While thousands of U.S. soldiers sweat and bleed in the dunes of the Iraqi desert, a much more dangerous enemy grows in the Far East.
The invasion of Iraq, according to President Bush, was in response to the numerous weapons of mass destruction that the Middle-Eastern country had in their possession and the threat they posed to the United States.
He was wrong about the WMDs, but three years and 2,500 U.S. casualties later, the United States is still at war.
Meanwhile, the tiny communist-country, North Korea, blasted six nuclear warheads into the Sea of Japan on July 4 while most Americans drank beer and barbecued hot dogs in their backyards.
The timing of the missile-tests was no coincidence.
North Korea and leader Kim Jong-Il were sending a message to the United States and its allies.
The North Korean government launched three different missile-types July 4, all representing specific targets. The SCUD, with a range of about 435 miles, is ideal for neighboring enemy, South Korea. The mid-range Nodong, with a range of 810-932 miles, could reach Japan. The Taepodong 2, with a range of 2,600-3,700 miles, possesses the capability of hitting the western United States.
Luckily for the United States, the Taepodong 2 failed 42 seconds after liftoff, in the rocket’s booster-stage. U.S. officials, however, warn its citizens not to interpret this as failure. They said the Taepodong missiles are capable of reaching Alaska.
President Bush said this was “a clear provocation of war,” but adds there is no immediate threat to the U.S. That did not stop him with Iraq.
Bush sprinted into war with Iraq the moment the words “nuclear weapons” were whispered.
With North Korea, the United States has clear evidence of their nuclear capabilities and willingness to use them. The United States should not necessarily pull its military out of Iraq and deploy them in North Korea. It is difficult, however, to ignore the fact that the latter possess a far greater threat.
Perhaps the Bush administration is leery of getting involved in another Korean conflict or any kind of conflict in Southeast Asia. The United States’ track record in that region is not outstanding.
Maybe the current administration is simply scared of going to war with a formidable foe. The North Korean state-run media has gone on record saying a U.S. military strike would result in an “annihilating attack and nuclear war.”
The U.S. currently has 37,000 troops stationed in South Korea and almost 50,000 in Japan. If Kim Jong-Il decides to start firing off missiles, these soldiers would be in grave danger. North Korea also boasts an army of 1 million.
Whatever the reason is that one war continues and another looms before us.
Time magazine’s online European edition recently conducted an informal poll. The question was “Who poses the greatest threat to world peace; Iraq, North Korea or the United States?” More than 81 percent of 200,000 people polled said the U.S.
People likely answered this way because they believe the U.S. is too quick to jump into war. Maybe it is a good thing that the U.S. is handling the North Korean situation slowly and carefully.
Perhaps we should have used the same philosophy with Iraq.