Pentagon Unveils Plan For "Pre-Emptive Strike" On North Korea

Just hours after Trump made his famously heated vow to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea if provocations by the Kim regime continued, the US Air Force issued a very clear statement in which it explicitly said that it was "ready to fight tonight", launching an attack of B-1 bombers if so ordered:

“How we train is how we fight and the more we interface with our allies, the better prepared we are to fight tonight,” said a 37th EBS B-1 pilot. “The B-1 is a long-range bomber that is well-suited for the maritime domain and can meet the unique challenges of the Pacific.”

Now, according to an NBC report, it appears that the B-1 pilot was dead serious, as the Pentagon has unveiled a plan for a preemptive strike on North Korean missile sites with bombers stationed in Guam, once Donald Trump gives the order to strike. Echoing what we said yesterday that war "under any analysis, is insanity", the preemptive strike plan is viewed as the "best option available" out of all the bad ones:

"There is no good option," a senior intelligence official involved in North Korean planning told NBC News, but a unilateral American bomber strike not supported by any assets in the South constitutes "the best of a lot of bad options."

The attack would consist of B-1 Lancer heavy bombers located on Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, a senior acting and retired military officials told NBC news.

Of all the military options … [President Donald Trump] could consider, this would be one of the two or three that would at least have the possibility of not escalating the situation,” retired Admiral James Stavridis, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe and an NBC News analyst, said.

Why the B-1?

Military sources told NBC News that the internal justification for centering a strike on the B-1 is both practical and intricate. The B-1 has the largest internal payload of any current bomber in the U.S. arsenal. A pair of bombers can carry a mix of weapons in three separate bomb bays — as many as 168 500-pound bombs — or more likely, according to military sources, the new Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile — Extended Range (JASSM-ER), a highly accurate missile with a range of 500 nautical miles, allowing the missile to be fired from well outside North Korean territory.

There is another important consideration: according to one senior military officer, "the B-1 has also been selected because it has the added benefit of not being able to carry nuclear weapons. Military planners think that will signal China, Russia, and Pyongyang that the U.S. is not trying to escalate an already bad situation any further."

The plan explains why in recent weeks pairs of B-1s have conducted 11 practice runs of a similar mission since the end of May, the last taking place on Monday, around the time Trump and Kim were exchanging unpleasantries in the media, with the training has accelerated since May, according to officials. In an actual mission, NBC notes that the non-nuclear bombers would be supported by satellites and drones and surrounded by fighter jets as well as aerial refueling and electronic warfare planes.

There are currently at least six B-1 bombers on Andersen Air Force base, which is located some 3,200km from North Korea. If given the command, these strategic bombers would target around two dozen North Korean "missile-launch sites, testing grounds and support facilities" according to sources cited by NBC.

Asked about the B-1 bomber plan, two U.S. officials told NBC News that the bombers were among the options under consideration but not the only option. NBC points out that "action would come from air, land and sea — and cyber."

Of course, as we elaborated yesterday, striking North Korea is certain to prompt an immediate and deadly response that could involve targets as near as Seoul, just 40 miles from the border, or as far away as Andersen AFB, according to Adm. Stavridis.

"The use of the B-1 bombers to actually drop bombs and destroy Korean infrastructure and kill North Koreans would cause an escalation," said Stavridis. "Kim Jong Un would be compelled to respond. He would lash out militarily, at a minimum against South Korea, and potentially at long-range targets, perhaps including Guam. … That's a bad set of outcomes from where we sit now."

"Diplomacy remains the lead," said Gen. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy, the U.S. Pacific Air Forces commander, after the B-1 bombers' late May training run. "However, we have a responsibility to our allies and our nation to showcase our unwavering commitment while planning for the worst-case scenario. If called upon, we are ready to respond with rapid, lethal, and overwhelming force at a time and place of our choosing."

Separately, Defense Secretary James Mattis said military strategists at the Pentagon have a military solution in place to address the growing threat emanating from North Korea, but they are holding their fire in favor of ongoing diplomatic efforts. The Pentagon chief said any military option would be a multilateral one involving a number of regional powers in the Pacific.

“Do I have military options? Of course, I do. That’s my responsibility, to have those. And we work very closely with allies to ensure that this is not unilateral either … and of course there’s a military solution,” Mr. Mattis told reporters en route to meet with senior leaders in the technology sector in Seattle and California.

However, as the Washington Times reports, Mattis reiterated that the administration’s diplomatic efforts to quell tensions on the peninsula remained the top priority for the White House.

“We want to use diplomacy. That’s where we’ve been, that’s where we are right now. and that’s where we hope to remain. But at the same time, our defenses are robust” and ready to take on any threat posed by the North Korean regime, Mattis said.

* * *

Finally, should the worst-case scenario be put in play, and conventional war is launched, here is what Capital Economics predicted would be the drastic economic consequences from even a contained, non-nuclear war.

  • North Korea’s conventional forces, which include 700,000 men under arms and tens of thousands of artillery pieces, would be able to cause immense damage to the South Korean economy. If the North was able to set off a nuclear bomb in South Korea, the consequences would be even greater. Many of the main targets in South Korea are located close to the border with the North. The capital, Seoul, which accounts for roughly a fifth of the country’s population and economy, is located just 35 miles from the North Korean border, and would be a prime target.
  • The experience of past military conflicts shows how big an impact wars can have on the economy. The war in Syria has led to a 60% fall in the country’s GDP. The most devastating military conflict since World War Two, however, has been the Korean War (1950-53), which led to 1.2m South Korean deaths, and saw the value of its GDP fall by over 80%.
  • South Korea accounts for around 2% of global economic output. A 50% fall in South Korean GDP would directly knock 1% off global GDP. But there would also be indirect effects to consider. The main one is the disruption it would cause to global supply chains, which have been made more vulnerable by the introduction of just-in-time delivery systems. Months after the Thai floods had receded in 2011 electronics and automotive factories across the world were still reporting shortages.
  • The impact of a war in Korea would be much bigger. South Korea exports three times as many intermediate products as Thailand. In particular, South Korea is the biggest producer of liquid crystal displays in the world (40% of the global total) and the second biggest of semiconductors (17% market share). It is also a key automotive manufacturer and home to the world’s three biggest shipbuilders. If South Korean production was badly damaged by a war there would be shortages across the world. The disruption would last for some time – it takes around two years to build a semi-conductor factory from scratch.
  • The impact of the war on the US economy would likely be significant. At its peak in 1952, the US government was spending the equivalent of 4.2% of its GDP fighting the Korean War. The total cost of the second Gulf War (2003) and its aftermath has been estimated at US$1trn (5% of one year’s US GDP). A prolonged war in Korea would significantly push up US federal debt, which at 75% of GDP is already uncomfortably high.
  • Reconstruction after the war would be costly. Infrastructure, including electricity, water, buildings, roads and ports, would need to be rebuilt. Massive spare capacity in China’s steel, aluminium and cement industries mean reconstruction would unlikely be inflationary, and should instead provide a boost to global demand. The US, a key ally of South Korea, would likely shoulder a large share of the costs. The US spent around US$170bn on reconstruction after the most recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. South Korea’s economy is roughly 30 times larger than these two economies combined. If the US were to spend proportionally the same amount on reconstruction in Korea as it did in Iraq and Afghanistan, it would add another 30% of GDP to its national debt.

Naturally, should North Korea manage to successfully launch a nuke, the devastation, economic and otherwise, would be orders of magnitude greater.


Gohigher Aug 11, 2017 8:25 AM Permalink


"The world is on the verge of radical change. We see how the European Union is gradually collapsing, as is the US economy -- it is all over for the new world order. So, it will never again be as it was before, in 10 years we will have a new world order in which the key will be the union of China and Russia. "…

Did I miss this here, or did ZH not even cover it favoring click-stories ??

shrimpythai Aug 11, 2017 8:25 AM Permalink

Fat Boy doesn't even need to HIT anything in the usa - a nuke detonating at 1-2-3-4 miles over head or even higher up will EMP a huge area and that is the end of electronics in that area  - not sure of the radius but 30-50 miles methinks - so all he needs to do is light one off above a major us city - and with estimates from 10-20-60 nukes they have made? all he needs to do is aim them in the genral direction and get them over usa land mass.Obviuosly China doesn't have the balls to really tell him to stop - so agian  - china maybe needs a 20% tarrif on everything they sell to the usa to get them to wake up and pay attention - anyway we will surely see also I read the HK's have 2 satellites flying over the usa every day - let's hope they both do not have a nuke on board as well - just saying 

Dilluminati Aug 11, 2017 7:32 AM Permalink

All of the anti-war posts here miss the obvious, if you really want to prevent conflict stop buying anything made in China.There should be an emergency tariff placed upon China and that money used "targeted funds" for submarines and missle defense.  And those funds should be such that economically China can stop "warning" America to do anything when somebody publicly claims they will attack this nation with nukes.Trump needs to explain and communicate why China and our trade policies are behind this.  And we need to accept that China is the foe and stop pretending concessions in poor trade deals with China equal progress on the Korean Penninsula and Kin Jung Un.We need an import tax on China so we can build missle defense and the Chicoms will pay for it!  

Rebelrebel7 (not verified) Aug 11, 2017 7:21 AM Permalink

Trump 's biggest mistake is listening to these evil idiots! He gets bad advice from them every time without fail! 

squid Aug 11, 2017 6:46 AM Permalink

This whole thing smells like the build up to Iraq.....Kim has NO nuclear boms and no method of delivery if he did.If Trump starts this war, he'll look as stupid as George Bush....if fact, I think the world is about sick of this shit from the USA. Just chill out man. Let the idiot in NK blather on....China likes this because no one is watching the South Chians sea as Kim hypmotizes the pentagon and Trump with it. Squid 

Last of the Mi… Aug 11, 2017 6:53 AM Permalink

More "Trump is dangerous/crazy about to preemptively destroy the world so vote democrat propaganda" Yawn. . .If ZH is going to continue down this path, I wish they would install a trash bin on their page for those of us who like to stick to the facts.

Dank fur Kopf Aug 11, 2017 6:40 AM Permalink

Hey! Little Johnny America! Come over here! I have something important to talk to you about. Are you a patriotic American? Do you care about freedom, and bald eagles, and democracy? You do? That's great! Put this uniform on, and hold this gun. You point that end at the bad guys who are, umm, North Koreans today. Now walk through that door, and you'll be put on a plane to the place North Koreans come from. Do us proud Johnny America!Hey! Little Johnny America! Come over here!

Harry Lightning Aug 11, 2017 6:56 AM Permalink

China and Russia, will they or won't they. Here's what I think :The biggest threat to China today is its own population. How to house them, how to feed them. How to prevent class society in a communist country in which capitalistic class structures are taking hold and causing jealousy between the haves and the have nots. A country where men have had to displace themselves to the few eastern cities to get work, and in those cities vastly outnumber the women there, making for a very spartan existence.In short, China is a time bomb waiting to explode from within. And their leadership knows it. The reason the US has been as sanguine with the Chinese over this Korean matter is because the US does not want to shake up the wagon or overturn the apple cart. TGhe only way the Chinese can keep any semblance of social order in their country today is to eep hundreds of millions of people working, and enjoying rising incomes to compensate for all of the unpleasant sides of Chinese worker life. Once you understand this dynamic, you see that China will not sacrifice revolution within to support a lunatic. While China has some ideological legacy to uphold in support of one of its earliest allies in Asia (which is exactly why they cannot send their military across the Yalu and end this nonsense), if the Forbidden City powers have to choose between American markets to maintain their economy or Kim in Pyong Yang, there really is no choice. China will not play a role in whatever happens between the US and North Korea.Russia is even a better story. Russia is controlled by a coterie of monopolistic oligarchs who have three and only three items on their agenda : 1) Continue to steal the country's resources to enrich thremselves2) Keep the population happy by providing them the food and resources that prevent shortages and provide regular and good paying wages to families.3) Gaining dock space in Monaco for their yachts Nothing in the world will get in the way of those three priorities in Moscow and London, which really are the two capitals of Russia today as the British banks have decided to replace what they lose from Brexit with business from Russia. Bottom line : the oligarch club that runs Russia has no affiliation of association with the clown in North Korea. He is a distraction for a country whose leadership is far removed from Lenin and Stalina nd all the other communists. Today's Russian leader smirks at the stupidity of their ideological ancestors, seeing them as foolish squanderers of the luxurious lives they could have had if they had run the country as a business instead of a communist utopia. The leadership of Russia has no onterest in what happens in North Korea, and they would like to see the entire matter resolved before it affests the value of their global investments. Russia Inc is the new government in Moscow. So when you hear anyone talkign about how the US has to watch out for whatthe Russians or Chinese will do, remind then that we are 70 years removed from the Korean War, ts a totally different world for those countries, and they will not jeopardize the positive universes they have created for themselves over some imbecile brat who needs to be taken out.

Victor von Doom Harry Lightning Aug 11, 2017 9:56 PM Permalink

"No battle plan survives contact with the enemy" - Helmuth von Moltke.If the US follows your line of reasoning they are going to get balls deep in a nuclear war that includes North Korea, China and Russia.I agree with you that both China and Russia have their own concerns. I disagree with you that they don't think that keeping the US directly out of their back yards is one of them.They will fight to defend North Korea - for the very reason that they want the leeway to be able to carry on dealing with those concerns.US agression in this area is tantamount to insanity. Nuclear war for the hell of it. Beyond idiocy. Pure evil.

In reply to by Harry Lightning

baldknobber Harry Lightning Aug 11, 2017 8:12 AM Permalink

I agree with what you say. The only question I have is how will China seal the border if something happens. China can't allow a flood of refugees to come in and add pressure to their situation. I think once the initial attack is over they will rush in with "aid and peacekeepers" Seal the border put Lil Kim under some sort of face saving house arrest and start negotiating a way for the U.S. to pay to rebuild North Korea

In reply to by Harry Lightning

gregga777 Aug 11, 2017 6:33 AM Permalink

Of course, the North Koreans would undoubtedly exercise restraint by not massively retaliating against Seoul in the event that America launches an attack against them. The American Intellectual Yet Idiot classes ruling MORONS obviously know exactly what they are doing just like in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iraq again, Libya and Syria. /sarc

bunkers Aug 11, 2017 5:55 AM Permalink

I'm almost 70. I knew people in the Viet Nam War. Some came home in a box, some were horribly injured and most were never the sameI got to know my first grade teacher, later in life. She was a wonderful, kind person who lost her son in WWII. She asked me why they couldn't send his body home. I said I didn't know but I did know and the truth would have been heartbreaking, for her.My great uncle was gassed in WWI and he was never the same.In today's Middle East Wars Americans are coming home in a box or without limbs on a regular basis.Please go to  to let President Trump know Americans do NOT want war against anyone, especially for the Military Industrial Complex. The life you save may be your own. 

Victor von Doom Harry Lightning Aug 11, 2017 9:48 PM Permalink

"If you lived in one of the cities that are in range of North Korean nukes, maybe you would wake up and realize you are going to be annihilated if your country does not act now to protect you."Bullshit. We ALL live within range of multiple nuclear arsenals from many different sources. Kim Jong-un will do nothing that anyone else is not already doing with his nukes - keep them in reserve to keep arsehole warmongering states like the US off his turf.

In reply to by Harry Lightning

Victor von Doom Aug 11, 2017 5:11 AM Permalink

Of all the military options … [President Donald Trump] could consider, this would be one of the two or three that would at least have the possibility of not escalating the situation,”What a total feed of shit. You want to take out North Korea? You'll have to go through China first. You want to take out China? You'll have to go through Russia.We've heard this bullshit before - having to get involved in a war in order to stay out of it. (That was the premise for the US involvement in WWII).How about this for a military option. Stay home and don't attack at all. North Korea won't attack in a thousand years. More US war mongering. Who would have thought? /s

Harry Lightning Victor von Doom Aug 11, 2017 5:22 AM Permalink

"North Korea won't attack in a thousand years."Willing to bet your life and your family's lives on it ? Because that's what you're saying the President should do to the millions of American families who could be killed if that fat Korean asshole makes good on his threats. If I rang you up and said I was coming by to burn your house down, would you do nothing to stop me ? Would you wait till I lit the fire ? What if it was too late to get out by then ? Any sane person would either stop the threat in advance or enlist people who could stop the threat (which is why you have police). Yet you think the US should assume this asshole in Korea is bluffing and they should do nothing. Get the fuck outta here, you are so full of shit its coming out of your ears.

In reply to by Victor von Doom

Victor von Doom Harry Lightning Aug 11, 2017 10:01 PM Permalink

"Willing to bet your life and your family's lives on it ? Because that's what you're saying the President should do to the millions of American families who could be killed if that fat Korean asshole makes good on his threats. "I'd rather take that bet any day for the rest of my life than risk nuclear war.The fat idiot is Trump, acting on behalf of the bankers and fools like you. North Korea is not doing anything to anyone - except buiilding up an arsenal that can protect it from the US and its idiotic supporters like you.

In reply to by Harry Lightning

Manipuflation Harry Lightning Aug 11, 2017 5:44 AM Permalink

Calm down.  Do not disrespect all ZHers.  If you have not noticed we own guns and lots of them.  We don't much like the federal government but we do agree that there should be some law.  If you want, you can see my Father's dog tags from the early 50's Korea.   I have no idea about your police state idea.  Sounds piss poor.Everyone can have their own opinion.    

In reply to by Harry Lightning

Harry Lightning Manipuflation Aug 11, 2017 6:54 AM Permalink

btw, about your guns comment, I ran lurp missions as a merc for American interests all through Laos in the mid-60s, so I know a thing or towo about guns and war, even at my advanced age. Four man teams took out entire villages, freed prisoners behind enemy lines, escaped from capture a few times ourselves. Expected to de every time the sun came up, slept in tied off ponchos hanging off tree limbs on ledges. Sometimes didn't have a meal for a week, C-rations were a delicacy to what we had to scrounge around for. No one knows the horrors of war anymore than me, and that's why I am so adamant about this one. Because this is not Uncle Sam playing with new weapon systems like we did in Korea, this is not the Mil Intel complex looking to enrich itself. This one is the real thing, the black swan, the madman in the bushes. In my day, we would have already been in and out of Pyong Yang trying to take this clown and his generals out before being exfilled. They were taken by surprise with this joker, because there were some white shirts at Langly who bought the kool aid that this kid was different because of his time at western university. So they waited too long, and now its low probability to get it done. I am amazed at home many times they were able to hack his missile systems, hoping we have more cyber weapons ready to launch inside the Nork computer systems. This is a very dangerous situation, if the worst case happens you can say goodbye to Coronado, Pendleton, and Vandy, which are the main staging areas for Pacific operations. And if he hits Yellowstone with a missile...its really some ugly outcomes. This is a mission that requires the most base insticts to guide the attack. The kind of warfare that Pershing and Patton and MacArthur understood. Anything less will cause a cascade of successively worse events. Unless the Norks bac down or the Chinese intervene militarily, hundreds of thousands will die, probably before year end. The question now is how many will be outside North Korea, and how to reduce that number. And from what I am seeing both in the government as well as in the population as evidenced by what I read here, the prospects for the best case outcome shrink sharply by the moment.

In reply to by Manipuflation

Harry Lightning Gohigher Aug 11, 2017 9:17 AM Permalink

Yeah, I hate it, but its a fact of life. Asx long as there is competition for resources and leaders with egos, there will be wars. And someone has to fight them. The only way to end the horror of war is to make it so horrible that no one will accept it any more. The Geneva Conventions did the opposite, they tried to create civilized war protocol, which is why there are more rather than fewer wars now. Make people believe they will be annhilated if their leaders take their countries to war, and you will see how fast it all ends.

In reply to by Gohigher

Harry Lightning Manipuflation Aug 11, 2017 6:14 AM Permalink

No, everyone cannot have their own opinion when millions of innocent lives hang in the balance because of some lunatic who has been given free reign to develop nuclear weapons for far too long. If the world had half a brain it would be demanding that the supposed world leadership - US, Russia & China - would stop this crazed fool before he makes good on a threat. Anyone who thinks differently is complicit should the Norks actually accomplish their threats. Sane people realize this is a far more dangerous moment than even the Cuban Missile Crisis, because at least the parties to that disagreement could rely upon each other to be rational. That is how the crisis was resolved peacefully. No such assumption can be made of these knuckleheads in North Korea. They have proved the opposite. There is no defense for them, especially half cocked conspiracy theories that serve no purpose other than to get innocent people killed.The country of North Korea has made credible threats against the US and the world to use nuclear weapons against the US and its assets. Those threats must be assumed to be real, and must be answered. To this there is no alternative opinion. The North Koreans have broken every pledge they have made regarding their nuclear program while the world placated them for the last twenty five years. The time for placating these bastards is over, the time to incinerate them is now.Nuke The Norks !

In reply to by Manipuflation

Victor von Doom Harry Lightning Aug 11, 2017 9:23 PM Permalink

The time for such ridiculous rabble rousing is over. What has North Korea actually done? Said words. The correct response is what Donald has done - said more words.There is never a time to launch a "pre-emptive" nuclear strike - the risk is just too high. Why do you think no nuclear power on Earth has gotten into a major conflict with another nuclear power?Actual sane people realize that this incident is one of sabre rattling - not an imminent launch. The only real risk at work here is that the US is risking witnessing the North Korean government permanently closing the door on any possibe US invasion - and the bankers don't like it.This is the alternative opinion. Hysterical urging for a nuclear war do not make a convincing argument. I suggest you have a long think about this situation and re-evaluate.

In reply to by Harry Lightning

joey stalin Aug 11, 2017 4:52 AM Permalink

The Chinese government has just confirmed that it will honor its treaty obligations to defend North Korea if it is attacked.  This should quiet things down a bit.

Harry Lightning joey stalin Aug 11, 2017 5:10 AM Permalink

The Trade Door should slap closed on their skinny little Chink asses right now. They are makign a bad situation worse, and should be now looked upon as an enemy sympathzer. No more sales of Chinese goods into American markets until they either get the fuck out of the way or stop the fat Korean bastard themselves. Postponing the inevitable only makes the end game situation worse. The Nork weapons program is at a critical junction and must be stopped now before they have the ability to blackmail the world. By getting in the way of removing Kim, the Chinese contribute to the problem and hence, must be made to pay a price foor their stupdity. Oh I rue the day when the US decided that the Japanese had to be emasculated as their punishment for WWII. The Japs never would have stood for this little pimp Kim or his father and grandfather, and they surely would not have let the Chinese communist genie out of its sewer. The Japs were brutally represive but their actions were the result of reasoned plans. They made one mistake, and that was their downfall. These fucking Chinks in Beijing are a bunch of in-bred chromosomally challenged ideologues who have no undeerstanding of what it means to be reasonable. Look at their relations with their neighbors, only this lunatic in PyongYang has any respect for them. Several are on the brink of war with these fucking wok tossers, including India. Boy, what a way to reduce overpopulation, let the Chinks and Dots start lobbing nukes on each other. The US needs right now to stand up to these rice eaters and ,ake them understand they will ficking starve if they don't step up tot he plate and stop their bastard child in Korea.So many of today's problems around the world trace their roots back to the foolishness that was applied to the actions of the victors at the end of WWII.

In reply to by joey stalin

custard Aug 11, 2017 4:39 AM Permalink

Mad Dog an Englishman out in the Midday sun. WHOOPS I mean Mad Dog North Korean digging into his plate of rice. He threw his Uncle to a pack of Hungry dogs. He had other members of his family or traitors stand in front of an Antitank gun and get blown to bits. He had his Half Brother killed at the Malaysia airport. Yes Sir he is Stark Raving Mad