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We've all probably gotten used to laughing at North Korea's nuttier antics--whether it's building new airplanes with Photoshop, or stealing clips of American video games for their propaganda films, they do seem to provide an endless amount of crazy. In fact, we've maybe gotten a little too used to it, and in doing so lost sight of something: North Korea is incredibly dangerous.

To understand why North Korea really isn't funny, you need to grasp the extent to which they've geared their entire economy towards war and the development of their military. The Canada National Post has an excellent visualization of what we know about their current military hardware; what the North Koreans lack in modernity they make up for in quantity.

The estimates are pretty stark. Active duty Army personnel number roughly one million, with other services and reserves bringing the total up to 9.5 million troops, each of whom has to undergo three different investigations by three different secret police agencies in order to prove their loyalty before they can enlist. 3,500+ main battle tanks. 500+ light tanks. 2,500 armored personnel carriers. 2,500 multiple rocket launchers. 22 attack submarines. Dozens of patrol boats armed with ship-to-ship missiles capable of one-hit kills. 14,000 shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles, and 11,000 towed anti-aircraft guns. 4,400 self propelled artillery pieces. 3,500 towed artillery pieces.

Put in simpler terms, we're talking about a military force roughly two to three times the size of the German Blitzkrieg against western Europe. One armed with nuclear weapons, and lead by a group of people that could charitably be called insane.

The comparison to the Blitzkrieg is not a casual one, because it's invariably noted that North Korea's military is antiquated compared to the US. That doesn't make them not dangerous. It's not a well known fact, but in actuality going into the Battle of France in 1940, the German forces had a significant technological weakness against the Allies. Only 10% of the German military was motorized; much of their logistical support still depended on horse-drawn vehicles. Meanwhile the French alone not only had more tanks overall than the Germans, they had better ones, with thicker armor and better guns. At one fight, a single French "Char B1" tank destroyed thirteen German tanks, being hit over 140 times, without being destroyed. But technical superiority isn't everything; even a much more modern army can be overwhelmed by sheer numbers, something that the North has structured its entire military around.

That is the raw danger of North Korea: yes, they're crazy. And they're also capable of starting a major war. While we might laugh at their missiles exploding on them, and that they desperately need a new writer for their propaganda, but any war with them would likely end up being extremely brutal, even if it was short. They should not be underestimated.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Even a more modern army can be overwhelmed... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, defluxion10, kyril

    The French had numerical superiority.

    We can have change for the better.

    by phillies on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 03:48:07 PM PDT

  •  Compare (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp, alguien, cynndara, kyril

    A comparison with the South Korean military would be of interest.

    A modest number of Hiroshima yield nuclear weapons gives them the sort of air attack capacity we had with conventional weapons in the Pacific, except that they have challenges delivering them.

    Of more interest are large stocks of persistent nerve gas and anthrax rounds.

    We can have change for the better.

    by phillies on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 03:50:04 PM PDT

  •  Why aren't the Chinese putting a jack boot on (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jeff in nyc, Timaeus, defluxion10, BachFan

    Their neck.

  •  Wow. You are not very smart. (7+ / 0-)

    You are buying into, or are attempting to sell, the miltary-industrial complex propaganda about N Korea.

    1) How do those people actually get to the U.S.? They don't have any ships/air transports to deliver these troops overseas.

    2) So they attack S Korea.  Our modern missiles and drones strike with surgical precision every military support complex/road/bridge they need to use and very quickly end the assault.

    At some point we should be insisting the S Korea and Japan invest more of their ecnonomy in their own defense.

  •  What could possible go wrong? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurious, shenderson, kyril, KenBee

    Anonymous knows how to hack, but it has no insight into how North Korea might respond to a cyber-invasion – and likely won’t be the target if North Korea decides it must retaliate

    Ron Reagan: "Sarah Palin's constituency are people who wear red rubber noses and bells on their shoes."

    by AnnetteK on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 04:03:54 PM PDT

  •  Over in Wingertopia, the word is the NK are (15+ / 0-)

    planning on using their weather satellites to jam all US electronic communications, killing all computers, phones etc. rendering us helpless while they invade.  After all, look at what NK did to us at Pearl Harbor.

    For a bit more reasoned appraisal of the situation,

    Besides won't Iran be pissed if NK destroys us first?  Don't forget Saddam was preparing to lob nukes our way. I note Cheney is muttering dark prophecies against NK's ambitions.

    At the rate things are going, given our media is now 24/7 Chicken Little Express every time a country that is not our good buddy sneezes, it seems at some point we would reach the fear saturation point.  NK is not the USSR nor China and we managed to muddle through much more dangerous times with a bit less drama it seems

  •  I'm not attacking you (8+ / 0-)

    or being sarcastic or trying to be a dick. I just wanted to say that up front in case my words don't hit the eyes and ears the way I intend them to.

    Do you really think this is so?

    That too many people aren't taking North Korea seriously because they are made fun of a lot? Or that the amount of material is indicative of a laxness in walking a wall and seeing the North Koreans as a real threat to peace?

    Yes. Comedians make fun of North Korea.
    Yes. They are on the receiving end of a lot of jokes.
    Yes. People, laypeople and policy wonks, get their whistling past the graveyard licks in. Gallows humor.

    I take the exact opposite tact.

    I think people making fun of North Korea is actually a sign that people in powerful places are taking them very, very seriously.

    Humor is a tell.

    Comedians don't waste their time making fun of disproportionately powerful people, and disproportionately dangerous people, places, and things, because they are not, actually, really dangerous and should be things to be extra-wary of.

    If I want North Korea to be seen as the snakepit of crazy that it is, and the unstable mess that hurts millions that it could be?

    I'm actually heartened by the amount of humor and scarcasm and mockery sent their way.

    It's a sign that people do, in fact, get it. And are paying attention.

    Nobody is doing a skit about the crazy shit that comes out of some President for Life in some third world land who never makes the news for a reason.

    The threat is what makes the humor hit home a little harder and makes you laugh a little louder.

    Also, again again, I am not trying to be a dick or attacking you, and I don't want my words to be taken that way.

    Going right to Hitler, or WW2, to frame a point gives me Bush-era flashbacks, and get my back up a little.

    After the Iraq War, after everything that happened after 9/11 that has saddled us with two wars and trillions of dollars in debt, can you understand how many Americans, like me, would be wary of just putting our brains in the new Hitler pickle jar and not, even with a piece of shit regime like North Korea has, not want to just waddle in bellicosity while recognizing that the North Korean state is dangerous and needs to be checked and kept in check?

    When I see laundry lists of weapons, and dire warnings to be serious, there is a part of me, and I do apologise for this is it seems like I'm being disrepectful of your opinion when I'm truly not, that flashes back to the run up to the Iraq War and how to judge who is, and who is not, "serious" about the world and how to behave moving forward.

    Meaning, the more easily you are to accept the most hawkish person's perscription for peace, the more serious you are and the more your words count.

    I agree that North Korea is serious, means business, and needs to be dealt with.

    Just, please, be careful about positing the notion that too many are taking such a nation too lightly because of what you see in popular culture that is triggered by the danger rather than a dismissal of it and rattling the sabre to maybe become a more serious and sober voice.

    Some of us have scars from NeoConservatism, and NeoLiberalism's enabling if their worst overreaches, and are never going to willingly find ourselves pushed to those soils as the jumping off points for debates and discussions ever again, while still being very mindful of national security and serious threats to all of our liberties.

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 04:17:11 PM PDT

    •  The difference between Iraq and N Korea (5+ / 0-)

      besides everything else of course, is that one of them is actively threatening us and the other was inviting inspectors in. When a crazy person makes threats, its a good idea to at least pay attention. Ask any victim of a shooting spree ever.

      •  Sure (5+ / 0-)

        The point that I was trying to make, one of them, is that there is a tone to the news these days that is almost darkly gleeful at the idea of another war. Every voice a relative hawk. I marvel at the lack of circumspection and measured tones after the Iraq War era.

        I juxtapose that with a frame that people aren't taking North Korea seriously enough and I blanche and grit my teeth. I see things being veal penned into a hot war footing right before my eyes, and considering the differences between the capabilities and the bigger picture threats of Iraq and North Korea, is the difference between hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis and thousands of dead and maimed US and allied troops, and a regional nuclear conflict that could kill millions.

        That is what I see in common with Iraq and North Korea. That we can go right back to pre-Iraq so easily. Even with so much more at stake.

        I actually agree with much of the diarists take.

        At the same time, I am deeply troubled by the way a shooting war that should be avoided at all costs because millions coud die in the region worst case, is being framed like an abstraction. It's familiar. It shouldn't be.

        I live in a land where the people who govern the discourse seem to see the world as their reality show, where people's pain is somebody else's problem and a hypothetical entertainment distraction.  

        I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

        by LeftHandedMan on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 04:54:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed about the urge to go to war (3+ / 0-)

          and sad that a nation has been desensitized to it.

          Im sure a ton of programs that would have been hit by the sequester are all of a sudden very valuable to our defenses and theres no possible way to cut off funding....

          •  Truthfully, they're not. (0+ / 0-)

            Most of the stuff that the sequester has hit is very public, and very attention grabbing, but really not all that vital to military capabilities. I might miss the Thunderbirds at the local air show, and the people of Seattle might NOT miss the Blue Angels, but in reality most of what's been cut is not particularly valuable, by any definition.

  •  Which is why there is logic (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jeff in nyc, kyril

    to the idea of South Korean pre-emptive strike on the NORKs.  The continuing warlike threat's by North Korea are very serious. It's easy for us here in the USA to say, wait for the NORK's to strike first.

    •  What logic? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LieparDestin, alain2112, Kevskos

      Let's make sure the NK artillery flattens Seoul?

      Remember how long it took to destroy the much smaller Serbian military is much much tinier Kosovo? Remember how much Serbian equipment drove out of Kosovo, with grinning soldier riding atop it all?

      A SK first strike would be over in hours. The NK artillery barrage would continue for weeks. If there's a winning strategy in there it's well-hidden.

      •  Army War College Paper.... (11+ / 0-)

        ....from a few years ago claimed that the PDRK Artillery arrayed along the DMZ could fire 500,000 (!) rounds in the first hour of a conflict.

        Presumably these would keep firing into RoK territory until they were destroyed, one-by-one by US and RoK air assets, which would take DAYS, there are thousands of these guns, many with ranges up to 20 miles, and they all have a big pile of bullets next to each one.

        These guns could not reach the capitol of Seoul, but could easily reach the suburbs and outskirts where a cupla billion dollars worth of industrial capacity is located.

        North Korea can't "win" a war with the south and the US, and neither can the south and US win such a war, either.

        Any time they get a wild hair up their ass they can essentially obliterate a huge hunk of the world economy by crashing markets, and there's NOTHING we can do to stop them.

        They've achieved a state of "MAD" equilibrium with us, and they didn't need a single nuke or missile to do it.

        They may very well be mad as hatters, and may very well need to be disarmed with force at some point, but it ain't gonna be easy, like Iraq < snarkoff/>

        "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

        by leftykook on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 05:36:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  A preemptive strike really isn't a win here. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      defluxion10, cynndara, kyril, Quicklund, KenBee

      Realistically, scenarios where there's a conventional war on the Korean peninsula probably do not turn out at all well for South Korea. At worst, they get conquered by the North; at best, they lose a huge amount of their infrastructure and a lot of dead troops and civilians for what would probably end up as a stalemate.

      •  You don't know that. (0+ / 0-)

        North Korea's missiles and nuclear technology will only get more developed in the future. South Korea likely would not be invading North Korea if war broke out.  Based on the strength of the NORK's military, which you outline above, an air attack by the South may be quite effective in slowing down or preventing any NORK plans of invading the South.

        •  No, I don't know that. (0+ / 0-)

          However, it's a reasonable assumption that if South Korea starts a conventional war against North Korea, air attacks--absent the use of very, very large fuel-air bombs, or small nuclear weapons (which they don't have, and we probably wouldn't give them) would probably not be enough to stop the North Korean military juggernaut from crossing the border and creating a disastrous situation.

      •  There is little chance of the North winning.... (6+ / 0-)

        ...but great chance of them making an unbelievable disaster.

        The RoK armed forces are a bunch of highly motivated, deranged stone killers with excellent equipment and leadership.  They're very capable of smashing the north half into the stone age all by themselves, just not without having a million dead citizens and billions in financial losses.

        Hasn't anyone tried BRIBERY for Cats' sake?

        "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

        by leftykook on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 05:42:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Er, I of course support the South, but I (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BachFan, Kevskos, kyril

          don't think they are "deranged stone killers."

          Moderate yourself.

          •  That was the armed forces being described (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            alain2112, Quicklund, IreGyre

            One visitor concluded "South Korean men have no concept as effeminate as 'macho'".

            Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

            by Dogs are fuzzy on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 06:12:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Between my dad's experience and my own... (0+ / 0-)

            ....observation of the RoK armed forces, I'd say my description is reasonable.

            My dad hauled them into battle in Viet Nam, and the amount of weaponry each soldier carried was cartoon-like, pick a guy up and shake him for a while and an unbelievable number of weapons would fall out, multiple firearms, several knives, brass knuckles, a sap....

            The US Marines that were with them expounded at length about how one shouldn't anger them...

            I've personally seen the RoK Army be particularly brutal in enforcing discipline, and our whole crew watched an RoK maintenance officer rifle-butt a sergeant in the face after an F-86 was allowed to jump off it's jacks and chains during a high-power engine run...

            "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

            by leftykook on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 06:19:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I've wondered about bribery (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cynndara, Quicklund, KenBee, IreGyre

          If half a billion got Kim Jong-Il to start peace talks, how much would it take to persuade his son to leave and set himself up as a billionaire in China, living just as well or better without the risk of a coup attempt?

          Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

          by Dogs are fuzzy on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 06:11:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's what puzzles the analysts. (0+ / 0-)

            Kim Jong Il, and his father, Kim Il Sung, both played more or less the same game with the west: Act crazy, threaten the peace, and then wait to get paid off in food aid, fuel, and other things in exchange for suspending the insanity for awhile.

            The young Kim Jong Un doesn't seem to be doing that. He's just threatening, and threatening, with no apparent goal in sight.

  •  So... somebody watched Red Dawn. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Preferred it when it was Russians and Cubans.


    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 04:21:54 PM PDT

  •  North Korea and the Kim family (10+ / 0-)

    Why do you think the propaganda machine of the DPRK is in over drive.  

    First it's the one year anniversary of Kim-Jong un's ascendancy to the leadership of North Korea after the sudden death of his father Kim-Jong il.  

    Unlike his father Kim-Jong un had 2 years of preparation has the chosen successor to Kim-Jong il who   had several decades before assuming the leadership of the DPRK.   Given these facts Kim-Jong un needs to show that he has the legitimate right to rule.  Hence all the saber rattling to show the people he is indeed a great leader.

    Second this Monday is the birthday of Kim-Jong il and given the Norths penchante for celebrating these anniversaries with missile launches which show the might and power the North Korean military and the strong leadership of the Kim family.

    While they are busily  provoking the world do you really think they are going to start a war that would bring an end not only to North Korea but the Kim families power.  Of course they aren't.  

  •  German doctrine was ahead of the Allies in 1940 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andrew F Cockburn

    Implying NK doctrine is as advanced over ROK/US doctrine iin 2013 is the bellylaugh heard 'round the world.

    I mean. come on!

    Is NK dangerous? Hell yes. They can do terrible damage from artillery in NK territory already there and already aimed at Seoul. But their vast stockpile of old would fare about as well as Iraq's much more modern army in Desert Storm. Which is to say many times the infamous "Highway of Death".

    •  Doctrine doesn't triple your forces. (0+ / 0-)

      And swarm attacks that disregard the lives of individual combatants--even by the hundreds of thousands--can be incredibly effective even against a superior strategy.

    •  In Desert Storm (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BachFan, itzadryheat, Quicklund

      we had the luxury of six months to deploy overwhelming numbers and start the war at our leisure.

      Plus we had large expanses of flat terrain perfect for armored warfare and maneuver.

      Any Korean conflict would involve us trying to deploy "on the fly".

      There's no doubt that we could beat North Korea. The question is, could we get enough forces there quickly enough?

      Presumably the DPRK would be trying to use their missile forces and special ops to degrade the South Korean ports we'd be using.

      Remember, all the heavy stuff comes in by ship. You theoretically can deploy an armored division by air but it's not really practical.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 06:48:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The ROK army is very capable. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IreGyre, sandbox

        I don't think the ROK needs massive American ground formations to smash an invasion. I am not saying such a war would not be very destructive. It would. But it would end up with the NK military machine destroyed, and with it the Kim dynasty. So I have a hard time thinking NK is going to try it.

  •  The North Koreans are not insane. (14+ / 0-)

    They are very paranoid. And why shouldn't they be. The USA has never signed a peace treaty with them, something they have long desired. We have imposed severe sanctions on them. We have called them part of an "axis of evil". We have talked at length about regime change. If you were a North Korean, what are you supposed to think? As Jimmy Carter pointed out, President Clinton sent him to Pyongyang in 1994 to negotiate a deal. They had one all worked out that included a peace treaty, no nukes, demilitarization, and normalized relations. That moron, Bush, threw it in the trash. Now is the time for Obama to grasp the nettle, send a new envoy and defuse this situation. Forget about the optics. Do the right thing and tell the North Koreans that as soon as they tone down the rhetoric, avoid firing any missiles, and keep quiet, we will start negotiations toward a comprehensive peace treaty as in the Clinton agreement.

    For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

    by Anne Elk on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 04:47:35 PM PDT

  •  Why leave out the air forces ? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andrew F Cockburn, Kevskos, BusyinCA

    North Korea's Geriatric Air Force Is A Harmless Joke Straight Out Of The 60s

    The MiG-23/FLOGGERs and MiG-29/FULCRUMs are the most modern interceptors in the inventory. However, the backbone of the Air Force remains the MiG-21. North Korea has 120 MiG-21/FISHBEDS and 60 MiG-19/FARMERS. The MiG-21s have 23-mm cannons and AA-2/ATOLL heat-seeking air-to-air missiles.
    MiG-21 1959 to 1985
    MiG-19 Introduction March 1955
    Status Still in service with DPRK Air Force

    In a hot war they would have no air force after just a bit .

    They have two long coasts and not much of a real navy .

    North Korea's fleet consist of approximately 630 combat vessels (Patrol craft, guided missile boats, torpedo boats, fire support craft, destroyers, frigates, corvettes, and three cruisers), 100 submarines, and 340 support craft (landing craft, hovercraft). As with the ground forces, 60% of the vessels are stationed near the demarcation line.

    Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11

    by indycam on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 04:49:58 PM PDT

    •  somewhere there is a bunch of sticks (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andrew F Cockburn, BusyinCA, IreGyre

      missing their planes.  

      I bet a number of the planes in that clip don't move under their own power.

    •  All of which would cease to exist on day three... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BachFan, Quicklund

      ...but they still have a bazillion cannons and infantry swarming like ants, and none of this is gonna be easy.

      "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

      by leftykook on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 05:46:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So... (0+ / 0-)

      late 1960's early 1970's air superiority tactics against those that are 40 years their better.

      Dogfighting is a skill not lost on any fighter pilot, but MiG-21's?  Really?  I see that their Air Force will be either shot down or grounded in short order, unless they plan on flying just night ops.

      The MiG-19's are no better.  I bet, though, if you look around, there are a couple of Korean War vets that might wanna whistle up a few F86's and fly in for some target practice...just for old time's sake.

      Take a trip into MiG Alley, anyone?   :P

      "There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result." - Winston Churchill

      by Dingodude on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 06:07:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  MiG-17s (4+ / 0-)

        and MiG-21s proved very capable against F-4's in Vietnam. They're hard to see and will turn inside of just about anything.

        From what I've read of North Korean tactics, they'd keep them down low and try to ambush attack planes coming through the passes.

        If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

        by Major Kong on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 06:24:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I would like to think (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          that our guys have learned from the battles in Mig Alley Oh those many moons ago.  Even though the technology had improved by the time Vietnam rolled around, there was still plenty of "stick and rudder" knife-fighting to go around for all.

          I know the -17's are like like trying to swat at gnats, but I know the airframes are getting a little long in the tooth (some of their planes have got to be at least as old, if not older than our -52's, and then some...)  It would be like us keeping B-47's and B-36's in the SAC inventory for intermediate range bomber work...

          "There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result." - Winston Churchill

          by Dingodude on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 06:45:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  They've also got '23s and '29s (5+ / 0-)

            Both of which carry a radar missile.

            Anything that can shoot you in the face from 15 miles is dangerous and needs to be respected.

            The Iraqis turned and ran. These guys aren't the Iraqis.

            If they're willing to take losses, and I haven't seen anything to convince me otherwise, they could probably do some damage.

            If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

            by Major Kong on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 06:56:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  In Iraq (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              turning on the motor was seen as ...
              they saw the heat of an engine that was started ,
              the aircraft went bang long before it started to roll .

              Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11

              by indycam on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 07:05:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I gues the two Iraqi MiG-29s (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                terabytes, itzadryheat, Quicklund, KenBee

                that almost shot my flight lead never got the word.

                If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

                by Major Kong on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 07:12:15 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Was Cesar Rodriguez your flight lead ? (0+ / 0-)

                  Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11

                  by indycam on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 07:27:02 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  ... (0+ / 0-)
                  Nick Cook, aviation consultant for Jane's Defense Weekly, said the Iraqis aren't just outgunned in the air, they also can't get off the ground without being spotted.

                  Cook said coalition air forces "have sewn up the battle space in terms of reconnaissance. In 2003, it is much more of a real-time picture. If an aircraft taxis out onto the runway, chances are it will be seen. If it gets into the sky, it will be shot down very, very quickly."

                  IRAQ'S AIR FORCE
                  Absence of Iraq's planes raises questions
                  Aging fleet could be being saved for one last salvo
                  April 02, 2003|By Bill Glauber and Hugh Dellios,

                  KUWAIT CITY — Some warplanes were bombed on runways. Others were dispersed and hidden amid trees. One was even spotted in a cemetery.

                  The remnants of Iraq's once-mighty air force have yet to be seen in the air so far in this war. Only a few mysterious ultralight aircraft have been spotted over the battlefield.

                  The Iraqi air force was pasted during that war after averaging 30 sorties daily during the conflict's opening week. Iraq's air force was pulverized when allied bombers crushed two-thirds of the country's aircraft shelters. By war's end, nearly half of Iraq's 750-aircraft fleet was gone, with at least 150 planes destroyed on the ground and others shot down, captured or destroyed by allied ground forces.

                  Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11

                  by indycam on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:14:54 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Major Kong flew in Desert Storm (0+ / 0-)

                    Not in Mister Bush's War. That I believe is the source of the confusion.

                    Pardon my kibbutz.

                  •  That was in 2003 (0+ / 0-)

                    I first saw that technology in 2002 when I was flying Operation Northern Watch.

                    We didn't have that in 1991 as far as I know.

                    Note that in 2003 Iraq had maybe 10 flyable aircraft on any given day due to parts shortages. In 2002 they would launch maybe 2 or 3 training sorties a day.

                    If they were really feeling frisky they might send a MiG-25 up towards the no-fly zone just to see if we were paying attention.

                    In 2003 when the country was invaded they launched exactly zero sorties. The supposed existential threat to the United States didn't even bother to put a plane in the air.

                    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

                    by Major Kong on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 04:51:09 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

    •  With very little pilot training (0+ / 0-)

      They can't afford to fly regularly.

      Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

      by Dogs are fuzzy on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 06:15:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Seeing this Video I'm thinking this (0+ / 0-)

      and about the "short range" of 9,000 miles for their large Diesel Subs is that any Sub can sink any Surface Ship ever built with torpedoes and at 9,000 N.miles all US Aircraft Carriers sent to a Korean War are well with-in range of those Subs and even their small subs have a range of 1500 N. miles agine more than enough range to hit a Air Craft Carrier launching planes to hit North Korea.

      •  PS imagine a Jet moving at 700+ MPH as (0+ / 0-)

        a Kamikaze.

      •  How does NK find the USN task force? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        In order to engage a fleet, NK would have to know where that fleet is. Aircraft carriers can stand a bit offshore.

        NK turns on their radars, the lose their radars.

        They send up 1950s era planes for recon, the lose 1950s era planes.

        The subs are a problem. One could stumble on the task force. But the thing about most massive-size small-budget navies is that at any given time most of their ships are not capable of going to sea.

        War w/NK would be very destructive and it is to be avoided. But realistically NK is overmatched despite its arsenal.

  •  Does anyone remember all the threats Japan (6+ / 0-)

    made before Pearl Harbor? Do you remember them boasting about how they were going to use their aircraft carriers to take out the US Pacific fleet if FDR didn't give them free rein in east Asia? I didn't think so.

    Here is a hint: if an obviously weaker country is foaming at the mouth and boasting about its military might, it is a sign that they don't intend to do anything. If they were serious, they would be very calm and reasonable until they could get the knife in our back.

    There is one exception that I can remember- when Paraguay took on Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. That didn't turn out very well for Paraguay.

  •  There's no question they could make an ugly mess.. (4+ / 0-)

    in the first 24 hrs., lighting Seoul on fire from over the border. But they've got no air force or navy to speak of; their troops are malnourished and lack any combat experience or simulative training; their military leadership is full of sycophants chosen for ideological purity; and saying they suffer from fuel shortages is a significant understatement.

    Tanks rumbling across the DMZ would have to deal with mines and a forest. Any that made it across would be incredibly easy targets for the ROK and US air forces.

    So yes, the initial destruction could be quite awful. But without fuel, training or air cover, forward movement over the border would be incredibly hard to accomplish, whatever their numbers.

    "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

    by 2020adam on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 05:35:27 PM PDT

  •  A sample of what Seoul would experience for (4+ / 0-)

    hours if not days on end and this video is WW2 era weapons just think of what even 1950's era Artillery can do.Now if the North has 10,000 pieces targeted at Seoul and they fire at 2 rounds a minute that's 20,000 Shell a Minute for 60 Minutes that's 1,200,000 per Hour and so after 10 Hours Seoul could be hit with 12 Million Artillery Shells,oh and to do this each piece of Artillery would need just 1200 Shells stockpiled for each 10 hour period of continuous firing and that Clip was just a little over 2 minutes.

    •  Yes, my goodness, I think that's right. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      defluxion10, Kevskos, Quicklund
    •  how old is the ordinance? Dud rate? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      of course if 10% are duds... that still leaves the destructiveness of the other 90%... but it may be that they have a lot of old stuff stockpiled and just how reliable is it all? The fail rate might be a good deal higher... which could slow delivery. And what we do not know is how South Korea and the US military has planned to deal with the artillery. As is known the North has all the artillery on the north slope of mountains and hills north of the border and are set up to fire over the ridge line and that siting makes them more protected from artillery counter fire. So one would hope that the South and the US have secret tactics to wipe out the artillery in short order... and not just carpet bombing with conventional bombs from B52s or massive cruise missile counterstrikes....

      Maybe some munitions would be tailored to the situation... combination of fuel air bombs, anti personnel and high explosives. The US must have at least some classified weapons and tactics...

      plus the Sat nav capabilities of both sides... would be a new wrinkle. Artillery would all be already be set to deliver to specific coordinates with reasonable accuracy and updated target info too. So we would have Artillery guided by Google Earth (snark) for the North vs US military satellites operating in military mode -more accurate ... the newer European and Russian systems are not fully operational (as far as I know) and NK would not have access to them during a war... Jamming and counter jamming of signals would not help the North as much as it would the forces arrayed against them.

      The unknowable is just  how many sleeper agents could be activated in the south and just how much harm they could do to the South's defensive capabilities and infrastructure... we also do now know if any in this network have been compromised, gone over to the South... and whether this network is a serious and mostly undetected factor or whether they are more bluster than real. They could be real but already mostly known and plans to take them out, misdirect them etc. already exist to neutralize them.

      Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

      by IreGyre on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 04:36:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Listening to Pres. Carter last night you would... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus, Kevskos, Alhambra

    hear a different tone concerning our relationship with NK. If anyone knows our history with NK, it is no wonder that they don't trust us and want to get our attention so we will make a deal. Remember who has an interest in making NK seem like a big treat, MIC.

    Plato's " The Cave" taught me to question reality.

    by CTDemoFarmer on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 05:58:19 PM PDT

  •  What they're missing (5+ / 0-)

    Fuel: they can barely run their country as is, and have resorted to wood-burning trucks. Driving tanks and flying planes burns fuel at a mind-boggling rate. Unless China gives them a blank check for fuel imports they can forget about mechanized warfare.

    Mobility: closely related. If it takes three months to move one brigade under benign circumstances ( then maneuver warfare is not in the picture.

    Combat experience: All they've done for the last 60 years has been terrorism.

    Food: an army marches on its stomach. These soldiers ( are not going to march very far.

    On the other hand they've had 60 years to dig in and plenty of mountainous terrain in which to do it. Think Switzerland. Artillery is low technology but it works just as well today as it ever did. They are rumored to have some biological and chemical horrors in stock.

    Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

    by Dogs are fuzzy on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 06:01:34 PM PDT

  •  I would be more concerned (7+ / 0-)

    about their 10,000 or so special forces. The North Koreans are supposedly very good at infiltration.

    My father was a tank commander on the DMZ in 1963. One of the stories he tells was of being out on patrol one night. In the morning they found North Korean boot prints going through their perimeter.

    They had come through in the night, and done nothing, just to show that they could do it if they wanted to.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 06:19:29 PM PDT

    •  Yes. (0+ / 0-)

      I saw 100,000 as the NK SF manpower figure (someone citing that number on Kos in fact, IIRC), so the figure probably lies somewhere in between.

      The SF actually worries me, badly. I am reminded of the Wehrmacht (or Waffen SS) forces who wore US uniforms, carried American weapons, and drove US vehicles during the initial stages of the Battle of the Bulge; they may not in actuality have achieved very much, but they did cause enormous security disruptions amongst the Allied forces for days on end.

      What the Norks could do with mini-subs, AN-2 biplanes, and deceptive tactics and uniforms might prove to be extremely decisive in an attack, the like of which has not been seen before.

      I say we build stealth cargo drones and drop food packets marked "Made in USA" all over the north. If those can't be stopped, how does the NK government look then?

  •  Thanks to the sequester (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    defluxion10, rodentrancher, Quicklund
    The US Air Force has begun grounding about a third of its combat aircraft in response to deep budget cuts that began to take effect in March....
    "The current situation means we're accepting the risk that combat airpower may not be ready to respond immediately to new contingencies as they occur...''  Sequester: US Air Force grounds combat planes
    ...deterioration [of military readiness] would speed up and become more of a concern with each passing week... The Navy will keep ships in dock, and scheduled maintenance will slow down. Naval experts note that getting ships and sailors back up to speed after months of being idled won’t be quick.... As for the Marines, Pentagon officials said they “face significant cutbacks in training,” as does the Army. Sequester will hurt military readiness, Chuck Hagel says

    Lil' Kim should send the Republicans a thank you note.

  •  The Playbook Plan B (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Quicklund, IreGyre

    The pre-approved annual war games with South Korea which included "a well publicized show of force" with nuclear capable B-52s and B-2 bombers near the border with North Korea, was planned to assure backing for the hawkish new leadership in Seoul.

    U.S. intelligence agencies assessed the risks associated with the playbook and concluded there was a low probability of a North Korean military response because the regime's top priority has been self-preservation. U.S. officials believe the North understands that taking military action could prompt a devastating U.S. and South Korean counter-strike that could destabilize the regime.

    "Everyone is concerned about miscalculation and the outbreak of war. But the sense across the U.S. government is that the North Koreans are not going to wage all-out war," a senior Obama administration official said. "They are interested first and foremost in regime survival."

    Details may be read at this link.

    Orwell - "Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable"

    by truong son traveler on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 07:31:11 PM PDT

  •  No one with a clue thinks NK can "Win" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Quicklund, IreGyre

    . . . a war even against just South Korea, let alone SK and the US.

    NK can't hit us the US with a nuke yet. They are years away from that.

    What they could do, if they started a war against South Korea, is trash Seoul completely, and kill tens of thousands there. That's without even using nukes.

    If they are truely psychotic, they might, just possibly, be able to hit Tokyo with a small nuke, killing hundreds of thousands. Tokyo is the perfect target for an unreliable, inaccurate nuke - you can be off your point of aim by 50 km, and have barely more than a fizzle yield, and still kill maybe 200,000 people.

    After which . . . North Korea is obliterated. Their current leadership, their military, and some hideously large number of people who have done nothing except have the misfortune to be born in the wretched place, die. Horribly.

    This is a classic "lose-lose" situation. Nobody in the world, under any foreseeable circumstances, has anything to gain from starting a war on the Korean peninsula.

    I think the North Korean leadership actually realises this, but feel they gain somehow from the attention their bizarre posturing brings them.  

  •  Comments re: Germany vs. France very wrong. (5+ / 0-)

    The implication that Germany was technologically inferior to France in terms of tanks and mobility in 1940 is completely wrong.

    The French Army completely misunderstood the tactical use of armor, and as a consequence their tanks were designed with built-in flaws that made them far less effective than German tanks.

    Case in point: the Char-B1 bis was indeed far more heavily armed and armored than the contemporary German PanzerKampfwagen Mk. IV and Mk. III. However, the Germans had a much more sophisticated understanding of how tanks actually functioned; consequently their Mk. IV and Mk. III tanks were far more effective on the battlefield.

    The Char B1-bis had a powerful 75 mm main gun, but this was mounted in the front of the hull, requiring exposure of the entire vehicle to enemy fire to employ it. Furthermore the tank was huge, clumsy, slow, and hard to maneuver. Oh, and it had both very high fuel consumption and a small fuel tank, leading to a very short combat range of 80 miles or less. Making this much worse, the French army was incapable of getting fuel to tanks on a mobile battlefield.

    The result? The great majority of Char-B1 bis tanks were abandoned due to mechanical breakdown or after running out of fuel, without ever seeing combat. Meanwhile, the very reliable German Mk. IV and Mk. III tanks ran wild through the French lines.

    Furthermore, all French tanks had a critical operational flaw: their gun turrets were crewed by only a single man. The grossly overworked French tank commanders were expected to direct the driver, look for targets, and personally load and fire the main turret gun all by themselves. German tanks by contrast had three-man turret crews: a commander to look for targets and direct the crew, a loader to keep the gun loaded and ready to fire, and a gunner whose only job was to get the gun on target and score hits as fast as possible. As a result, German tanks were vastly more effective in combat than French tanks, regardless of how they matched up on paper.

    Yes, much of the German army depended upon horse-drawn carts for transport. But so did the French army! More to the point, the French army in 1940 still expected to operate at the glacial pace of 1918 trench warfare, while the German army understood exactly how revolutionary mechanized warfare really was, and planned to exploit this. The resulting collapse of the French army in the face of the blitzkrieg speaks for itself.

    Your argument has it exactly backwards. North Korea's army is huge, but outdated in many ways, much like the French army in 1940. The South Korean military and U.S. forces are not as numerous in terms of artillery tubes or infantry rifles, but that is a very misleading measure of military power. After all, in 1990, Sadam Hussein's army had a lot more conventional artillery and more infantry than the U.S. forces opposing him. And we all know how that turned out.

  •  In the event of A NK attack on the south... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...the North would be completely destroyed in days.  Don't buy into the North's own delusions.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 04:02:38 AM PDT

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