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Posts Tagged ‘nuclear war’

The Winds of War Are Growing Restless

War is fast approaching our national doorstep

     One threat begs for action right now without delay. It is by a country bent on starting a war with the United States and our Asian allies. Who is it? You guessed right—it’s North Korea.

Background

The threat from North Korea has been hovering over the United States like the Sword of Damocles for decades. Not one, but four American generals, now believe North Korea already has the ability to fire an intercontinental ballistic missile that can hit the mainland of the United States. As most people know, there is an early warning system that provides some guidance as to our level of preparedness to deal with a nuclear threat. It is called Def con.

Def Con is “Defense Condition” and it indicates the level of preparedness of United States Military Forces.

Definitions of Def Con

Def Con 5 – Normal peacetime operations.

 

Def Con 4 – Still considered “peacetime”, but intelligence gathering is increased and national security measures are tightened. The U.S. was at Def Con 4 for most of the Cold War.

Def Con 3 – Military assets are readied. “Call signs” for deployed assets change from publicly-known signals to classified ones. The U.S. has been at this level 3 times, most recently after the events of September 11th.

Def Con 2 – Further increase of military readiness. All forces not already in position are placed on “stand by” alert. Def Con 2 was used once, during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Def Con 1 – Maximum military readiness. All forces are active. Def Con 1 is considered to be the “total war” level and may only refer to a nuclear attack scenario since it has never been used to date.

From my perspective the United States needs to raise the Def con level immediately to Def con 3. Determination as to when to initiate Def Con 2 will come later as conditions warrant.

Understanding Imminent Threats

In reality, immigration as an issue is only tangentially related to national security. Too much attention is being paid to immigration as a potential risk while the real, more tangible imminent dangers to national security seem to be flying under the radar of public awareness.

We really do need to be vigilant at this time. The United States must be ready to counter the build-up of North Korea’s nuclear program. In addition, there is the American involvement in fighting ISIS worldwide as well as currently retaking of cities earlier lost to ISIS in both Iraq and Syria. To the credit of Barack Obama, nearly 40%-50% of ISIS troops were killed between 2014 and 2016 due to his strategic efforts. Nevertheless, the bulk of American military power at this point in time must be put together strategically. Our main focus must be on North Korea and the possibility that war between our countries is just a few North Korean aggressive acts away.

These threats are real folks! It’s time to get our head out of the sand. While I have confidence in the preparedness of the American military, I have absolutely no confidence in Trump Administration’s ability to handle dangers to our national  security. A Russian spy ship has been conducting operations to collect information on our submarine bases on the east coast and basically he has ignored this threat. If security wasn’t bad enough, just consider the incredibly misguided Trump budget proposal to cut huge amounts of money in the 2017-18 budget for the U.S. Coast Guard. “President Donald Trump’s proposed budget guidance is asking for $1.3 billion in funding cuts to the U.S. Coast Guard at a time when the service is doing more than ever, and is already severely under-resourced.”

North Korea: Confronting the Threat

The generals may be right, or may be over-estimating North Korea’s readiness for nuclear war involving long-range missiles. Either way, we must be prepared.     People may be blind to this, but the greatest threat from North Korea may not come necessarily from long-range missiles in pursuit of an American target.  Why you ask? Here is why: the best way for any country to have the element of surprise is to expand greatly their submarine service. Submarines can run silently and undetected, with stealth, and can stay close off shorelines. They can fire a nuclear warhead that will reach its target in less than 3-5 minutes.

What do we currently know about North Korea’s navy and submarine service?

The annual report of North Korea’s military capabilities by the U.S. Department of Defense, released in early 2014, identified the North Korean Navy’s strength at 60,000 personnel, 70 submarines, 420 gun boats, 260 amphibious landing craft, 30 mine warfare vessels, and 30 support ships.

Given the highly belligerent and threatening nature of North Korea to its Asian neighbors, the United States needs to expand its own Navy and especially our submarine service.

I’d rather see federal taxpayer money spent on 20 new nuclear submarines and several technologically-advanced reconnaissance planes that can detect submarines below the surface, than some mindlessly-conceived wall that won’t achieve its goal- preventing people from entering our southern border.

One Scenario Approach to Neutralizing North Korea

First off, we do not need to incinerate North Korea with nuclear bombs. The radiation alone will drift toward China and South Korea causing extreme chaos, misery, and mass exodus of refugees heading toward the borders of China and South Korea from North Korea.

The United States is in possession of missiles that can carry and bomb the equivalent of 11,000 pounds of TNT. When this MOAB (Mother of all bombs) is detonated, it will flatten and destroy an area one mile in every direction. These kinds of non-nuclear bombs would take out a city like Pyongyang in an instant. North Korean army, air force, and naval bases would suffer a similar fate.

I am not an expert on military strategies nor do I advocate one approach over any other. However, it is my belief that from now on war should be prosecuted based on the newest elements in a war. That is, the newest concept involves launching a “Hybrid War.”

Final Comments

During the House Intelligence meeting on March, 20, 2017 I heard the term Hybrid War for the first time. I credit Jackie Speiers of California for explaining it to the American public via those hearings. So what is Hybrid Warfare?

“Hybrid warfare is a military strategy that blends conventional warfare, irregular warfare and cyberwarfare. In addition, hybrid warfare is used to describe attacks by nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, improvised explosive devices and information warfare. This approach to conflicts is a potent, complex variation of warfare.”

It has long been the policy of the United States not to initiate hostilities but to let other countries make the first move. That policy was okay in prior generations where the U.S. was dealing with countries that predominantly possessed only conventional weapons. But times have changed.

Consequently, whoever the next president is, or the one thereafter (2020), an ultimatum needs to be given to North Korea. Either they dismantle their nuclear facilities or we will. If they violate the ultimatum both their nuclear facilities and their entire military must be obliterated, if not completely incinerated.    

 

 

 

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Placing Value on Life:

 Case in Point—The Never-ending Abortion Issue

 

     Abortion is one of the most troubling and hotly debated issues of our time. Weighing the social value of life is at the heart of the abortion issue. It remains a permanent fixture of our social landscape because of its unending cultural conflict created by values, politics, and science. The reason for this is that abortion is so intimately intertwined with the social definition of life. Yet, despite the fact many people believe life begins at conception, it is ironic that all life itself is not universally valued. The one underlying universal in all this seems to be that social context (value judgments rendered in different social situations) dictates the relative value placed on life.

Why isn’t life universally valued? Because it all depends upon the differing social contexts related to life itself. Even those who view life as beginning at conception think contextually. This occurs when the life of the mother is at stake, or conception is due to rape or incest. Even with abortion, there is no unconditional universal value placed on all life.

The Value of Life in Different Social Settings

Many issues today have to do with the value that is placed on life in different social settings. Life issues include: abortion, the death penalty, suicide and the right-to-die among the terminally ill, slaughtering animal species so humans can eat and using animals in medical research, stem cell research with human embryos, and killing of enemy combatants during wartime. Lastly, there is murder. In 2010, there were 12,996  murders in the United States.

It is important to know that the value placed on life has always been dictated by social context. That is, conservatives overwhelmingly tend to support the death penalty and willingness for the state to take a human life, yet form the major support group against abortion. Liberals tend to support a ban or moratorium on the death penalty, yet often do not have a problem terminating the life of the unborn. Liberals tend to accept the right to die claims of the terminally ill, and conservatives and the Catholic Church generally see it as wrong or sinful. Both liberals and conservatives buy meat or fish at their local corner grocery store and both have no problem terminating life in the animal kingdom. Both liberals and conservatives serving in a war zone are, if necessary, willing to take the life of an enemy combatant. Even John Q. Citizen will take life in dire situations to protect family members or oneself when threatened.

Any one of the above issues can be explored in more detail as it relates to valuing life. But let’s get back to abortion and social context.

 The Issue

The crux of the abortion issue seems to come down to two opposing sides. They include, “a woman’s right to choose” fostered by liberals and woman’s groups, versus “a right to life” fostered by conservatives and Right-to-Life groups. One of the long-standing groups against abortion has been the Catholic Church. However, many Catholics worldwide, and others, want to overturn the Catholic Church’s long-standing ban on abortion. Abortion nevertheless violates one of the Church’s basic tenets—belief in the sanctity of life. This long-standing stance of the Catholic Church is an appeal to faith, particularly faith in the righteousness of the Church’s position taken.

Regardless of what side one politically comes down on regarding abortion , Right-to-Life groups do have scientific support with their definition of life. And, the best definition of life is a scientific one. That scientific support is more about what constitutes a “life form” than it is as to the precise moment life occurs.   The biological definition of a “life form” is very consistent with the social definition of human life as espoused by Right-to-Life groups.

In the 1940s and 1950s a common social definition of life was life begins at conception. According to scientists six characteristics define what a “life form” is. Not everyone agrees on a social definition of life but there are generally accepted biological manifestations that life exhibits the following phenomena: Organization, Metabolism, Growth, Adaptation, Response to Stimuli, and Reproduction. All six characteristics are required for a population to be considered a life form. Fetuses, in the earliest of their development, manifest all six characteristics.

So why is there such social conflict over the issue of abortion? If biologists have given us a definition of life that is correct, then why is our social definition of life since the 1940s and 1950s so out of whack now? The answer appears to be political, not scientific or data-driven. It’s all about changing social underlying values that often masquerade in political debates as objective argumentation.

The Politics of Abortion

     One of the very strongest forces that contextualizes abortion and other issues where the value of life is concerned, is politics. At the heart of all politics is value judgment. A Women’s right to choose is more than a slogan. Feminists and abortion rights groups reject any political proposals that would seek to protect the unborn. Right-to-Life groups are likewise very political in supporting efforts by Republicans in Congress who put forth anti-abortion legislation.

What makes the abortion issue so beguiling is that the only perceived way groups can assure the rights of their own group is by denying the rights of opposing groups. This entrenchment on both sides of the issue implies that logic and reason are the enemies of both sides; values and value judgment dominate the political debate over abortion. Not surprisingly the biological definition of life carries very little weight in the political debate over abortion. Those for and against abortion prefer to use their own definition of when life begins. It is unfortunately a debate where definition of when life begins continues to produce great division among the public.

     It is for these reasons that the issue of abortion is unlikely to be resolved any time soon. It is very unfortunate that life under all circumstances is not universally valued. But all of these differing social contexts that is our present day reality worldwide, would all fade into dust  if the world ever chooses to engage in war with atomic bombs.

      May that day—never come!  But if that day does arrive, two things are very clear. One, we will no longer have a need to debate whether life begins at conception or birth. And two, on that day, society may finally unconditionally value and appreciate all lifeas it witnesses humanity meet its end in death through a self-inflicted worldwide suicide known as a nuclear annihilation.

 

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