Tuesday, October 12, 2010

By GI Korea

Charles Hanley & Nuclear Options On the Korean Peninsula

It seems like Charles Hanley of the infamous No Gun Ri fame just cannot seem to help himself in regards to sensationalizing articles about Korea. His latest article attempts to make everyone believe that the fact that the US had plans to use nuclear weapons on North Korea is some new shocking revelation:

From the 1950s Pentagon to today’s Obama administration, the United States has repeatedly pondered, planned and threatened use of nuclear weapons against North Korea, according to declassified and other U.S. government documents released in this 60th-anniversary year of the Korean War.

Air Force bombers flew nuclear rehearsal runs over North Korea’s capital during the war. The U.S. military services later vied for the lead role in any “atomic delivery” over North Korea. In the late 1960s, nuclear-armed U.S. warplanes stood by in South Korea on 15-minute alert to strike the north.

Just this past April, issuing a U.S. Nuclear Posture Review, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said “all options are on the table” for dealing with Pyongyang – meaning U.S. nuclear strikes were not ruled out.

The stream of new revelations about U.S. nuclear planning further fills in a picture of what North Korea calls “the increasing nuclear threat of the U.S.,” which it cites as the reason it developed its own atom-bomb program – as a deterrent. [Associated Press]

In true Charles Hanley fashion he of course brings up his declassified documents they found that uncovered this news:

The new information is contained in Korean War documents released by the CIA to mark this June’s anniversary of the start of the conflict; another declassified package obtained by Washington’s private National Security Archive research group under the Freedom of Information Act; and additional documents, also once top-secret and found at the U.S. National Archives, provided to The Associated Press by intelligence historian and author Matthew Aid.

Judging by this paragraph t actually seems that Hanley would prefer the entire Korean peninsula to be over run by the Chinese and the North Koreans than to have the US even contemplate the use of nuclear weapons:

Based on previously declassified documents, however, historians believe the U.S. came closest to unleashing its atomic arsenal against North Korea in April 1951, on the eve of an expected Chinese offensive.

With Truman’s signoff, the Joint Chiefs of Staff ordered A-bomb retaliation if large numbers of fresh Chinese troops entered the fight. In the end, the U.S. military repelled the Chinese push and the weapons were never used. But Pentagon planners retained the option.

Most of the time I say read the rest, but it isn’t worth your time because there is absolutely nothing new in this article and he even uses Selig Harrison in the article.

First of all it would be irresponsible of the Pentagon to not plan for all contingencies with the various units and weapons available. This is like someone 50 years from now finding documents that showed that the US had plans to use nuclear weapons to defend Europe against attack from an all out Soviet invasion during the Cold War. Much like the Cold War nuclear weapons after the Korean War were used to help maintain the peace on the Korean peninsula to hedge against any renewed North Korean hostilities, especially when the US military was heavily committed to the Vietnam War. It was sound strategic strategy that prevented a renewal of hostilities on the Korean peninsula.

Instead Hanley wants people to believe the reason the North Koreans are pursuing nuclear weapons now is because the US has plans to attack them with nukes. It has been clear for years that the North Koreans are pursuing nuclear weapons for a variety of reasons with self defense being at the bottom of the list since they know the US is not about to attack them. The nuclear weapons are pursued for regime prestige, nuclear blackmail against the West and South Korea, as well as an export technology. Self defense would be fourth on the list.

If the North Koreans did not have a nuclear capability the world would not take them as seriously as they are taken now and they know it and Charles Hanley has to know it to and yet mentions nothing in his article and just reiterates Selig Harrison’s pro-North Korean talking points. The North Koreans were already caught in 2007 proliferating nuclear technology to Syria and continue to be rumored to be linked to the Iranian nuclear program. Some how this doesn’t get mentioned by Hanley either; judging by his track record is anyone surprised?

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