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US To Deploy Ballistic Missile Interceptors In Response To North Korean Threats

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the where-art-thou-star-wars dept.

The Military 266

New submitter dcmcilrath sends this quote from the NY Times: "The Pentagon will spend $1 billion to deploy additional ballistic missile interceptors along the Pacific Coast to counter the growing reach of North Korea's weapons, a decision accelerated by Pyongyang's recent belligerence and indications that Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, is resisting China's efforts to restrain him. ... The missiles have a mixed record in testing, hitting dummy targets just 50 percent of the time, but officials said Friday’s announcement was intended not merely to present a credible deterrence to the North’s limited intercontinental ballistic missile arsenal. They said it is also meant to show South Korea and Japan that the United States is willing to commit resources to deterring the North and, at the same time, warn Beijing that it must restrain its ally or face an expanding American military focus on Asia."

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Socialism at it's finest! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43191677)

Go, NK. Stand up to those capitalist lackeys.

Re:Socialism at it's finest! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43191809)

Extra apostrophe at "it is" finest! Go capitalist education system! And by "socialism", are you referring to the publicly funded American military industrial complex?

Re:Socialism at it's finest! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43191967)

Don't forget Europe's MIC with BAE, EADS, those Northe Euro auto/equipment makers who also supply the defense industry with all their subsidiaries and local contractors (covered, protected, and aided by the very kind and generous labor laws whose sole purpose is to benefit the people of course), and good old France with its tiny population but which nonetheless stands toe to toe with Russia and the US on the global arms market. And don't forget their partially US tax-payer subsidised defense budgets.

Re:Socialism at it's finest! (5, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year and a half ago | (#43191901)

Go, NK. Stand up to those capitalist lackeys.

Millions of people regularly resorting to eating grass to ward off starvation is socialism at its finest?

Re:Socialism at it's finest! (2, Insightful)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year and a half ago | (#43191937)

No, but I find it's best not to respond to the strawmen that the McCarthyists like to hold up. They usually find some other grand flaw in socialism when you bother to point out that it's been working well for decades in Europe, Australia, Canada, Japan, China, and most of South America, and that many of the countries under that umbrella enjoy a better average standard of living and healthier economy than the US, too.

Re:Socialism at it's finest! (2)

Orcris (2652275) | about a year and a half ago | (#43191975)

I wouldn't really say it's been working in China. The government's rich, but the average person is pretty bad off. I'd agree with you on the other places, though.

Re:Socialism at it's finest! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43192027)

Nordic Europeans countries, Australia, and Canada have successful "socialist" programs due mostly to the fact that they have small populations and have robust resource extraction industries. Take away their oil/coal/natural gas and they would suffer just like Japan, China, and many South American countries, which counter to your claim, have either stagnant economies (Japan, S. America) or have abandoned socialism altogether (China). If you didn't know, China got rid of public health care way back in the 90's. Everything is private (well, except for government workers).

The term "socialist" is overloaded (5, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192299)

Having government-regulated economies is different than having government-regulated political systems. Right-wingers tend to mix these two up in their heads, but in fact they are orthogonal traits.

Singapore has a more or less capitalist economy, but has heavy gov't control over political decisions (no democracy), which demonstrates that economic control and political control are different things both in theory and in practice.

Re:Socialism at it's finest! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43192455)

Take away the economic engines from socialist countries and...they will fail? Same thing happens if you do that to capitalist countries. Or any country, for that matter.

Re:Socialism at it's finest! (1)

Jessified (1150003) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192503)

North Korea is not socialist. The US is more fascist than NK is socialist (not that the US is actually fascist, but that's the point).

Re:Socialism at it's finest! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43192007)

Go, NK. Stand up to those capitalist lackeys.

Since when has the US Military Industrial Complex been capitalists? Seems like the perfect example of socialism.

Re:Socialism at it's finest! (5, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192071)

If by standing up you mean "give the DoD yet another excuse to flush billions down the shitter so their MIC buds can buy some more hookers and blow" you are correct. This "interceptor" is another Sgt York, looks good on paper but doesn't work IRL but hey, as long as the MIC can bleed more billions out of the pentagon its all good, see the F-22 and F-35 for examples.

To me the fucking sad part is our MSM is so damned bought and paid for they are ignoring all the evidence that shows NK is about as big a threat as those WMDs in Iraq. For those that didn't read the report, you know that "sat" that NK put in orbit, which just FYI but uses the SAME ROCKET that they would use to launch a nuke? Yeah we recovered the first and second stage, turns out its just an uprated SCUD. "Well so what?" you ask? Simple the USSR wasn't stupid and they didn't hand out their good shit to third stringers and lets be clear on this The SCUD is NOT a missile in the conventional sense, its rocket artillery. Its not designed to go any real distance but to be used in a artillery barrage similar to "Stalin's Organs" in WWII. Neither its fuel nor its engine is designed to be a SRBM much less an ICBM and is frankly more likely to explode on the pad (as several did in NK before the sat launch) or fall apart in flight. The ONLY ones that have to fear this is SK because any farther than that and this POS is gonna fall out of the sky in pieces. Hell they'd be lucky to even hit the North American continent, much less any city in the USA.

So yet again we get a "threat" that is all bullshit and hype so the DoD and MIC can play Scrooge McDuck and swim in pools of money while the American people get stuck with more garbage. Hell at least with something like SDI (which also didn't work) you were looking at a REAL threat in the USSR, the NK "military" if you can call them that are using 40+ year old ex-Soviet junk that frankly wasn't top line when the Soviets sold it, just as we sold the F-5 to those countries we didn't trust with the good stuff so too did the Soviets keep "export versions" which they actually called "monkey models" to sell to third stringers like NK. At the end of the day NK is a bad joke, the little fatty "dear leader" has nothing more than bodies to throw into any conflict as their tech is so old and shitty, remember how well that worked for the Japanese empire in the Pacific?

This is just more empty threats in the hopes of wrangling more aid but never let it be said the DoD ever missed an opportunity to crap more money away.

Re:Socialism at it's finest! (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192339)

Time for your re education medicine, comrade.

No thinking. It's been proven to cause heart disease, cancer and prolonged incarceration.

Re:Socialism at it's finest! (1)

gtall (79522) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192395)

You might have listened to what the Secretary of DoD actually said, (1) the deployments are scheduled until 2017 at the earliest, and (2) only if they are proven to work.

Now go take the little blue pills this time.

Good Job (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43191697)

that it's the "home of the brave", wouldnt want to over react to mr tinpot and give him any cred, you need to read the sign again "do not feed the trolls"

Re:Good Job (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43191777)

His "cred" is that he has these weapons and he is in control of a large enough land mass to be called a country.

He can not make such declarations as saying he will attack a country without some repercussions. I'd do the same with anti-missile defenses, but I'm surprised it took so long and that it will cost so much. I'm sure we have plenty just sitting around.

"Home of the brave" does not mean "home of the ignore threats we don't think will amount to anything." If it means anything beyond a simple phrase, it would be "home of those that will not back down from a fight." - That is this case. He wants a pissing contest. He doesn't want to realize our bladders are stronger and much much bigger.

Honestly speaking, I'm hoping for an attack, not matter how ineffective so that it can be a pretext to cross the DMZ and wipe out the threat and give the country to South Korea so that it can finally be the Best Korea. And then get rid of the nuke land mines. Lose a good golfing area though.

Re:Good Job (5, Insightful)

Aglassis (10161) | about a year and a half ago | (#43191907)

My theory:

These missile interceptors aren't for North Korea. That is the excuse. They are actually a bargaining chip for China. If China reels in North Korea, then these missile interceptors near their borders will be removed. Until then, Obama can simply claim that he is trying to defend against an aggressive North Korean threat to nuke the US (even if North Korea doesn't actually have the capability to do so).

Kim Jong Un overstretched his threats and gave the US the perfect opening to do this. He is obviously much stupider than his father. At this point, he has given the US an excuse to build up its military power right on China's borders (including the deployment of more ships). And he has scared Japan and South Korea enough that they won't resist the continued US presence on their shores. China is NOT going to be happy about this. Not one bit. If I were Kim, I would be worried about the possibility that China might have him kidnapped or assassinated for this stupidity.

Re:Good Job (5, Informative)

Dahamma (304068) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192153)

These missile interceptors aren't for North Korea. That is the excuse. They are actually a bargaining chip for China. If China reels in North Korea, then these missile interceptors near their borders will be removed. Until then, Obama can simply claim that he is trying to defend against an aggressive North Korean threat to nuke the US (even if North Korea doesn't actually have the capability to do so).

That's what I was thinking - China has a huge amount of bargaining power with North Korea (ie. even if NK stops listening to them, the vast majority of their "slush fund" accounts are in Chinese banks and currently China is ignoring the UN resolution it *supported* to freeze them. Until then, the US can pretty much attribute anything it does in the Western Pacific to countering North Korean threats...

If that analysis is wrong and it really is just to about North Korea, they clearly have won this pissing match, as the US would be spending the equivalent of ~10-20% of NK's entire yearly military budget just to counter a ridiculous idle threat.

And Un is definitely not the brightest bulb - not only has he given the US an excuse, but he has the majority of South Korea's population in favor of developing their own nuclear weapons. Given SK's GDP is $1.1T and NK's is approx. $20B, a high tech arms race is absurd.

Re:Good Job (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192215)

They are actually a bargaining chip for China. If China reels in North Korea, then these missile interceptors near their borders will be removed.

The summary clearly states the interceptors are going to the US Pacific coast.

Re:Good Job (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192369)

You can see China from here.

Well, Chinatown anyway.

A number of them will be in Alaska - not all that far away from parts of China. I'm not sure that this is a terribly credible reason, however. We already *have* lots of things to point at China. ICBMs, subs, long range bombers. We can turn China into one large glass museum if we wanted to. So having more IRBMS (which we have plenty on the subs) doesn't change much. Having marginally competent interceptors doesn't help all that much either. China isn't stupid enough to threaten us with nucs, only Un thinks it's possible (get it, Un possible.... I crack me up).

China is happy to play the grand game of resource wars and the occasional little war / police action. They won't be able to go head to head with us for a long time. By then, we'll have blown off both of our own legs. We don't need China, we're our own worst enemy.

Re:Good Job (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43192409)

They are going to Alaska with additional radar tracking installations in Japan. Play with a great circle map for a little while. You will see that if China wanted to attack the west coast of the US, most of those paths from their missile bases would pass over Alaska, just like North Korea's paths. And the descent stages would be able to be targeted by interceptors launched from Alaska.

Here are two examples (note, I used nearby airports since this mapper requires ICN codes which are hard to find for nuclear weapons launchpads--I don't claim to be exact since China is fairly secretive).
[1] [greatcirclemapper.net]
[2] [greatcirclemapper.net]

Play with it yourself. West coast attacks will generally go over Alaska.

Re:Good Job (1)

rocket rancher (447670) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192353)

My theory:

These missile interceptors aren't for North Korea. That is the excuse. They are actually a bargaining chip for China. If China reels in North Korea, then these missile interceptors near their borders will be removed.

Uh, did you even read the summary, dude? Can you explain to me how defensive interceptors parked off the US pacific coast can simultaneously be located "near [China's] borders?"

Re:Good Job (1)

Brad1138 (590148) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192005)

Overreaction? Yes. But probably the prudent move. Kim Jong-un is like a teenage that just got the keys to his dads Porsche. He is on a thrill ride, but he will be reigned in sooner or later. If he stays on this path he will drive the Porsche right into a tree.

What a farce (3, Insightful)

imikem (767509) | about a year and a half ago | (#43191701)

I believe this problem would largely go away if the media just stopped covering North Korea's every temper tantrum. An exception would be The Onion and maybe Colbert, but even that might be enough to reinforce their "Terrible Twos" sort of behavior. I do give some credit to the administration for ceasing to play the stupid game that has been going on since the early 90s:

1. Provocation
2. Talk
3. Cough up food aid or the like
4. Promise to be nice
5. Lather, rinse, repeat

a child throwing a tantrum isn't interesting (1, Flamebait)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year and a half ago | (#43191771)

a child with nuclear weapons throwing a tantrum is

they are dangerous. and so people are interested, and for good reason, so the press covers them

anyone who doesn't understand that is buried in ignorant false complacency

Re:a child throwing a tantrum isn't interesting (1)

imikem (767509) | about a year and a half ago | (#43191831)

The NoKos are indeed somewhat dangerous, yes, and could do much damage if they went to war. However, I doubt their leadership are really suicidal, and that is the certain result of actual aggression.

I hate the word "they" in blanket statements. (1)

CaptnCrud (938493) | about a year and a half ago | (#43191871)

"they" are probably starving, living in rotten conditions and scared. Its the brainwashed "minority" and leader that is the problem. I'm so sick of everyone lumping everyone into one fucking pile based media coverage. Not trying to troll, but this us vs them, my tribe their tribe bullshit needs to go. ,/done ranting, sorry.

Re:I hate the word "they" in blanket statements. (5, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#43191915)

"Its the brainwashed "minority" and leader that is the problem."

If you had watched recent videos of people visiting North Korea, you would know that the brainwashed are not the "minority" there. For generations now they have been constantly inundated with propaganda about how the United States is the epitome of evil, and apparently the majority actually believe it.

Not trying to argue but... (1)

CaptnCrud (938493) | about a year and a half ago | (#43191957)

You'r essentially saying the people there are to dumb to know they are being lied to. Which I doubt.

Re:Not trying to argue but... (4, Informative)

Fastolfe (1470) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192149)

Up until recently, North Koreans literally had no other sources of information than state-controlled propaganda. While I'm sure there were enough cases where propaganda disagreed with local reality for them to be skeptical of everything they read, if you hear a message stated as fact from the moment you're born through adulthood, and hear nothing to suggest that this might be a lie, why would you (much less the majority of people there) ever seriously consider it to be a lie? In the US we grow up hearing dissenting viewpoints for everything, causing us to be skeptical of everything. North Koreans don't have that.

There have been tens of thousands of people over the last few decades escape from North Korea to tell us about their experiences. Their perception of the world is essentially entirely drawn from state propaganda.

Increasingly, however, a market economy is beginning to fluorish, driven by trade mostly from China. Many parts of the border are largely open between the two countries. With trade in products comes trade in information, and so the propaganda machine is only now starting to lose power. But there are many people still quite insulated from this and who have no reason to believe anything other than what the state tells them.

Your assuming a complete blackout of (1)

CaptnCrud (938493) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192297)

all communication including word of mouth. I really find that hard to believe. But I dont live there, so what the hell do I know. I would like to think that should their government vanish over night, most of the people there would be celebrating. Just because they are fed propaganda there entire life does not mean the entire population is batshit crazy. That's really all im saying.

Re:What a farce (1)

tangent3 (449222) | about a year and a half ago | (#43191779)

Too bad censoring the media isn't a solution the average slashdotter will put up with....

Re:What a farce (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year and a half ago | (#43191989)

Until they cracked the atom a few times, we mostly ignored them They have become much harder to ignore now.

Re:What a farce (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43192133)

Funny how Slashdotters vacillate from accusing the US media of censoring in one thread and not censoring in another.

Re:What a farce (1)

xstonedogx (814876) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192191)

1a. Use it as an excuse to increase ballistic missile defense without provoking China.

Re:What a farce (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192413)

Why do we need to 'increase ballistic missile defense'? China isn't a credible nuclear threat unless some rouge element gets control of them. That's a whole lot less likely than in Russia, India, Pakistan or even possibly Israel. We don't have the ability to defend ourselves from a major ICBM attack - we MIGHT be able to take out a lone ICBM (assuming that it actually managed to get here), but the North Koreans would likely toss the nuke at the DMZ or South Korea. If they hit Seoul people would notice, Anchorage not so much.

Re:What a farce (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192255)

4.5. Profit! (M.I.C.)

NK would never do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43191703)

They would have to be complete morons to actually fire a ballistic missile at the US, or anyone else for that matter. That would instantly end any support from their allies and would call in instant retribution from the US and our allies. It would be an excuse that we've been looking for to bomb them back to the Stone Age.

Re:NK would never do it (1)

elysiuan (762931) | about a year and a half ago | (#43191729)

Except we don't really want to bomb them back to the stone age. What do you do after you take out the Kims and their government? We'd have to do something about the millions of poorly fed, uneducated people who live there. In a war blasted country they will flood to the south or west to China and the mechanisms for coping with such a thing just aren't there. It would be an absolute crises socially and economically and it gives the nation-states involved in the Korean peninsula a reason to want to maintain the status quo. Which is one of the reasons North Korea gets so much slack diplomatically speaking.

Re:NK would never do it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43191769)

Maybe not, but how many crazy people see a big red button and push it just to see what happens?

We're lucky that that Russian, Stanislav Petrov [wikipedia.org] , had a cool head and didn't start WW III years ago.

Re:NK would never do it (1)

will_die (586523) | about a year and a half ago | (#43191799)

Most of its supporters would celebrate if it attacked the USA. It may loose some support from the ,masses in south Korea but the ones they have are rather hardcore after all the attack NK has made against SK.
Also any bombing attacks against NK would have problem getting support. NK would probably not launch against the USA until they have a large number of nuclear weapons. Once they have them they warn SK, Japan and any countries housing USA military that the missiles will be used against them if they support the USA. At this point you have problems and it will take a long time for countries to provide support or allow aircraft to fly in thier territories.

Re:NK would never do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43192103)

So the entire slashdot community is oblivous to the fact that refined fizzle is the only thing preventing terrorists from using a tactical nuke. If you are unfamiliar with suitcase nukes I suggest you research the tech, it's been around since the 50s bra...

Re:NK would never do it (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192487)

So the entire slashdot community is oblivous to the fact that refined fizzle is the only thing preventing terrorists from using a tactical nuke. If you are unfamiliar with suitcase nukes I suggest you research the tech, it's been around since the 50s bra...

What in Bog's name does a suitcase nuke have to do with a 50's bra? Did they call boobs 'boomers' back then or something?

Re:NK would never do it (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192209)

Once they have them they warn SK, Japan and any countries housing USA military that the missiles will be used against them if they support the USA.

No, that doesn't make sense. The only reason NK hates the US is because they are SK's biggest supporter. Remember, their main goal in all of this is to take over the rest of the Korean peninsula.

Besides, the bulk of the US nuclear arsenal is submarine-based, and the bulk of the cruise missile arsenal is sea (subs and frigates) based. Not to mention the 10 aircraft carriers in service.

any argument about north korea (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year and a half ago | (#43191813)

that starts with the premise that north korea will only do things that are rational and make sense, and never anything stupid, is a losing argument

citation: the behavior so far of north korea

it's rather weird that anyone is depending upon rationality, common sense and intelligence, in attempting to understand the behavior of north korea

of course they can't win. but they can do a lot of damage on their way out, and this is the problem. to not understand this is to not understand that control is not absolute, and behavior is not perfectly rational. in any country, nevermind the likes of basket case north korea

Re:NK would never do it (1)

smi.james.th (1706780) | about a year and a half ago | (#43191855)

Not least of which, because if their recent tests are anything to be judged by, they would get it horribly wrong. That rocket that they launched? Crashed without doing anything useful. I don't know why the States is worried, China has more to fear if NK actually aims at the US.

Re:NK would never do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43191971)

Suitcase nuke...

How dumb do they think SE Asians are (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43191713)

Sure, we're going to put missiles on the West Coast of the United States, that'll keep North Korea deterred from attacking countries close by!

Laugh... (0)

koan (80826) | about a year and a half ago | (#43191763)

A barely existent country with a leader that looks like a panda without make up is considered a threat?

America is dead.

Re:Laugh... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43191823)

Not a threat, but an opportunity to spend a billion dollars on missiles.

Re:Laugh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43191869)

Well, they have nukes and they can certainly reach South Korea and Japan and both are allies of the US. And even without nukes, their artillery can reach Seoul any time.

They're doing all this shit because they want attention and to feel important on the world stage (and maybe Jong-Un needs to assert himself as a tough leader to the generals that are three times his age). The problem is that since attention is what they want, giving it to them means rewarding bad behavior and not giving it means that they'll continue to escalate this shit until they get it. Eventually such escalation could result in a violent conflict actually starting. Not necessarily because Jong-Un orders it but when the countries are technically still at war and NK has just declared the armistice agreement void, some relatively low-level commander at the DMZ might assume he has permission to respond with force to any provocation from SK. Note that they consider things like having a bigger flag than they do a provocation...

I for one am quite glad that I'm not Obama or an advisor to him in this matter since I don't like playing chicken with a batshit crazy opponent.

Time to put the foot down (2, Interesting)

turp182 (1020263) | about a year and a half ago | (#43191785)

It is time to stop appeasing the North Koreans and take action. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have contributed many $100s of billions to our debt, the result of wars of attrition. Our current response to North Korea continues this pattern and actually validates the North Korean threat. This has got to stop.

A country should be able to feed its people. If it cannot then it is a failed country. North Korea cannot feed its people, at least it seems as such.

Here are some steps I would recommend.

Step #1: Discontinue all aid until nuclear observers are allowed into the country and can operate freely (with NK observation but no interference). No aid without compliance, the blood and death is on those causing the problems, not on those who would try to help.
Step #2: Restore aid with the explicit requirement that aid distribution is controlled by a UN agency (with NK observation but no interference, I can't believe I'm supporting the UN...)
Step #3: I'm not sure, but the first two would placate the world in terms of North Korea's nuclear ambitions, and could result in the restoration of aid to the population (could, this is not guaranteed, the blood is on their hands). After that the next move is on the North Korean leadership. Have a couple of US carrier groups nearby and possibly bolster South Korean defenses as well...

Re:Time to put the foot down (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43191881)

The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have contributed many $100s of billions to our debt,

That's a low estimate, by a few factors. Think trillions.

Re:Time to put the foot down (1)

turp182 (1020263) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192305)

I know.

Re:Time to put the foot down (1)

Orcris (2652275) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192059)

Whenever we cut off aid, North Korea throws a tantrum and does a nuclear test. We promptly restore food shipments.

Re:Time to put the foot down (1)

turp182 (1020263) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192261)

Our response should be that their will be no aid for 6 months, And even then it is contingent upon them making tangible concessions and not reneging during that period. Otherwise it's another 6 month freeze on aid.

And while I despise the action, freeze all global banking/investment assets. Until they are willing to be an more ordinary player on the global scale then they can't have any toys.

The current sanctions are probably enough, just make sure it is known that they will continue into the future and possibly become more severe. And don't speak with empty words, enforce them.

The real threat is an attack on South Korea. We need to up the propaganda on the border to "help" NK soldiers realize the error of their ways, we need multiple carrier groups on hand, advanced anti-missile ships (god forbid a short range nuclear ballistic missile is fired, I believe we have the technology to handle that, make sure the defense has several layers of redundancy and capacity), and a couple of thousand drones at the ready during the freeze periods. Containment is the key.

We need swarms of drones around and over the DMZ (all of the time), and more constant satellite tracking of suspected artillery sites. We need contingencies that would allow a drone army to assault artillery sites if a conflict begins. Minimize damage to South Korea, the likely target of aggression.

How much has the over 50 year Korean War cost the US? I'd bet it's on par with Iraq and Afghanistan in terms of dollars (our continued prescense). It was far more devastating in terms of the lives lost during the initial conflict that our most recent wars.

Put the foot down, contain, and be patient. Any suffering is not ours to bear, it is on those who allow it to happen.

Re:Time to put the foot down (1)

Fastolfe (1470) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192279)

Step #1: Discontinue all aid until nuclear observers are allowed into the country and can operate freely (with NK observation but no interference). No aid without compliance, the blood and death is on those causing the problems, not on those who would try to help.

I think plenty of people would disagree on that last part. North Korea isn't self-sufficient when it comes to food (never having fully recovered from the famine [wikipedia.org] after the Soviet Union collapsed). Stopping food aid would directly result in millions of deaths.

The North Korean government cares more about being in power than they do about feeding their own people. They've demonstrated that repeatedly. Giving the world yet another example by stopping food aid and blaming the regime won't change anything. Further, they view their nuclear weapons as a way of gaining leverage over South Korea and further protecting their power. Without nuclear weapons it becomes easier for someone to say "we've had enough", march in and topple the government.

So, you have a regime that isn't going to take any step that might weaken their position. They have a tremendous military. They can't feed their own population and rely on foreign aid. From their perspective, what options are left? Be belligerent and hold everyone else hostage for more aid. Maybe, provoke South Korea, the US and China into a war that, if nothing else, lets the regime go out with a bang, with fingers pointing squarely at anyone other than themselves.

Sequester (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43191803)

Hey, here's $1,000,000,000.00 for some military hardware!

Re: Rodman's visit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43192119)

Well since they're buddies after his visit , i'm sure our famed basketball player will be fine with paying for the bill for the trouble his friend makes :D

More corporate welfare (4, Interesting)

jlowery (47102) | about a year and a half ago | (#43191807)

It just seems like another excuse to prop up our bloated military-industrial complex. Do they really think NK will launch a missile our way, or is this just another example of security theater?

Re:More corporate welfare (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43191895)

Security theater? No. Corporate welfare? Yes.

Re:More corporate welfare (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43192021)

Of course its security theater. But whats the alternative? Ignore NK/do nothing? Launch a preemptive attack?

Re:More corporate welfare (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43192041)

I do think China will take over NK to stop the US having a reason to increase there missile strength

Re:More corporate welfare (1)

gallondr00nk (868673) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192147)

Do they really think NK will launch a missile our way, or is this just another example of security theater?

I imagine it is just another imaginary threat which is a perfect excuse to ramp up defence spending.

US officials during the Cold War would frequently state that the USSR had a massive advantage over the US in ballistic missles, even though in reality the US had thousands more. It was simply a fabrication in order to justify more and more military spending.

Nothing surprises me with US defence spending any more.

Re:More corporate welfare (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192491)

US officials during the Cold War would frequently state that the USSR had a massive advantage over the US in ballistic missles, even though in reality the US had thousands more.

Considering that we never had as many as two thousand ballistic missiles of all kinds (ICBM/SLBM), I consider it very unlikely that we had "thousands more" than the Soviets.

Note that with 2000 ballistic missiles, the Soviets would have had to have ZERO for us to have "thousands more"....

Re:More corporate welfare (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192257)

It just seems like another excuse to prop up our bloated military-industrial complex.

A limited missile defense system can be cost effective under certain circumstances. The Israeli Iron Dome system, for example, provided effective protection against ballistic rocket attacks during the recent conflict. Israel is a nation of limited resources which takes a practical and pragmatic view of its defense spending. If Israel can demonstrate a practical and effective missile defense system then I would argue that a similar system can also be a practical and worthwhile expenditure for the defense of the western United States and the Pacific. Indeed, cooperation amongst the United States and friendly allied nations on these types of systems might further improve standardization and reduce costs. It doesn't have to be wasteful.

Do they really think NK will launch a missile our way

It's a possibility. Their leader, Kim Jong Un, is young and unpredictable. He isn't yet a fully known quantity. Under these circumstances it's right for the United States to spend a portion of the allocated defense budget to mitigate the consequences of plausible North Korean attack scenarios, including a ballistic missile launch against US allies or protectorates in the Pacific, Hawaii, Alaska or the the lower 48 (although at this time only the west coast is presumed to be within range).

or is this just another example of security theater?

I don't think so. The system actually does work, even if individual interceptors are only successful about half the time. There is also the example of the Israeli Iron Dome system which proved to be successful under combat conditions. So, the concept and some implementations of missile defense interceptors appear to be militarily viable and useful. I wouldn't categorize such things as security theater.

Re:More corporate welfare (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43192319)

"The Israeli Iron Dome system, for example, provided effective protection against ballistic rocket attacks during the recent conflict."

Ha ha haaaa.

"Writing in Haaretz (Hebrew and English), military affairs columnist Reuven Pedatzur quotes three technical specialists who severely downgrade the effectiveness of Iron Dome. The experts are Theodore Postol (whose findings are summarized in English here), Dr. Mordechai Shefer, and an unnamed scientist who worked for Iron Dome’s manufacturer, Raytheon, till recently. After examining hundreds of videos of Iron Dome launchings during the military campaign, they came to the conclusion that the anti-missile weapon may’ve shot down 5% of its targets. They define a definite kill as a missile hitting the nose of the rocket, where the weapons payload is. The IDF’s claims of success, they explain, result from confusion about the explosion that often occurred as the missile approached its target. In the vast majority of cases, the explosion was that of the missile self-destructing when it detected it would not strike the Palestinian rocket."

http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2013/03/08/iron-dome-system-failed-miserably/

Still at $50,000 US tax payer dollars a shot, somebody is making a killing.

Re:More corporate welfare (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43192265)

That would make sense only if the missiles haven't already been produced. They have. The money would mostly be going to maintenance and command & control operations within the military itself.

Re:More corporate welfare (2)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192271)

A quick google search will find many examples of the North Koreans making unprovoked attacks that kill people in an attempt to show off national pride. They have a history of acting irrationally and being perfectly willing to sacrifice their people in order to achieve their leaderships goals.

They also have the most heavily armed border in the world with a significant number of troops and one of the worlds largest and most fanatic armies. They have artillery pre-positioned and in the range of Seoul that they can use if they want to attack (over 10,000 pieces). The US would be put in a position of losing a lot of our own and our allies troops or having to use nukes to defend South Korea.

They have detonated nuclear bombs successfully even if their missiles are not very good. It would probably take a years to get the miniaturization technology down well enough to fit a nuclear warhead to a missile. Technology being what it is it's pretty much inevitable.

If it was someone besides the North Koreans making this noise it probably would be security theater (the Russians and Chinese have enough missiles to overwhelm whatever defense we could put up). Placing the additional launchers in Alaska simply gives Obama a better position to say he did something in the event that they did launch an attack. This is actually a sound military decision by Obama and I'm of the opinion that most of his military decisions have been poor.

Whatever... (5, Interesting)

Bartles (1198017) | about a year and a half ago | (#43191811)

So, the Obama administration scrapped the prior administration's plans to increase the number of interceptors from 30 to 44 at Ft Greely, AK in 2009. Now the Administration plans to increase the number of interceptors from 30 to 44 at Ft Greely, AK. By 2017. Idiots.

Re:Whatever... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43191865)

That's how the executive branch works. Undo whatever minor things the last administration did to make them look bad. Then, and only then, decide if what they were doing was a good idea. If it is, then re-brand and redeploy in the current administration's name at the nearest convenience.

A better use (1)

ironicsky (569792) | about a year and a half ago | (#43191821)

For a billion dollars, couldn't they just fly over North Korea and blow their military and government institutions to the stone age? Hell, could probably be done for a lot less. Instead of waiting for Kim Jong Crazy the 2nd to try and attack North America, why not just stop him before he has a chance.

Re:A better use (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43191861)

For a billion dollars, couldn't they just fly over North Korea and blow their military and government institutions to the stone age?

Remember David Koresh? What do you think Waco would have been like if he had 25 million followers there all believing that he was their god and savior?

That's what Kim Jong * is like, and that's what trying to use force on him would be like.

One word: (2, Insightful)

smi.james.th (1706780) | about a year and a half ago | (#43191863)

China. They're big allies of North Korea, and I don't think they'd take kindly to America having significant military presence right there.

Re:One word: (1)

Orcris (2652275) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192101)

China is only supporting the DPRK as a buffer between it and South Korea. They would Abba abandon it as soon as a war starts. I'm sure they have having an unpredictable nuclear state on their border just as much as the ROK.

Re:A better use (2)

Orcris (2652275) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192081)

We could. Then, refugees would flood China and South Korea. Neither of those countries could deal with it.

Re:A better use (1)

Fastolfe (1470) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192309)

The DPRK has nuclear weapons and 1.1M soldiers in active duty, who have been slowly massing along the border to South Korea for years. How would you protect South Korea in the process? Keep in mind that DPRK has another 8.2M soldiers in reserve (~38% of the DPRK population is active or reserve duty).

With an active war on North Korean soil, people are going to be fleeing in droves, mostly into China. China isn't going to like that. Possibly, they may not even let them in. How many refugees will die for lack of basic necessities? Do you have a plan to address that?

China is going to be *pissed off* beyond words, mostly for being the one that's going to have to deal with the consequences. They're not going to tolerate an American military presence there. Does your $1bn budget include a contingency for a war with China? How do you plan to avoid one?

Foreign policy is hard.

Why not invade N.Korea? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43191825)

So Iran doesn't have the weapons yet, and hasn't threatened the US, but the US is considering invading them.

Meanwhile N.Korea has the weapons and has threatened the US, but the only thing the US is doing is deploying more interceptors? Why no threat to invade N.Korea?

Re:Why not invade N.Korea? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43191893)

Why no threat to invade N.Korea?

Location and resources (theirs)

Re:Why not invade N.Korea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43192155)

China.

Princes Bride Quote: (2)

CaptnCrud (938493) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192175)

"You've committed one of the classic blunders, only the most famous of which is never get involved in a land war in Asia. Slightly less well known is that you should never go in against a Scicilian when Death is on the line! Ha! Ha! Ha! (Plop)"

Re:Why not invade N.Korea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43192189)

"Why no threat to invade N.Korea?"

Have you seen any major oil deposits in NK? Why should the US bring freedom and democracy into a country with no oil?
Ain't nobody got time for that.

Re:Why not invade N.Korea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43192361)

50,000 civilian dead in Seoul alone according to one estimate I read. Yeah, we'd win; but at a tremendous price in blood and treasure. Also, China would be the wildcard again just like 60 years ago. If they decided to keep siding with NK, it'd be all for nothing and probably put us right back to where we are now. Don't think it can happen? China's economy is playing with a real estate bubble, which could cause them to have a hard recession just like it does everyplace else. War would be used to distract them from the recession. This could be where WW3 starts. The world economy is a mess and central banks are in a currency war just like the 1930s....

initial response didn't work! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43191839)

US to replace Rodman initiative with missile deployment.

Heh (3, Insightful)

X.25 (255792) | about a year and a half ago | (#43191843)

...warn Beijing that it must restrain its ally or face an expanding American military focus on Asia.

I wonder if they'll be borrowing money from China in order to support that expansion :)

I wonder whether China (3, Interesting)

mrstrano (1381875) | about a year and a half ago | (#43191847)

Will 'resolve' the situation themselves to prevent South Korea, USA and other countries to have to intervene when North Korea goes to far. They would be able to establish a government friendly to China and preserve their interests in the region. Also, they would be able to show their military power in a war every other nation will find just.

Why? (1)

jamesl (106902) | about a year and a half ago | (#43191929)

And the US is doing this why? Is South Korea broke? Doesn't Japan have a national defense force? China is in pretty good shape militarily.

In fact Xi Jinping could pick up the phone and tell Kim Jong-Un to put his missiles away and stop being a jerk. Assuming they have working phones in North Korea.

Re:Why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43192057)

And the US is doing this why? Is South Korea broke? Doesn't Japan have a national defense force? China is in pretty good shape militarily.

In fact Xi Jinping could pick up the phone and tell Kim Jong-Un to put his missiles away and stop being a jerk. Assuming they have working phones in North Korea.

Because we were the one threatened? It's unlikely, but actually possible that NK has the capability of sending a Nuke that could reach Alaska and California.

Re:Why? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192303)

China will dare not negotiate with N.Korea now. They think they have political leverage until the moment Un tells them to fuck off. That when the political blame game and infighting starts inside the CCP. The last thing China wants to expose is anything short of political unity within the rank and file.

Old Yeller has now gone full rabid and foaming at the mouth. Someone has to put that dog down. Either it will be China, or the US. But someone must pickup the gun and finish the job.

Re:Why? (1)

Fastolfe (1470) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192357)

China has indeed done that. It seems to me that The Kim regime knows it's not going to survive forever. Its large military, nuclear capabilities, and "crazy" persona are likely there entirely to keep the regime in power as long as possible. The reason China wants the DPRK left alone is because when the regime does collapse, China is going to be the one left picking up the pieces and dealing with North Korean refugees (and quite possibly an American military presence right on their border). IMO, the right thing to do is press for more free trade, more information in the hands of North Koreans, and eventually a peaceful regime change. In the mean time, Kim should be ignored, except to the extent that we should be prepared in case he does decide to do something stupid.

A nice deal for the Japanese (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43191995)

Japan appear to get a level of military protection far beyond their own expenditures, thanks to the USA.

While I am a big supporter of the military alliance between the US and Japan, it seems like a good time for Japan to build up their own forces while sheltered by the enormous US naval presence in Asia.

I don't think for one minute that Japan are "being cheap" - but they would want their war machine to be among the best, and that would cost trillions in research and production. Selling a thousand F-35s to Japan would solve a lot of problems for both countries.

hitting dummy targets just 50 percent of the time (2)

Tim Ward (514198) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192019)

So, somewhere around ten times more accurate than most other munitions then?

You know what else would work? (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192083)

A couple of carrier battle groups and a ballistic missile sub parked off the coast of North Korea.

North Korea needs to know that, while they could launch an ICBM at the United States, their country would be reduced to smoldering rubble before their missiles re-entered the atmosphere.

Is that 50 percent per interceptor? (4, Interesting)

wisebabo (638845) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192233)

Or the system as a whole?

If the success rate is per interceptor, meaning that they have several chances to hit a warhead by using several interceptors then 50 percent isn't too bad. Fifty percent success (or failure) means that shooting say five interceptors at each warhead will result in a 95 percent chance of shooting it down, not perfect but certainly enough to make Kim Jung-Un realize he probably isn't going to inflict ANY damage with a suicidal nuclear attack. NK probably wouldn't be able to get off more than a few before the launch sites and command bunkers were nuked (can you say close to shore submarine based missiles on depressed trajectories?).

Of course if the success rate is for the system as a whole (doubtful) for example due to some basic limitation of the targeting radars, then adding more interceptors isn't going to deter Mr. Kim. He probably realizes that his attack is a long shot (ha ha) anyway and having 50 percent odds on taking out, say San Francisco is pretty good. So let's hope that the system is capable of targeting multiple interceptors at a single warhead so the odds are in our favor.

The best scenario is for to add more layers to make a multilayer defense. In addition to the Patriot missile batteries in South Korea and the Aegis missile cruisers offshore (can either of their missiles overtake an ascending ICBM launched hundreds of miles away?) whatever happened to the laser equipped 747s?

Now if Kim Jung-Un really wanted to make the U.S. worried, he should use his much more powerful (but extremely vulnerable and time consuming to launch) liquid fueled rockets to put a disguised nuke INTO ORBIT. Not only would it completely bypass the ABM defenses that are only protecting the U.S. from direct trajectories but it would reduce the warning time from 30 minutes to maybe 5 (or zero if an EMP blast was the goal). The only thing the U.S. could do would be to pre-emptively knock down EVERY satellite put up by NK which while easily doable, would really raise tensions. Of course NK would be violating the 1967 treaty banning weapons (especially nukes!) in Outer Space which is probably the only thing that kept us from accidental thermonuclear war but NK doesn't seem to pay to much attention to treaties.

So if NK starts orbiting largish satellites and testing re-entry vehicles, be afraid.

One side effect of all this is that the improvements in ABM systems is forcing China to upgrade its ICBM force. Unlike the Russians, the Chinese only had a few hundred (?) ICBMs capable of reaching the U.S. and no subs or bombers. They worried that if the shit REALLY hit the fan, the U.S. could launch a first strike taking out most of their missiles (not to mention iPhone production). The few surviving missiles would not make it through even the modest shield that is being built and thus the U.S. woud survive unscathed. So the Chinese are following the Russian model of bolstering their ICBM forces so that even after a first strike they would be able to overwhelm the limited ABM defenses in place.

This fear of an enhanced ABM system is one reason why China is (trying to) keep Mr. Kim from building ICBMs. Not to mention the fear that South Korea and Japan and possibly Taiwan(!!!) will decide they need a nuclear deterrent against North Korea. That would really complicate China's desire to become THE power in Asia (and make reunification with Taiwan much more perilous).

Re:Is that 50 percent per interceptor? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43192377)

What makes you think that you need a missile to deliver a nuke? Do you have any idea how many kilos of shit get smuggled into the states every day? Terrorism is the issue and missiles are the front as to not displace the public's fragile sense of security.

Re:Is that 50 percent per interceptor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43192461)

Fifty percent success (or failure) means that shooting say five interceptors at each warhead will result in a 95 percent chance of shooting it down

Close... 96.875% chance of at least one of five interceptors having success if each of the 5 has a 50% chance of success. You must be an engineer, not a computer scientist. Cheers!

Save money (1, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192291)

Since they don't really work, we could save $999M by paying some Hollywood set designers deploy something that just looks like a ballistic missile defense system. They could hire some extras to protest the installations for greater authenticity.

Nuclear Proliferation 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43192359)

We know for sure that Iran and North Korea are refining nuclear fuel and I'm pretty sure that anyone who follows nuclear proliferation already knows, fissable material is most likely in the hands of terrorists already. My obsession is not with tactical nukes, it's with people's reluctance to believe the fact that suitcase sized nukes have been in existence since the 50's; people just don't want to give up their false sense of security. Obviously you can't win a war with tactical nukes that were smuggled in by Mexican drug lords but you can arm terrorists and that's what we are trying to prevent. In other words, this is just a smoke screen for moving money into the military industrial complex, or a black project, or... ?

Is this the same ABM system (3, Insightful)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192441)

The Democrats have been saying for the past 30 years would not work?

"The report to this bill specifically notes the possible threat from the North Korean Taepo Dong II missile, which the report claims may have the range to hit Alaska. Since this weapon is in development, we do not in fact know that this missile will be capable of that range. But with North Korea in such dire straits economically and the growing possibility of its opening, with reunification with the south increasingly likely, should we spend billions on a missile defense system that probably won't work to counter a threat that may never exist?" - John Kerry

http://www.fas.org/spp/starwars/congress/1995/s950804f.htm [fas.org]

... and subs (2)

phorm (591458) | about a year and a half ago | (#43192523)

I wouldn't be surprised if there are a few subs or something of the sort nearby capable of launching a bit more than interceptors...

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