Preventing Preemptive War with North Korea

by Charles Davis

What’s wrong with a little hysteria when Donald J. Trump is the most powerful man on earth?

In October 2017, when the worst possible human being one could imagine calling “president” is in fact the president, hysterics would seem to be appropriate, particularly with that man casually threatening preemptive, potentially nuclear war on god-damn-Twitter every other morning.

It may all be a bluff—a pseudo alpha-male distraction from this deeply insecure male and his administration’s failures. But why assume, and disarm accordingly? The time to stop a preemptive war is before it starts, and wars have been blustered into before. Underestimating this man’s capacity for willful ignorance and evil, now, is about as savvy as dismissing his 2016 campaign as circus and spectacle.

We see what happens when Trump’s own allies in the Republican Party feel free to speak their minds.  After announcing that he would not run for reelection, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee, warned that we’re “on the path to World War IIIand compared the White House to “an adult daycare center,” images that conjured a loutish toddler, drunk on malign narcissism, steering the ship of state into heavy seas and Category 5 hurricanes.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) says he takes the threat of preemptive war seriously. “Many of us have begun to hear whispers of more serious war talk in and near the White House,” he tweeted on Monday, writing that Trump’s comments about the “calm before the storm” sent “chills” down his spine. “Now is the time — before it’s too late — for [Republicans] and [Democrats] to make clear no preemptive war against [North Korea] can happen without a vote by Congress,” he continued.

Murphy’s office did not immediately respond when asked what actions the senator is planning to take next. And what could he actually do? In practice, the president’s war-making powers are virtually unchecked. Should Trump give the order to nuke Pyongyang, the best hope would be a general refusing to carry out the order, and that’s not much of a hope. Congress hasn’t formally declared a war since World War II, content to defer to the executive branch, occasionally letting off steam with a non-binding resolution.

But dwelling on legality misses the point. Launching a war of choice is a political decision. When George W. Bush invaded Iraq, it was it least in part because he visualized himself landing a fighter jet and delivering a victory speech in front of a “Mission Accomplished” banner.

This is about politics; about loudly and preemptively rejecting the idea of a U.S. strike on Pyongyang so that the fragile ego behind the @POTUS Twitter account doesn’t think he’ll get a bipartisan, ticker tape parade for ensuring the deaths of, at a minimum, tens of thousands of people in Korea. The goal is not a resolution or a bill, but a critical mass of people, unconcerned with affecting a posture of bemused detachment, speaking out against a man-made cataclysm.

Those who speak out against preemptive war may be called hysterical by the sober and sophisticated analysts who got candidate Trump all wrong. But at least those who do can say that they tried. Compared to the alternative, it’s the lesser evil.

Charles Davis is a writer in Los Angeles whose work has been published by outlets such as Al Jazeera, The Daily Beast, The Intercept, The Nation and The New Republic. Follow him on Twitter: @charliearchy. Photo: Chris Murphy (ABC)

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  1. The deaths of, at a minimum, tens of thousands of people in Korea would include many Americans, especially at Camp Humphreys.

    The US forces in Korea will hold an evacuation drill later this month. “In the upcoming exercise, the United States will send a pre-selected group to be transported to Japan, simulating a real evacuation in the event of an emergency.” . . .A real evac would have to presage any attack on North Korea. Many of these people live at or near Camp Humphreys, where the US Forces Korea are consolidating. Camp Humphreys is 57 mi south of the Demilitarized Zone.

    Camp Humphreys, which began as a Japanese army airfield nearly a century ago, has seen its population more than double from last year to 26,000. A milestone occurred in July when the 8th Army moved its headquarters from the Army’s Yongsan Garrison in Seoul to a shiny new building across the street from Humphreys’ flight line. At Camp Humphreys the Army and Air Force Exchange Service facility includes a 124-seat dining room with a Taco Bell, a Subway and a Starbucks. There’s also a dry cleaner, and an eight-chair barber shop within its nearly 24,000 square footprint. Humphreys is becoming one of the most- modern and well-equipped Army installations in the world. The garrison, which will eventually house more than 46,000 people, also accepted the new USFK headquarters last week, meaning the building has been completed and passed an inspection. A new and larger post exchange, meanwhile, will celebrate its grand opening on Nov. 20. Officials also said the new library, an 18-hole golf course and two gas stations will open next year. The hospital, which has been plagued by significant construction and quality control issues, is expected to be turned over by November 2019.

    Defense Analyst Claims that Camp Humphreys Can Be Destroyed By North Korean Rockets
    Really nothing surprising here, North Korea has long been able to target Camp Humphreys with ballistic missiles, rockets just give them another way to attack the base
    What is new with the 300mm mobile rocket launcher is its accuracy, its mobility, and ability to rapidly fire multiple projectiles at the target (1 truck x 8 rockets x 6 launchers in a battery=48 rockets impacting…then 18 launchers in a BN =864 rounds on target), and the difficulty of shooting down a rocket vs shooting down a ballistic missile. Probability hitting the a rocket is a lot lower, and then try hitting 864 as they rain down. Warheads vary from HE, ICM to Chemical… Have a nice day.

  2. Donald Trump will be the death of millions of Americans. And republicans will not stop him. This is sad If this were Obama in office he would be impeached alone time ago. Trump has committed crimes that can be proven that makes him unfit for office. He has never been a commander. Never been a senator. Never been a governor. Never been a mayor. Never been in the military. Never drew up battle plans. And this man is disagreeing with top generals. This is a problem. Trump has hinted at preemptive sticks on north Korea. He also hinted at something good happing. From a country the USA has not been good with. And the man and wife were set free from captive. People trump wants to hit the nuclear button and soon. I fear for our lives.. Trump looks at this as a TV show. Not reality and his 36% of fans are egging him on. Kim has an EMP weapon that does not have to hit a target. Americas electrical grid is weak to this. Why do people believe Kim jun un is so confident.

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