Korea: February 6, 2003

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North Korea is now threatening a "first strike" in the face of "American aggression." The northerners have been railing against "American aggression" for over half a century, but this time they see it as a more realistic fear. The United States now has GPS guided smart bombs that could devastate North Korea's artillery and rocket launchers sheltered in caves along the DMZ. South Korea's largest city, Seoul, is within range of many of these weapons and the threat of a barrage has always been North Korea's main asset in negotiations with the south. But now the US could, in theory, launch a surprise smart bomb attack that could blast the entrances to most of these caves. Seoul could still suffer millions of dollars in damage, and thousands of casualties, from rockets and artillery fired from weapons the smart bomb campaign missed. But to North Korea, such a weakened attack would be seen as a failure. More worrisome is what the US might do to Iraq in a war. If American bombers and ground forces quickly blast and overrun Iraqi armed forces, North Korea will see it as a warm up for the same kind of attack on themselves. Americans tend to forget the impact of the 1950 US Marine (and army) amphibious at Inchon during the Korean war. When that attack was made, northern forces were fighting far to the south outside Pusan. The American attack into the rear of the North Korean forces caused the northern military operations to collapse. It was only the intervention of the Chinese  army that saved North Korea. This time, the Chinese are not willing to intervene, and the US still controls the seas around North Korea. And the US Marines are still in business. And now the Americans have smart bombs, spy satellites and, to paranoid and history minded North Koreans, all manner of terrifying military technology.

 

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