Meanwhile, Somewhere in the Pentagon…
Meanwhile, Somewhere in the Pentagon… by Charles Hugh Smith – Of Two Minds
TDC Note – If I understand correctly North Korea has not been able to fire a rocket that can reach Japan but we are suppose to believe they have a rocket that can reach New York City? How does that work?
The decision to launch nuclear weapons is political, not military.
As North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un declares that “The Entire US Territory Is Now Within Our ICBM Range”, somewhere in the Pentagon, operational plans to neutralize North Korean nuclear and long-range missile capabilities are being refined.
There are undoubtedly two sets of operational plans: one deploying conventional weapons, and the second for deployment of nuclear weapons.
Nothing personal, Mr. Kim Jong Un, it’s just business. A core duty of planners in the Pentagon is to ask “What if” and draw up a range of scenarios and operational plans to carry out the civilian leadership’s policies and decisions.
One such scenario is “what if North Korea launches a ballistic missile that is tracking to strike U.S. territory?”
One response option in this scenario would be to wait and see if the North Korean missile hits the U.S. and if it is armed with a nuclear weapon, and if so, if the warhead detonates.
Another option is to respond immediately with a nuclear strike that neutralizes North Korea’s ability to launch any more nuclear-armed missiles.
The U.S. Armed Forces does not declare war or make the decision to launch a nuclear strike–that is the perogative and responsibility of the nation’s civilian elected leadership. The duty of the U.S. Armed Forces is to be prepared to execute the decisions and policies of the elected civilian leadership.
The ethical considerations of such a decision are not the Pentagon’s purview–those considerations rest with the elected civilian leadership. If North Korea is poised to kill 2 million Americans, South Koreans, Japanese, etc., then isn’t erasing North Korea’s capability to kill millions at the cost of 50,000 North Korean lives in a limited nuclear strike the more ethical choice?
Those considerations are not part of operational plans. The purpose of operational plans is to get the assigned job done. Limiting civilian casualties might well be part of the assigned mission. But it’s not the Pentagon planners’ job to make those mission decisions.