Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The New Yorker

What Would War With North Korea Look Like? 
By Robin Wright
Over the past half century, the United States has fought only one big war—in Kuwait, in 1991—that was a conventional conflict. The combat was quick (six weeks) and successful in its limited goal: expelling Iraqi forces from the small Gulf sheikhdom. Less than a hundred and fifty Americans died in battle.
America’s other big wars over the same period—in Vietnam, in the 1960s and 1970s; Afghanistan, after 9/11; and Iraq, on and off since 2003—have been unconventional. They pitted a well-trained army with the world’s deadliest weapons against insurgents, militias, terrorists, or a poorly trained army, all with far less firepower and no airpower.
In each, asymmetric conflicts stymied the United States. Wars dragged on for years. Death tolls were in the thousands—in Vietnam, tens of thousands. The aftermath—and unintended consequences—were far messier and bloodier. The price tags were in trillions of dollars.
A war with North Korea would probably be a combination of both types of conflict, played out in phases. The first phase would be a conventional war pitting North Korea against American and South Korean forces. It would almost certainly be deadly—producing tens of thousands of deaths just in Seoul, and possibly a million casualties in the South alone. It would likely play out for at least a month, and possibly many weeks more. 
As bad as the scenario for the first phase seems, the second phase could then get worse.
A conventional conflict could then devolve into the now familiar kind of insurgency that U.S. forces face in the Middle East and South Asia. Loyalists to the Kim regime would probably try to fight on in covert cells and costly guerrilla attacks.
Read on....

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