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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messystateofaffairs's picture

Its gone from preemptive to preventative. The world's number one uninvited policeman should just preventatively bomb every nation on earth to ensure that none of them never decides to go to war. Start with Israel. The US would be a funny joke if it wasn't for all the dead people

Allen_H's picture

Lets ALL GET A WEE BIT OF REALITY HERE, SHALL WE! If you go to a S.Korean, they will point to the disney border in most cases as to N.Korea. At best, they will ask what you are talking about! N.Korean threats are Chinese threats, and rightly so, where the fuck is terrorist USSA anyway?

Cashboy's picture

I am no genious but it is quite simple for the USA not to have a war with Korea;  and that is not to attack Korea.

just answer these two questions USA people:

1)  How is Korea a threat to the USA?

2)  Why would Korea want to attack the USA?

The same can be asked to the USA with regard to Russia.

If any country is a war monger it would appear to be the USA.


Moving and Grooving's picture

NORTH Korea is threatening the US with nuke missles. Our guys say he might be able to do it.


SOUTH Korea is even easier for the Norks to threaten. But they are allies, for whom the US contributed a lot of blood and treasure in the Korean War.


While I agree that the US is often insufferably smug and pushy, this is different. Kim is deranged, totally insane. He'll do it, eventually.


Can you bear watching your government squirm when the Norks demand things with the threat of a nuke attack?

rejected's picture

What have they demanded?

They want the US to stay out of their waters and out of Korea completely. There are many people here in the States that want that same thing.

Kim is deranged, totally insane.

Actually he is doing what is necessary to preserve N. Korea and the government. He would be a negligent leader if he wasn't doing this.

And if you want deranged and totally insane,,, look no farther than your government in Washington DC.

rejected's picture

Yep,,, remove sanctions, bring them into the world family, help them try to reunite with the South peacefully.  NK is smart enough to know they can never be a world player so they would probably settle down,,, just like Vietnam has,

Manipuflation's picture

The "U.S."?  Not interested in MoaR war.  I have Father's dogtags and flag from Korea in a shadow box so I have enough.  Take your war and shove it.  Go fight yourself you banker fucks.  It's just fucking full retard with the war.  There is one war that does need to happen and it is another U.S. civil war.  Well, you .govs say when.  To the cops and servicemen out there I suggest to choose wisely.  Being underestimated is a good thing.  

Your .gov wars on Afghans, Iraqis, Viets and drugs have all been a failure.  .gov you can kiss my ass.  We are many and are everywhere and you have no idea what is against you.    

PrivetHedge's picture

"Your .gov wars on Afghans, Iraqis, Viets and drugs have all been a failure"

You are using the wrong criteria to judge them, they have been HUGE successes

1) Good for depopulation

2) Lots of taxpayer money to the weapons firms 

3) Demonstrates our bloody mindedness

4) Helps the Yinon plan.


Mineshaft Gap's picture

If the Glorious Oompa Loompa and his band of grinning sycophants are iced quickly and dramatically, the surviving leadership will likely want to deal. To sweeten the deal, you can start dropping yummy US fast food and Amazon gift cards on the population while the ascendant generals decide if they want to deal or die.

If no dice, you get the conventional war you fear. Maybe you go non-conventional. Really, this shouldn't be terribly challenging to a bloodthirsty imperial Washington that's used to mass destruction and that never cavils over civilian deaths.

But they hesitate. Their chief concern is economic instability caused by the loss of Seoul. (And China dumping its positions, but this is a double edged sword.) They'll have gamed out the disaster capitalist upside to rebuilding and probably it's just not worth the short to medium term instability, or they'd have fired up the war machine already.

IronForge's picture

Surgical Strikes from the Air and Sea by the USA&KOR, with KOR sending Troops Northwards in an effort to placate CHN from Marching into the Fray.

Any Amphib Landings and/or Massive Troop Movements from USA and its Bases to PRK/KOR will serve as Justification for CHN's Intervention.

IMHO, Nothing Good is going to come out of this.  The PRK can escalate this very easily. 

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

That is exactly what is wanted...full-scale escalation.

Allen_H's picture

All talk about the threat of N.Korea, show me anything that is from N.Korea! You will not find ANYTHING! because it is fiction to make you mad as hell. You think I am wrong? Look at your own government, and think about it, who benefits from your stupid fucking paranoia?

He did say 'PREVENTATIVE!!!!' DID HE!!! Well where the fuck is the NaziJewUSSA Border? Fuck all you amerikunts! You wonder why the world hates you? I will make sure I abuse the next amerikunts I hear on the street! Terrorist fucks!

You all invest in your Whore Street and send you children off to kill innocent people, you deserve NO PITY but only death.

historian40's picture

Most people have nothing to do with the wars and bullshit.  Blaming all Americans is a cop out.  It makes it so you don't need to needle down on who really is to blame.  What country are you from?  Chances are, you have bigger fish to fry closer to home.

Allen_H's picture

You know, when you reel those damn fish in, they all go to the same place....Your MIC, izraHELL and Rothschilds, must be a coincidence, right!

historian40's picture

"Your MIC..."  I don't have a MIC.  Thanks.

IridiumRebel's picture

Chattel gonna hate chattel....

rejected's picture

Doesn't matter,,, All Americans are guilty by association. When war comes,,, and it will,,, they will have no idea you were against all the bullshit nor will they care when they kill you.

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

Cunts like you who would "abuse" people they don't even know will get a knife in the throat for attempting to carry out your stupidity!

Allen_H's picture

You forget, you are the first and foremost abusers, the world's trash. We just all celebrate in AmeriKUNT democracy. We have all been playing nicely, I do not think so anymore. The USSA terrorist woman I have seen here have all looked like stupid whores which nobody but an ameriKUNT would touch.  Like your damn pathetic flags and ribbons, It is not stupidity, it is beyond that. Stay at home fuck face! We all hate you.

Reality is not a strong point with you, fine.

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

No problem. When the muzzies eat you faggot cucks alive, we will be enjoying the newscasts.

Swamp Yankee's picture

I obviously am not drunk enough yet.

RafterManFMJ's picture

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.

What the goddamn fuck?! This CUNT is saying they've already tried to hit the US - holy shit what an evil fuck Graham is!!

Lost in translation's picture

Why are these high-ranking military/intel types all shaving their heads?

They look like a race of space aliens.

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

They all take turns rubbing their chrome domes on Dickhead Cheney's thighs...a very soothing exercise for psychotic dickhead clones.

PeterLong's picture

So, South Korea is threatening to destroy N. Korea's defense? That's OK with Gen. Skinhead?

PeterLong's picture

Is Gen. Skinhead naturally bald or does he shave his head as part of his image?

PeterLong's picture

It appears he was already losing hair when he was a Cpt. in Iraq and getting some publicity.

sinbad2's picture

If Trump wants a second term, he has to have a war, no President has ever been reelected for a second term without a war.

historian40's picture

A large portion of those who voted for him are damned tired of the illegal wars of aggression.  He already committed an impeachable offense by ordering a strike on Syria without a declaration of war, which angered and lost support.  A major war would assure he gets no second term imo.

Mr T's picture

Disclaimer if you have seen this great, I ain't no britbob or slackjack this is only good till mon. tues latest, no like, downvote and move along.

Hello fellow zh Americans ,

(Hello World I got nothing against you)

I would like to suggest something that perhaps, maybe the slightest chance for a blip in the matrix this is for as many of us that Will, we make our own FOIA REQUESTS to see and read every card, letter, email, voicemail, cocktail napkins anything that they used to represent the Will of the American People. This would also apply to the shitty bds israelbill.

Senate critters are still in session. 

I for one would like to know this Will.

I will be repeating this for a day or two. We really have a right to know.

shankster's picture

Is that like preventative maintenance?

shankster's picture

Peace through nuclear exchange. Okay now I get it.

European American's picture

When McMaster says "US preparing for preventive war with NK" what he is really saying is:

"I have been instructed by my Zionist Jewish Master Pimps to continue the Pentagrams aggressively vulgar behavior of spreading our toxic form of "freedom and democracy" to another sovereign country that our deep state cabal can not control, and we don't like any country that wants to control itself, so, on behalf of our military industrial complex whores, and the Zionist Jews who drool at the thought of holding us by the balls, we're going to enjoy another campaign of killing and maiming innocent men, women and children, for our sake of pleasing the blood thirsty vampire satanists who control us."

Allen_H's picture

Damn Right! That is what he and all the rest of them always say, all the time. Fuck, it is not rocket science! (Where are those made again?) Haha.

NuYawkFrankie's picture

One look at McMoron's psychotic mug tells you he's not "all there" - cuckoo! cuckoo! -

and WE won't be either if that imbecile gets his way.

With the likes of McMuthafcker poised over the nuclear button, it MIGHT be time to consider the USSA Military as as unfit for service and PUBLIC ENEMY #1

BitchesBetterRecognize's picture

just a single minute listening to that psychopath doublemotherfucker warmongering McMaster piece of shit is enough to know & confirm the Trump administration has been fully captured and controlled by the MIC & the Deep State.  Those motherfuckers only want perpetual war across the Globe!!! un -fucking-believable  

vietnamvet's picture

sad but true ... and not to speak of Trump's sword-dancing and orb-polishing with that anal boy fucker the Saudi Clown Prince who happens to rule over a state whose fucking religion is the source of Al-CIADA, Daesh, ISIS - you name your local extremist fucking terrorist.

But of course he then double-dealed the inhabitants of dumbfuckistan (aka his base) by selling fucking $110 billions of arms to those cocksucking terrorist Saudi scum.  Well done Trump!

archie bird's picture

McMaster shouldve said, our FIRST OPTION on the table for NKorea is a military option. 

 SHouldnt we ask what are our other options? Why isn't anybody doing this?  OH. USMIC

joey stalin's picture

McMaster is another Lindsay Graham militarist faggot.  These are cowardly faggots who will only attack and destroy countries that can't fight back.  North Korea can fight back. 

JQS71's picture

OIF & OEF was a blueprint for North Korea. You'll millennials won't remember how the media predicted massive US casualties before Desert Storm. Iraq had the 4th largest military in the world. Are military has spent the last 16 years becoming the deadliest fighting force the world has ever seen. North Korean soldiers haven't fought any large scale battles in 62 years. 

redmudhooch's picture

By the way, how we doing in the middle east?

Centerist's picture

Our military is the most effective tactical and operational force in the world, but the tactical and operational levels only mattered during the initial invasions and occupations during OIF and OEF.  After that, the objectives were strategic in nature as the DOS tried to rebuild institutional capacity around nacent governments.  Those objectives are not military objectives.  They are political and humanitarian objectives, and only the host nations can achieve them.  No outside force can do it for them.

The ramifications of a war with North Korea would result in political and humanitarian issues that would dwarf anything faced in the Mid East and Afghanistan.  Dealing with those problems is outside the scope of the military.

No amount of tactical and operational experience can help deal with starving North Korean scarecrows streaming into a recently-wrecked South Korea and a new problem about what to do with the recently-wrecked North Korea, such as deciding whether to force a reunion (BAD IDEA), reconstruct it (Crappy Idea) or just hand it over to China as a new province (Ideal, even now).

vietnamvet's picture

Hey, General McMaster - you can have your fucking war ONLY if you pick up a gun, don a helmet, and go in the first fucking wave.  Better yet, save us all the angst and pick up a gun and just blow yourself away - before someone with brains frags your ass.  Sir.

truthalwayswinsout's picture

This is pure B.S.

There would be less than 3000 casualities on our side if they execute a purple war plan. Purple because it uses atomic bombs. There would be a million casualties in the North.

They would hit 5 key cities with 750kt weapons and most likely do it during a parade celebration. They would hit everything within striking distance of Seoul with 5kt weapons (40-50 of them).

They would send 500 plus cruise missiles into the nuclear facitilies and command and control in the north and 10 teams of about 600 soldiers each to secure key faciliites. Once the interference clears they would being a bombing campaign against anything that moves anywhere near the border and then in 4 avenues of advance 250K-400K troops would move into the north and cut off the DMZ from being supplied.

The Korean war would be over in less than a week.

If they are making deals with leadership, a red plan would be to simply kill the Little Shit and let a new regime come to power with their giving up nuclear ambitions in return for peace.

Allen_H's picture

We love that you love your democratic fantasy, we all look foreword to it. You have a great imagination, have you ever considered book writing? I can see it!!! Harry Potter step over!

Umh's picture

Fallout is a really stupid idea.

Collectivism Killz's picture

Thank God we have brave planners like you who can map out the perfect fantasy scenario. Now, please tell us again how the Iraqis welcomes us as liberators and how the moderate rebels in Syria love Freedum.

dlweld's picture

It's all sort of different with atomic plants in the potential Korean battle zones. Most of the plants have large amounts of highly radioactive spent fuel stored on site and if any of the plants were hit, intentionally of not, there'd be huge releases of radiation - all nicely upwind from Japan - and hey, the nuclear aircraft carriers are loaded with lots of hot fuel too.

Korea produces 70% of world memory chips, Japan produces lots of chips too - get these 2 countries out of circulation and our nice computer lifestyle would be challenged,

I actually could see Krazy Kim using the threat of dispersing massive amounts of radiation as he destroys his atomic plants.