The thread in which we sift through the smoldering wreckage of the American experiment

Joined: Sep 2008
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Esoteric AllusionMy biggest concern regarding N. Korea is that they will use a nuclear device in combat and Trump will be faced with the choice of engaging in tactical nuclear retaliation where doing so probably will save both America and S. Korea lives and money. My guess is that his instinct would be to do that and he'll have military advisors around him who would favor that course of action. A sizeable segment of the public will clamor for it. Fox and Friends probably will.

Making nuclear engagement completely unacceptable on a cultural level is a cornerstone to the nuclear security of the world. The right call is to pay more in blood and money to obliterate N. Korea with conventional forces even if they successfully launch a nuclear attack. I'm concerned that tactical use of nuclear weapons to speed up the destruction of N. Korea's artillery and missile capability will prime the pump to make future nuclear engagements more likely.

Also, nothing makes presidents popular quite like winning a war and I have zero faith that Trump won't try to win one just in time for sweeps.

I would almost consider it a given that the US would use tactical nukes against the North Korean artillery because of their numbers and because time is of the essence. From my reading, the artillery mostly just reaches the Northern parts of Seoul. The suburbs there would suffer the most in terms of casualties and economic ruin. Still, there is just no way the US allows for a large part of Seoul to be left in ruins simply because the US has reservations about using nukes again.

I know of no other way of hoping to stop it without tactical nukes. If tactical nukes are off the table, then what choice is left? South Korea does, but the US really has no immediate ground forces for an offensive in the North. Ground forces will be needed to knock out the artillery and that will take a lot of time considering the sheer number of pieces and navigating the most heavily landmined area on the planet. Cruise missiles and conventional air strikes aren't going to be reactive enough to hope to get artillery that pops up within minutes and that can be stowed away and protected just as quickly. And the first few days of the war, the US would have to concentrate on knocking out air defenses. That'll be easy enough, but again it will take time. The F-35 is not really in operation yet, so the US will have to rely on B-2's and F-22's early. If the US were to use its entire arsenal of those two planes, then we're talking less than 200 planes combined.

I'm not completely up to date on where the carriers are at. I believe that with its detour, the USS Carl Vinson should just about be within range. The US also keeps a carrier group in Japan as its home port, but I don't believe the USS George Washington is even active right now. As important as the carriers will be where the amphibious assault ships are. As old and in need of replacement that they are, AV-8B Harriers are fine against the North Korean air force. Their air force might want to sit this one out, in fact. The only threat to the US Navy will be outclassed submarines and land-based anti-ship missiles. On this board, I have long maintained that aircraft carriers are vulnerable to being sunk, but the US should be fine against the Koreans. Were it the Chinese or some other near-peer navy/anti-navy, I would be more worried.

Should this actually go down soon, I still believe it will involve "just" tens-of-thousands of deaths initially and then a race against humanitarian disaster in the North after most hostilities have ended. This all depends on North Korea's actions. The US should probably welcome a North Korean invasion. They'll have no air cover and they would have to navigate the mines, plus the current US force is more defensive. However, those first few days would be bloody as hell. It would force the US to counter strike against the invasion first instead of hitting air defenses in the North, and that buys time for their artillery.

I guess it is still possible for this to be a US versus North Korea war without South Korean involvement. That would certainly make it more interesting. If China isn't involved, then the US will probably go the same route MacArthur did and invade on the Western front. But, it just doesn't seem plausible that the South Koreans don't get into this mix. I am also curious which other countries ally with the US. I know Australia and the UK are a given, but do we see Japan actively involve themselves? I can see a lot of countries at least adding their presence to the US Navy.

Anyway, it looks like the ball is in North Korea's court. If they test their nuke, then I'd say we're over 50-50 for a war.
Apr 15, 2017 6:52 PM
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Moses -

What you say about the initial days of a military conflict between the US and N. Korea is what I've read. I don't pretend to no more than the basic info you'll find in FP magazine, but I expect that to be broadly accurate.

What I'm saying is I would prefer the US and its allies fight a conventional war. I would want S. Korea to manage a civilian evacuation / refugee crisis and accept significant economic devastation on their northern border. I would expect the US to have to engage in a supply and manpower build-up and accept losses until it can do so. This is the loss of blood and money I am referring to.

I think this is preferable to the more efficient use of tactical nuclear weapons because I believe what is keeping the world from using nuclear weapons isn't simply self-interested calculations about mutual destruction, but widely shared cultural norms about the unacceptability of nuclear warfare. I think the US using nuclear weapons in this case, even in response to nuclear provocation, damages those norms and unacceptably raises the risk of nuclear conflicts breaking out elsewhere in the future. For example, I think it makes it more likely that Pakistan and India will engage in limited nuclear war within a generation. The costs in casualties and economic devastation from that is orders of magnitude greater than what would happen in a Korean conflict if the US would have to use conventional firepower more slowly.

If the US were to launch nuclear weapons of any type as a first strike, I would favor the deaths of anyone in the US leadership who authorized or enabled such an action by any means necessary. You know, hypothetically.
Apr 15, 2017 8:58 PM
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E_A, I agree with your points.

If North Korea were to actually detonate a nuclear weapon, then I couldn't imagine any American President having the restraint to not answer back -- never mind that our President is Trump, and I don't think a second thought would cross his mind.

Maybe this all depends on on just where the nuke detonates and the size and how many, etc. It would almost assuredly be inside of South Korea, and who knows where that would leave us. The South Koreans certainly have some say-so in the matter, and as both China and Russia share a border with the North Koreans so they'll certainly have a voice. I don't believe that the North Koreans are yet able to affix their nukes to a functioning warhead, but if they can or they were able to detonate one somehow (like with a boat) against an American military base in Japan, then I suspect Trump would just end them as a country.

Whatever the case with nuclear weapons, far too much power is given to the President to use them unilaterally. North Korea is not currently a threat to end United States civilization, so the President doesn't need to hastily mash the button to protect us as he might against China or Russia. Some sort of safeguard is needed with these damn things so we don't have a trigger-happy idiot capriciously killing millions.

Do you have any ideas on how to restrain possible nuclear engagements? I do at least like the idea for a law that mandates the death of whoever gives the okay for their usage no matter the circumstance. Maybe that would serve as some protection against a sociopath leader.
Apr 16, 2017 12:53 AM
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Apr 17, 2017 4:34 PM
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Tiffany Trump posted this on FB.



Tiffany TrumpDear Lord, I pray in the Mighty name of Jesus, that you would give Donald J Trump wisdom and that you would protect him and fill him with Your Spirit and help him to withstand the fiery darts of the enemy


One of my nieces faved it. Ugh. Disowned!
Apr 18, 2017 2:23 PM
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Apr 18, 2017 6:27 PM
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CNN is reporting that the Steele dossier was used to help get a FISA warrant on Page. According to CNN:

Officials familiar with the process say even if the application to monitor Page included information from the dossier, it would only be after the FBI had corroborated the information through its own investigation. The officials would not say what or how much was corroborated.
Apr 18, 2017 10:18 PM
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Wow, shocking: Nunes' claims that Susan Rice "unmasked" Trump campaign officials for nefarious reasons was complete bullshit.
Apr 19, 2017 3:25 PM
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The first documents, from a semi-government think tank (heavy ties to Russian intelligence and directors selected by Putin), that were purportedly circulated "at the highest level of the Russian government" outlining a plan to interfere with the American election.

The first document from June 2016 "recommended the Kremlin launch a propaganda campaign on social media and Russian state-backed global news outlets to encourage U.S. voters to elect a president who would take a softer line toward Russia than the administration of then-President Barack Obama" and the second from October "warned that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was likely to win the election. For that reason, it argued, it was better for Russia to end its pro-Trump propaganda and instead intensify its messaging about voter fraud to undermine the U.S. electoral system's legitimacy and damage Clinton's reputation in an effort to undermine her presidency".

The documents are still alleged at this point, but I haven't seen any denials of their existence.

Reuters
Apr 20, 2017 11:01 PM
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You can kinda see why Sessions is so confused about Hawaii's statehood. I mean, it's like barely white.
Apr 20, 2017 11:18 PM
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Almost-real-quote from Florida Republican Ted Yoho: "Obama constantly partied in Africa on the taxpayers dime. Look at him. Anyone can see that's true."
Apr 20, 2017 11:27 PM
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Apr 21, 2017 2:32 PM
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Apr 21, 2017 9:32 PM
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Apr 24, 2017 4:03 PM
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Apr 25, 2017 1:24 PM
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Just got myself wound up reading a Twitter thread started by James Woods to the effect of "Why hasn't the ACLU stepped in on behalf of Ann Coulter re: the Berkeley thing?" with a massive outpouring of vitriol directed at the ACLU from Woods' fellow Trump supporters, when in reality the ACLU has come out in defense of Coulter and did so before Woods even posted this. Why do I do this to myself? It's like non-physical cutting.
Apr 26, 2017 2:04 PM
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wirthlingJust got myself wound up reading a Twitter thread started by James Woods to the effect of "Why hasn't the ACLU stepped in on behalf of Ann Coulter re: the Berkeley thing?" with a massive outpouring of vitriol directed at the ACLU from Woods' fellow Trump supporters, when in reality the ACLU has come out in defense of Coulter and did so before Woods even posted this. Why do I do this to myself? It's like non-physical cutting.

People on the left and right are retarded on this issue. The first amendment prohibits the government from suppressing speech. It doesn't apply to private institutions, so there would be nothing for the ACLU to litigate here. And it's not just poorly informed Twitter warriors going on about this. I've heard the first amendment invoked on NPR in regards to this issue. It's really irritating to hear.
Apr 26, 2017 3:14 PM
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Paquito
wirthlingJust got myself wound up reading a Twitter thread started by James Woods to the effect of "Why hasn't the ACLU stepped in on behalf of Ann Coulter re: the Berkeley thing?" with a massive outpouring of vitriol directed at the ACLU from Woods' fellow Trump supporters, when in reality the ACLU has come out in defense of Coulter and did so before Woods even posted this. Why do I do this to myself? It's like non-physical cutting.

People on the left and right are retarded on this issue. The first amendment prohibits the government from suppressing speech. It doesn't apply to private institutions, so there would be nothing for the ACLU to litigate here. And it's not just poorly informed Twitter warriors going on about this. I've heard the first amendment invoked on NPR in regards to this issue. It's really irritating to hear.

UC Berkeley is not a private institution.
Apr 26, 2017 3:23 PM
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wirthling
Paquito
wirthlingJust got myself wound up reading a Twitter thread started by James Woods to the effect of "Why hasn't the ACLU stepped in on behalf of Ann Coulter re: the Berkeley thing?" with a massive outpouring of vitriol directed at the ACLU from Woods' fellow Trump supporters, when in reality the ACLU has come out in defense of Coulter and did so before Woods even posted this. Why do I do this to myself? It's like non-physical cutting.

People on the left and right are retarded on this issue. The first amendment prohibits the government from suppressing speech. It doesn't apply to private institutions, so there would be nothing for the ACLU to litigate here. And it's not just poorly informed Twitter warriors going on about this. I've heard the first amendment invoked on NPR in regards to this issue. It's really irritating to hear.

UC Berkeley is not a private institution.

No, so Paquito looks like an idiot, but the school has no obligation to allow certain speakers either.
Apr 26, 2017 4:11 PM
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The biggest 1st Amendment idiot, though, is Howard Dean, who has been repeatedly insisting that the 1st Amendment doesn't protect "hate speech" (a term with no legal meaning) and, when pushed on that, insists that Ann Coulter's speeches are "incitement" (they aren't).
Apr 26, 2017 4:13 PM
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