Officers and troops across the country in the United States military are quietly preparing for a war with the hermit kingdom of North Korea. As quietly as possible, the increase in military exercises suggests a renewed focus on getting the country’s military prepared for what could be on the horizon with North Korea.
From Ft. Bragg in North Carolina, where last month a mix of 48 Apache gunships and Chinook cargo helicopters took off in an exercise that practiced moving troops and equipment under live artillery fire to assault targets; to the skies above Nevada, where 119 soldiers from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division parachuted out of C-17 military cargo planes under the cover of darkness in an exercise that simulated a foreign invasion, the military is practicing drill that could prepare them for a third world war. And this would most likely be a nuclear war.
Many have thought that this is all standard for a nation built on military might with a huge military industrial complex and a presence around the globe. But not all agree.Although Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, both argue forcefully for using diplomacy to address Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions, they still anticipate a war. A war with North Korea, Mr. Mattis said in August, would be “catastrophic.” Still, about two dozen current and former Pentagon officials and senior commanders said in interviews that the exercises largely reflected the military’s response to orders from Mr. Mattis and service chiefs to be ready for any possible military action on the Korean Peninsula.
Rhetoric between the US and Pyongyang has cooled since the high in September when president Donald Trump and North Korea’s dictator exchanged barbs. Trump vowed to “totally destroy North Korea” if it threatened the United States, and derided the rogue nation’s leader, Kim Jong-un, as “Rocket Man.” In response, Mr. Kim said he would deploy the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history” against the United States, and described Mr. Trump as a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard.”