Trump’s not the only one who’s losing it

Trump's not the only one who's losing it

by digby

Add caption

I don't know what's in the water in Washington but it's making people insane:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said this week that a war with North Korea would be “worth it” in the long term.

Graham made the comments in an interview with CNN.

"All the damage that would come from a war would be worth it in terms of long-term stability and national security," the senator told CNN.

Graham’s remark comes amid reports that the U.S. is prepared for the possibility of a military strike against North Korea.

Korean leaders are pushing diplomacy in the troubled region in the weeks following the Winter Olympics. South Korea’s president told President Trump in a phone call earlier this week that he is planning to send a special envoy to Pyongyang.

Graham has in the past repeated a warning that the U.S. is “headed toward a war” with North Korea and praised Trump’s “fire and fury” rhetoric against the country. He praised the Trump administration for drawing a hard line on North Korean aggression and also told CNN that he is “completely convinced” that Trump rejects a containment policy.

"They've drawn a red line here and it is to never let North Korea build a nuclear tipped missile to hit America,” he said.

A former national security adviser in the Obama administration on Friday pointed out Graham's comment on Twitter, writing that the senator has "lost his god damn mind.”

I gues he thinks it would be worth it for all the dead people too? What a despicable thing to say. War is never "worth it." What the hell is wrong with him?

If you would like to read a piece about just how not "worth it" it would be, Vox put together an explainer that will make your blood run cold to think that a US Senator would ever say such a thing. This is just an excerpt:

The experts I spoke to all stressed that Kim could devastate Seoul without even needing to use his weapons of mass destruction. The North Korean military has an enormous number of rocket launchers and artillery pieces within range of Seoul. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service estimates that Kim could hammer the South Korean capital with an astonishing 10,000 rockets per minute — and that such a barrage could kill more than 300,000 South Koreans in the opening days of the conflict. That’s all without using a single nuclear, chemical, or biological weapon.

And retired South Korean Gen. In-Bum Chun, who spent 40 years in uniform thinking about a confrontation with North Korea, underscored that Kim also has a different kind of weapon: 25 million people — including 1.2 million active-duty troops and several million reservists — who have been “indoctrinated since childhood with the belief that Kim and his family are literal gods whose government must be protected at all costs.”

“You’re talking about people who have basically been brainwashed their entire lives,” Chun said. “It would be like what you saw on Okinawa during World War II, where Japanese civilians and soldiers were all willing to fight to the death. This would be a hard and bloody war.”

What follows is a guide to what a conflict with North Korea might look like. War is inherently unpredictable: It’s possible Kim would use every type of weapon of mass destruction he possesses, and it’s possible he wouldn’t use any of them.

But many leading experts fear the worst. And if all of this sounds frightening, it should. A new war on the Korean Peninsula wouldn’t be as bad as you think. It would be much, much worse.

The official position of the Trump administration, like that of its predecessors, is that North Korea’s nuclear program is unacceptable and that Pyongyang has to give up all its nuclear weapons. If the US and South Korea went to war with the North, their key strategic goal would be to capture or destroy all of Pyongyang’s nuclear sites, as well as the bases that house its long-range missiles.

In a startlingly blunt letter to Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) last October, Rear Adm. Michael Dumont, speaking on behalf of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the “only way to ‘locate and destroy — with complete certainty — all components of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs’ is through a ground invasion.”

Estimates of the exact numbers of US troops that would take part in a push north vary widely, but current and former military planners uniformly believe it would require vastly more forces than took part in the invasions of Iraq or Afghanistan.

A South Korean military white paper from 2016, for instance, said the US would need to deploy 690,000 ground troops to South Korea if war broke out. Bruce Bennett, a senior researcher at the RAND Corporation who has spent decades studying North Korea generally and the Kim family specifically, believes those numbers are on the high side, but he thinks the US would need to send at least 200,000 troops into North Korea. By way of comparison, that would be significantly more troops than the US had in either Iraq or Afghanistan at the peaks of those two long wars.

The 2016 assessment says the Pentagon would also need to send 2,000 warplanes and other aircraft to South Korea. The US hasn’t had that much airpower deployed to a single conflict since Vietnam.

The experts I spoke to believe Kim and his generals know that US ground forces are better trained and equipped than North Korean troops, and that North Korea’s aging fleet of 1,300 Soviet-era warplanes is no match for Washington’s state-of-the-art stealth fighters and other jets. So what would happen if US and South Korean troops started pouring into North Korea while American planes launched wave after wave of airstrikes?

The consensus view is that Kim would try to level the playing field by using his vast arsenal of chemical weapons, which is believed to be the biggest and most technologically advanced in the world. (Kim is estimated to have between 2,500 and 5,000 metric tons of deadly nerve agents like sarin, which can cause paralysis and, ultimately, death.)

With so many artillery pieces and rocket launchers trained on Seoul, Kim has the ability to quickly blanket the densely packed city with huge amounts of nerve agents. The human toll would be staggeringly high: The military historian Reid Kirby estimated last June that a sustained sarin attack could kill up to 2.5 million people in Seoul alone, while injuring nearly 7 million more. Men, women, and children would very literally choke to death in the streets of one of the world’s wealthiest and most vibrant cities. It would be mass murder on a scale rarely seen in human history.

But yeah, that would all be "worth it" to prove that the US of A won't stand for anyone using weapons of mass destruction.

Can you see the problem with that logic? I knew that you could.