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Graham’s Deranged Desire to Start a War with North Korea

Lindsey Graham reminds us [1] once again that he is a deranged warmonger:

Graham said that Trump won’t allow the regime of Kim Jong Un to have an ICBM with a nuclear weapon capability to “hit America.”

“If there’s going to be a war to stop [Kim Jong Un], it will be over there. If thousands die, they’re going to die over there. They’re not going to die here. And He has told me that to my face,” Graham said.

This isn’t the first time that Graham has blithely talked about starting a war with North Korea [2], and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Graham has never seen a war–preventive or otherwise–that he couldn’t support, but it is a measure of how fanatical he is that he won’t even shy away from what would be a major, very costly war that could potentially involve the use of nuclear weapons. Perversely, he justifies an illegal attack on North Korea as though it is an act of self-defense, which it clearly is not, but the result of such an attack would be to make the U.S. and all of our regional allies less secure.

Our allies won’t be pleased to hear that American politicians are so cavalier with the lives of their citizens, but what is equally worrisome is that Graham is talking up the prospect of attacking North Korea after they have already demonstrated the ability to build missiles that can reach U.S. territory. He is threatening a nuclear-armed North Korean regime with attack, but somehow thinks that North Korea wouldn’t respond to that attack with everything it had. Interventionists usually prefer to target weak, outmatched states that can’t fight back very well, but attacking North Korea would lead to a much bloodier, far more destructive war than anything we have seen in the last sixteen years. That Graham seems eager to start such a war ought to discredit his foreign policy views from now on, but as we know there is no accountability in our foreign policy debates and hard-liners continue to be taken seriously despite supporting one debacle after another. We may hope Graham doesn’t get the war he clearly wants, but that depends on the good judgment of a president who has thus far shown none.

25 Comments (Open | Close)

25 Comments To "Graham’s Deranged Desire to Start a War with North Korea"

#1 Comment By FL Transplant On August 1, 2017 @ 11:42 am

I imagine the South Koreans aren’t too pleased when we discuss engaging in a war that would devastate their country, that would require them to shoulder the burden of the blood, because we think such a war is in our best interests. But since we’d be pretty much removed from the death and destruction why should we care what happens to them, right?

Kind of like convincing your buddy to get into a bar fight on your behalf while you offer to hold his jacket for him.

#2 Comment By SDS On August 1, 2017 @ 12:19 pm

If Lindsay Graham wants a war; let him go there with HIS kids(oh, that’s right) and do the fighting and the dying. Getting pretty tired having the neocons send other folks’ kids into the meat grinder.
Let THEM do it next time….

#3 Comment By Mia On August 1, 2017 @ 12:32 pm

“He” told Graham to his face. “He” who? God told him South Koreans deserve to die instead of Americans? Unfreakingbelievable. And I say this as a religious woman….

#4 Comment By Uncle Billy On August 1, 2017 @ 12:52 pm

A war with North Korea will not be neat and clean. Even if North Korea is unable to attack the Continental US, thousands of Americans will die, and likely, millions of South Koreans as well. Graham is rather cavalier about this. How can an intelligent man be so flippant about millions of people dying?

#5 Comment By bacon On August 1, 2017 @ 1:10 pm

From a practical viewpoint, North Korea, unless we attacked the whole country with nuclear weapons, could probably invade and occupy South Korea. What would we do then? Maybe try to convince Japan to let us use one of the northern islands as a staging ground for another D Day effort? Those who say confidently that North Korea can’t win a war with the US are right, but should look at the probability that we can’t win a war with North Korea either.

#6 Comment By Kinch On August 1, 2017 @ 1:55 pm

It’s Graham recounting a conversation with Trump. The pronoun was mistakenly capitalized.

#7 Comment By Jon S On August 1, 2017 @ 1:55 pm

The United States slaughtered somewhere between 1/6th and 1/3rd of North Korea’s population during the Korean War. That would be comparable to a foreign country killing between 56 and 112 million Americans today.

And they still notice that we have 10’s of thousands of our troops on their border today. I’d be building nukes as fast as I could if I were them.

#8 Comment By Just Dropping By On August 1, 2017 @ 2:12 pm

@ bacon: While I am opposed to starting a war with North Korea, it is very unlikely that North Korea could successfully occupy the entirety of South Korea unless the Russians and Chinese provide it with major assistance. Most critically, North Korea has no meaningful domestic oil production or refining capacity, which would make an advance far into South Korea very difficult to sustain in light of massive South Korean air superiority. (The North Korean air force is nominally about 30% larger than the South Korean air force, but that includes literally hundreds of aircraft dating from the 1970s and earlier, and North Korean pilots receive a fraction of the training of their South Korean counterparts.)

#9 Comment By No to neos On August 1, 2017 @ 2:22 pm

In the mid-1940s pre-emptive war was called “war of aggression” and people were executed for their roles in such war. That’s what the Nuremberg Trials were all about.

#10 Comment By WillW On August 1, 2017 @ 2:37 pm

Would it be illegal? Wasn’t it just a cease fire in 53? Technically we’re still at war, right, so wouldn’t an attack just be resuming hostilities? Seriously asking, just to be clear!

#11 Comment By JRP On August 1, 2017 @ 6:09 pm

WillW you are correct. The reason for so much tension and posturing along the 38th parallel for so many years is due to a negotiated CEASE FIRE in ’53. That part of the world certainly stands on the razor’s edge.

#12 Comment By ScottA On August 1, 2017 @ 6:57 pm

It’s scary this guy is in the Senate, and it’s even scarier if Trump agrees with him. Has Graham even been in the military, or is he just another DC chickenhawk who thinks he is a big tough guy because he sends other men and women off to fight and die while he sits in an air conditioned office.

#13 Comment By Clifford Story On August 1, 2017 @ 7:17 pm

“Suppose you go to war, you cannot fight always; and when, after much loss on both sides, and no gain on either, you cease fighting, the identical old questions as to terms of intercourse are again upon you.” Abraham Lincoln

It’s those “terms of intercourse” we ought to be working on, not the creation of new disasters.

#14 Comment By WillW On August 1, 2017 @ 9:16 pm

ScottA, Graham was an Air Force JAG officer. He stayed in the Air Force Reserve and recently retired as a Colonel. So, not exactly flying an A-10 in close support but the man has worn a uniform, for whatever that’s worth.

#15 Comment By ScottA On August 1, 2017 @ 9:36 pm

It looks like Graham was in the US Air Force to answer my earlier question, so I give him credit for having been in the military. But still, it doesn’t make starting a war with North Korea a great idea.

#16 Comment By Leonidas On August 2, 2017 @ 2:30 am

I’d have more respect for Lindsey had he been an Infantryman and served on the ground in the recent wars. He did not. He served as an Air Force Reserve JAG. It would also love to see if he had the same point of view if his sons and nephews were serving in the Infantry on the front lines.

#17 Comment By Johann On August 2, 2017 @ 8:03 am

Rex Tillerson – “We have reaffirmed our position towards North Korea, that what we are doing, we do not seek a regime change; we do not seek the collapse of the regime; we do not seek an accelerated reunification of the peninsula; we do not seek an excuse to send our military north of the 38th parallel.

We are trying to convey to the North Koreans we are not your enemy, we are not your threat, but you are presenting an unacceptable threat to us, and we have to respond,”

I imagined that statement sent the neocons into a fit of rage.

#18 Comment By Kevin On August 2, 2017 @ 8:42 am

“ScottA says:
August 1, 2017 at 6:57 pm
It’s scary this guy is in the Senate, and it’s even scarier if Trump agrees with him. Has Graham even been in the military, or is he just another DC chickenhawk who thinks he is a big tough guy because he sends other men and women off to fight and die while he sits in an air conditioned office.”

Graham is an air force colonel (serving at JAG) but that doesn’t make him any less of a lunatic

#19 Comment By Dan Green On August 2, 2017 @ 10:27 am

Military folks like war.

#20 Comment By Greg in PDX On August 2, 2017 @ 2:21 pm

We here in Portland and our neighbors in Seattle are just thrilled that Graham wants to start a war that might see our cities nuked. And I, personally, am delighted that I may get to live the Cold War and its incessant fear of nuclear war all over again.

#21 Comment By Frank Blangeard On August 2, 2017 @ 8:51 pm

The Korean Armistice Agreement of 1953 was signed by the United States, North Korea and China. If the agreement is broken that would mean that all three of those signatories could reengage in warfare. Graham discounts the idea that China would reengage if the Agreement was broken.

#22 Comment By Robert On August 3, 2017 @ 10:54 am

Graham functions as a tool for the Military-Industrial-Complex (or better-described Hollywood-MSM-Military-Industrial-Complex.) Tillerson, on the other hand does have a mind of his own. In trying to cool the rhetoric, he said “We’re trying to convey to the North Koreans: We are not your enemy, we are not your threat,” he said. “But you are presenting an unacceptable threat to us, and we have to respond.” IOW, “You’ve got the bomb and pretty soon, a delivery system.”
Why should that be an “unacceptable threat”? So does Pakistan, India, Israel, not to mention sometimes enemies like Japan (has ICBM’s and very well may have one), England (they did burn Washington and the White House), and, of course France. The whole country went nuts when the Rosenbergs gave the bomb secrets to the Russians (when actually, the key info came from someone who was never prosecuted), and guess what- 65 years later, they have yet to bomb us- because it would be suicide. Ditto North Korea. So stop foaming at the mouth already.

#23 Comment By Fran Macadam On August 3, 2017 @ 11:54 am

Maybe something in his brain is warping his judgement like his war monger pal.

#24 Comment By Ray Woodcock On August 3, 2017 @ 5:16 pm

The article, and some comments here, do not do justice to the quandary we face. One of the world’s worst regimes is apparently within a year of having the capacity to incinerate American cities. Its leader has shown little sign of mere bluff or game-playing; it seems this capacity is exactly what he intends to achieve.

We are presently worried that war with his military would mean catastrophe on the Korean peninsula. That is a legitimate worry. But a year from now, it seems, we will be worried that war with his military could mean catastrophe in Chicago.

No sane person wants war, now or later. That is as true today as it was when the Allies appeased Hitler at Munich. Unfortunately, what we want is not necessarily what we will get.

Bullies are notorious for picking a fight only when they have the overwhelming advantage. It is clear that we are not going to fight Kim. For practical purposes, when it comes to a real war, we simply won’t participate unless forced.

That is good for many purposes. Unfortunately, it leaves the initiative in the hands of the aggressor. As Hitler demonstrated, that gives him a lot of opportunities. He grows stronger; he attracts allies, especially among those not well served by the status quo.

Negotiations are a great idea. Success in negotiation depends upon having something to negotiate with. Wishing and begging are not helpful. Those who want negotiations to succeed might consider the benefits of preparing for war.

#25 Comment By mike crowley On August 6, 2017 @ 1:05 pm

The something to negotiate with i.e. growing nuclear capacity
is a considerable chip in which to:
Gain world attention
Motivate discussion
Have those insane looking giggle pictures with the generals
Unify Korea

If this is a reasonable list of possibilities I would best guess #2 with #4 the intention. Do we really to think he is just going to commit suicide? What do our think tanks think he is doing? Surely posturing and having crazy fun and yet we stand around without attempting contact and actually, at least, by some want a strike. Having a meeting is not begging, we have slapped a big cost on his country, he is not a lover of America certainly and negotiations as well as tests would/do make this clear. In there, in all that that he advertises, is there a deal? So far we have a myriad of spurious conclusions but not any idea of really what he wants and we don’t ask. If we did and he said ‘I don’t want anything other than to kill you rats’ (probably won’t tip his hand though) then we know something but he could say ‘oh me well it would be fun to play with you guys, could we change that cease fire thing’? then we know something else that is more deal like than war like. I vote talk to the young lunatic.