Defense Secretary James Mattis believes that the only way to stop Kim Jong Un from building North Korea’s nuclear capability is through a ground invasion by the United States military forces.
Mattis was responding to a letter from Democrats Rep. Ted Lieu and Rep. Ruben Gallego who requested a detailed report on the potential consequences of a war with the rogue regime.
Both Rep. Lieu and Rep. Gallego, who are veterans of the U.S. military, wanted the Trump administration to explain the context of a war with a nuclear power. Lieu, in particular, was concerned Americans were getting too confident the U.S. would overwhelm North Korea’s nuclear arsenal with a similar military strike it conducted versus Assad’s regime in Syria last April.
The response was written by Rear Admiral Mike Dumont and read:
“The only way to locate and destroy with complete certainty all components of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is through a ground invasion.”
Dumont further shares his opinion that North Korea would not be limited to just nuclear weapons:
“North Korea may consider the use of biological weapons as an option in the event of a conflict. It has a long-standing chemical weapons program with the capability to produce nerve, blister, blood and choking agents and it likely possesses a chemical weapon stockpile.”
38 North which is a website that has analysed North Korea believes that as many as 2.1 million people would die if nuclear war broke out over Seoul and Tokyo. Another report, this time from the Congressional Research Service, estimates the death toll could hit 300,000 even without the use of nuclear weapons during the first few days of the war:
“An escalation of a military conflict on the peninsula could affect upwards of 25 million people on either side of the border, including at least 100,000 citizens.”
Lieu and Gallego plus other members of Congress who are likewise U.S. military veterans have voiced their position against any U.S. invasion of North Korea by releasing a joint statement in response to Dumont’s letter:
“As Veterans, we have defended this nation in war and we remain committed to this country’s security. We also understand that entering into a protracted and massive ground war with North Korea would be disastrous for U.S. troops and allies. The Joint Chiefs of Staff, it appears agree. Their assessment underscores what we’ve known all along: There are no good military options for North Korea.”
U.S. President Donald Trump will be visiting Asia from November 5 to 13 and has stated that the North Korea situation will be the top priority of his agenda.