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More Korean War is “Worth it?” To Whom?

By Thomas L. Knapp | The Garrison Center | March 3, 2018

Speaking to CNN on the possibility of resuming hostilities in the nearly 70-year-old Korean War (in uneasy ceasefire since 1953), US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) says “all the damage … would be worth it in terms of long-term stability and national security.”

Worth it, Senator Graham? To whom?

The last period of open war on the Korean peninsula cost somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.5 million lives, including nearly a million soldiers on both sides (36,516 of them American) and 2.5 million civilians in the North and South.

What did the American taxpayer get in return for three years of fighting, tens of thousands of Americans dead, and nearly $700 billion (in 2008 dollars)?

Well, that taxpayer’s government got to decide who’s in charge of part of the Korean peninsula, which, last time I checked, is not a US state or territory.

And that taxpayer’s government got the opportunity to spend hundreds of billions of dollars more of that taxpayer’s money to garrison the North-South border along the 38th Parallel for 65 years. That excludes the off-peninsula costs of the US “security umbrella” covering other Pacific Rim nations.

And that taxpayer’s government got a convenient bugaboo to scare the bejabbers out of that taxpayer with any time peace threatened to break out.

Stability? Well, sure, if what we’re talking about is guaranteeing that the welfare checks continue to reliably arrive in the American military industrial complex’s mailboxes. But apart from that, continued saber-rattling on either side of some of the most militarized acreage on Earth — the so-called “Demilitarized Zone” — is pretty much the definition of instability.

National security? Not so much, if for no other reason than that North Korea never has represented and does not now represent a credible military threat to the United States. If it ever does come to represent such a threat, it will be because the US continues, at the urging of demagogues like Lindsey Graham, to involve itself in the affairs of people thousands of miles away who do not welcome such involvement.

So far, the Korean War hasn’t delivered any benefit of note to the American people, especially in the areas of “stability” or “national security.”

America’s long misadventure on the Korean peninsula has only been worth it to US “defense” contractors and the politicians they own. Yes, Senator Graham, I’m looking at you.

The sooner the US government notifies the South Korean government that America is going home, the better.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org).

March 4, 2018 - Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , ,

3 Comments »

  1. As I’ve previously stated and at various times… In 1991 Bush the elder began his Presidential Nuclear Initiative and withdrew tactical nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula. The following year, a Joint Declaration, binding both sides not to test, or in any way deploy or store nuclear weapons entered into force. The North ignored it’s public commitment and secretly continued it’s nuclear program. Secondly, Fukushima so weakened Japans economy that it cannot financially absorb an EMP attack over, for example, Tokyo. By this I mean to say that, Un didn’t bother to notify the Japanese government that a missile test was underway and further, that it would traverse Japanese airspace! This reprehensible act(s), or was it some bizarre political statement or maneuver? must have frightened the dickens out of the Japanese Navy. Both east and west had sixty years to peacefully bring the North and South back together again. Times up, Un must dismantle his nuclear weapons and missile programs. If he refuses, no Intel agency on earth can estimate the exact quantity or will have the capability to block the diversion of, radioactive and or fissionable substances from the North into the hands of crime syndicates, non-state actors or (other) rogue states or wealthy individuals. Finally, this conflict with the North will send a message to Iran and to all future sovereign states who chose to invest in commercial nuclear power: that “break-out” and the fabrication of atomic weapons from these energy sources, such as, Uranium 235 and or Plutonium 232 will no longer be tolerated by the world community. So let us make every effort in the future to generate electricity with Thorium 232, it has a good track record for plant safety and proliferation security (cannot be made into a-bombs)

    Comment by elmerfudzie | March 6, 2018 | Reply

    • “Times up” eh?

      Says the world?

      Perhaps they have an opinion about that arsenal that has already seen use and which has actually been the source for proliferation to a rogue state.

      Why should Iran tolerate WMDs in the M.E.? It appears that your comment does not include Iran as part of the world. Should the world hold a referendum on dismantling Israel’s nukes?

      Comment by aletho | March 6, 2018 | Reply

      • Aletho, yours is a distinguished web site and news source. That said, I will respond to your comment; The North Korean conflict of the early 1950’s is an open wound for the U.S., especially in terms of the lack of a formal peace treaty. We have no closure to offer those, not to be forgotten, lives of some thirty three thousand soldiers and one half trillion dollars spent, defending South Korea (at that time). Our POTUS, Donald Trump, whatever your opinion of him may-be, is responsible for maintaining peace and security within the sphere of our Western Occident (political and military) alliances. This alliance is an eclectic and unstable policy mix of sovereign states; Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Vietnam, (Guam), Philippine Islands and on a good day, the rather neutral, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN. The collapse of the so-called “Six Party Talks” in 2009 of the ASEAN coupled with the North’s latest missile launches and associated R & D has only heightened regional fears. By default, like it or not, the USA was and remains the only military power strong enough to nudge the failed ASEAN talks forward. Nudge, is the key word here, the Japanese and South Koreans have tried in vain and for many years, to close their open wounds as well, with North Korea. The total exhaustion of both political and economic means to bring North Korea to the table by Western Occident nations and their Asian allies, does indeed translate into, “times up”. Yet, there just may be a ray of sunlight coming through the dark clouds, Un publicly stated the other day that, maintaining a nuclear weapons stockpile may not be necessary if a Pan-Asian treaty, guaranteeing that the North will not be attacked is agreed to. Well, I sincerely hope Un realizes the gravity of the present situation and is being completely honest about his new policy decision.

        Comment by elmerfudzie | March 6, 2018 | Reply


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