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.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
HRH Feant2's picture

I think Tommy Sotomayor is doing a decent job trying to educate people of color on how to not act and the impact of father's not being involved in the child's life and how the courts are unfair and favor women over men.

I'm not interested in leading people into another cult or deprogramming former cult members. No fucking way would I visit any ghetto in the US. Not worth my life and that is the risk. Random violence that might result in death, torture, carjacking, or being pistol whipped or beaten by a raging mob. From the outside, blacks seem insane and out of control and dangerous.

Anyhow, I spread ideas. Just doing my job here today. Cheers!

GreatUncle's picture

Gimmigrants have no such concern about cost because they are sucking on the government tit and the US or UK or German taxpayer is providing for the care of their many children.

Elites assume the money tree will QE enough to provide for them when that stops SHTF and the debt to maintain this is rapidly growing. Now realised this a long time ago in the UK those newly arrived migrants on top of the rest will now require a pension to live in old age. That will hit in about 20 years accelerating the dire economic situation and there is no cure for that whatever anybody promises.


smacker's picture

"[...] you can't have lunatics with ICBM nukes."

Do you include all Western powers in that statement?

It was suggested long long ago in the days of MAD that the strict sequential procedure which is followed before the US President pushes the "FIRE" button, had one crucial command missing which should be inserted immediately before he presses the fire button:

  • "An armed guard must step forward and shoot the President".

Not a bad idea.

veritas semper vinces's picture

How about the proven lunatics in that shitty little country ,which has ICBM and did not sign the nuclear nonproliferation treaty and does not allow inspection.Are they OK to have them or they are (chosen)?

PrivetHedge's picture

We are the lunatics with the nukes, not NK or Iran.

researchfix's picture

"but you can't have lunatics with ICBM nukes."

But we have. You have,

GreatUncle's picture

Nuclear ICBM's are a state of technological development the real issue is on nation demanding superiority over all others.

Got fuck all to do with nukes just technology is capable of killing many more people than it ever has before so we all complain, but again if you did not have this demand for superiority then no issue.

Dig deeper, why this need ... well when you create money out of thin air to buy the world is that not theft by any other name?

Now if you get caught out doing this then what?

Very easy to understand human traits ... somebody has been stealing, somebody has been lieing and someboy is prepare to use war to cover it all up and maintain the position of superiority.

Frankly being poor and penniless I don't care but it is still the truth as it always has been.

So I ask it this way "why could the US (all other nations also) not honour the value they created and redeem it for gold if a person chooses or silver or anything?"

WorkingClassMan's picture

Take out Isn'treal, the House of Fraud and Turkey and we'll take your comment seriously.

ndree's picture

So, let's begin with Israel....because we all know that Netanyahoo is a loonatic.

indygo55's picture

Man if we fuck this up a lot of South Koreans and US servicemen are going to die. The Norks have thousands of missles trained on targets in the South and they are mostly a hair trigger from being launched. With this report they probably have their fingers on all the triggers. Un ain't going out without a fight. This is madness. 

garcam123's picture

America needs patriots to start shooting these motherfuckers on sight!  They will finish desatroying all life on earth in their craze for power, money and status.

Dis-arm the police in every city, arrest the CONgress and charge them all with public malfeseanse and jail them for life in their for profit prisons along with any shareholders of those for profit prisons and execute the leaders down to the janitor level.

START WITH PUBLIC EXECUTIONS OF OBAMA & ALL THE CLINTONS and all of the trash hangers on traitorous pieces of low life trailertrash scum with them on the MALL in SHITINGTON, DC!

THE WORLD HATES YOU MOTHERFUCKERS! but you already know spark is gonna do it.  I pray to live to see that!

blue51's picture

That ^^^^ will earn your IP a few asterisks.

GreatUncle's picture

Very French revolutionary of you ... solves nothing though because the issue is in all of us so the next one into that position does the same.

All that can be learned from this is for those ruling that there is a limit to when your head can be taken off.

Not there yet, not enough suffering but it is on the way.

rickv404's picture

This is probably the plan for Trump and his party to move their agenda, rescue Obamacare with a new, massive dose of inflation and carry on with other destructive policies as they did with Bush. I don't think they'll be quite as successful this time around and even then they lost in 2006 and 2008.

lolmao500's picture

Then Kim Jong gets paranoid and nukes seoul first...

Robert Trip's picture

Our Lord and Creator didn't place us on this Earth to be bullied and told what to do every step of our existence by these cocksuckers in Washington.

We have given up our birthright as human beings by knuckling under to these neocon Jewish war-mongering assholes.

You can feel it in the air.

There are far too many pissed off people in our Nation that are not going to put up with these hypocritical self -indulgent, narcissistic scumbags much longer.

One thing we all have in common as human beings, we all bleed the same.

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

As the degenerate psychopathic motherfucker "smiles"!...

Ask yourselves "WHY" there isn't anyone in uniform brave enough to skin he, Mattis, Dunford and Kelly alive and put them on display on the steps of the Capitol until they draw their last breathe(s)?!!!

PhiBetaZappa's picture

That massive line forming outside the WH isn't for a tour.

It's the usual .gov parasites looking for who they have to pay off for the no bid war contracts that are sure to come.

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

"That massive line forming outside the WH isn't for a tour.

It's the usual .gov parasites looking for who they have to pay off for the no bid war contracts that are sure to come."...

Ergo: China's gotta a weakness "we think we can exploit" because the banks are up our ass and it's either start WWIII or face a war crimes tribunal for crimes against humanity at the "NEW HAGUE" soon to open in Eastern Europe or Asia IF WE DON'T!!!

And you just answered my question!

Won't be long now folks!!!

chosen's picture

The Cold War was a kind of preventive war, as in mutual assured destruction.  The USA and USSR leaders had some sense of this and were relatively level-headed, and as it turns out, there was no war. 

The leadership of North Korea seems pretty fanatical, even hysterical.  Maybe the leadership of North Korea should be put down before they cause a lot of trouble.  Maybe the South Koreans could somehow take out Kim Long Dong and his whole family and all their cronies in some sort of commando raid, and install a more agreeable leader.  I doubt if the North Korean people would care much one way or the other.  It's been done before in other countries.

PrivetHedge's picture

"The leadership of North Korea seems pretty fanatical, even hysterical."


Perhaps they've noticed what we did to Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan ETC.?

Maybe we surrounded them with troops and threats?


They are not paranoid: They have VERY good reason to think we'll attack them. Again.

chosen's picture

I don't think we had much to do with taking out the leadership of Syria, Yemen, or Somalia.  In fact the leader of Syria is still there.  Afghanistan was the Taliban, so fuck them.  Iraq was certainly a huge mistake (I thought so back then).  Saddam Hussein was bad, but not as bad as they have now.  My view on Iraq was that we were fighting another war for Israel.  Almost all the neocons back then were jooz and Israeli-firsters.   It was and still is sickening.  

I am not sure about what happened in Libya.  Seemed like the Libyan population for the most part wanted Ghaddaffi dead.  I know Hillary did.  Ghaddaffi might have ate it no matter how involved the US was.

North Korea is a different story.  It's a mistake to lump all these wars altogether.


UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

Muammar Gaddafi was a saint to many of the people in Libya. They had a high standard of living compared to most Muslim countries. 

The Zionist NWO and their lapdog American military destroyed him. He was going to base all oil sales on gold instead of the petrodollar. There also was no Rothschild central bank in Libya.

The Gladiator's picture

The cold war was propogated by the MIC. When WWII ended,they realized they had no more money coming in.The gov saw two benefits to the cold war.That was number one.Number two was to bleed the Soviet's bank account dry.They achieved both.In 1990,when they had the Soviets back to the wall,they expandeed NATO to keep it there.Their plan,however,didn't include a leader like Putin rebuilding the economy and the military.

chosen's picture

Russia is nothing compared to the USSR.   Few people in the US are afraid of Russia today.   There was good reason to be afraid of the USSR 1950-1989.

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

Yeah, Russia got rid of all of the USSR's nukes. No reason to fear Russia.

Sandmann's picture

Cold War was created by Truman and developed from Churchill's Operation Unthinkable to attack the Red Army at Dresden with US and German troops in 1945. It was the only way the British could keep US Forces in Europe after foreign policy disaster had brought Stalin's forces into Berlin. If Germany fell Europe would collapse in to Communism just as Lenin had hoped in 1918

chosen's picture

Patton wanted to keep driving all the way to Moscow.  Too bad he was not allowed to do so.  He could have saved Eastern European countries fifty years of grief.

AntiMatter's picture

Talking the big bluff, the US has never attacked a nation who has the ability to shoot-strike back to defend its self.

'To prevent a war, you have to start a war, what bullshit'!


bornlastnight's picture

"the US has never attacked a nation who has the ability to shoot-strike back to defend its self."


Horse shit.  We attacked Japan after Pearl Harbor and Japan was kicking ass all over Asia...and we won.

HominyTwin's picture

A few important events have transpired between then and now that might make our victory over Japan less relevant.

Anteater's picture

Since the Korean War then, ...which we lost by abandoning our soldiers.

Viet Nam they thought would be another Grenada, ...then we lost by

abandoning our soldiers.

Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11: "six days, six weeks, six months

at most" = 666 Satan

Jared Kushner, Czar of All Things Satanic, office address: 666 Fifth Avenue

Do we need to use crayons here?

We were taken over by these Satanic Kabbalists in the Bankers Coup of 1999

and the Pentagon Coup of 2001.

We're now -$44,000,000,000,000 in odious, onerous, synthetic, fraudulent debt.

Even Nazis were not this efficient. The best coup is the one AltRight supports!


PleasedToMeatYou's picture

At the MSNBC segment linked about, Trump was quoted saying:

"General McMaster and I are working very well together. 
He is a good man and very pro-Israel. 
I am grateful for the work he continues to do serving our country.

So, if Trump is the President of Greater Israel, the who the hell is our President? 
And, considering that McMaster is "serving our country",
I'm reminded of a Twilight Zone episode: 

It's a cookbook!!!

Dr. Acula's picture

"Greater Israel" is Trump's family and cabinet

me or you's picture

just like Iraq war...a walk on the park. nothing else.

bornlastnight's picture

Or Afghanistan 2001-2017..."We'll be home by Christmas".

Karl Marxist's picture

Remove McMaster, deball the CIA and remove President Trump who would even consider or allow such an atrocity.

earleflorida's picture

pence is a bigger war monger than trump could ever had thought to be....

VIS MAIOR's picture

hehehe  , still just talk.. do it 

Mena Arkansas's picture

Did McMaster have an erection during the interview?

earleflorida's picture

'where empires go to die ?'

how long has the USSA been fighting a war in afghanistan --- 2001-2017 and going strong!

america is done!!!

we've'd expired !

were but a half-ass byzantine fragmented corporatate entity?

christianity 330Ad  (to present almost non-existent? in developed nations)--- byzantine empire (330Ad.-1453 Ad--- was all but christianity in name only by 1010Ad.), but they had religion (WTF?), until 330 yrs. later in 630Ad--- where Islam takes on christianity and now Islam 'IS'!?!

now back to NK, and now these military dictators gonna tell us were going to war for japan!!!

pearl harbor was fix'd divide-and-conquer strategy agreed upon between germany and japan  with the ussa now having two empires to fight---- exhausting our resources.

70 years later were gonna now fight china and russia as a symbiotic dynamic duality and expect them to bow to our arrogance and gunboat diplomacy that's long sinse waned along with a waxingn $100 trillion debt load!

America---- please realize you have to have deep-pockets to win WW's... and were broke morally, and finacially!!!

fuck you mc`master!!! and the defense dept!!! and the MIC!!!

Sandmann's picture

US needs a proper "surge" in Afghan. Time to bring back the Draft and send a million Snowflakes to Afghan.......raise taxes to fund a real war and bring in a SuperTax on the rich. Go for broke.....

earleflorida's picture

as the tsarist russian nicholas ii did in fighting wwi forced to enlist  a peasant army of serfs who hated him moar than the enemy,... turned into a disaster for the romanov empire. but that was russia then.

america today would be a great place to recruit our forces from the millions in our 50 penal corporate colonies and send them to afghanistan!

this is however not at all a novice idea--- the british army were all criminals! (~70%) during 17th/18th/ 19th c.) from ireland, wales, and scotland-- and england herself

apoplectic query's picture

First of all, how come people aren't addressing the fact that NK never tested an ICBM? It was an IRBM - intermediate range. The news that they tested an ICBM is a lie. Also, they don't have a nuke warhead. It takes them weeks to do a nuke blast test and the 'weapon' is a bunch of shit in a cavern wired together.