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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Rebelrebel7's picture


SINO- North Korean Mutual Aid and Friendship Treaty Agreement:

"Article 2 of the treaty declares the two nations guarantee to adopt immediately all necessary measures to oppose any country or coalition of countries that might attack either nation.[5]



From Adam Cathcart:


In light of reality, McMasters and anyone who believes his propaganda may be in for the shock of their lives!


We know that nuclear weapons can be hacked! Stop the charade! Stop the lies! You're busted! 

oldguyonBMXbike's picture

I'm preparing for "Preventative War" against the pedophile elite.

hutnela's picture

Lest go start it.... right now. We will get a couple of zodiacs, a few more guys, a ton of ammo, and hit Little St. James Island. Maybe we could even take out a few HVT's who just so happen to be visiting at the time.

oldguyonBMXbike's picture

I like the idea of just start picking them off slowly one by one in really horrific ways. An all out assault is cool too.

Inthemix96's picture

McMaster, why dont you go do the killing then?

Preventative war?  Are you a fucking idiot?  Department of defense anyone?  Oxy fucking cunting moron anyone?

These cunts want skinned alive, to a fucking man.


UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

The are going to change the name to Department of Preventative War.

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

“Just because every choice is a bad choice doesn’t mean you don’t have to choose.” ...

Folks what $155 trillion in debt will do to an economy and it's "lawmakers"!

If you don't kill them first they will certainly take care of "YOU" AND THE FAMILY!!!

Tick... Tock...!

Golden Phoenix's picture

I'm getting to the age where this stuff is less threatening than entertaining. It kind of solves everything. Didn't save enough for retirement? NUKES! Son asking you to call him 'Zhe'? NUKES! Not sure you can afford to pay both Obamacare and the mortgage? NUKES! Illegals steal you identity? NUKES!

Make my day punks.

SHADEWELL's picture


was it only 1 ICBM in Kim's arsenal, or were there more?

Well punk, do you feel lucky?

Mzhen's picture

President Trump goes on vacation and the McMaster mice will play.  McMaster grants an interview to also-ran MSNBC.  Right after an endorsement of McMaster is emailed (Trump tweets) to the NYT.  And said endorsement claims McMaster just loves Israel.  Stuff just not adding up.

MrBoompi's picture

Preventive War = War Crime

hutnela's picture

Not if someone is making money on it.... 

Bemused Observer's picture

A "preventative war"? Give me a break. These fuckwads just cannot WAIT to 'get into it' with SOMEBODY. They'll find all SORTS of future threats they have to "prevent" just to keep their funding coming.

And I hear NASA is looking to hire some kind of 'space threat' person...because of course we will need a department of highly-paid government employees to guard us against those threats from beyond the stars. They'll probably label the next large meteor strike as a 'terrorist attack', and demand more funding for a 'task force' to wage the 'War on ET'..."They hate us for our freeeeeeedom!...And for our oxygen-rich atmosphere and large amounts of liquid water!"

oncemore's picture

causalties in the first korean ware: 2.5M.

Thanks to warmongers in Washington.

Now it will be some causalties in US as well.

NK should use their weapons only against the civilians, that is the purpose ow WMD.


Anteater's picture

Samsung is about to crush Apple.

Crushing Apple will implode FANG.

Imploding FANG will disintegrate Wall Strasse.

Disintegrating Wall Strasse will wipe out the US$.

Wiping out the US$ will make the Khazars stop winning.

The Khazars don't ever stop winning.

World citizen's picture

Pile of bullshit... Have been living in South Korea for almost 9 month... Have seen the DMZ... Threat to the U.S.? Forget it. They can't even eat...

ReturnOfDaMac's picture

Been there too. In fact, NK military standing ready at the gate and staring at the south is the biggest employer in NK. Ha, ha, ha...

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

"An army travels on its stomach."  -  Napoleon/Frederick the Great

BlussMann's picture

Billiard Head looks exicted.

Sizzurp's picture

All it takes to start a war is a little nudge. We send in a frigate, or a spy plane a little to close. NK attacks, and then it's on, shock and awe x 100.

Montana Cowboy's picture

When the government and the defense contractors colluded to deal with such threats, we were sold a multi-billion dollar missile defense system that would shoot this incoming crap out of the sky. What happened to that? Now the option is preventative war? What the hell is preventative war? Is that a war that is supposed to prevent a war? I hope the alt media turns this 'preventative' lingo against the government and its banksters. The people need to wage a preventive war on central banking, the Federal Reserve, over-taxation, and sociopaths in government.

ReturnOfDaMac's picture

Comedy central folks. They keep floating trial baloons and they keep getting shot down.  Americans are sick of useless wars and being broke because of them.  Nothing gonna happen in the kabuki theatre ...

historian40's picture

Americans refused to be dragged into wars in the past, and guess what, it didn't stop the zionist empire's use of the US armed forces as their meat cleaver.  They simply stage a false flag or instigate and prod the victim until they defend themselves, then the propaganda paints a picuture as if the victim's response is the beginning of hostilities, totally ignoring the original actions that led to their response.

ReturnOfDaMac's picture

Dunno my good Historian, this time the EBT cards may stop working.  Then oh-shit ...

OKUSA's picture

So to make it clear, In order to prevent war, we must go to war...makes sense.

Archive_file's picture

Burn a village to save a village.

dlweld's picture

Up in BC (Canada) things are burning up - record heat and forest fires - have had a couple of cases of preventitive back fires being lit (to stop a bigger fire) and then the back fires take off and cause a huge and much worse fire. So be careful with that "preventitive" stuff.

vietnamvet's picture

Been there, did that, and ultimately Vietnam was all a complete waste EXCEPT for the motherfucking MIC who made a bundle.

johnwburns's picture

The only war that needs to happen is in DC. 

Anteater's picture

The day JSOC buys into the Khazar rabbinical pre-emptive genocidal worship of Lucifer

I'm going to get my social security number tattooed on my wrist,  to remind me we are

all just slave camp inmates of Satan's workshop, heading for a blue pill and cremation.

Then I'm going to get an Arbeit Macht Frei leash-collar around my neck. Back to work!!

$754 BILLION tithe to Pentagon, $112 BILLION in arms to al-Saud Wahhabi headchoppers!

"You're going to have the best healthcare! The best! And it will be so cheap, and so easy!" DJT/JCK

(In the original)"Du wirst das beste Gesundheitswesen haben, das Beste, und es wird so billig und so einfach!"

But first let's get you out of those sweaty workclothes, and get you a nice hot Zyklon shower!

johnwburns's picture

Bet congress would jump all over authorizing this one. Anything to get the eyeballs off of them, the more dead white boys the better. 

historian40's picture

I'd like to see in the Constitution where Congress "authorizes war".  There is no such thing.  They declare war or they don't.  For them to be able to declare war on another natoin, they must prove that nation is committing acts of war against the US.  PROVE, not just accuse and make shit up.  That's why they never declare war and the US simply goes from one murderous rampage after another, because the US is the aggressor, not the defender.

Give Me Some Truth's picture

 Please observe ...

The whole "we never declare war" thing is never mentioned by the MSM. The corporate press either:

A) Approve of this

B) Don't think the failure to follow the Constitution is anything to raise concerns about

C) Prefer to keep this oversight "down home" in case people might not notice

D) Simply Don't care

E) All of the Above

My comment: The job of the press is to conceal the truth, not to report it. It is "true" that our Constitution requires that all wars be declared by Congress. I say the MSM tries to conceal this by not bringing this truth to the attention of their audiences. Out of sight out of mind. Only one in 100 of us ever say, "Hm, aren't we supposed to get a declaration of war before we start a war?"


HoserF16's picture

Is it me or is McMaster a fucking fool? I say we end him...

johnwburns's picture

Well if they snuck a couple through to LA, SF and Portland it wouldn't break my heart. Long overduw Malthusian check. 

obelix's picture
'This Is Nuts': Trump Fumes to Generals That US Should Plunder Afghan Minerals

a recent situation room meeting with generals and top national security advisors, President Donald Trump reportedly compared war policy to renovating a restaurant and complained that the U.S. isn't doing enough to exploit Afghanistan's mineral wealth.

Trump also complained that the U.S. is "losing" the war in Afghanistan—which is approaching its 16th year—and said he was contemplating firing Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of American forces in the country, who he has not met.


shimmy's picture

Preventive war...I'm surprised the war mongers in that banana republic don't use that to go to war with the entire world.

I'm sure this is going as planned by the powers that be:

put pumpkin in office knowing full well he doesn't have the mental make up to be president

hound him with some made up Russia story and a zillion leaks to the point he gets super frustrated and starts to go on about this making him look more unstable 

put him in a position where he feels he needs to do something to stay in office and that something is go to war

have history pin the fallout on him while you get exactly what you wanted which was a big war, lots of lives lost and more control over the sheeple


Horse Pizzle's picture

Nothing burger alert.  USA has a contingency plan to invade every nation on earth.

roadhazard's picture

What did you think he was going to say, "No".

NoWayJose's picture

every war starts as a preventive war - until the other guys start shooting back!

One of We's picture

Is there a single jarhead, squid, or other bullet sponge out there that actually believes they are fighting to defend US national security interests?

historian40's picture

They clearly don't even think about it, and when they've committed their crimes, and their hands are dripping the blood of their victims, those who consider what they've done and are guilty are diagnosed with PTSD and put on drugs.  Those veterans who realize they were duped into serving the enemy are then labeled potential "terrorists" themselves.

vietnamvet's picture

Been there, done that, but orders is orders.

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

...until the jerkoff giving orders is fraggged. Oops, he died from"friendly" fire.

Umh's picture

You must know a different group of 18 year olds than I do.

Give Me Some Truth's picture

The North Koreans have conspired to steal all of my freedoms. We are going to blow them off the face of the earth to get them back.

seataka's picture

"The ulitmate goal is the forcible-coordination of all countries of the world; That shall be achieved by mixing the races with the goal to create a light brown race in europe. For that reason 1.5 million immigrants from the thrid world shall emigrate to Europe every year.  The result would be a population with an average IQ of 90 that is so dumb to grasp anything but intelligent enough to work. The European countries would nevere again be competitors in the struggle for global domination and a multiple millenia of old coulture would be destroyed. Irrational people who will fight against this "mingling" of races, and put up any resistance against the global world order, should be killed." Thomas P.M. Barnett
Director Israeli Military Consultancy "Wikistrat" in his book "The Pentagon's New Map (c) 2004 see Amazon

order66's picture

So doing exactly what the North Koreans have been saying you're going to do and using to justify missle launches/nukes? Smart. Makes you look trustworthy. Good job.

NobodyNowhere's picture

China has a huge hand in the making of what this fat boy is today, with his threats.  Any action that does not make PRC bear the brunt of the costs of elimination of this threat is not going to be a lasting solution and will only create a bigger problem down the road.

historian40's picture

Notice they "claim" and "believe", etc.  Those are opinions and rumor, not facts.  N. Korea lacks the ability to wage war on the continental United States, and the US regime knows it.  If they truly believed NK could launch nuclear weapons on the US, they wouldn't even consider a preemptive war of aggression(which is completely illegal under Constitutional law, and the soldiers swore to uphold that Constitution and must refuse the illegal orders or become outlaws).  The zionists who own the US won't stop until they are stopped by force.