North Korea possibly sank South Korean ship

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North Korea possibly sank South Korean ship

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8648970.stm

 

 

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A section of the Cheonan is lifted on 24 April 2010 The Cheonan sank after an as yet unexplained blast on 26 March
By John Sudworth
BBC News, Seoul

Since the end of World War II only two navies, the British and the Pakistani, are known to have used a submarine to sink a battleship.

Now though there appears to be growing evidence that North Korea's underwater fleet may have become the third.

The 26 March sinking of the Cheonan, with 40 lives lost and six men still missing, is certainly a South Korean military disaster.

But it has the potential to become much more than that.

If concrete proof of the North's involvement is eventually produced, it would reinforce with shocking clarity just how easily this smouldering cold-war conflict could reignite.

And it would present the international community with a serious strategic challenge - how to send a message of deterrence without risking further escalation?

External blast

The shattered wreck of the 1,200-tonne gunboat has now been winched to the surface, in two pieces, and is being examined at a naval dockyard.

The investigation team includes American, Australian, Swedish and British experts, in part, to ensure that its conclusions are seen as free from South Korean political influence.

And after an initial examination the following observations and explanations have been announced to the public.

  • The skin of the ship was bent inwards, pointing to an external rather than an internal explosion, a conclusion given further weight by the fact that the ship's weapons storage area is intact
  • There are no signs of scraping, or of a collision, ruling out the possibility that the ship ran aground
  • There is no evidence of soot or melting on the skin of the ship, suggesting that the external explosion took place some distance away from the hull

Little wonder, then, that suspicion is mounting, with South Korean Defence Minister Kim Tae-young concluding that a torpedo attack is among the "most likely" causes.

An underwater non-contact explosion is exactly what many modern torpedoes are designed to produce, because the shock-wave from such a blast can cause much more damage than a direct hit.

 

And North Korean submarines, capable of carrying these kinds of torpedoes, are known to have been operating off the Korean coast at the time of the sinking.

A further clue perhaps lies in the location of the blast, close to the gas turbine room, much of which was destroyed.

"Acoustic homing" torpedoes, of the kind North Korea is thought to possess, can track and target the engine noise from a ship.

The fact that there was no warning of an attack from the Cheonan's radar operators does not necessarily make a torpedo strike unlikely.

The South Korean Defence Ministry has been quoted as saying that in the busy, shallow waters of the Yellow Sea, a torpedo fired from a range of 2km (1.25 miles) would have a 30% chance of remaining undetected.

And there are precedents.

In 1987, for example, while on patrol in the Persian Gulf, the USS Stark was struck by two anti-ship missiles, fired from an Iraqi fighter plane, neither of which were picked up by the ship's radar.

Mine misfortune?

But the torpedo theory is called into question by at least one aspect of the incident - there were no unusual military movements picked up from North Korean forces prior to the sinking.

If North Korea was planning a torpedo attack, knowing just how provocative such an action would be, would it not at least have boosted its naval defences?

 

There is another explanation that could fit the scenario of an underwater, non-contact explosion and one favoured by the naval warfare expert, Norman Friedman.

"If it's a torpedo firing then that's about as big a thing as you can do short of rolling across the border," he told me.

"Unless you have a desire to start World War III then you don't do it. That's why I put my money on a mine."

Mines that were in use at the time of the Korean War were sophisticated enough to distinguish between big and small ships, and could be primed to detonate some distance from the hull.

 

Could the Cheonan have had the misfortune to run into one that had been lying undisturbed for more than half a century?

The torpedo theory is given added weight by the circumstantial evidence - the fact that the sinking took place in disputed waters close to North Korea, where the two navies have clashed a number of times.

What is missing, at least from what we have been told so far by the investigation team, is conclusive proof - a fragment of a North Korean weapon - that would show beyond doubt what sunk the ship.

And with the strong currents surrounding the area, any evidence may have long been swept away.

Difficult response

Some observers have suggested that the South Korean government may prefer that evidence, if it exists, to remain undiscovered because of the political difficulty of formulating a response.

Military retaliation is highly unlikely because of the danger of escalation and because at the very least, it would panic the markets and damage the South Korean economy.

 

The diplomatic route through the United Nations is also problematic because North Korea is already one of the most isolated and sanctioned countries on the planet.

And yet, if clear evidence of an attack on the warship is produced, South Korea will of course want to send a message that such acts cannot be tolerated.

But how? North Korea is often said to have learned the lessons of the second Gulf War its own way, precisely the opposite lesson, in fact, than the one the invasion of Iraq was meant to send to so called "rogue states".

It would lose a conventional war of course, but not without first inflicting unimaginable damage on the South Korean capital, Seoul with a combination of conventional, chemical and biological artillery.

And it has a growing nuclear weapons programme, precisely it says, to guarantee its survival from a hostile outside world.

Motive fears

But the final question that should be asked is, what would North Korea have to gain from sinking a South Korean warship?

Using a submarine in such an attack is an act of extraordinary provocation, and one that goes a big step beyond the previous surface engagements between the two navies.

Despite North Korea's military strengths, it would still be a very risky act indeed.

If it is shown to be a torpedo that hit the Cheonan, then perhaps it can be seen as retaliation for the fact that North Korea is reported to have come off worse in the most recent naval skirmish.

Or maybe it was an attempt to rally the military around the leadership of the ailing Kim Jong-il, reportedly trying to manage a difficult transition of power to his youngest son.

But others have suggested that it might be the military acting alone, a sign of a dangerous shift in the balance of power inside North Korea, and a far more worrying prospect.

 

 

 


mellestad
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I don't think anything will

I don't think anything will come of it because no-one wants a war.

 

If they found definitive proof that it was a NK torpedo, I'm really not sure what would happen.

 

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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Wha....?

mellestad wrote:

I don't think anything will come of it because no-one wants a war.

 

If they found definitive proof that it was a NK torpedo, I'm really not sure what would happen.

 

Huh?

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Kapkao wrote:mellestad

Kapkao wrote:

mellestad wrote:

I don't think anything will come of it because no-one wants a war.

 

If they found definitive proof that it was a NK torpedo, I'm really not sure what would happen.

 

Huh?

 

Are you confused Kap?

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Lemme try that again...

mellestad wrote:

Kapkao wrote:

mellestad wrote:

I don't think anything will come of it because no-one wants a war.

 

If they found definitive proof that it was a NK torpedo, I'm really not sure what would happen.

 

Huh?

 

Are you confused Kap?

Not now. Misread some of that post.

Quote:

I'm really not sure what would happen.

My guess would be moaning, groaning, sanctions, useless paper-pushing on behalf of the UN (that's all they're good for, really), senseless pandering to spineless and whimpering idealists, and ridiculous attempts of "any price for peace".

On the other hand, if Kim Shortie Jong Jr. continues his reckless behavior (like he has in the past)... and he can look forward to cruise missile strikes on behalf of the world's "Big Bully" on carefully designated targets.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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mellestad wrote:I don't

mellestad wrote:

I don't think anything will come of it because no-one wants a war.

 

If they found definitive proof that it was a NK torpedo, I'm really not sure what would happen.

 

I doubt anything will come of it either.  At least, there better not be a war!  I'm planning to move to South Korea later this year, and that might be a problem.


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Mahaco wrote:mellestad

Mahaco wrote:

mellestad wrote:

I don't think anything will come of it because no-one wants a war.

 

If they found definitive proof that it was a NK torpedo, I'm really not sure what would happen.

 

I doubt anything will come of it either.  At least, there better not be a war!  I'm planning to move to South Korea later this year, and that might be a problem.

 

If there is a war the initial artillery barrages will wipe out major cities anywhere near the border.  Yuck.

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mellestad wrote:I don't

mellestad wrote:
I don't think anything will come of it because no-one wants a war.

 

If they found definitive proof that it was a NK torpedo, I'm really not sure what would happen.

 

Granted, was is something that is best avoided. History shows that wars are not avoided often enough.

 

That much being said, I have to wonder what is at stake in this potential war.

 

On the one hand, we have an insane dictator who has nukes. Probably not more than a dozen of them and what he has is probably not very good. However, remember that a used car that is not very good is still a car. So a nuke that is not very good will still ruin many people's day.

 

On the other hand, if he has lost control of the army, then who is calling the nuclear shots?

 

Past that, what happens if the nuclear Pandora's box is opened?

 

Every Ohio class submarine has 24 Trident D2 missiles with 11,000 miles of range. Each missile carries a minimum of eight W88 nuclear weapons with a 475KT possible yield. Past that, there is also the matter of what nuke may exist on the ground.

 

If US troops are nuked, who here seriously thinks that Obama is going to be all about “yes, we got nuked but we are such nice people that we will let it pass”?

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Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

If US troops are nuked, who here seriously thinks that Obama is going to be all about “yes, we got nuked but we are such nice people that we will let it pass”?

 

 

Let it pass? To a degree... he wouldnt go all out on N.K and turn it into a radioactive wasteland, infact i'd be suprised if the US even bothered to retaliate with an actual nuke. (bunkerbusters are excempt)

but he WOULD issue the order to bomb it into a wasteland

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Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

If US troops are nuked, who here seriously thinks that Obama is going to be all about “yes, we got nuked but we are such nice people that we will let it pass”?

 

 

Please, my son is stationed in South Korea.  No nuking.

 

My son tells us most of the South Koreans think of the North Korean government as a crazy neighbor who is likely to do most any damn thing but it is best to ignore.  I can only hope that is true.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every Ohio class submarine has 24 Trident D2 missiles with 11,000 miles of range. Each missile carries a minimum of eight W88 nuclear weapons with a 475KT possible yield. Past that, there is also the matter of what nuke may exist on the ground.

 

 

 

  Finally, someone who refers to an Ohio class submarine by it's correct name.  It's not called a Trident class submarine. I even had an ex navy coworker refer to it by the wrong name.  Just a pet peeve, that's all.  ( Kind of like referring to removable box magazines as clips.  M1 Garand notwithstanding)

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Well cj, provided that Kim

Well cj, provided that Kim Jong Ill is still in control, your son should be reasonably safe. Remember that his wet dream is to absorb the south into his regime. Nuking the territory that he wants would be so incredibly fuckwitted that not even he is likely to do that.

 

Past that, the major reason that he wants nuke in not tactical. Yes, he may have missiles that can reach Japan but what the fuck would he stand to gain from nuking them? Nothing as far as I can tell. Really, his interest is strategic. He wants nukes because he thinks that they will make him into a badder dude. With nukes, nobody should be contemplating any additional sanctions against him.

 

Now if the conversation were to be forced on him, he would be in a really bad position. Pretty much he can't make a credible threat. I am thinking something along the lines of “Give me what I want or I will...um I have not really thought about how I can use the damn things”.

 

On the other hand, if he has lost control of his military, then the situation could well be very different. If he has actually built the nukes (and regardless of how much plutonium he may have, there is the possibility that he has only made the weapons that he has actually tested), then one rogue general could possibly up the ante with one or two.

 

In that case, we would find out what Obama is made of. Were that to happen, he would have hard choices to make.

 

If he pussies out, that will not start a real war but it will be a powerful signal that he is a weak leader.

 

If he orders a conventional attack, that sends a very different message. One that possibly would be responded to in kind and then we do have a war to deal with. I don't know if Obama would think that to be a viable response but the pentagon has lots of smart people who have spent many years thinking about such scenarios. Hopefully, he would heed the advice on just how that could be a huge mistake.

 

If the nuclear option is on his table, then I would imagine that the retaliatory strike would be small and focused on the PRNK army. Take out a large portion of the north's manpower and open warfare becomes something that they are less likely to contemplate.

 

The Doomed Soul wrote:
Let it pass? To a degree... he wouldnt go all out on N.K and turn it into a radioactive wasteland, infact i'd be suprised if the US even bothered to retaliate with an actual nuke. (bunkerbusters are excempt)

 

but he WOULD issue the order to bomb it into a wasteland

 

Agreed, he would not just scrape the country off the map. Actually, that would be a really bad idea. It would tank our international relations instantly. Even without going nuclear, the same thing would result from carpet bombing the cities (remember that that would likely start a real war too). With nukes, there is another huge problem, specifically, we would bear the brunt of the fallout a few days later. The iodine 131 contamination would shut down our food production industry for the next dozen or so weeks.

 

That much being said, bunker busters have nearly no tactical advantage here. They are really only effective for ranges of a few hundred feet depending on the geology of the area where they are dropped. They really are not going to help with an army that is positioned to roll over the border blitzkreig style if the opening ever existed.

 

What would have a strategic advantage would be the W70 mod 3 and the W79 mod 0 weapons. Officially, they were placed into inactive status during the Bush 41 administration. However, that only means that the parts were separated. They can be reassembled on short notice.

 

There were 380 W70's and 330 W79's produced. W70's are deployed on small missiles and W79's are fired from 203mm howitzers. Both have an explosive yield of 1kt (actually they are switchable yield but we can go with the 1kt figure for illustration) so they are small as nukes go. The lethality is from the radiation. Given an air burst at relatively low altitude, there will be essentially no fallout but anyone within a few hundred meters will drop dead where they are standing. Any attempt to re-crew tanks and whatnot in the first 48 hours will not work too well as those troops will be dead in a day.

 

If we use a few of those, then there will be not much left of the PRNK army to form a credible threat. That and any general who sees what comes of the use of nukes against us would have to think hard about trying us out a second time.

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So, like I was saying... a

So, like I was saying... a heavy, retaliatory cruise missile bombardment on any number of Targets of Opportunity

One other thing... this whole "peace at any price" mantra needs to DIE already. It isn't pragmatic, and in truth, it isn't all that practical in the grand scheme of things -except in the eyes of whimpering idealists.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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I think the problem is there

I think the problem is there are too many civilians who would die in the initial exchange, even if it was non-nuclear.  NK has set itself up in a good position in that regard...honestly, if they didn't have so much strike capability pointed towards SK, I think someone probably would be hit them already.

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Um, what do you mean by

Um, what do you mean by “too many civilians”? Strictly speaking, in any type of open attack, some are going to die. Even if it is an attack directly on a military base, there are going to be civilians there in some role. Even if it is only people driving past the base, there will be civilian deaths.

 

The thing here is that some out of control general probably won't be too interested in that. However, my biggest concern is not about the initial attack but what comes next.

 

If we do end up in a conventional war, then lots of civilians will die. Vastly more than the number killed in the opening round. Such is the nature of war.

 

On the other hand, if this does go nuclear, then one thing that is certain is that we will no longer be living in a world where Hiroshima and Nagasaki are the only places to be fried. It may well make further use of nukes no longer quite so unthinkable.

 

That however is a long term outcome. The short term one will also be a huge problem.

 

I doubt that England will give us too much grief. However, France and Germany will surely make a huge stink about how our response was over the top. Russia and China will certainly get their panties in a twist over the matter. That idiot in Iran will wet himself over the opportunity to call us out as arrogant westerners who “go cowboy” at the drop of a hat. Hell, he may even slip and admit to his nuclear weapons program. If he does, then well, it has been hard enough keeping Israel from doing what we all know that they have wanted to do in Iran for several years now.

 

Any way that you look at this, it will be a stinking huge mess.

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Somebody (in addition to pineapple) finally gets it...

mellestad wrote:

I think the problem is there are too many civilians who would die in the initial exchange, even if it was non-nuclear.  NK has set itself up in a good position in that regard...honestly, if they didn't have so much strike capability pointed towards SK, I think someone probably would be hit them already.


So what you're suggesting, if accurate; is more diplomatic maneuvering and more overpaid bureaucrats pushing paper, sanctions, and intestinal hot wind towards the 'azn shortie from the north', en absentia of real firepower being pointed at his head and his 'key chess pieces'.

"Peace through superior firepower" is dead in today's world -me

Thank you, that is all...

edit; forgot the mandatory *bows*

 

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

Um, what do you mean by “too many civilians”? Strictly speaking, in any type of open attack, some are going to die. Even if it is an attack directly on a military base, there are going to be civilians there in some role. Even if it is only people driving past the base, there will be civilian deaths.

 

The thing here is that some out of control general probably won't be too interested in that. However, my biggest concern is not about the initial attack but what comes next.

 

If we do end up in a conventional war, then lots of civilians will die. Vastly more than the number killed in the opening round. Such is the nature of war.

 

On the other hand, if this does go nuclear, then one thing that is certain is that we will no longer be living in a world where Hiroshima and Nagasaki are the only places to be fried. It may well make further use of nukes no longer quite so unthinkable.

 

That however is a long term outcome. The short term one will also be a huge problem.

 

I doubt that England will give us too much grief. However, France and Germany will surely make a huge stink about how our response was over the top. Russia and China will certainly get their panties in a twist over the matter. That idiot in Iran will wet himself over the opportunity to call us out as arrogant westerners who “go cowboy” at the drop of a hat. Hell, he may even slip and admit to his nuclear weapons program. If he does, then well, it has been hard enough keeping Israel from doing what we all know that they have wanted to do in Iran for several years now.

 

Any way that you look at this, it will be a stinking huge mess.

 

I mean that in the initial exchange, the civilian loss of life, at least on the SK side, would be immense.  There are big cities within artillery range of the border.  It would be a mess.  Hence, SK and her allies have strong incentive to avoid war, even if they thought they could win militarily.  The whole thing is like a mini MAD...I'm not aware of any first strike ability that would leave NK unable to retaliate, unless you count a rolling barrage of strategic nukes.

Also, I really don't know what a rogue general would have to gain by open war, or any agent on the NK side.  Unless they really are mentally ill they know that even if they made massive advances in the beginning they would be in trouble within 72 hours, and I doubt NK has the logistical capacity for sustained conflict against...well, anyone.  And no-one would back them, the Chinese would let them hang and they don't have any other friends in the region.

 

On the other hand, I'm talking out of my ass.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.