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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TheObsoleteMan's picture

This is only a distraction. If there is a US strike on North Korea, it will not be the big show. Keep your eyes on the ball, as my dad used to say, and the ball is Syria. Who has their armed forces already there? Is this not the most obvious flash point for a MAJOR war? I just don't see China coming to their rescue, they will sacrifice them if necessary. I wouldn't be surprised if China itself is not the one to go in to North Korea and take out the man-child. It would have everything to gain by doing so.

Arrest Hillary's picture

Send our prisoners to North Korea .... to help with the rice harvest .... no more $250,000 per anus prison workers .... kind of a peace corp .... like the "Mariel Boat Lift" ?

Thom Paine's picture

I thoght the idea is to NOT advertise what you are thinking of doing to the 'enemy'?


HHHow 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.


The danger is not for the American people but for Japan and South Korea who stand to lose 'millions' if the US attacks it.  

It is pretty bad that the General is more focussed on the risk to itself and not those next to NK. 

So will the US cause a nuclear catastrophe in Japan, China, South Korea, Russia because it thinks it will ultimately benefit from it.  

It is impossible to imagine America being so crazy, but with Deep State, who knows, these guys are truly sick, and had no problems killing millions in the ME for geopolitics.

I think the greatest risk to the world is the idiocy of US geopolitics, who are happy to sacrifice all other lives for its own advantage.


The risks associated with an attack on NK are way way too high.

Seoul is just over the border, and can be simply destroyed by heavily protected artillery fire.

And NK has nukes - Japan and SK are very close by. And by now NK have had plenty of time to position devices ready to go.


The options for the USA if it didn't make Russia and China enemies is to use them to deal with NK, so they bear the blame for blow back.

China appears not to want to starve NK into submission so there is only one option left.

The only option the US has in dealing with NK is regeime change (killing Kim)

They need to kill the one person to reset the situation, depending on who the successor will be.

And they need to be sure they do not miss their target, however they decide to do it.

Polonium Champagne.

Captaincath's picture

NK either submits or is taken with war. They, along with Cuba and Iran are the only three countries left without a Rothschild central bank. So, he who controls the money, controls the world. Iran will be next.

Thom Paine's picture

AND say McMaster/Trump did go ahead with a strike on NK?

The minimum blowback would be severe detruction in Seoul and other cities near NK border.

And say, if one nuclear devices is detonated in SK or near Nagasaki?

What then for the US and its relationship with the world.

What then for Trump.


There you have it. Deep State take the opportunit to sacrifice Trump to risk it in NK.

dirty fingernails's picture

Nobody has twisted Trump's arms and made him threaten Syria, Iran, NK, Venezuela, Qatar, etc. The DS would have no problem letting Trump take the heat for the fallput of the attack, but that makes him an accomplice, not a victim. He's been talking war for long enough its obvious he's wanting to play like his predecessors.  Fuck him, too.

Falconsixone's picture

Drop refugees not bombs!

oncemore's picture

Preventive killing of Mcmaster would be god for mankind.

archie bird's picture

More preventive war? cuz the others worked out so well, I presume?

south40_dreams's picture

Baldy has crazy eyes. Be afraid. Be very afraid

iamerican4's picture

At what age would one forget about being buggered by a pedo homo priest, while a Roman Catholic altarboy? How much blood would one have to take, with or without moral authority, to recover one's masculinity, if ever? The Anti-Christ we escaped and followed us over, knows what it's doing.

Be American: Fear only God. Mr. Trump is anointed, the Hand of God on the White House that soon the Spirit of God will once more pour out on Our Land - the Republic restored, True Zion freed of Gog and Babylon forever. Ezekiel 38:11

Only God is our King. (viz. "Common Sense," Th. Paine)

onasip123's picture

We will destroy you and your family, Donald, unless you agree to continuous war.

"Ok, continuous war".

We'll destroy you and your family anyway. Thanks for playing.

gregga777's picture

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

McMaster: U.S. Empire of Lies' War Criminals Preparing For Another Illegal "War of Aggression" Against North Korea

Fixed the headline to indicate something closer to the truth.

There's picture

This is posturing for when President Lielie has an approval rating in the teens.

Americans will rally to the flag even though these incompetents don't know what they are doing.

This Preventative War interview ranks right up there with Kelly Anns' Alternative Facts interview.

Are these fake leaders we can trust?

dlweld's picture

The whole idea of a preventive war is a bit odd – sort of like the violent guy on the street – attacking people because he thinks they might attack him. We’ve seen folks like that – call them criminally insane.

apocalypticbrother's picture

Joo think i am going to fall for that one? Lets start the revolution now. All members of congress including trump and clintons need to be rounded up. Or just set DC on fire and kill everything that moves. Trump must die now.

pine_marten's picture

Brutal, rogue regime. Yes, tell us all about that.

silverer's picture

"Preventive War". Because "War Condom" didn't get through the Deep State marketing team.

Golden Phoenix's picture

Both sides have been posturing like this repeatedly over the larger part of a century.

turk 151's picture

What do you expect, the only people trump listens to outside of his family are generals.  

The family and the muscle, it does not get any more gangster than that.

kidbroge's picture

On the campaign trail, the President said "no more war" and I believe him. He won't preempt , this is the new diplomacy.

AlbertthePudding's picture

Even if true, why is it being discussed!

onmail1's picture

Thumbs up to North Korea

USA has assumed itself to be the ruler of the entire planet

The White Man's Rule

Destroying everyone that opposes using :

1. NGO's to rise against govt

2. CIA to bribe opposition (as in Brazil)

3. Creating & supporting Militants & Terrorists (ISIS, AL-Queda, Al-Nusra, Al-Shabab, Taliban.........)

4. Sanctions

5. Europeon co-pirates, co-conspirators, co-white draculas, looters

6. Unlimited currency creation ($ Euro) & its distribution using world bank, IMF, Grants, Aid etc.

7. Or denial of above

8. Military bases

9. Direct military intervention

10. Mc-Donalds , KFC, Burger King etc. JUNK FOOD (Hah ha its the joker in the pack)


USA (with euroPeons) is playing Dungeons & Dragons with rest of the world



An Advice to North Korea


'Yellowstone volcano has been struck by 1,400 earthquakes in recent weeks, leading to fears that the supervolcano is ready to blow and wipe out life on Earth.'

Look closely , the pool is shaped like a heart, as if telling everyone

'Come Hit me, I am the Heart of America'

Hit Yellowstone with a Nuclear bomb

Rather let the bomb go deep and let it explode upon contact

Try to make it like a  Nuclear Bunker buster

and hit several times


The shockwaves generated by N.Explosion will awaken the


When Yellowstone awakens , It will destroy ENTIRE AMERICA

America's economy will sink

Its stock mkt will crash immediately

Plus the Volcano will devour America like anything

Entire america will be under a thick blanket of volcanic ash

This may also trigger several earthquates & fault zones especially near california etc

So entire America will be rattled

Americans will hate to stay in America

They all will start to migrate


And you can do it with a few N-Explosion on Yellowstone


Hit it hard

and watch America devour itself

Like a forest fire which engulfs and burns entire forest


Their own scriptures (Bible) says :

'There will be a biggest ever earthquake, like never happened on earth

The sun will be darkened, the moon shall not give its light,

their eyes shall burn in their sockets.....'

MK ULTRA Alpha's picture

The General's understanding doesn't include the capability of the South Korean military. The South Koreans are more than able to annihilate North Korea with or without American forces. The strategic view must take into account Chinese strategic plans. The US Generals speak of a great loss of life, but a much greater loss of life and strategic position will be the future reality. America must save face in Asia. The US must prove moral resolve and political will to fight when North Korea threatens South Korea, Japan and the US with nuclear weapons.

The General must use China's strategic weakness for US strategic advantage. China's strategic weakness is Taiwan. It is a main Chinese Communist Party plank to invade Taiwan. The General can press the issue of advanced armament sales to Taiwan as a counter to the South China sea strategic plan. This will give the US an exponential strategic advantage in the coming war with China.

Afghanistan? The General is correct. A US retreat would undermine efforts to counter organized terrorist armies. However, the General's war fighting plan is the wrong method. The plan deep in the General's mind to use Afghanistan as a base for war operations against Iran is wrong. The purpose of US forces is to kill organized terrorist armies, organized crime groups, organized opium production and smuggling operations, nothing more and nothing less. Nation building, funding the corrupt central government and preparing bases for war with Iran has sapped the strength of our nation and has resulted in tactical and strategic failure.

The purpose of the General is to kill Americas enemies in Afghanistan. Mission creep has caused a loss of focus, moral resolve and political will. A new killing model is needed which is more productive and less expensive.

The Air Cavalry model is best suited for the mission, the threat and the terrain. The Air Cavalry model manned by a mercenary force of third, fourth and fifth world soldiers paid in comparative local wages with a lump sum to family in case of death. Ten Air Cavalry regiments with one thousand men each, thirty Blackwater advisers, twenty regular army command, S1, S2, S3, S4 could fulfill mission requirements with productive results instead of fighting land battles with regular US formations. Force mobility requirements would be any and all surplus and used helicopters. The maintenance aspect could be training Afghan workers and this in itself is all the nation building required. Of course, base security is now unacceptable and would require US Marine security. This is far less expensive than the huge waste and failure imposed on the American people.

Iran? The General removed Cohn-Watnick from the NSC. He had to be removed because he was leaking classified data to the press. This 31 year old kid should have never been on the NSC. The plan he was pushing was a ludicrous plan to kill Iranian leaders. Iran would replace the leaders. A better plan is for America not to be a beast of burden for Israel in the Middle East. The US receives zero combat power from Israel. The US policy must make Israel the proxy instead of the US. Israel has ICBM, cruise missile, air power and submarines to strike Iran.

The US has been bled dry from war in the Middle East. A war with Iran would cause the American people great economic hardship. It is time for Israel to step up to the plate and prove Israel is an ally or a major strategic liability.

Ukraine? It must be amateur hour at the State Department. The US has funneled billions to the corrupt Ukraine government with zero results and influence. The plan to arm the Ukraine is a fools errand. Senator McCain and Graham are Zionist controlled stooges and America is bankrupt. The two ethnic Russian provinces and the ethnic Russian Crimea must be officially ceded to Russia in peace negotiations. McCain and Graham must not be aware of the Jewish controlled Ukraine government plan to genocide the Russian population. Both senators are out of touch with reality because Zionist controlled television lies. US support of Ukraine is support of officially sanctioned genocide. The General must research the issue and make everyone aware because the result will be a greater war in Eastern Europe.

Congress is controlled by the Israel lobby. It is unAmerican and will lead to greater strategic failure. This nation needed to drive a wedge between Russia and China. The trade sanctions has driven the Russians into the hands of the Chinese. Witness the plans for the huge natural gas plant in the Amur region. The US keeps losing because of the Israel lobby.

Israel controls US foreign policy and this must come to an end if we are to survive.