budget into building ever-increasing offensive military capabilities, including nuclear weapons.

Since the armistice that halted fighting at the 38th Parallel in July 1953 but leaving a continued state of war along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), North Korea has presented only absolute hostility towards South Korea, the West and especially the United States. Most Americans are surprised to learn that firefights between North Korean combat patrols and U.S./South Korean forces enforcing the armistice in the DMZ still occur frequently. Over the years the North has deliberately initiated major incidents to provoke a crisis, such as the seizure of the USS Pueblo and its crew in January, 1968; shooting down an unarmed American  Reconnaissance aircraft over international waters, killing all 31 Americans aboard in 1969 (my former squadron), butchering American officers on the International Bridge in 1977 and a host of other belligerent acts without let-up. The North assassinates high-level South Korean officials, periodically attacks South Korean military units and keeps 70% of its military on a hair-trigger alert, poised just an hour from the South Korean border.

The DMZ is the most heavily fortified border in the world with most of the North’s 10,000 artillery systems aimed at Seoul, the South Korean Capitol and its 25 million civilian inhabitants, comprising roughly half of South Korea’s population. The north has built underground airfields in the sides of mountains, constructed untold numbers of tunnels beneath the DMZ into the South to facilitate invasion and maintains an active army of over a million men with another 7 million in various states of readiness in its reserves. The north also maintains a massive stockpile of chemical and biological weapons, even though they’ve been outlawed by the UN for decades; the United States destroyed its stockpiles in the 1990’s.

Western security analysts and military leaders dread a renewed conflict in Korea for all of the reasons stated above, hoping that sanctions, when combined with incentives, will soften the Northern leadership’s stance and re-enter the international community without war. It’s not to be. The current leader, Kim Jong Un, is worse than either his father or grandfather, utterly ruthless and willing to kill without hesitation, including half of his own people, kept in a state of perpetual starvation (blamed upon the West). They’re indoctrinated 24-hours daily about the “Dear Leader’s” exploits and efforts to serve his people. The North Koreans live in a national religious cult as much as a closed political system, tyrannical beyond the comprehension of most Americans.

Today we are faced with an emerging North Korean nuclear threat that will likely materialize by the end of this decade, making North Korean conquest of the South a near certainty with the ability of America to come to their aid uncertain. The long-range missile threat to America is real and will initially threaten Guam, Hawaii and the west coast of the American continent and eventually every major US city. Their weapons will deploy large, likely thermonuclear warheads due to questionable accuracy of their missiles. Our anti-ballistic missile systems are limited in quantity and capability due to intransience of Progressive, liberal politicians that have steadfastly put their faith in treaties with tyrants rather than a robust missile defense system. Progressives have also significantly drawn down our nuclear deterrent forces to a bare minimum based upon deterrence of a rational Soviet (Russian) or Chinese leadership.

While hatred of the current U.S. President dominates headlines, the real threat to our liberty, even national survival comes closer each day to deploying a capability to destroy our homeland and all the unfulfilled dreams of America’s children.

More In Opinion