December 27, 2002

U.S. War Fronts Expand

Rumsfeld, Cheney may have met their match in lunatic hostility in the North Koreans. According to London'sTimes Online, the defense minister of North Korea called for the men of the country to make of themselves "human bombs" to defeat American aggression.

The U.S. threat/boast of attacking with nuclear weapons did not have the desired effect of causing the North Koreans to back off quietly. In fact, it seems to have inflamed them.

The Times said, "The sabre-rattling statement from the Defence Minister, Kim Il Chol, came as the last UN monitoring equipment was removed from the country’s frozen nuclear facilities in defiance of strong American warnings."

After telling the army to prepare to be human bombs, the statement continued, "If they . . . dare provoke a nuclear war, the army and people of the DPRK (North Korea) led by Kim Jong Il, the invincible commander, will rise up to mete out determined and merciless punishment to the US imperialist aggressors with the might of single-hearted unity more powerful than the A-bomb. The US hawks are arrogant enough to groundlessly claim that the DPRK has pushed ahead with a ‘nuclear programme’, bringing its hostile policy toward the DPRK to an extremely dangerous phase."

At the same time that Rumsfeld is threatening Iraq, Korea and anyone else who gets uppity, another more right wing Times, The Washington Times, is reporting that military men are saying Rumsfeld is wrong that the U.S. could fight the two-front war.

The Times quotes retired Army Colonel and military analyst Ken Allard as saying, "In all due respect to Rumsfeld ... we do not have the means, the manpower or the strategy to actually do that. We simply lack sufficient ground forces, sufficient airlift, sufficient sea lift to do those things."

The Times quotes Retired Rear Admiral Jeremy Taylor, a former attack pilot and carrier commander, saying that the Bush administration brandished the nuclear threat because it knows it can't fight two major conventional wars. "We have a [two-war] strategy that is totally out of whack with the size of the force we have," Taylor said. "For the secretary to say we can handle two regional conflicts is ludicrous to the point where the rascals of the world, our adversaries, don't believe us. We have lost our ability to deter war."

In other words, Rumsfeld's brinkmanship is putting us in an increasingly untenable position. The Bush administration is putting America in increasing danger with every "ludicrous" move, to borrow a word from Admiral Taylor. But this is not funny.

For Americans who slept through the last election, or maybe for a couple of years before that, it's time to wake up and get very serious here. There is no one in charge with the sense to avert these increasingly possible catastrophes.

For those who support Bush because they think a tough talking Texan is going to make America safer, think again. This is the scenario Carl Sagan described as two people in a room up to their knees in gasoline is threatening to strike a match. Now we have another lunatic in the room who is willing to up the stakes and threaten to strike another match in retaliation.

For an opinion piece by the UK's former defense minister Malcolm Rifkind on why North Korea is more dangerous than Iraq, check out Times Online.

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