The following commentary will appear in the next issue of the Farmerville Gazette, Farmerville, Louisiana, USA.
It’s been two years since I had the good fortune to begin writing this column. One of the earliest articles dealt with Syria and how we as a nation would respond and then be viewed by the world. At that time the number of dead stood at about 240 but considering the brutal nature of the ruling family the handwriting was on the wall. Now, two years later, the death toll estimates vary from 8,000 to 15,000 and the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children have been changed forever. Unfortunately the United States did little to provide a leadership role that the world could view in public terms and would send a message that the strongest country in the world was on the side of the freedom fighters and their battle to throw off the yoke of oppression. At the beginning of the fight the mere suggestion that we would support the fighters would have sent the message of alliance with the protesters to both Syria and Iran and possibly curtailed the two year civil war. This has become a an unfortunate trait of our country and this diplomatic silence has been repeated in Iraq following Desert Storm when the Shiites were slaughtered by Sadam Hussein during an uprising when we stood by and watched. Iran recently had protests and the potential uprising was quelled as we stood by with no comment of support.
Last year we looked at North Korea as they were testing their nuclear bomb followed by a rudimentary missile deployment system. This development continues unfettered with one difference. The leader has died and his twenty-eight year old son has taken the reins of power. This new dictator must take control of his new leadership osition. He must prove his strength to the leadership of the one million strong military and how better than to throw down the gauntlet to South Korea and thus put the United States on a collision course with the North if a military incursion into South Korea occurs. What is certain is that we cannot let an invasion occur like what happened in the early 1950s. That cost the United States over 36,000 causalities.
Will the United Sates persevere if is South Korea is invaded. The answer is a resounding “yes” but it is without a cost. The Koreans are tough, real tough. I had Korean contractors building facilities in Saudi Arabia and they are very focused, hard workers and tough as nails. Korea is a harsh environment and the North Koreans live without the creature comforts of the majority of the South. In Viet Nam the Republic of Korean had a military presence. Known as the ROC Marines, these men earned the respect they deserve. The North Koreans are even more prepared for a conflict.
If invaded would we drop a couple of nuclear weapons and send a North Korea back to the Stone Age. Not likely as this would then make it a norm to use this horribly destructive but highly effective weapon. Instead we would let the bombers do their damage and then commit a large ground force. It’s takes that man on the ground with his rifle in hand to take and control the land. No bomber can do that. We were very successful in Iraq following this strategy but this is not Iraq, it is Korea and we cannot expect to have the North Korean Army fall apart and surrender by the thousands. American causalities will be high.
Several months ago we discussed the connection between North Korea and Iran and the sharing of nuclear technology. It has now been acknowledged that Pakistan’s nuclear lead scientist has been linked to transferring secrets to other Iran and North Korea. As we move closer to a war that will have devastating affects to a world economy there is one thing clear; if we do end up in an armed conflict we have to do make sure that we do this one right and when the dust settles the two Koreas must be one unified country and we have to do this without bringing China or Russia into the conflict.
One thing is certain, we must shift our foreign strategy to let the world know that we are truly a nation dedicated to freedom and civil liberties and oppression is not an option. We must go back to the time that America “Speaks softly but carries a big stick”. Then, and only then can we can take the leadership role that we enjoyed in the past and the world will once again take us seriously.

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