Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The "perfect storm" for war on the Korean Peninsula

The North Korean regime has threatened another "all-out war" if South Korea takes punitive action over the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan on March 26. It seems the the pot-bellied pig dictator threatens war every chance he gets but this time it may be different. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is not passive like some of his predecessors and has stood firm against this aggression by the North. South Korean soldiers of the Mt. Baekdu Unit in Gangwon Province have been ordered to start psychological warfare operations which were abandoned six years ago. These tactics were seen as effective in undermining the ideological morale of N. Korean troops in the past and will not be looked upon kindly by their leadership. The South Korean government has also imposed new sanctions on the North that could cost the cash strapped country upwards of $300 million. These actions and the announcement of new war games to be conducted by S. Korean/American forces may be the tipping point for Kim Jong il.

Lets take a look at past provocations by North Korea.

02/1958- North Korean agents hijacked a South Korean airliner to Pyongyang
that had been en route from Pusan to Seoul. Eight hostages still remain in DPR prisons.

04/1965 — Two North Korean MiG jet fighters “attacked and damaged” a U.S.
RB-47 reconnaissance plane over the Sea of Japan.

01/1968 — A 31-member commando team, disguised as South Korean soldiers
and civilians, infiltrated within striking distance of President Park
Chung Hee’s office/residence complex (The Blue House) before they
were intercepted by South Korean police.

01/1968 — Two days after the commando attempt on President Park, North
Korea seized the U.S. intelligence ship Pueblo with a crew of 83
officers and men off Wonsan in international waters.

10/1968 — One hundred and thirty sea-borne commandos infiltrated the Ulchin
and Samchok areas on the eastern coast of South Korea.

04/1969 — North Korean MiG jet fighters shot down an unarmed U.S. EC-121
reconnaissance plane over the Sea of Japan, about 90 miles off the
North Korean coast, resulting in the loss of 31 lives.

10/1969 — Four U.S. soldiers were ambushed and killed by North Korean
intruders near the southern boundary of the DMZ.

12/1969 — North Korean agents hijacked a South Korean airliner YS-11 to
Wonsan en route from Kangnung to Seoul with 51 persons aboard.

There are many more incidents that have occurred over the years including the 400 plus S. Koreans that have been kidnapped by the North with most of those still being held captive. The Korean Peninsula has truly never been peaceful since the armistice was signed in 1953, but "all-out war" has been avoided so far. This time we may not be so lucky. North Korea declared Tuesday that it would sever all communication and relations with Seoul and also announced it would expel all South Koreans working at a joint factory park in the northern border town of Kaesong. I think you will see another temper tantrum from the North once the war games start off their coast which may lead to another military provocation-this time involving US troops and sailors.

President Obama is looked upon as weak by most dictators around the world and Kim Jong il knows we are currently bogged down militarily in Iraq and Afghanistan, so this may be the "perfect storm" that allows war to erupt on the Korean Peninsula. I hope Obama knows the gravity of the situation because we have twenty-eight thousand plus troops in harms way in that theater. The US lost 33,629 soldiers in battle and 20,617 non-combat deaths in the Korean War. 70% of N. Korea's active force, including approximately 700,000 troops, over 8,000 artillery systems, and 2,000 tanks, is postured within 90 miles of the DMZ. The North could destroy much of Seoul in a matter of hours with the thousands of artillery pieces that they have trained on the capital. I don't see President Obama as truly being engaged with this threat from North Korea but I do hope that he gets his mind wrapped around this situation rather quickly.

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