- The Washington Times - Friday, April 12, 2013

The media are now telecasting stories about how North Korea has moved “two midrange Musudan ballistic missiles to a test site on its east coast last week” (“U.S., Seoul brace for ‘multiple’ North Korea missile launches,” Web, Wednesday). Somehow they seem to think that the extra 100 miles or so will bring more American targets into range of alleged North Korean warheads that could be affixed to the midrange missiles. But most leaders in Washington still think we are safe from a nuclear attack from North Korea as long as Pyongyang does not have nuclear warheads or intercontinental ballistic missiles.

What if Washington is wrong on both assumptions?

If the North Koreans already have nuclear warheads that could be mounted on midrange missiles, and if they have mobile launchers to fire the missiles from, then they actually do have intercontinental ballistic missiles. Simply by covertly driving the mobile missile launchers aboard a roll-on/roll-off or container ship in a North Korean port and lashing it down to the main deck, the ship could steam to within 200 miles or so of the already announced targets of Los Angeles; Austin, Texas; and New York. The ship could fire the missile from international waters.

Thus, a midrange missile, retrofitted with even a low-yield warhead, could be transformed into an ICBM carrying a high-altitude nuclear explosion that would spew gamma rays (and therefore electromagnetic pulse) for miles around the targets. Thus “U.S. interests” in Okinawa, Guam, Hawaii, Alaska and seaboard states in the continental United States could be blacked out electronically. The asymmetric warfare threat posed by “Scuds from sea” should not be ignored.

THOMAS STROTHER

Annapolis