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North Korea Says It Has Conducted Nuclear Test 1623

ScentCone writes "North Korea says that it has conducted its first nuclear weapons test and 'brought happiness to its people.' Japan and China earlier issued an unusual joint statement saying that such a test would be 'unacceptable.' As of 11:10PM EST, the USGS says that it has not detected any unusual seismic activity on the Korean peninsula in the last 48 hours." From the article: "The North said last week it would conduct a test, sparking regional concern and frantic diplomatic efforts aimed at dissuading Pyongyang from such a move. North Korea has long claimed to have nuclear weapons, but had never before performed a known test to prove its arsenal. The nuclear test was conducted at 10:36 a.m. (0136 GMT) in Hwaderi near Kilju city, Yonhap reported, citing defense officials." Update: 10/09 05:50 GMT by J : The U.S. Geological Survey reports a 4.2 magnitude quake; South Korean news is reporting a 3.58 magnitude event; the White House apparently confirms a nuclear test.
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North Korea Says It Has Conducted Nuclear Test

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  • Verification? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 09, 2006 @12:31AM (#16360073)
    After the tsunami panic, I'd assume that the region is absolutely rotten with seismographs under various jurisdictions. If they didn't pick anything up, I'm not impressed.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 09, 2006 @12:47AM (#16360195)
    Iraq, Iran and North Korea are listed in Bush's speech as being the Axis of Evil. Iraq is monitored and disarmed to the point of helplessness, and then it gets invaded. Iran is in the process of being monitored, reports are showing it isn't an offensive force, and suddenly the drums are beating to attack it.

    Nobody knows whether Kim Jong Il really is insane. But he's not stupid. North Korea already had retalliatory capabilities in case they were invaded, merely by Seoul and it's 10-million-plus inhabitants being within conventional artillery range of the border. A nuke gives North Korea offensive leverage over the Korean penninsula. When you're living in a world where it's considered acceptable for the most powerful military to essentially fabricate false justifications for invading a sovereign nation, one can't have too much insurance if they're on the same hit list.
  • by tezbobobo ( 879983 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @12:49AM (#16360219) Homepage Journal
    Actually, this is not so much about terrorists as residual cold war thinking. Most political scietists would treat this as either the fallout of superpower foriegn policy from the cold war, or indeed claim that the cold war is not in fact over.

    America is acting no different from usual so it is not right to claim it is run by violent religious extremists. That's a comparative qualitative assessment. It is instead run by what would be known as 'realist' (not the dictionary def.) ideologists - those who would unilaterally further America's interest..
  • Re:Take em now (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Retardican ( 1006101 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @12:51AM (#16360233) Homepage
    North Korea declared the armistice ceasing the Korean War (1950-1953), "null and void" a few months ago. It made a lot of people (US, Japan) nervous, with China trying to keep everyone calm. Now that NK has proved themselves a nuclear power, Japan will definately *consider* preemptive strikes against NK facilities, and NK fearing such attacks will escalate their threats.

    We should deplay some troops over there, in case things get out of hand and bombs start flying. Oh wait, most of our fleet is still looking for WMDs next to the oil.
  • Re:If this is true (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lordofthechia ( 598872 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @01:01AM (#16360311)
    "Nukes are the most useless weapon any country can have"

    Nukes may be useless in that it's pointless to launch them (unless you do want to bring about the armageddon), but they do have a purpose. Being a nuclear power almost guarantees that your country won't get invaded. Nobody would risk you launching your nukes as a last ditch effort to "save" your country.

    Reason it's called a peacetime weapon.
  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @01:05AM (#16360351) Journal

    The other day I read a story where they interviewed a Chinese soldier who was disgusted with the NKs. Why? Because they returned a border crosser, a young woman. This took place on a bridge over a river that divides China and NK. As soon as she was signed over, the NKs took a sharp steel wire and ran it through the flesh between the thumb and forefingers of a hand. They led her away screaming. Apparently, this is routine behavior. Other Chinese border guards related stories of NKs running the wire underneath the collarbones of returnees, harnessing them together. Needless to say, these people are not seen at the border again.

    In the same article, there were stories of NKs sneaking into China, robbing banks, in general making trouble. However, most of the border crossers are coming to China to find prosperity and freedom. Yes. Prosperity and freedom. In a country that we usually associate with wage slavery and oppression. The woman at the bridge knew she would be killed. They must all realize they will be killed, yet they risk being returned. Now that has *got* to be one lousy place to live.

    I don't see how the NK regime can last. It's just a question of how it's going to go down. If I were the premier of China, I'd make a secret deal with SK to put a military sqeeeze on the place, since NK would probably be overwhelmed by a Chinese invasion. The Chinese could really come out looking like good guys if they then turned it over to SK for re-unification ala Germany. I'm not that optimistic though. I think we're more likely to see the "Korean autonomous zone" or some such nonsense that's really part of the Chinese empire. Maybe real soon now.

  • by copponex ( 13876 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @01:05AM (#16360355) Homepage
    "I hope this will not require military action, but it may. And military conflict could be difficult. An Iraqi regime faced with its own demise may attempt cruel and desperate measures. If Saddam Hussein orders such measures, his generals would be well advised to refuse those orders. If they do not refuse, they must understand that all war criminals will be pursued and punished. If we have to act, we will take every precaution that is possible. We will plan carefully; we will act with the full power of the United States military; we will act with allies at our side, and we will prevail." -President Bush II

    "I must say you don't normally engage in conversations by threatening to intercontinental ballistic missiles." -John Bolton

    Hey fellas.... How is that hard-line foreign policy working out?
  • Contrary to North Korean propaganda, North Korea having nukes has more to do with Russia, Japan, China, and South Korea than it does with the United States. Northeast Asia is currently the most economically dynamic area of the world. And yet, in the center of this region sits a basket case. A country in a cult of personality throwback to the early 1950s, still fighting the Korean War.

    While China continues its relentless march to economic modernity and eventual superiority, while South Korea has the most advanced internet culture in the world (see recent slashdot story still on the front page from the New York Times), and while Japan is pretty much the most advanced nation on the planet, according to a number of measures (GNP, life expectancy, etc), North Korea keeps its citizens in prisoner camps, rummaging for leaves to eat, while it focuses every ounce of its words to the world and every drop of its resources on military belligerence. And counterfeiting currency. And making methamphetamine. And now nukes.

    North Korea can easily kill a quarter million people in Seoul anytime it wanted to with conventional weapons in a couple of hours. Its rockets could carry a number of nasty things to Tokyo very easily. And now nukes.

    I really don't see North Korea's neighbors tolerating this scenario much longer. I don't see how they can. China has been reluctant to muzzle its maddog little psycho neighbor since it frightens the hated Japanese more than anyone else, but surely China can see now how North Korea's insane belligerence threatens China's economy just as much as it gives the Japanese nightmares. And North Korea, famously, when presented a line in the sand, does all it can do to cross it. But going nuclear may be a line in the sand it should not have crossed, if self-preservation was ever its goal. But self-preservation never seems to have been North Korea's goal. More like a headlong rush into self-realized armageddon.

    I don't see this ending well, I really don't. Don't go to Seoul or Tokyo for awhile folks, I'm really worried about Northeast Asia right now, I don't see this ending well. North Korea has too much of a deathwish. And now nukes.

  • Ask Rummy. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by copponex ( 13876 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @01:13AM (#16360423) Homepage []

    The Clinton Administration tried to reduce tension by getting some reactors sent to North Korea, and Rumsfeld was on the board of the company that sold reactors to North Korea (ABB). Not too long after, North Korea was part of the axis of evil. This is equivilent to shop-owner selling a gun to someone, joining the police, and then complaining about the criminal they sold the gun to. I guess when you lack any sort of moral integrity, the only important fact is whose signature is on your paycheck.
  • by jafac ( 1449 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @01:17AM (#16360457) Homepage
    A "dud" (or partial) sounds consistent with everything else we know.

    We know that it's probably a plutonium device (using processed fuel from a reactor that had been secured and monitored until they kicked out the inspectors).

    A plutonium device is an implosion device, and implosion devices are usually much harder to get right the first time (hence the need for testing).

    To keep things in perspective - they're still a long way from being able to put an operationally reliable device on an operationally reliable ICBM.

    But this is still very bad news.
  • Re:Take em now (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 09, 2006 @01:47AM (#16360679)
    The problem with North Korea has always been Seoul. A real war starts, 10 million people will die in a few hours. And it won't take nuclear, biological or chemical weapons. Good old fashioned artillary will do the job. A nuclear weapon and missle puts Japan within reach. It ups the stakes for the US. Now if we want war with North Korea, it starts off as a nuclear one, and probably the United States as the aggressor.
  • Re:If this is true (Score:4, Interesting)

    by modecx ( 130548 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @01:49AM (#16360685)
    You'll also get invaded if your enemies believe you aren't a rational actor.

    You think so? Personally, I think that's precisely a good reason not to invade. Knowing ol' Kimmy, he'd nuke your invading forces inside of his borders, even if they occupied an area populated by a bunch of his people. He'd turn around and say that being vaporized 'brought happiness to the people of North Korea, and the patrriotic people enjoyed having their flesh melt off of their bones'

    I'd give 'em credit for that kind of move, so long as he thought such a move wouldn't signifigantly disrupt his sphere of influence--his ability to make everyone do what he and his generals want them to do. I think he could easily get away with using a tactical size nuke to stop invading forces, even if it took out a few dozen villages, and only his generals would have a chance to dispose him afterwards.
  • by i_like_spam ( 874080 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @01:52AM (#16360715) Journal
    Anyone want to explain why the seismic station at Inchon, South Korea appears to be quiet at the time of the blast (1:35 UTC)?

    Here's the raw seismic data at Inchon. []

    I see an event at Inchon at about 14:30 UTC on Sunday, but it's 11 hours earlier than the reported blast.
  • by hero_or_what ( 245446 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @02:02AM (#16360777)

    I do agree that by cutting a deal with New Delhi, the US govt essentially squashed the NPT. But then, that's what happened to the Kyoto treaty as well.

    The NPT by itself is a relic of the cold war and extremely biased. What it basically says is that 5 countries can build and maintain as many Nuclear weapons as they want while the rest of the world should not. Ideally, if Nuclear Non Proliferation was to work, the NPT should have contained a timetable for the reduction/removal of all nuclear weapons, including those stockpiled by the big five. The NPT isn't about reducing the risk of a Nuclear Winter. Its about maintaining a military advantage and is purely political in its framework.

    I'm all for reducing the risk of Nuclear Proliferation, but I'm not convinced that NPT is the tool to use. What we need is for the big 5 to show the way and reduce their stockpile and then enforce the NPT.

  • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @02:04AM (#16360789)
    It's not a nuke.

    Compare the purported "nukular test": ata/INCN_24hr.html []

    Notice how long this lasts.

    To a _real_ nuclear test []

    Again, notice how long this lasts. Hint: look at the scale of both graphs.

    One of these things is not like the other.

    I'm sure that you can figure it out for yourself.

  • Re:If this is true (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @02:13AM (#16360833)
    They also prevent use of concentrated large groups of troops against you.
  • Re:If this is true (Score:2, Interesting)

    by whereiseljefe ( 753425 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @02:22AM (#16360897) Homepage
    You have to have the numbers to pull those off. Falling airborn troops become skeet practice (fuck up their parachute and no more soldier), not to mention anti-air defenses (south korea most definitely will have our patriot missile system), and landing craft are bottlenecks. Aim your machine guns at the exit and voila.
  • by Shihar ( 153932 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @02:27AM (#16360921)
    Thousands dead? That puts dieing in war right up there with drowning (~4000) and well below falling (~14,000). Yeah, the world is a real scary place.

    As for this whole confrontation thing... last time I checked the Soviet Union had collapsed and a few dozen Eastern European and Asian nations were getting to know the joys of fun shit like not being executed for voicing disapproval of government policy.

    There is nothing but bitching and moaning about the US. Once in a while it would be nice if someone was like "Hey US, thanks for sticking your shit into World War II and sticking with us during the Korean War and Cold War. We really like how you outspent the Soviets and the Germans and threw your sons into battle so that the rest of us could see what nationalized health care is like. Hey, you guys fuck up from time to time do to your lack of omnipotence, but in the end we are glad that you are around. Hey, the next round of drink is on us. P.S. Your beer sucks, be we still love you."

    Jesus fucking Christ, the US is not the boogy man looking to eat you.
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @02:30AM (#16360929)
    North Korea is going to collapse in an internal military coup.

    Well, a coup of some sort. Chances are, China will be a major backer of any such event too.

    From the analyses I've been reading, it is likely that this nuke test was a military coup of sorts, as was the missile test a few months ago. The military is the largest power structure in the DPRK and shooting off their weapons as a show of strength against the perceived threats of just about every other country is a big goal of theirs, big enough to override the concerns of the rest of the government regarding sustainability (foreign aid has dried up to a trickle in the last few years, and their recent efforts at counterfeiting US dollars have not gone over so well either).

    Despite the typical demonization of western media, 'dear leader' Kim certainly understands that these tests are not likely to improve relations with any other country and are not in the best interest of maintaining his dictatorship and his role has chief party animal. So in that sense at least, the fact that the tests have occurred suggests that his grip on control of the country is not iron-clad.
  • Sorry to say it, but your units aren't right. I have attempted to reverse-engineer your mistake.

    300 billion antineutrinos per fission is just wrong, as are 3e11 antineutrinos per steradian. I think you meant 3e11 antineutrinos per square meter at 1Mm distance, which is right in line with what I calculated. (I assumed twice as many neutrinos per fission as you did, and used the published size of Kamiokande to estimate its cross section at 200 square meters -- which accounts for the factor-of-400 difference between our numbers.)

  • Re:If this is true (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nordicfrost ( 118437 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @02:33AM (#16360953)
    What people are forgetting is the clear and present danger NK presents to China. NK is still stuck in a cold war with the US and SK, while China has moved on. Remember; NK lives on good will from China, and there are almost no defenses on the border to China. The DMZ is a nightmare for invading, but the north border is just to walk over. Mark my words, if there's an invasion of NK, the Chinese are on the side of the West and probably among SK soldiers. The political views of NK are a far cry from what China wants as its neighbour.
  • Re:If this is true (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gerardrj ( 207690 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @02:50AM (#16361039) Journal
    Yea, cause the Patriot missile system did such a bang-up job in its fist deployment. By all accounts the Patriot failed to ever hit a target and is known to have rained down debris on the bystander population causing possibly more damage than the incoming missiles did.
    The Patriot missile system has yet, to my knowledge, to have an undisputed, confirmed kill in an actual combat deployment scenario. Software timing glitches, guidance failures, tracking failures, weather, jamming, etc. I certainly wouldn't trust my life to the system, never mind the security of my nation's borders.
  • by Barnoid ( 263111 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @02:51AM (#16361053)
    US either better bomb this guy back to the Stone Age, or else be prepared to have nukes floating all around the world.

    Speaken like a true American. Wage wars, but plz not at home. Why care about collatoral damage, as long as it is so far away?

    I happen to work in Seoul right now, and I'm actually more afraid of Bush & his friends than North Korea. NK will not attack the South unprovoked because even their nutcase of a dictator knows that such an act will certainly end his reign. However, if you provoke him and lead him to believe he's about to be invaded/bombed/..., he might actually be tempted to send a couple of missiles down to Seoul, just to prove that NK is dangerous.

    I hope that the U.S. and Japan won't push it too far.
  • Re:If this is true (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @04:11AM (#16361471) Homepage Journal
    North Korea doesn't need a deterrent because the US won't invade unless North Korea crosses the border first. The US has seen significantly more hawkish characters than Bush and Rumsfeld on the topic of Korea. No one wants to fight there. It's horrendously mountainous, the winters are bitter cold, and the elite corps that would be handling any nuclear weapons are bound to be even more fanatical than the best of the Iraqi Republican Guard.

    That said, the descriptions from the Russians about North Korea's bomb place it at 3m in length and weighing about four tons, which is far more than any North Korean missile can mount and more than most of their planes can handle. There is zero chance of North Korea mounting nuclear missile attack in the next few years, and they would have to learn some very powerful miniaturization tricks before they could threaten anyone at a significant range.
  • Re:If this is true (Score:4, Interesting)

    by smilindog2000 ( 907665 ) <> on Monday October 09, 2006 @04:12AM (#16361475) Homepage
    It sure as heck should be scared! If you haven't read this yet, you gotta check it out:

   /opinion/2006/04/16/do1609.xml []

    The other really scare force in the world is well documented here:

   s []

    Be afraid. Be very afraid.
  • by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @05:35AM (#16361785) Homepage Journal
    It is more complicated than that. N. Korea (among other countries) have territory disputes with Japan. Japan's hands are tied because of Article 9 forbidding Japan from using threat or use of force to settle disputes. And it's unlikely that Japan could defend itself successfully against N.Korea if a hot war were to erupt. Part of the agreement with the US is that the US provides defensive forces, and works as a proxy to lean on nations that have disputes with Japan.

    But probably the biggest issue is that Kim Jong-il is a lunatic. Saddam Hussein was not a lunatic. That is the biggest difference between a war with Iraq and a war with N.Korea. Also Saddam's military was quite small, while N.Korea's military is the fifth largest in the world. (roughly the same number of troops as the US)

    I think everyone agrees that a war with N.Korea between any nation (Japan, US, S.Korea) would be an utter nightmare. And the nightmare has only gotten worse with the progress N.Korea has made with thier nuclear arsenal. We cannot entirely trust Kim Jong-il to simply use nukes as a negotiation strategy, he may actually use them (and claim that somehow he was provoked).

    What better way to assert N.Korea's sovereignty than to lob a nuke on one of the disputed islands in the Sea of Japan? Sort of an "if I can't have it, then nobody can"
  • Re:If this is true (Score:5, Interesting)

    by awful ( 227543 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @05:38AM (#16361799) Homepage
    There are a variety of complicating factors as to what all this adds up to, but the unifying element is Japan.

    Since WW2 Japan has had an explicitly 'peaceful' constitution that precludes it from engaging in any military action other than self-defense.

    In recent years though Japanese politicians and strategists have been reconsidering this posture, due largely to the continuing belligerence of North Korea, and more recently because of the strong nationalist and anti-Japan sentiments emanating from China.

    Memory of Japanese nationalism and militarism within East Asia is very very strong (partly because of Chinese govt efforts to remind everyone of Japan's atrocities at every opportunity). There is great suspicion within China and Korea (Nth and Sth) of Japan. If Japan becomes alarmed by Nth Korea's (and they will) they may start down the path of a more expressly offensive military posture, even to the point of pursuing their own weapon. At this point China would be very very angry and nervous indeed. An arms race in East Asia is a real possibility.

    In this light - the absolute best thing the US government can do right now is to immediately reassure the Japanese government and people that they are still very much protected by the US nuclear umbrella, that there is no need for Japan to pursue its own nuke, and that they should restrain their understandable urge to assume a more offensive military posture.

    In this situation the US needs to make sure that there is no possible excuse for China and Japan, and to a lesser extent, Sth Korea, to begin an arms race. The best way to do that is restrain Japanese militarism, be firm with Nth Korea, and involve China in everything it does to resolve the situation.

    The wild card in all of this is Taiwan. Taiwan is going through a very interesting political situation - and Taiwanese pro-independence politicians might be considering using such sentiment to shore up their own position (rocked by a corruption scandal). Taiwanese independence will almost certainly force China to attack Taiwan (they've always said they would), and so the US could be dragged into a war it can't actually fight.

    We live in VERY interesting times.
  • Re:Sizemography (Score:3, Interesting)

    by infolib ( 618234 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @05:44AM (#16361829)
    Danish radio reported a couple of days ago that a US plane equipped to measure radiation had gone operative near North Korea. I presume they got the data they came for. (Can't find a link, sorry)
  • Re:If this is true (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @06:45AM (#16362063)
    Most of all Ol' Mac had an armed force that was on top of the world considering equipment and training, lined with battle hardened WW2 veterans and everything a General can dream of, and he had an opponent that didn't think anyone would be so outright STUPID to try a stunt like this.

    Think of the trojan horse. A great success, but it only worked once in history.
  • by maxume ( 22995 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @06:49AM (#16362087)
    Chemical weapons are essentially only useful on human targets. Bombs are at least able to destroy infrastruture and equipment.
  • Re:If this is true (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lixee ( 863589 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @07:12AM (#16362197)
    Bob, we've got to fight them there, in Botswana, so we don't have to fight them here! Yee. Haw.
    "For perhaps many a person will ask himself the question, why are we fighting at such great distances? We are fighting at such great distances in order to protect our homeland, in order to keep the war as far removed from it as possible . . . . It is therefore preferable to keep the front line at a distance of 1,000 and if necessary 2,000 kilometers from the borders of the Reich, than to hold that front somewhere near the border of the Reich and to be forced to hold it there."

    - Adolf Hitler, 1942
  • Re:If this is true (Score:3, Interesting)

    by smchris ( 464899 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @08:22AM (#16362679)
    He must not care about himself then, because he put himself at risk of being sent into war for over 5 years as a young man.

    Ahistorical. The National Guard was the way to have your cake and eat it too during Vietnam if you could get in. You could appear all acquiescently "patriotic" and not have to take a stand against your government's insane war yet the act of joining the National Guard meant you were very unlikely to actually _go_ to Vietnam. LIke, because it was the "Guard" of the nation. (if you understand?) Unlike W as President where the "Guard" is doing extended tours on the front lines. I think the appropriate term is "spoiled little rich hypocrite" of a president who got to party in Alabama and take time off to work on a political campaign but as president sends today's "weekend warriors" who would otherwise have lives in the real world to the front lines of _his_ insane war.
  • by Megane ( 129182 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @08:36AM (#16362797) Homepage

    no terrorist in the world could possibly pay what it costs to develop a nuclear weapon.

    News flash: it's just been developed. NK would be happy to charge cost-plus to anyone else who wants one. Bring your own Iranian uranium and it's half price.

    Il*Mart - your home of falling prices... and falling bombs!

  • Re:If this is true (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Aqualung812 ( 959532 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @08:36AM (#16362803)
    Why didn't you go for the National Guard, hmm? Your chances of being deployed over seas to hostile combat zone are dramatically reduced in that organization.

    I personally know some guardsmen that will disagree with that statement.

    Those people DO deserve our respect and sympathy. Regardless of their reasons for doing so, they are fighting and dying so YOU don't have to. If they didn't do it, there would be a draft and you would be rolling the dice.

  • Geneva convention (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @08:40AM (#16362825)
    It is also against the Geneva convention to use them on civilians. Even if you think that ten year old boy in an ambulance owned by a Christian aid organisation is a possible terrorist it is illegal to use weapons like this to kill him if his six year old sister is there with him - not using it on civilians means not using it on civilians and not some sickening bit of spin. If your enemy is uncivilised and puts an anti-aircraft gun on the front law of a hospital - tough - if you want to remain on the list of civilised countries you don't go bombing civilian targets with weapons like these.
  • by astralbat ( 828541 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @08:42AM (#16362843)
    It is more complicated than that. N. Korea (among other countries) have territory disputes with Japan. Japan's hands are tied because of Article 9 forbidding Japan from using threat or use of force to settle disputes.
    I read in the Economist that Japan is thinking of increasing it's military and wants to remove the ban placed on them. But the magazine also considered strongly that this will further unite South Korea, China and Japan against North Korea, so I don't see how the nightmare will necessarily get worse.

    But probably the biggest issue is that Kim Jong-il is a lunatic. Saddam Hussein was not a lunatic.
    Where did you get this from? Was it just your humble opinion? I don't think anyone can say they know Kim Jong-il and what his true intentions are.
  • by Arcturax ( 454188 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @08:45AM (#16362863)
    Actually, Japan has a large and highly advanced military still. It is constrained by their constitution for defensive purposes. That could change very quickly as they can do as they wish with their constitution now and have been slowly pushing the US out of Japan militarily, asking us to close bases, which we have done to save money. The fact they are mulling their own atomic bomb now shows just how bad things are. WWII happened long ago, but they still have the stark reminders of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So for Japan to mull their own nukes and not set off a riot in the streets shows how tense the situation between them and North Korea has become.

    North Korea may have nukes now, but how many? I doubt more than a handfull. If we struck pre-emptively with our own nukes, even small tac-nukes on military sites, we could probably cripple them so they couldn't launch even one. The danger then would be nukes left in a large city and detonated once we rolled in militarily. The North Korean government would have no qualms about killing their own people just to get back at us if they were losing a war.

    The best bet may be a quick and decisive decapitation strike against their leadership.
  • Re:If this is true (Score:2, Interesting)

    by M1FCJ ( 586251 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @08:47AM (#16362877) Homepage
    It is quite funny actually, maybe not.

    Americans place nukes in very short distance from Russia (aka, Turkey and Italy).

    In retaliation, Russians place nukes in very short distance from America (aka Cuba).

    Who's the bad guy? Of course it's the Soviets! A huge crisis with lots of tension ensures.

    I hoped the world would never experience such a messy situation again. With Pakistan vs. India, China vs. Taiwan and N.Korea against the rest of the world, I suppose shit will happen sometime, probably too soon.

  • Re:If this is true (Score:2, Interesting)

    by UglyTool ( 768385 ) <rstage&gmail,com> on Monday October 09, 2006 @08:51AM (#16362905) Homepage
    What happened in '91 wasn't really an invasion. US troops went into Iraq a few KMs (100's?), and were prohibited from chasing the Republican Guard back to Baghdad. The government and generals in the field knew that, were we to to a full-fledged invasion, Iraq's WMD's would be unleashed on our troops.

    Bush the First realized this, and did not want to subject our troops to those weapons. Can you imagine what the world's reaction would have been? I'd rather not think about it.

    The reason Bush the Second could invade Iraq is because, frankly, they no longer had those weapons. The reasons he DID invade are left to the reader as a thought excercise.

  • Re:Geneva convention (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Hubbell ( 850646 ) <brianhubbellii AT live DOT com> on Monday October 09, 2006 @09:01AM (#16363001)
    Someone obviously doesn't understand how most conventional wars in the last century wre fought. Bombing the living hell out of population and manufacturing centers to demoralize and cripple to enemy. Dresden and Tokyo ring any bells? Hiroshima and Nagasaki? I think we were still considered civilized after those, and NOTHING we have done yet today or will do in the future will ever be equal to that amount of death and destruction. Hundreds of thousands of civilians died in *each* of those bombings, not a few dozen/hundred in some bombings as in this war.
  • Re:If this is true (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dave1791 ( 315728 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @09:01AM (#16363009)
    "Why didn't you go for the National Guard, hmm? Your chances of being deployed over seas to hostile combat zone are dramatically reduced in that organization."

    I met an Ohio National Guardsman the other day who has been deployed three out of the past five years and has seen two combat tours in Iraq (and told me a depressing story about a child with a bloody arm who was wired with explosives and killed the medic who tried to help him). He left the active duty military shortly before 9/11 becasue he thought being a part timer would allow him to spend more time with his family.

    Oh and I met him in the train station in Heidelberg Germany. He is away from home again.
  • by Wylfing ( 144940 ) <brian.wylfing@net> on Monday October 09, 2006 @09:03AM (#16363019) Homepage Journal

    Dear Lord, my bullshit detector just pegged. Please note: I am rather a lefty and in favor of social programs to help those who are poor or otherwise disadvantaged.

    The US has a fairly high rate of poverty and starvation

    That "poverty level" is by U.S. standards, which means USD 4700 per person per year. That seems pretty low, but consider that most of the world is at approximately USD 700 per person per year. So our "poor" are nearly 7 times better off than the average person around the world. Also, starvation is virtually impossible in the U.S., even for homeless people. In fact, the very poor are one of the most likely groups in the U.S. to be grossly overweight.

    The richest country in the world has over 10% of its population not able to meet basic needs

    This is predicated on your phony insinuation about poverty in the United States. Below the poverty line it is possible in many parts of the country to not only meet basic needs but to have comforts that are totally unknown in most of the world. Hell, our market basket [] includes things like beer, tobacco, computers, TV, jewelry, and sports equipment.

    I know it's superfashionable to bash the U.S. at every opportunity, and frankly it is embarrassing that we have a problem with health care in this country (but that spans the middle class as well, so it's not a poverty issue), but at least pick on the problems we actually have rather than make up new ones.

  • Re:If this is true (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 09, 2006 @09:24AM (#16363189)
    1. McClellan's incompetence was responsible for some of the largest losses of human life during the Civil war, including the battles of Manassas. He was given multiple chances to successfully engage Lee and failed miserably on every case. Intellectual ability doesn't matter a damn if you can't apply it.

    2. There's plenty of fine print. The clause defining the government's ability to prevent one's separation (stop-loss) is obliquely referred to by mentioning a government regulation (not available at MEPS) on one's enlistment contract. These "kids" signed up for a certain number of years, and are involuntarily extended while serving. Most of them are willing to fight, but many would prefer competent command authority. (Forgive the A/C here, I'm still in and am not supposed to say such things)

    3. Finally, since when are we at war? You can't fight an idea, so don't give me that "war on terror" crap. I was ok with Afghanistan, but Iraq never made any sense to me from the "national interest" arguement. I have no problem fighting for my country, but I have a big problem fighting for the economic interests or personal vendettas of the people in power. I'll let the rest of the /. posters deal with your inaccuracies regarding Nat'l Guard troops and reasons for enlisting.
  • Re:If this is true (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Shadow99_1 ( 86250 ) <.theshadow99. .at.> on Monday October 09, 2006 @09:37AM (#16363323)
    Um their constitution doesn't forbid them, they will of the people has historically been against it... That has changed in teh last decade however and in fact they have voiced that any agression by China would lead to them producing more nuclear weapons than china could ever hope to field (said in 2002, though that's not the exact quote) and for nearly ten years their have been several military reports that in fact they do have nuclear potential in their subs (the degree is the question, is it simply tactical or is it full fledged ICBM style nukes...). It's been remarked militarily that it's awfuly funny that japanese subs have full launch capabilities for weapons they 'supposedly' don't carry, which probably has alot of weight to the argument that in fact they are armed with sych weapons.

    Do some more research on the subject, you seem at least a decade behind...
  • Re:If this is true (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 09, 2006 @10:00AM (#16363569)
    As a Japanese person living in Tokyo, I need to add a few facts to this.

    Since WW2 Japan has had an explicitly 'peaceful' constitution that precludes it from engaging in any military action other than self-defense.

    Actually, the Japanese constitution (9th paragraph) states that the only use of armed forces can be for self defense. That said, there is a plethora of laws that forbid it from doing even that. If North Korea, or any other country starts shooting Tepodong missiles into Japan, we still can't retaliate. We can't shoot missiles back into North Korea. Fuck, we DON'T EVEN HAVE LONG DISTANCE MISSILES to shoot back with! We have a sorry excuse of a missile defense system, that has been proven to be very unlikely to work if we really need it. The only thing we can do, at the moment, is shoot enemy armies if they decide to launch a full land invasion. I don't think the Maniac with Don King's hair is even that stupid. My brother-in-law pilots a tank in the self defense force, and he doesn't want war, explicitly because it'll make him a sitting duck.

    In this light - the absolute best thing the US government can do right now is to immediately reassure the Japanese government and people that they are still very much protected by the US nuclear umbrella, that there is no need for Japan to pursue its own nuke, and that they should restrain their understandable urge to assume a more offensive military posture.

    Won't work. Why? Because us Japanese don't want the U.S. to bring nukes into the country. There are a very few vocal people that have said otherwise, but the silent masses (and the not so silent government) has repeatedly demanded that the U.S. do not bring any ships carrying nuclear weapons into the country. What we want the U.S. to do is stop playing "I pretend to care (but really could care less since there's no oil involved)" and actually do something. Something like persuade Russia and China so that we could actually get full, binding, international sanctions against North Korea through the U.N. Last time N.K. shot missiles in the general direction of Japan (7 in total, on July 4th) we got soooo close to getting this through. But then China demanded they would veto it if the a full, binding sanction was included in the language. They wanted to keep it to "strong language" and nothing fully binding. In short, it read "If you don't stop now, we'll... tell you to stop again!!" No wonder Jong-Il doesn't seem deterred by another "Stop! Or else!" call from China, Russia, Japan, South Korea and the U.S. Us Japanese people don't want nukes, we don't want to make nukes, we don't want to use nukes. And we sure as hell don't want to be bombed AGAIN with nukes. We want someone with a spine against China to help get our claims through. (On a side note, we also want a prime minister and cabinet that has a spine...)

    Anyhow... even if all I wrote turns out to take a 180 degree U-turn and change, you still can't change the fact that the Japanese self defense force probably can't even win a war against North Korea, even if every single surrounding nation agrees that Japan can go ahead. The Japanese self decense army is under prepared, under staffed, and does not have the necessary equipment. We have no missiles. Our jet fighters were deliberately modified so that they don't have fuel tanks large enough to fly a round trip to Korea and back. (They can't be easily retrofitted either... owning such a jet was considered, at the time, unnecessarily provocative.) Our guns are inferior to even the North Korean AK-47 knock downs, since Japan cannot legally purchase arms, and had to develop everything internally, which turned out to be very, very expensive, and hard to use in a real war. (The old Model 66 assault rifle, when dis-assembled, broke down into 30-some odd parts, including some very small springs, which my brother says would be impossible to re-build in the field. People lose parts when undergoing re-build training in the baracks!) Even th
  • Re:If this is true (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 09, 2006 @11:10AM (#16364427)
    That would be under the chapter titled "Terms Of Surrender: Desert Storm"
  • Re:If this is true (Score:2, Interesting)

    by yanos ( 633109 ) <yannos&gmail,com> on Monday October 09, 2006 @11:22AM (#16364597)
    I'm not sure that's entirely true. You see, under the regime in North Korea, a hell lot of people choose to join the army in order not to starve and have a 'decent' life. Remember that NK had (maybe still has?) severe povrety and famine problems in their hands, and most of the humanitarian help went straigth to the soldiers. The result of this is that they now have a huge military forces, something along the line of the US army in term of man power. If the US had difficulty moving in the desert facing a much smaller army in Irak, imagine what would it be like to face an almost 1:1 ratio of soldiers. I don't think the US could invade NK, nukes or not. It would just be a *total* mess.
  • Re:If this is true (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Poppler ( 822173 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @01:02PM (#16366001) Journal
    If you ask most of the dissenters in the military, they'll tell you that they would fight in Afghanistan which they believe is a just war over 9/11 but most consider Iraq an unjust war of aggression that isn't fighting for the benefit of America
    Dead on. A friend of mine signed up for the Army right after 9/11. He was willing to sacrifice everything to fight those who attacked his country, but he was instead forced to fight Bush's war of choice in Iraq. He's now active with Iraq Veterans Against the War [].
  • Re:If this is true (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DesertWolf0132 ( 718296 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @01:05PM (#16366049) Homepage

    First, calm yourself. For the record, Iran is in fact batshit insane as proven by its history over the last 30 years. Anyone remember Ayatollah Khomeini? The current leader is not exactly the picture of mental health himself. That said, Iran would never directly use a nuclear device on the United States. Why do that when the multi-billion dollar terrorist movements it supports could easily do it for them with plausable deniability? It would most likely be used against one of the U.S. allies in the region like Saudi Arabia in retaliation for support of the U.S. and Iran would deny all ties to the group setting off the nuke. The cool thing about nukes is, all of the evidence to its origin is obliterated in the blast. Plus, you forget the 79 virgins baloney drilled into the heads of these bozos from birth. "Hmmm, 79 virgins for being blown up in battle with the infidels or life in this sandbox we call a country. Praise Allah and pass the Uranium!"

  • One thing I don't get here. If NK wanted us to notice them, then why did they only give a 20 minute warning to China? Why not tell us when and where so that we can directly observe the results and come to the conclusion that they so obviously want us to come to? Are they really that afraid that if we knew when and where we would be able to disrupt the test?
  • Re:If this is true (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @01:53PM (#16366857) Journal
    > Why do that when the multi-billion dollar terrorist movements it
    > supports could easily do it for them with plausable deniability?

    A few years back the US made it clear to Russia and China that "plausible deniability" does not exist in the realm of nuclear weapons. This was when both were having problems possibly keeping their nukes from getting on the black market for valuable western cash. "If you are having a tough time tracking them, let us help you track them. For if one of them gets into the hands of terrorists, well, if your nukes are gonna destroy our cities one way or another, we're 'gonna get into it with you directly'"

    It's conceivable that all smaller nations that have nukes and might help terrorists will be sundered in a whirlwind "just in case", if the US is hit by a terrorist nuke.

    Part of both Iraq and Afghanistan was to tell the world that if you start this up, diplomatic "business as usual" was over.
  • Re:If this is true (Score:3, Interesting)

    by loraksus ( 171574 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @04:49PM (#16369725) Homepage
    When Poland was under the iron curtain, you would get bonuses for having children and if you had 7 (IIRC), the government supported you completely - neither parent would have to work.
    The rationale behind this is they needed soldiers to fight (and factory workers, etc) and were trying to increase the population with these subsidies.
  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Monday October 09, 2006 @09:19PM (#16373057)

    Saddam wasn't crazy when he thought the US would back him in Kuwait, the US merely had flipped its bipolar mind again and decided to defend Kuwait.

    I lie. The US behaved in exactly whatever way whatever administration thought would be the best for the long term goals of the US, or at least the long term goals of their wallets.

    You didn't lie, you repeated yourself! Think about it: with a two-party political system, how could the US government be anything but bi-polar (or, more accurately, afflicted with multiple-personality disorder)?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @10:04AM (#16377337)

    Of the 535 members of the house and senate, a total of two percent, meaning twelve members, have, or have had, children in Iraq or Afghanistan...I think based on the numbers I can safely assert that our nation's leaders have put this country on a war footing but are not going out on a limb with their own children.

    U.S. armed forces currently stand at about 1.4 million strong []. Even if we were to ramp back up to the Cold War readiness levels, that is 2.0 million (at a cost of about $1.5 billion per 10,000 personnel, that is a huge ramp up). The adult, military age (the 15-40 cohort) population of the United States is approximately 160 million (take the 15-64 [] cohort of about 200 million, then subtract out all cohorts above 40). The representation of the general population in the armed forces is therefore 1.4:160, or 0.875%.

    Back out about 10 million as a wild-assed guess for people in the general population who are unsuitable for the armed forces (NIH estimates about 6% of entire population [] exhibit severe mental health problems, so perhaps this might account for about 6 million within the military age cohort ineligible for military service). So about 150 million in the general population are eligible (physically and mentally, not talking about political/religious/ethical disposition) for military service with some quick back of the envelope calculations. That puts the general population representation in the U.S. armed forces at 1.4:150, or 0.933%. If you increase the size of the armed forces to Cold War levels the representation of the general population goes to 1.333%. If you decrease the available pool of eligible volunteers by another 20 million down to 130 million and increase the force levels to 2.0 million, that puts the general population representation at 1.539%. The actual, precise general population numbers might budge by a few million here or there, but that is only going to move the ratio by a few fractions of a percent as you can see.

    At 2.243% representation within the armed forces, the elected national representative leaders are anywhere from about 50% to over 100% over-represented when compared to their constituents, depending upon your demographic assumptions. I assert that as long as you are going to run the comparisons, as a representative republic, comparing per capita representation in the armed forces between the national leadership's children and the general population is an entirely appropriate manner to judge the overall relative commitment of either group to backing up their war rhetoric with sharing the burdens of war. It is impractical to throw your leadership of military age en masse into a war effort, but if you believed that you would have come out and said it; instead, you focused on the rate of enlistment of the adult age children of the leadership.

    This is all assuming you accept the premise (which you apparently do, because that is the foundation of your assertion when you are counting the progeny of the leadership who enlist) that the individual choice of a legally recognized adult (even as young as 18) to join the military, which translates into a familial burden, counts as a commitment. Other posters have sagely pointed out that congressional members have no legal right to force their adult age children to either join or not join the armed forces. If it does count as a commitment of the leadership, it likely does so only in a very loose manner. Probably best to focus on what the legislative leadership can directly control to measure their commitment to the war, which is the legislation and funding of the war effort. Now, if you had claimed the leadership is showing more commitment to a war than the general population as a basis for an argument that the war has no popular support, these numbers migh

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM