Thu, Apr 18, 2013 - Page 8 News List

War would be suicide for N Korea

By Richard Halloran

On Day Two, 10,500 paratroopers would be dropped into cities to fight South Korean troops. Four mechanized corps with 4,600 tanks and 3,000 armored vehicles are to cross the demilitarized zone and head for Seoul and other cities. Infantry in trucks are to follow.

A missile strike, possibly with nuclear warheads, would destroy the Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii to prevent reinforcements.

On Day Three, “the fighting will be over” and the North Korean army is to maintain peace and restore supply systems in South Korean cities.

However, Hayes and Cavazos pick apart the North Korean plan. For many years, North Korea has had “serious quality control problems in the production of rounds for its long-range artillery and rockets.”

They estimated that North Korean gunners would have “about 7 percent of what they would need on optimistic assumptions.”

To send 50,000 commandoes into South Korea, they say North Korea has too few aircraft to move that many people, “leaving aside the wall of lead and missiles that aircraft approaching the DMZ would have to evade.”

The most significant element in the three-day scenario is the armored offensive on Day Two. Only three corridors are large enough for an invasion route and they have been used for millennia and are thus known. Some defiles are so narrow that only a few vehicles can pass at a time, and they are well-guarded.

Moreover, Hayes and Cavazos argue, the North Koreans “cannot wish away US airpower.” American bombers from Okinawa, Guam and the US, plus fighters already in South Korea, would bring the North Korean “armored columns to a smoking, charred halt.”

Lee Chung-min in PacNet has the last word: “North Korea is a morally bankrupt, an economically ruined and a politically isolated, failed state.”

History, he said, “is not on the side of Kim Jong-un or North Korea.”

Richard Halloran is a commentator in Hawaii.

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