McMaster: U.S. Preparing For "Preventive War" With North Korea

Tyler Durden's picture

The United States is preparing for all options to counter the growing threat from North Korea, including launching a “preventive war,” national security adviser H.R. McMaster said in an interview that aired Saturday on MSNBC. The comments come after North Korea carried out two tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles in the past month and after the president said he has been clear he will not tolerate North Korea's threats to attack the U.S. with nuclear weapons.

The key excerpts (full transcript):

H.H.: Let me switch if I can to North Korea, which is really pressing. And– and remind our audience, at the Aspen Institute ten days ago, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Joe Dunford, said, “There’s always a military– option. It would be horrific.” Lindsey Graham on Today Show earlier this week said– “We need to destroy the regime and their deterrent.” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday, I believe, to North Korea, “You are leaving us no choice but to protect ourselves.” And then the Chairman of the Chief of Staff of the Army said, “Just because every choice is a bad choice doesn’t mean you don’t have to choose.” Are we looking at a preemptive strike? Are you trying to prepare us, you being collectively, the administration and people like Lindsey Graham and Tom Cotton for a first strike North Korea?

 

H.R.M. Well, we really, what you’re asking is– is are we preparing plans for a preventive war, right? A war that would prevent North Korea from threatening the United States with a nuclear weapon. And the president’s been very clear about it. He said, “He’s not gonna tolerate North Korea being able to threaten the United States” if they have nuclear weapons that can threaten the United States; It’s intolerable from the president’s perspective. So of course, we have to provide all options to do that. And that includes a military option.

 

Now, would we like to resolve it short of what would be a very costly war, in terms of– in terms of the suffering of mainly the South Korean people? The– the ability of– of that North– North Korean regime to hold the South hostage to conventional fire’s capabilities, artillery and so forth, Seoul being so close. We’re cognizant of all of that. And so what we have to do is– is everything we can to– to pressure this regime, to pressure Kim Jong-un and those around him such that they conclude, it is in their interest to denuclearize. And there are really I think three critical things, came out of the president’s very successful summit with– President Xi of China that were different– that were different from past efforts to work with China, which has always been, you know, the– the desire, right, to work with China– on the– on the North Korean problem.

How many casualties will there be:

HH: In 1994, when the first North Korean deal with signed, the people who executed it, Gallucci, Dan Poneman, Joe Wit wrote a book. And they quoted a general saying, “If there is a conflict,” called Going Critical, “there will be a million casualties.” A million casualties. Is that still a good estimate of what happens if– preemptive strike unfolds in North Korea, General?

 

HRM: You know, one thing about war. It’s impossible oftentimes to predict. It’s always impossible to predict the future course of events. Because war is a continuous interaction of opposites, a continuous interaction between your forces and those of the enemy. It involves not just the capability to use force, but also intentions and things that are just unknowable at the outset. And so I think it’s important to– to look at– range of estimates of what could happen, because it’s clear that at war, it’s unpredictable. And so you always have to ask the question, “What happens next? What are the risks? How do you mitigate those risks?” And– and obviously, you know, war is– is– is the most serious decision any leader has to make. And so what can we do to make sure we exhaust our possibilities and exhaust our other opportunities to accomplish this very clear objective of denuclearization of the peninsula short of war?

Should Americans be concerned:

HH: How concerned should the American people be that we are actually on the brink of a war with North Korea?

 

HRM: Well, I think it’s impossible to overstate the danger associated with this. Right, the, so I think it’s impossible to overstate the danger associated with a rogue, brutal regime, I mean, who murdered his own brother with nerve agent in an airport. "I mean, think about what he’s done in terms of his own brutal repression of not only members of his regime but his own family," McMaster added.

 

On Tuesday,  Sen. Lindsey Graham said that the president told him there would be a war with North Korea if the regime continues to try to hit America with an ICBM. Appearing on the Today Show, the South Carolina Republican Senator said that President Trump has indicated to him that the administration is prepared to strike North Korea to prevent an attack against the U.S.  Pushed on by Matt Lauer on whether a viable military option exists in the region, Graham responded: "They're wrong.  There is a military option to destroy North Korea's program and North Korea itself."


The Hwasong-14 ICBM seen during its test in this undated photo released by

North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, July 5 2017.

As reported last Friday, North Korea claimed that its latest missiles can now strike anywhere in the United States, delivering nuclear warheads. Experts have said that the country’s missile program has greatly accelerated in recent months putting it far ahead of previous predictions about when it could launch reliable long-range missiles. Speaking to Newsweek in recent days, several experts said that an attack would be the deadliest the U.S. has ever received and potentially kill more than 100,000 people if it struck in large population centers like New York City or Los Angeles.

“I’m not going to confirm [whether the latest ICBM could reach anywhere in the U.S.] but whether it could reach San Francisco or Pittsburgh or Washington, I mean how much does that matter? It’s a grave threat,” McMaster said.

He added: “It’s impossible to overstate the danger associated with a rogue, brutal regime."

McMaster cautioned that he was aware of the fact that any strike against North Korea could bring about a “very costly war” that would cause immense “suffering of mainly the South Korean people.”

Last month, CIA Director Mike Pompeo floated another option for dealing with the North Korea threat, saying that he was “hopeful we will find a way to separate that regime from this system.” North Korea responded by threatening swift and brutal consequences for any attempt to topple Kim.

“Should the U.S. dare to show even the slightest sign of an attempt to remove our supreme leadership, we will strike a merciless blow at the heart of the U.S. with our powerful nuclear hammer, honed and hardened over time,” a foreign ministry spokesman said.

Still, McMaster did not rule out such an attempt when asked whether it could be a legitimate tool. “I think it depends on the legal justifications for that. And this goes back to just war theory. And what is the nature of the risk? And does that risk justify acting in defense of your people and your vital interests?”

Last week, the local press reported that South Korea's military is preparing a "surgical strike" scenario that could wipe out NOrth Korean command and missile and nuclear facilities following an order by S.Korea's president Moon Jae-In.

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king leon's picture

Nuclear war is now a given, but now we have multiple choice on who and what can trigger it.

divingengineer's picture

It is a breach of etiquette to start an invasion without a casus belli.

Manthong's picture

well, the US is used to puking all over globe without even a napkin or spitoon.

shovelhead's picture

I liked Obamas's wars too.

Manthong's picture

 

 

When stupidity and ignorance are transformed and calculated as gravitational mass, event horizon and singularity.... you get Maxine Waters.

https://www.rt.com/viral/398748-us-congresswoman-impeach-putin-pence/

 

HenryHall's picture

> US betting on food scarcity to spark also a popular uprising against the regime.

Food scarcity in North Korea won't happen.

Russia and China will ship food as humanitarian relief, without payment.

Give Me Some Truth's picture

North Korea is going to take away our freedoms!

toady's picture

No no.... They aren't taking them away, the NSA is responsible for that...

They do hate us for our freedoms tho....

boink.voink's picture

Sad thing is majority of Americans, including the one's from the so called "awakened" crowd will support the war, cos you know never stop believing in America being the Greatest Country of the world.

BarkingCat's picture

No, you misheard it.

They hate us for our Fritos.

PT's picture

"No Your Honour, I did not rape those 682 women.  We had Preventative Sex.  Due to quick thinking and decisive action on my part, who knows how many countless rapes we avoided!"
"Very good, Mahmoud.  Case dismissed.  You are free to go.  Let me compensate you for the lost time and reputation for having these charges brought against you."
"Hurry up!  I've got hundreds more rapes I need to prevent!!!"

peddling-fiction's picture

Demons like to use euphemisms.

They need a new blood sacrifice, sorry war, pronto.

Al Bondiga's picture

Industrial scale human sacrifice is exactly what it is. Sick fucks.

Itinerant's picture

Everything the guy says in the interview is shit. All the trouble-makers he lists ignores the fact that the USA is the chief trouble-makers. Anytime there is an argument about humanitarian goals, how brutal another regime is, etc., you know we are back at the old game of painting the enemy black because they sacrifice babies and are rapists, etc etc. Fact is that the USA supplies arms, ammo, intelligence, and training to terrorist factions. Only 13 of 660 congressmen voted to support Gabbi Tulsi bill to make it illegal for the government to support terrorist organizations. This is all geo-politics.

The N Koreans want direct talks with the USA without preconditions, and are willing to denuclearize if America follows suit. Maybe it's time to try talking with them instead of speculating about pre-emptive options. They are not going to commit suicide and strike the USA -- they wouldn't even live long enough to enjoy the hit.

redmudhooch's picture

Does anyone remember what happened last time we were told some bad dude had nukes and wanted to kill us?

I do. Bullshit!

Give Me Some Truth's picture

I like that. "Yes, we'll do away with our nukes if you do away with yours." How come we get to have Nukes and then get to tell other nations they can't have them?

Bigern's picture

Because that is the nature of reality. It always has been. Nukes are old news. Much greater weapons are on station. Less after effects, and greater deniability. There are reasons that no nuclear warheads have been detonated in combat since 1945.

Let's just say that in several instances such deployments have been intervened. Certain voices have testified to this, yet were marginalized for doing so. They recieved the Forrestal treatment. Call a man a liar and you get feedback, question his sanity and he goes away into the night.

new game's picture

send angels and get on your knees and pray. starting to appear to be the best option.

hear, over here, just shoot me so i can fuk a shit ton of vergins. just sayin, lol...

king leon's picture

NK don't need to negotiate anything with the US, they could strike a deal with China and Russia and be given protection under their umbrella but some how I think Kim is a Pentagon patsy. Why is Trump so insistent that China reel in NK? is the real reason to get kim to fire his nukes at China. Does Trump not realize that China and Russia know this and are calling his bluff?.

toady's picture

That's one of the more interesting simulations I ran.... The U.S. does a preemptive strike, takes out almost all of the artty that was supposed to "level Seoul in 24 hours" and the ultra hightech "shooting a bullet with a bullet" missile shield actually works, and takes out the one ICBM the norks actually get into the air coming towards the U.S.

Unfortunately, the four they targeted Shanghai, Moscow, Islamabad, and Mumbai with didn't have missile defense shields.

Trump tweets "I told those people they needed to clean up their backyard! The U.S. will send any assistance they may need!"

BarkingCat's picture

666 congressman???

From all of Obamas 57 states I presume.

robertsgt40's picture

Yup. Preventive War. Doesn't get more Orwellian than that. This is right out of Israel's playbook. At least we know who's running US foreign policy.  

ReturnOfDaMac's picture

And to think this is what we voted for ...

Jimbeau's picture

Yeah, hilliary would definitely NOT be warring with another nation already...

Grumpy6's picture

Perhaps he should have said "Pre-emptive" war,  meaning we pick the time, the targets, the methods, to suit our strategy to dis-arm, disrupt, or destroy a hostile force before it acquires a more capable and reliable threat to the U.S. homeland.  I'm sorry about the people of Seoul being downrange from the North, but would you rather South Koreans die or millions of Americans die if the North executes an EMP attack on us?   This Commander-in-Chief stuff is pretty heavy stuff.

MegaOlmecanManiac's picture

We have to pass the war to find out if it was worth going to war.

or

How I Stopped Worrying and Learned To Love the Swamp

tangent's picture

Sounded like one of those too-good-to-be-truee quotes. Usually polticians never say anything remotely useful. But yeah:

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/520399-preventive-war-was-an-invention-...

Doom and Dust's picture

Eisenhower on preventive war:

Well, let me make it this way: if you remember, I believe it was Conan Doyle's White Company, there was a monk that left the church; he said there were seven reasons, and the first one was he was thrown out; they decided there was no use to recite the other six.

 

It seems to me that when, by definition, a term is just ridiculous in itself, there is no use in going any further.

 

There are all sorts of reasons, moral and political and everything else, against this theory, but it is so completely unthinkable in today's conditions that I thought it is no use to go any further.

American presidents used to speak like this. Man I miss those guys.

GodEmperorNanner's picture

It's hard to lead a country you've never fought for. Even Kennedy was a war hero for God's sake.

DavidFL's picture

A hero? What made him a hero? It seems now days - a hero is anyone who says he is a hero. McTumor is a hero because he got shot down - WTF.

Fish Gone Bad's picture

The definition of hero is *pretty liberal* now.

Grumpy6's picture

I am no fan of John McCain (he's not even a RINO he is so unpredictable), but he did serve and put himself in harm's way in time of war.  Some may call that foolish or stupid, but that description is childish and selfish.  You do not have to be "John Wayne" or a Silver Star awardee to be a hero.

new game's picture

so getting caught fuk'g the neighbors wife makes him a hero? ru ru rah, go army dude, right to the front line of fire and become a hero. brainwashed lately?

historian40's picture

Fighting for a paycheck and perks in service to the globalist regime running the US out of D.C., fighting wars of aggression that are not legal under the Constitution they swore to defend, and committing acts of murder and terror against nations who have not attacked us are not heroic and they should not be celebrated by anyone.  They aren't serving our country, they are serving the enemy who has seized our country.  They may imagine they are helping, but joining them in the lie doesn't help them.

BarkingCat's picture

No, you do not have to be John Wayne or Silver Star recipient to be a hero.

You do however have to have done something beyond other men.

edotabin's picture

Yes, me too. Uuugely, bigly.

swmnguy's picture

If Eisenhower were President today (well, first off he couldn't be; he was way to the left of Bernie Sanders), he'd have a hard time talking about anything.  "Homeland Security" would have given him the mad shits, it's so Hitler/Stalin.  "Civil Asset Forfeiture?"  Prosecutors trying 12 year-olds as adults and getting them locked in adult prison?  

"Preventive War."  It's come to that in the US, where a raving madman can say something like that and people hearing it furrow their brow and rub their chins like serious people.

toxic8's picture

THE PRESIDENT. All of us have heard this term "preventive war" since the earliest days of Hitler. I recall that is about the first time I heard it. In this day and time, if we believe for one second that nuclear fission and fusion, that type of weapon, would be used in such a war--what is a preventive war?

I would say a preventive war, if the words mean anything, is to wage some sort of quick police action in order that you might avoid a terrific cataclysm of destruction later.

A preventive war, to my mind, is an impossibility today. How could you have one if one of its features would be several cities lying in ruins, several cities where many, many thousands of people would be dead and injured and mangled, the transportation systems destroyed, sanitation implements and systems all gone? That isn't preventive war; that is war.

I don't believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn't even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing.

swmnguy's picture

Speaking of people Eisenhower probably wouldn't have listened to seriously, I bet he wouldn't have taken a meeting with a Russian lawyer offering dirt on Adlai Stevenson.

Joe McCarthy, on the other hand, would have.  Probably did. 

PeterLong's picture

When did Hitler speak of "preventive war"?

OverTheHedge's picture

I notice that there seems to be some concern about the plight of the south Koreans, but no mention what they expect to happen n to the north Korean civilians. The last time they went adventuring on the peninsula, they managed to kill about 20% of the entire population, to.save them, obviously. I wonder how many will die this time? The record in other war zones is not good, so I think beating the 20% target should be easy - we have modern weapons systems now, not just boring old napalm.

historian40's picture

They don't want to think about those civilians.  They want to imagine Kim running around dodging near misses until a bomb gets him.  If they have to think about the families, men, women, children, torn to shreds by explosions, burned alive, their faces locked in horror, etc, they would never support these illegal, wars of aggression.  They should try watching some video from within N. Korea, then it may be harder to want to murder those humble, conservative, peace-loving, and hard-working people.

 

XWeatherman's picture

You are plagerizing Eisenhower by not noting this as one of his quotations.

shovelhead's picture

Eisenhower's dead.

He doesn't care.

SFopolis's picture

Thank you for the link.  I figure I'll just post what he said for those who don't click further:  THE PRESIDENT. All of us have heard this term "preventive war" since the earliest days of Hitler. I recall that is about the first time I heard it. In this day and time, if we believe for one second that nuclear fission and fusion, that type of weapon, would be used in such a war--what is a preventive war?

I would say a preventive war, if the words mean anything, is to wage some sort of quick police action in order that you might avoid a terrific cataclysm of destruction later.

A preventive war, to my mind, is an impossibility today. How could you have one if one of its features would be several cities lying in ruins, several cities where many, many thousands of people would be dead and injured and mangled, the transportation systems destroyed, sanitation implements and systems all gone? That isn't preventive war; that is war.

I don't believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn't even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing.

RichardParker's picture

Yeah, well Ike didn't have to worry about a declining empire and hangover from QE.

J S Bach's picture

In defense of Der Fuehrer... Hitler's communist nemesis WAS actually preparing for war against the Reich and thus, being the lesser in resources and manpower, the Germans "pre-emptive" strike was legitimate and one might say - at that time necessary.  His biggest mistake was not waiting for the defeat of Britain before opening up a second front.  This fact ruffles the feathers of those ignorant to real historical facts, which are conveniently hidden from the victors' fold of sheeple.

One cannot argue seriously that North Korea poses ANY kind of threat to the United States nor any of its satellites.  China, India, and Russia all have far greater nuclear capabilities and thus, deterrance against anything Long Duck Dong Un can send at them.