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The 3. A.M. Phone Call Has Come

Once again, North Korea has committed an utterly unprovoked and utterly unjustifiable act of war against South Korea. They have launched a surprise artillery bombardment of a South Korean island, killing one (so far), injuring more, and destroying several buildings.

This comes literally barely two days after it was announced that the United States had discovered that North Korea was much further along in its development of weapons-grade material for nuclear weapons.

This in the same general area where North Korea torpedoed and sank a South Korean patrol boat last April.

These are blatant, open acts of war. These are attacks -- unprovoked, unannnounced, and utterly unjustified acts of aggression. And as shown before, simply clucking and waving of fingers at North Korea doesn't do a damned bit of good. South Korea went to the UN over the sinking of the Cheonan, and the UN strongly condemned the act -- without saying just who it was condemning. Instead, after a brief period of increased tensions, things went right back to the way they were.

Except, of course, for the 46 dead sailors of the Cheonan.

There's precisely one way to stop a bully -- that's to stand up for yourself and hit back. To do nothing (or, worse, to try to do "the right thing" and end up doing nothing) simply encourages the bully to push again.

It's time -- well past time -- for North Korea to suffer some unfortunate accidents, some unexpected tragedies, some unplanned setbacks as South Korea and her allies (that would be us) conduct some return moves of aggression that are "plausibly deniable." Perhaps some North Korean submarines will have some operational accidents and disappear at sea. Maybe some key facilities or bridges should suffer catastrophic failures. Maybe a rail line or four should develop unexpected structural issues.

Not that North Korea has very much infrastructure to begin with, but that just means that damage to what little they have will be even more significant.

The alternative is to allow them to continue their attacks unchecked until we have another full-blown shooting war on the Korean peninsula.

Oh, and someone needs to find Jimmy Carter and lock him up. But that's usually good advice in pretty much every circumstance.

South Korea is a major supplier of consumer goods to the United States. We'd best brace ourselves for some shortages in the near future -- which will not be good for the economy.

This is precisely what Hillary Clinton warned us about during the campaign -- the world crisis coming in the middle of the night. And I fear she was dead right at Obama's ability to handle the situation.

We are seriously in the kimchee this time, folks. And I am seriously worried that this is the time that we'll all see just how far over his head Obama is, and that he has no idea how to handle the situation.

Because this is not something that his teleprompter and Nobel Peace Prize will be of any help with.


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Comments (33)

I'm with you Jay, this scar... (Below threshold)

I'm with you Jay, this scares the hell out of me.

Not a good thing, not a goo... (Below threshold)

Not a good thing, not a good thing at all. It's tempting to say something snarky about Obama at this point - but I'm really, really hoping he'll have the wisdom to defuse this.

Of course, it could simply be NK pushing the envelope to see what they can get away with. But it's not a safe way to bet. Heard yesterday that there were proposals to move tactical nukes to SK - just in case. It does make you wonder what's going on in the background.

Then again - consider the timing. Winter's about to set in on the Korean Peninsula. Act up now, back down in exchange for food and fuel. (You'd think it'd be simpler to just loosen the reins on the country - but hard-core dictators just don't think that way...)

If you think a McCain admin... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

If you think a McCain administration would do anything differently - that is, anything more than "clucking and waving fingers" - you are, I think, mistaken.

It was a hell of a lot easier to contemplate invasion and occupation of a country we knew DAMN WELL didn't have WMDs. It's not gonna happen, no matter who's in charge, with regard to a country that DOES have nukes.

And I know you're not calling for that in this article. But you have to ask the questions: If the "unfortunate accidents" provoke an aggressive response, or otherwise don't do the trick, what then? Should we nuke a country already suffering under the yoke of communist tyranny? Should we invade and liberate? At what cost? And how will we pay that cost?

Bruce, we're already seeing... (Below threshold)

Bruce, we're already seeing what "run to the UN" and "scold and chastise" do -- they get us more provocations. Bolder attacks. At what point do we say "OK, not hitting back isn't working. Let's try hitting back a little and see how that works?"

It was a hell of a lot e... (Below threshold)

It was a hell of a lot easier to contemplate invasion and occupation of a country we knew DAMN WELL didn't have WMDs.

We knew that, eh? How did we know that? Please tell me, Bruce. Specifics would be nice... for once.

obama's team, and their sma... (Below threshold)

obama's team, and their smart diplomacy on display-utter failure. They have let the dogs out, what's next? Iran trying to send a nuke to Israel, and EMP over the USA?
This is just the beginning, unfortunately.

"If you think a McCain a... (Below threshold)

"If you think a McCain administration would do anything differently - that is, anything more than "clucking and waving fingers" - you are, I think, mistaken."

Oh for Pete's sake, Bruce. No one said a thing about McCain - or whether Iraq had WMD. The only other person he did mention you had nothing to say about.

And at least Jay had some ideas, whereas you had, let's see .... oh, none.

Don't forget that Obama pic... (Below threshold)

Don't forget that Obama picked Biden for his foreign policy expertise. And that Biden the foreign policy expert said that Obama wasn't up to the job. So, here we are.

Bruce, we'll never know if ... (Below threshold)

Bruce, we'll never know if a McCain administration would have handled things differently.


This is a hell of a lot bigger than petty political games. To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, you deal with crises not with the president you want, but the president you have.

We got this clod. Thanks, Bruce. God, I hope he's up to it -- or we're fucked.

You and yours insisted he was, Bruce. Please let you be right. For once. Just this once.

I'm hoping, but I'm not expecting.


North Korea needs to lose s... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

North Korea needs to lose something they value. It would be a nice time to have our ship back (USS Pueblo) or see it destroyed to the waterline and sunk in the Taedong River but I doubt we'd risk something so overt.

But, people die of heart attacks every day. Even senior personnel in the Dear Leader's regime.

China will sit and watch. I... (Below threshold)
Clarke Johnston:

China will sit and watch. If necessary, issue a hollow, meaningless scolding, and then resume watching their proxy, their unleashed pit bull. North Korea will continue to push the envelope until attacked in proper, measured equal response. Failing to do so, will embolden them the same way not hammering Yemen burnished their reputation after the Cole attack. That time Bill Clinton shook his famous finger at them, and he was promptly ignored. Now Yemen is a primary home for terrorist activity. Teach Korea a lesson, sink one of their primary ships, and then have Hilary issue an equally empty comment about peace, working towards an agreement, blah, blah. Usual diplomatic crap. But send a message, TODAY.

Millions have been brutaliz... (Below threshold)

Millions have been brutalized, starved to death, and suffered horrible depravations at the hands of the NK regime...and that is just her citizens.

When it falls, there will be an accounting of the human disaster that this state really was. It will take a long long time to reconstruct the place. The South Korean's will turn inward and be absorbed by it all for decades.

The rest of the world will be stunned by the subsequent discoveries inside NK when it is over-run by their brethren from the south. Who really knew it was that bad? Well, everyone knew... it has always been there... if you felt like paying attention.

Will this be the spark that sets these events into motion? Its hard to say. But I'm confident that this or some other similar event in the future will ignite the conflagration. The cost will be high. Say a prayer for South Korea and our Troops, because they will be the most in harms way.

Semper Fidelis - the other Bruce

Jay,As to the titl... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:


As to the title of your post - the call may have come, but I have no confidence Obama will even pick up that phone.

Also, it appears that Bruce Henry is claiming the phone isn't really ringing... or at least not so as that it should be worried about.

It seems that every generat... (Below threshold)

It seems that every generation has to find this out the hard way...that cold hard steel can never be overcome by sending a message. Mere words never dissuaded tyrants. And these NK dictators and their party ilk are some of the worst malignant demigods in the history of this planet.

Back in 1990 I was saying that Saddam Hussein would never end up spending his last days in an old-folks home, surrounded by his adoring friends and loving family. If you live by the sword - you'll die by the sword.

The world will eventually end up spending a lot of lives and treasure, putting an end to the NK regime... and as terrible as the price will be, it will be worth paying.

Semper Fidelis- the other Bruce

I think a missile strike to... (Below threshold)

I think a missile strike to take out the power to the North Korean capital would be sufficient.

Maybe without TV for a few days Little Kim and Littler Kim would get the idea.

JT: "Because this is not... (Below threshold)

JT: "Because this is not something that his teleprompter and Nobel Peace Prize will be of any help with."

Unfortunately, that's not the problem at all. It's not Obama's naivety or inexperience that's affecting his response. It not what his puppeteers tell him to say--it's who's side he's on and who's side his puppet masters are on. Obama and his pupper masters will always side with their fellow Communists. It's that plain and simple. Has been from day 1.

I've got friends up along t... (Below threshold)

I've got friends up along that old DMZ now, on the South Korean side. US Soldiers and a better lot than this earth has ever seen before.

They stand ready to defend our ally against an attack from NK. If the attack never comes they will likely be at the head of the relief operations to provide assistance to the NK peoples when the regime finally collapses.

JT, you're actually expecti... (Below threshold)

JT, you're actually expecting President No Balls to do something? Make a decision? Ha! He will do what he always does, 'take time to mull things over' - AND HOPE IT JUST GOES AWAY.

Guys,I'm sure any ... (Below threshold)


I'm sure any minute now that the Norks will come out with a statement that Kim Jong Ill was simply trying to cast his votes for Bristol Palin and just kept hitting the wrong buttons.

I just wish Obama could find the damn button, scratch that, I wish he could find his balls.

Expect a response to this p... (Below threshold)

Expect a response to this provocation in about 30 or so days...maybe sooner if Obozo unleashes Shrillery to scream them into submission.

As long as theirs golf or b... (Below threshold)

As long as theirs golf or basketball to be played the crisis can wait.

As Bobby Jindahl.

Bruce, what an inept fool y... (Below threshold)

Bruce, what an inept fool you are. You provided nothing but theory and lies and that is your stand. What a putz.

JT, I am concerned also, but I know Obama can't do anything aggressively. The left is already on him for not pulling out of Iraq and Afghan, let alone Gitmo. Unfortunately, Obama will address acts of aggression politically. That is what makes him look good. He is not and hasn't demonstrated any leadership qualities at all. Why do we think he will now. ww

So Bush KNEW there were no ... (Below threshold)

So Bush KNEW there were no WMDs in Iraq and yet he was smart enough, clever enough, underhanded enough to get congress, most if not all of the world's intellegence agencies and the UN to agree that Iraq was out of compliance and probably had WMDs. But he was too stupid to plant WMDs once we went in? This argument is so full of illogic it's plain stupid. If he was sure there were no WMDs and he had no plans to plant them why on earth would he leverage that argument so aggressively? I mean I know the libs think he's a chimp but come on. And now for the 10th time we're comparing an imaginary McCain administration with the ham handed bunch of idiots in the Obama administration. So here's the question why is the argument that McCain would have been no better good enough for the most talented, smartest, post everything, walks on water Obama. Could the bar get lowered any more?

"This argument is so full o... (Below threshold)
jim m:

"This argument is so full of illogic it's plain stupid. "

you've just summed up the left's argument in a nutshell.

Never mind that they conveniently overlook that all the dem politicians thought that Saddam has WMD when Bill Clinton was President and that Bush had been President less than a year before we moved to invade Iraq.

Don't ask the left to make sense. They gave up trying ages ago.

Why is the United States pu... (Below threshold)

Why is the United States pussyfooting around with the NORKS? They have broken the truce agreement time after time and still no action, yet we do nothing, except use words. The United States and her Allies should send out a squadron of B-52s and drop a few tons of ordnance on some of the North's nuclear facilities. That would cool things down a bit. We have that right to do just that, but no. we sit and wring our collective hands, say woe is me and let the NORKs get away with another act of blatant aggression against the South. How many more incidents, will it take get the appeasers off their duffs and finally do something? Probably not until North Korean nukes are raining down on Seoul and Tokyo. Somehow, I even doubt that. The powers that be, will still have their heads buried in the sand when that happens.

"3. Posted by Bruce Henry |... (Below threshold)

"3. Posted by Bruce Henry | November 23, 2010 6:47 AM | Score: -20 (22 votes cast)"

Who is the idiot that voted + for Bruce? Was it ....Bruce?

At this unforseen 3am moment Barry is considering a trip to Aruba and a recommendation that the UN recommend a strongly worded response to submit for China to ok.

I for one, give more credit... (Below threshold)

I for one, give more credit to the South Koreans than most. Who besides a brother knows what your about? (or to be less polite about it) knows how to jerk your chain?

SInce the Armistice, the South Koreans have had to bury a lot of their dead (year after year). They know better than you realize what the North is all about; and for decades they have had to prepare. I've said this before, but its worth repeating - one's perception of a threat - is directly proportional to one's proximity to it.

So don't be blinded by the thinking that they seem reluctant to respond in kind; that is not what's going on. The South is a dynamic rapidly developing country. The people are free, industrious, and hard-working. They've built a prosperous nation that stands as a direct contradiction - a repudiating national example - to their kin up North.

But as with any modern democracy facing a malignant dictatorship - it will take a lot for them reach the point where they've had enough and resort to unleashing the dogs of war. It never is a decision to be taken lightly, because the price is so horrible and grim. But once that tipping point has been reached... as I see it... there will be no reluctance or hes...itation on the part of South Korea from that point forward.

So what will our President do? That's the theme of this thread. Will he answer the call, and unequivocally support a free and democratic people in their time of greatest need and peril? If I have to ponder this question - then just as Mr. Lawson says above, "this is not good." And it seems a lot of folks are waking up in America this morning and contemplating the same question.

BTW Mr.Lawson - great feedback on the onset of Winter calculations. A most thoughtful response.

Semper Fidelis-

At the risk of sounding tri... (Below threshold)
Fred Pings:

At the risk of sounding trite, I would like to quote from one of my favorite movies 'Team America, World Police'. Hans Blick faces 'Lil Kim and says "If you don't, (let our inspectors have access to the nukes facilities) I will be very very angry. AND I will write a letter telling you so. And mail it to you." Does life imitate the arts?

Mr. Lawson, For 30 years (... (Below threshold)

Mr. Lawson, For 30 years (1950s thru the 1980s) a wool great coat was a standard clothing issue for Marines... the Korean conflict had that effect on this organization's institutional memory.

Alas, those veterans are now long gone... and so is the great coat. Its getting bitterly cold now in Korea, and the visual flying weather is becoming atrocious too. But if our President so orders it...the Marines will hunt those NK bastards down anyway. After all, the words in their hymn really do say "... every clime or place..."

Semper Fidelis -

Thanks, Brucepall - ... (Below threshold)

Thanks, Brucepall -

It's simple logistics - NK has perpetually been on the edge of famine (occasionally crossing over) for the last couple of decades. I don't have any info on their ag production this year, but I'd doubt it'll suddenly reach civilized world standards. So it's about time for their annual Plead-A-Thon where they promise to refrain from nuking their neighbors in exchange for food.

Heh. They ought to just have folks stand along the border with little cardboard signs - "Won't Nuke For Food".

They'll likely back down in a day or two - but next time? Hard to say... One of the nice things about dealing with a familiar despot is that you know his insanity and he knows what he can get away with. A new guy could be a real nutcase, not believing that he can go too far until he's way across the line...

We'll see.

BTW, I think the issue cold weather gear they've got now beats the snot out of what they had in the '50s. If nothing else, the long underwear doesn't itch. (grin) And there's always the Chem-Warfare overgarments - they'll keep warm in those things, for sure!

Mr. Lawson,While p... (Below threshold)

Mr. Lawson,

While perhaps it is true, that things are getting better on the gear issue side.... I'm not so sure. My T/O (Table of Organization) weapon was a M-1911 Pistol. 1911 is the year it was first fielded. Same with the Winchester 12 trench weapon, AKA pump shotgun (my favorite)...first fielded in 1912. The standard shelter-half dates to the Napoleonic Wars (circa 1800), and the K-Bar (knife) dates back even further.

About winter clothing, sweat is the real danger. If it re-freezes you can start to loose appendages, so you layer everything, and change often (especially socks - if you got em). MOPP (Mission Orientated Protective Posture ) suits, AKA Chem-Warfare overgarments can be a real handicap in the desert as well as arctic conditions. They don't breath at all.

I wore one for four days straight from the elbow in Saudi Arabia all the way to Kuwait City in the first Gulf war. You can only survive in the overshoes for about 30 hours - then your feet start to come apart, and you can pour water out of your boot. The garments are charcoal impregnated - so even though it turns everything black on the inside - at least you don't smell at all after the first couple of days. I did learn that when you become tired enough - you can sleep in MOPP 4 (suit, over-boots, gloves, and gas mask). When we got to Kuwait City International Airport (our objective) and the cease fire was declared - we made a bonfire with the MOPP suits (using diesel for fuel) - cause we hated the damn things.

If you can't tell yet, the Marines don't have much...except of course morale. They really are light infantry troops without much heavy equipment (the mechanized Army they are not). Marines didn't have a full suite of desert camouflage netting and so we used what we had (woodland camouflage netting) - looked like green mushrooms dotting the desert. A couple of times we rationed ammunition in the face of the enemy - i.e.- bullets, which was FUBAR (Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition) - I did trade comm (communications) gear (which I had) or appropriated from the Army in a pinch - things like cases of grenades, tracer, and NVGs (Night Vision Goggles).

Anyways, perhaps your right - things may have improved dramatically since I retired in 2007, one can always hope.

Semper Fidelis-

Well, the MOPP gear hasn't ... (Below threshold)

Well, the MOPP gear hasn't changed that much since the first Gulf war, with the exception of the overboots (at least for the Air Force) - the early fishtail/diamond models with the rubber sole and rubberized fabric uppers were junk to begin with. And all I ever had to do was use the things in training...

The Marines have always been amazing, as far as I'm concerned - able to do a hell of a lot with very little, and always finding a way to get the job done no matter the obstacles in the way. My hat's off to you folks...

To the subject at hand, a l... (Below threshold)

To the subject at hand, a little selective demonstration of our technology is certainly indicated. I wonder if Kim Jong ill would make a 0400 phone call?






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