No one wants war in North Korea, but the U.S. military is ready should a fight break out, a senior defense official revealed Tuesday.
“We will pray for peace every day,” Gen. Mark A. Milley, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, explained at the Association of the United States Army conference, adding, “but at the same time, the United States Army will prepare for war.”
He stressed that North Korea is “most dangerous near-term threat to the United States in the world today,” explaining “North Korea is rapidly developing intercontinental ballistic missiles with nuclear weapons that can strike the continental United States.”
“North Korea has always been aggressive in their rhetoric and their threat of conventional action,” Milley said, “but now, they are becoming a threat that combines devastating capability with the declaratory intent to use that capability against our allies and our homeland.”
Milley asserted that failure to pay adequate attention to North Korea’s bellicose rhetoric could be dangerous. “If history has ever told us anything, do not ignore their words when their words are combined with capability,” the general explained. “Hardly a week goes by when North Korea does not threaten their neighbors or the United States with nuclear attack.”
The U.S. remains committed to a peaceful, diplomatic solution, recognizing that the application of military force will be costly. “A war on the Korean peninsula would be a tragedy on a huge scale … that few in the world today have ever seen,” Milley said. But, while no one wants a war on the peninsula, the U.S. military is determined to prevent a nuclear or conventional attack on the U.S. or its allies.
Speaking to reporters Monday, he emphasized that while a war on the Korean Peninsula would be horrible, an attack on the U.S. would be even worse.
“A full-blown war on the Korean Peninsula will be horrific by any stretch of the imagination,” he said. “It would be horrible, there’s no question about it, but so would an intercontinental ballistic missile striking Los Angeles or New York City. That would be equally horrible.”
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff made a similar statement in July.
“It is not unimaginable to have military options to respond to North Korean nuclear capability,” he said at a conference, “What’s unimaginable to me is allowing a capability that would allow a nuclear weapon to land in Denver, Colorado. That’s unimaginable to me. So my job will be to develop military options to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
“It is right now a diplomatically-led, economically sanction-buttressed effort to try to turn North Korea off this path,” Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Monday, adding, “What does the future hold? Neither you nor I can say. So there’s one thing the U.S. Army can do, and that is, you have got to be ready to ensure that we have military options that our president can employ, if needed.”
President Donald Trump has made it clear that the U.S. will “totally destroy” and “devastate” North Korea if the rogue regime forces America’s hand, causing the U.S. to apply military force. Given the statements of America’s senior defense officials, it is clear that the military is preparing for that possibility while hoping that peace will prevail.
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