- Ohio university quiz implies atheists are naturally smarter than Christians
- Rep. Henry Cuellar on border crisis: ‘Playing defense on the one-yard line’
- Activists vow to occupy fast-food restaurants to get higher pay
- Rep. Luis Gutierrez: Senate Dems wary of immigration politics
- Summer camp for 1 percenters: Sushi, limos and shopping at FAO Schwarz
- Colorado gun crackdown law found to be built on faulty data
- Hank Aaron steps to fundraising plate for Democrat Michelle Nunn
- ISIL terrorists blow up burial site of Jonah, vow more of same
- Impeach Obama, say 35 percent in new poll
- Taliban yank 14 Shiites off bus, bind and shoot them on Afghan road
Greatest danger in Korea is ‘miscalculation,’ U.S. general says
Question of the Day
That means the North will start shooting if they see what they consider to be unambiguous signs of an imminent attack in South Korean military preparations, such as the loading of live ammunition or the activation of wartime communications networks.
“The problem is that means so much depends on the quality of their intelligence. We don’t know how clearly they can see, and we don’t know how accurately they interpret what they see,” he said.
That is important because their limited technical intelligence capability leaves Pyongyang “completely in the dark,” for example, in regard to the flight activity of B-2 nuclear-capable stealth bombers that the United States deployed over South Korea last week as well as most U.S. Navy operations, Mr. McCreary, said.
“They have no way to detect the most dangerous weapons with which the United States can attack them, no way to get any warning,” he said of the B-2s. “That is very scary for them.”
“They say they won’t start a war, but that doesn’t mean they won’t shoot first,” said Mr. McCreary, author of the daily open-source intelligence bulletin NightWatch.
U.S. officials insist that their deployments have been “prudent,” in the words of White House spokesman Jay Carney.
A new agreement announced last week between U.S. and South Korean military forces governs how the allies would respond to a North Korean provocation, such as the shelling of South Korean islands on the disputed maritime border or the sinking of a South Korean warship by a Northern submarine — both of which happened in 2010 and caused more than a dozen fatalities.
South Korea’s military changed its rules of engagement afterward and no longer would restrict its response in that way, he said.
“They will escalate” in response to a provocation, Mr. Bennett said. “They will likely go after not just the [North Korean] attacking units, but their logistics lines and the command and control elements in the rear.”
South Korean troops have been told “if they are attacked, they can fire back,” he said, “Captains and lieutenant colonels will be making those decisions.”
The new deal with the U.S. military also lowers the bar for possible escalation, he said, in that the U.S. now is committed to join any subsequent response if the North retaliates against the first South Korean response.
“The South Koreans feel by doing that [upping their own response and drawing the United States in more quickly] they are deterring the North,” Mr. Bennett said.
If an incident occurs, “both sides are, to the degree that they have threatened a significant response [to the other and must follow through or lose credibility], pretty well trapped,” he added.
“The dangers of miscalculation are pretty significant,’ he said.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...
- Senator's memo shows Iran links in Homeland Security's troubled immigration program
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- Dems back bill to fix problems in investor visa program
- Democrats proceed with Mayorkas vote despite pending investigation
- NSA monitored 'World of Warcraft' players
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- Presidents of Honduras, Guatemala blame U.S. for border children crisis
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- EDITORIAL: Detroit's water 'spigot bigots'
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- PRUDEN: The Democratic-wannabe mice under Hillary Clinton's feet
- Obama takes aim at 'corporate deserters'
- Crime-ridden U.S. cities differ on ways to fight gun violence
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq