fallibilist

"I may be wrong and you may be right, and by an effort, we may get nearer to the truth." (Karl Popper)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

If Necessary, Strike and Destroy, say Carter and Perry

Two Clinton-era U.S. officials, namely Ashton B. Carter and William Perry have "called on President Bush to strike the North Korean missile on its launchpad should Pyongyang persist in its determination to fire the device". (The original Washington Post article is here.) They ask:

"Should the United States allow a country openly hostile to it and armed with nuclear weapons to perfect an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering nuclear weapons to U.S. soil?"
They then answer their own question in the negative, and go on to say:
"Therefore, if North Korea persists in its launch preparations, the United States should immediately make clear its intention to strike and destroy the North Korean Taepodong missile before it can be launched. This could be accomplished, for example, by a cruise missile launched from a submarine carrying a high-explosive warhead. The blast would be similar to the one that killed terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq. But the effect on the Taepodong would be devastating. The multi-story, thin-skinned missile filled with high-energy fuel is itself explosive -- the U.S. airstrike would puncture the missile and probably cause it to explode. The carefully engineered test bed for North Korea's nascent nuclear missile force would be destroyed, and its attempt to retrogress to Cold War threats thwarted. There would be no damage to North Korea outside the immediate vicinity of the missile gantry."

Update (3 p.m.): Thankfully, it now seems less likely that any such test will happen: China, the state that holds most leverage over the North Korean regime has spoken out publicly against any missile test. (See here.)

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