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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geno-econ's picture

Lucky for us Stalin and Soviets took most of the casualties (20 million died) in Europe or we would be speaking German in USA and UK.   As far as Korea and Japanese Islands, it is called Spoils of War---not necessary but a civilized, legal practice in order to punish the aggressor. Remember the Neurenburg Trials ? In fac,t the Soviets did enter the Pacific campaign in the last stages  as did the American D day invasion after the Battle of Stalingrad which essentially was the turning point in Hitler's defeat.

Dancing Disraeli's picture

When you observe how we, the 'victors' turned out demographically, speaking German, with all that would have come with it, doesn't seem so bad.

geno-econ's picture

True, and  German not as gutteral as Russian.  I speak all three , just in case, but currently do not understand most in this country, including the President and former Dir. of Communications

GreatUncle's picture

Russian took million of caualties but the USA made a massive profit setting themselves up as the dominant superpower.

Also serious question need to be asked where Germany AKA Hitler got the funding to build the military machine as the Versailled treaty left them penniless and a few short years before the weimar economy.

Somebody was loaning them money to build a war machine and now go look at the German economic bailout.

It appears there are those amongst us in human terms who demand to be global tyrants.


Akzed's picture

Stalin argued with Churchill & FDR that Russia should get E. Europe because it lost 5 million people, and he had every reason to inflate losses.

Germany had no designs on the US or UK.

Spoils of war? What entitled the US and Stalin to divide Korea and each take half?

Nuremberg was a show trial farce, and contradicted every fiber of western jurisprudence.

The Soviets entered the Pacific canpaign once it was over, August 9, 1945.

Had the US opted out of the war in Europe, Stalin might have ended up with E. Europe at most - without hundreds of thousands of American dead. This assumes, of course, that the US would not have been waging an undeclared war against Germany prior to Dec. 7, 1941.

Anything else?


Frito's picture

Confucius say:  Cross eyed man sees no parallels.

The Wizard's picture

Not Hitler, rather Stalin. The  friend to the West.

Last Man Standing's picture

Hitler was a joke compared to Stalin and Mao when it came to wholesale murder. Learn some history.

Looney's picture


Donald shouldn’t have fired Flynn.

 McMaster is a stuttering retard.

I don’t have anything against stuttering people – it’s a medical condition, but McMaster’s stutter – is a tool most liars use to find “the right words”.


Karl Marxist's picture

Your idiot reply makes it appear you think this is some joke and as if you're above the fray. Stay on MSN.con where you belong.

BigFatUglyBubble's picture

looney helps people keep their sanity around here, so, sit on it.


blue51's picture

Pffffft . I find Looney's humor to be quite witty. Is your screen name some sort of attempt at humor ?

JimmyRainbow's picture

the "united against the aggressor" part is missing

land_of_the_few's picture

That's because NK has no idea who to unite with.

jerry_theking_lawler's picture

Good tactic. Reinforce the DMZ. Send it sorties to take out nukes, ICBMs, and food stores.....then sit back and wait for the people to starve.


#CIA and #deepstate will stop at nothing to ensure they are always in control. Remember this, because when all of our 'external' enemies are gone...where do you think they will start looking then??

Bay Area Guy's picture

Can someone remind me the last time US troops fought a bonafide, actual war during winter?  Oh yeah.....wasn't it in.....Korea?  How'd that turn out?

Nobody For President's picture

VietNam had winters.

It mostly rained in the south.

Lurk Skywatcher's picture

Winter Olympics are in Korea in February.

Kill a lot of international atheletes and their home countries just might jump on board.

The satanic psychopaths still require approval and consensus for their plans you might have noticed, Syria is a prime example.

BenBache's picture

Big false flag on the west coast coming, probaby this month.  Another 911 that will "require war" to protect our honor and fill the pocketbooks of the rich.  Maybe Seattle.  The Space Needle has seen better days and taking it down would leave room for new construction.  August 13 to 21.  

Peanut Butter Engineer's picture

It's western war monger at their finest again, if only we can leave those moronic NK where they are in pretty sure they are just all noises, but you guys just have to stire up the hornets nest beside NK. Everyone is gonna get sting one way or another, we will be screw by this.

StarGate's picture

Recall Trump said he wanted to invite Kim Joon-Un to the White House. What happened to that idea? How about giving him a call?

Or a week end at Mar Lago?
Might leave McMasters in DC though.

skinwalker's picture

Sigh. Just when I thought things were looking up

At least the wife approves of me buying more solar panels and batteries.

GreatUncle's picture

/S so you using less energy is responsible for energy companies putting the prices up to maintain profits.


radio man's picture

Now he's leaking live on MSNBC. JESUS H. CHRIST!

Karl Marxist's picture

All mainstream media is CIA. This isn't news. This is a proclamation. Get ready to die.

Winston Churchill's picture

So its Venezuela then.

BlindMonkey's picture

"So its Venezuela then."


We may soon find ourselves in a position that an adaquate supply of ass-wipe is the very least of our problems.

My favorite EMP scenario is what happens to the large percent of the population on SSRI and other mood control meds suddenly withdrawl from them.

Winston Churchill's picture

EMPs are  so last century.

Torsion fields, a branch of quantum mechanics, seems to be of great interest to the Russians.

Lots of Russian scientific papers on it,that stopped getting published in 2006.They either made a major breakthru',

or it fizzled out. We will find out which the hard way.

That would explain the Donald cooke incident and why the plane didn't disable itself.Also the fitzgerald.

toxic8's picture

Hmmm.. stopped publishing papers you say..

Tickles the brain... didn't the US/Britain/Germany stop publishing papers on fission during the late 30s / early 40s... which led the Soviets to correctly assume that they had made a major breakthrough?

"Joseph Stalin, the Soviet leader, had mostly disregarded the atomic knowledge possessed by the Russian scientists and had most of the scientists working in the metallurgy and mining industry or serving in the Soviet Armed Forces technical branches during the World War II's eastern front in 1940–42

In 1940–42, Georgy Flyorov, a Russian physicist serving as an officer in the Soviet Air Force, suspected that despite of the progress made in advancement of physics, the German, British, and American scientists, had ceased publishing papers on nuclear science"

Upon reading the Flyorov letters, Stalin immediately pulled out the Russian physicists from their respective military services and authorized an atomic bomb project set-up under Anatoly Alexandrov, an engineering physicist, and Igor V. Kurchatov, a nuclear physicist..

Dancing Disraeli's picture

The Jews in the Manhattan Project were sending sensitive data to Stalin as they proceeded.

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

Mine is when all EBT and bank cards go down, as well as the ATMs.

GreatUncle's picture

When all government electronic handouts stop and the bright side "no way to pay government taxation neither or record it".

No income to support the debt neither.

JustPrintMoreDuh's picture

I'm sure Chnia has no problem with the thought of US Troops slighlty closer to their mainland.  

Winston Churchill's picture

The Russians, with their Pacific fleet base(Murmansk) only six miles from NK, will be delighted as well.

talk about sticking your dick into a hornets nest.

The US, despite its huge military simply has no capacity to fight the Norks in conventional warfare..

The US is going to get a huge bloody nose if it tries, and S.Korea will be destroyed.

The US unilateraly broke the armistice in 1958 by deploying nukes in theatre.

Yet another in a long line of double crosses.

skinwalker's picture

Isn't Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula in the arctic?

I thought Vladivostok was the location of the pacific fleet.

I haven't looked it up so I'm willing to be wrong.

Winston Churchill's picture

Correct, I had a senior moment.Getting more  frequent these days.

Getting old sucks, but its better than the alternative.

XWeatherman's picture

Yes, according to Google Earth, its up there east of northern Finland.

Son of Captain Nemo's picture


This bald headed Satan don't have conventional on the "map"...

A volley will commence with our Navy that will escalate and go nuke for the very fucking reasons you just cited!

They are fucking lunatics. But I don't know at this point who is really worse? This "dick for breath" bastard stepchild of Satan? Or the American people who simply chew their cud and go back to the TV set!

Which one is fucking crazier?... You tell me?!!!

Winston Churchill's picture

Half the citizens are full members of the suicidal death cult the USA has become.

Jingism taken to the next level. Mass sociopathy.

Mother nature has her own checks and balances, and we are not immune or exceptional.

GreatUncle's picture

The US will not put troops into theatre so that means nukes or more likely biological / chemical warfare.

Either way wmd's.

land_of_the_few's picture

Chynia will send their Troppos to count the treat

Déjà view's picture

Arrogant Chicom will be busy with these fronts...
• SW: India, Tibet
• S-SE: Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia
• E: S. Korea, Taiwan, Japan
• Home Front: U.S. & Western Consumers
• Financial Front: Holding bag on $2Tn U.S. debt & HUGE current acount surplus, RE in 5-EYES (bye-bye)

Paper Tiger...

xzandrax's picture

Finally the WW3 is coming, every warmongering libtard would be happy like that cretin Bush.

land_of_the_few's picture

He only pretended to be a cretin, in reality he was a wide-nostrilled fratboy from Connecticut.

He never made it as a Texas oilman because his family had no background in it, it wasn't similar enough to being a lawyer

So yeah, actually pretty similar to a libtard :D

toxic8's picture

Plane Must Hit Steel... how many words in the English language? Wonder what the odds are, probabilty wise, for that string on that oh so special day..

Georgie played the part, and he couldn't help but let ya know with a twinkle in the eye, a chuckle and a wink that it was all bullshit, just a nefarious game and business as usual from the big boys PoV

bigkahuna's picture

Those ignoramouses and their neocon chums will be happy until it comes to their doorstep, and war like this will come to everyone's doorstep. Thats ok though, they all saw it on tv and it looks cool.

Akzed's picture

We can shoot rockets into the ocean, of course. What part of "we" does NK not understand?

rejected's picture

America and its wars.... disgusting.

if the regime continues to try to hit America with an ICBM

Sooo, NK has been 'trying' to hit innocent little Merica!

Scare us some more!!!

I woke up's picture

"Preventive War", government speak to support the US "offense" department