“The Fox News Specialists” – a newish panel-discussion show – grappled on Monday with the news that Otto Warmbier, an American who’d spent 17 months imprisoned in North Korea, had died after being sent home. Now that North Korean barbarity was directly affecting the United States, said host Eric Bolling, perhaps it’s time to do something more about this longtime threat.
“Right now, the North Koreans keep testing these intercontinental ballistic missiles. If they do go ahead and figure out a way to put a warhead on top of their longest-range missile, 30 minutes is the lead time between firing that missile in North Korea and Los Angeles. Now, are you willing to risk Los Angeles? ... It may be time for a preeemptive strike,” said Bolling, who also claimed that “we don’t want to start any, you know, nuclear war.”
When a fellow panelist declared that the “really unfortunate loss” of Warmbier “is enough to start that kind of military effort.”
Bolling returned to L.A. “So what do you do – do you wait till a missile is on its way to Los Angeles and hope ... that the missile interceptor works, and if it doesn’t you, sacrifice Los Angeles?” Along these lines, Bolling did make this concession: “If you do do this ... you will have a lot of innocent people who will die. The casualties of war will be massive – thousands, tens of thousands will die,” he said.
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To Mark Bowden, who just wrote an Atlantic piece on the options vis-a-vis North Korea, Bolling’s casualty estimate may be a touch modest. In the case of a preventive strike from U.S. forces, North Korea could wreak havoc. Locating and disabling the North Korean arsenal would be difficult, for starters. “With only a few of its worst weapons, North Korea could, probably within hours, kill millions. This means an American first strike would likely trigger one of the worst mass killings in human history,” writes Bowden.
As Bowden points out, North Korea has had less spectacular opportunities for mass carnage for some time, and has passed them up: Pyongyang has long had the means to all but level Seoul, and weapons capable of killing tens of thousands of Americans stationed in South Korea – far more than those killed by al-Qaida on September 11, 2001, an atrocity that spurred the U.S. to invade two countries and led to 16 years of war. Right now North Korea has missiles that could reach Japan (and possibly Guam) with weapons of mass destruction. The world is already accustomed to dealing with a North Korea capable of sowing unthinkable mayhem.
Something to consider, if you’re Bolling.