Instapundit On North Korea: Nuke `Em

Glenn Reynolds made a comment about today’s incident between the Koreas that has raised a few eyebrows:

If they start anything, I say nuke ’em. And not with just a few bombs. They’ve caused enough trouble — and it would be a useful lesson for Iran, too.

Ummm, he’s joking right ?

FILED UNDER: Open Forum, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Ken says:

    Actually, Reynold’s comment — like many seemingly outrageous comments from bloggers of his ilk — exists as a probability cloud of quantum douchebaggery.  Once someone observes and comments upon it, the cloud collapses into either “Heh liberals can’t take a joke heh indeed” or “other sage thinkers agree with me about [outrageous statement X],” depending upon the observer’s stance.
    He’s Schrodinger’s Troll.

  2. Herb says:

    “Ummm, he’s joking right ?”

    Of course he’s joking. There are no nukes in Galt’s Gulch. What, he wants to use our nukes? Nut-uh. Not until he comes down off his high horse, pays his taxes, and rejoins the rest of us in the real world.

  3. Linda says:

    Something to ponder, is it not?

  4. Lgbpop says:

    Ken doesn’t want to hear certain opinions he disagrees with, but others are the outrageous ones talking douchebaggery? Well, he’s entitled to his opinion. So am I, and I think he’s so blinded against self-defense he has no clue how to treat people who threaten his own existence. (Note that, with a cogent argument, I have no need to descend into the name-calling so typical of leftists without anything worth saying.) Furthermore, I agree that the use of nuclear weapons is warranted here. We should have used them 58 years ago.
    So much for trollhood.

  5. Ken says:

    That’s me, big ol’ liberal.  Heh.  Indeed.

  6. anjin-san says:

    > Something to ponder, is it not?
    Linda if you are so hot to kill Koreans, why not enlist? Maybe you will get lucky and we will have an honest to goodness bloodbath.

  7. anjin-san says:

    > So much for trollhood.
    In  your case it is simple ignorant twithood.

  8. Linda says:

    A couple of reasons, anjin… 1) I’m too old (as in past the enlistment age cut off), and 2) I have cervical dystonia, also called spasmodic torticollis. (look it up).
    Not that I didn’t consider it, or even try it. When I graduated from high school, I went to see a Navy recruiter. I had an AFQT of 98 on my ASVAB (the clerical section kept me from getting a better score. clerical was not my strong suit). I told the recruiter I wanted ET. He told me “women wash out of ET”. He kept trying to push YN or PN, which I wasn’t interested in, and it wasn’t my strong suit, which he could see from my ASVAB. “Look, bub, your job is to get my name on the dotted line. If I wash out it’s on me. They don’t come back on you.” We couldn’t see eye to eye, he pissed me off, and I walked out. I would have asked for nuke, but back then it was a male only field.

  9. Linda says:

    anjin, let me ask you something: Do you think were we wrong to bomb Nagasaki and Hiroshima?
    Had we not, the war in the Pacific would have raged on for years, and would have been even deadlier than it was. The Japanese would have not surrendered otherwise.
    So, while using nukes was horrendous, it did bring about a quicker end to the war. Sometimes you have to weigh the lesser of two evils. Nuke or long drawn out war.
    Despite what you think, I am not a warmonger.

  10. schooner says:

    Yes Linda nuke them. That would have no repercussions for China, Japan and Russia.
    They’d just be happy to have a nuclear weapon detonated in their neighbourhood.
    You must be a law professor right?

  11. TG Chicago says:

    Linda, are you laboring under the impression that we are in the midst of a war with North Korea? If so, then I understand your analogy to WWII.

    And allow me to deliver the good news: There is no war with North Korea! It’s like V-NK Day without ever having to start the war to begin with. Go kiss a sailor.

  12. Linda says:

    Schooner, when NK develops a nuke, do you honestly think they’ll just hang on to it for peaceful purposes, or do you think that maybe they’ll lob it somewhere in SK?
    And of course, that would have no repercussions, right?

  13. Linda says:

    TG, no, I am not. The reference to WWII pertains to another debate that Anjin and I were having in another thread. Just figured I’d pose my question here, since this topic is of a similar vein.

  14. Ken says:

    The problem with nuking North Korea is that it’s sort of next to South Korea.  Funny, that.
    So.  I presume that we have magic nukes now that don’t cause any fallout, so our South Korean allies won’t be having two-headed babies for the next few generations.  And won’t cause any fallout to China or Russia, who might possibly object.
    Then there’s the issue of the DMZ.  See, North Korea has a gigantic standing army in general, and the biggest artillery force in the world in the specific.  A big chunk of the artillery force is on the DMZ.  It’s in range of Seoul.  Seoul, our ally’s capitol and economic, political, cultural, and population center.  The artillery could turn Seoul into rubble.
    I guess we could nuke the artillery.  But it’s on the DMZ.  South Korea is on the other side of the DMZ.  That’s going to be kind of a trick shot.  The populace on the DMZ might not want to glow in the dark.  I think even our fallout-free magic nukes might have a problem with that.  So I guess we’ll have to assume that, upon nuking the North Korean leadership centers up north, that we can absolutely rely upon the North Korean officers — from generals all the way down to the guys with their hands on the arty — won’t react to their country being nuked by nuking Seoul.  More magic.
    Magic sure is useful.
    Of course, if we didn’t give a shit about the survival of our ally South Korea, and only cared about nobody snicking about our dick size, none of that would matter.

  15. Jim Henley says:

    The problem with nuking North Korea is that it’s sort of next to South Korea.

    The other problem with nuking North Korea is that it’s full of people.

  16. Ken says:

    “The other problem with nuking North Korea is that it’s full of people.”
    I did not anticipate that being persuasive with my intended audience.
    Though I would not anticipate either China or South Korea being happy with however many million surviving North Koreans, starving worse than they were before, start streaming over the borders as refugees.
    But, hey, international problems are easy-peasy.  Just nuke it!

  17. anjin-san says:

    > anjin, let me ask you something: Do you think were we wrong to bomb Nagasaki and Hiroshima?
    No, it was justifiable under the circumstances. Sorry, but you don’t have a gotcha. While we are on the subject, we should take a moment to remember Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the Enola Gay, who passed in 2007. Few pilots ever flew a more difficult mission.
    It’s worth noting that  a deeper look at history clearly shows that the U.S. and England played a role in creating the conditions that led up to the war, a process that started in 1853 with Admiral Perry sailing into Tokyo Bay. (well, it started a little earlier, but that was a benchmark)  So it was not as quite as simple as “Japan bad, us good”.
    And I have an Uncle who was at Chosin Reservoir, so I know a little bit about what our guys went through.  A closer read of history also shows that there was a series of diplomatic miscues helped bring about the Chinese intervention that turned a rout of North Korean forces  by the US into a slaughterhouse.  China give clear signals that it was OK with the our forces smacking NK around, but if our army got within 100 miles of the Yalu River they would cross the river and attack. We ignored them, and the rest is history.
    If you want to continue the history discussion, just let me know. One of the great lessons of history is that hubris tends to catch up with you eventually. Keep that in mind when you are wondering where other nations get off “thumbing their noses at us”.

  18. Linda says:

    Ken, the question as I posited it to Schooner was, in the event that NK develops a nuke, and lobs it at SK,  is there not still the issue of the blast zone and the fallout zone? Do you really think NK gives a rat’s patootey about the implications of fallout on Russia and China, or even its own countryside? My reasoning behind asking the question in the first place is, sometimes when dealing with a nutjob like Kim, one may be forced to do some distasteful things.
    Conventional weaponry, such as a MOAB, has no fallout.
    (and bring on the cries of “warmonger”)

  19. anjin-san says:

    > Schooner, when NK develops a nuke, do you honestly think they’ll just hang on to it for peaceful purposes, or do you think that maybe they’ll lob it somewhere in SK?
    What is your thought process? China is, and the Soviet Union was a brutal dictatorship, both with little or no regard for life in many cases. What did they do when they got nukes? Attack the next day? In fact, neither have even used them.
    North Korea can devastate the south any time with conventional weapons, they don’t need nukes. If they want war, what are they waiting for?
    Don’t outsource your thinking to right wing radio hosts.

  20. Ken says:

    Linda, I am proceeding on the assumption that North Korea’s leaders may be deranged and/or operating from a set of goals and values utterly alien to ours.  I am proceeding from the assumption that they may be willing to commit national suicide to show strength and stay in power.
    North Korea’s series of provocations is almost certainly calculated to (1) provide propaganda victories to enhance the leadership’s power, (2) introduce, and build up, the extremely unimpressive Kim Jr. as the next God-Emperor, and (3) build up bargaining leverage at the next set of talks.
    Our options seem to be:
    (1) Nuke ’em, with the probable result of serious fallout, diplomatic chaos, refugee hell, quite possibly the conventional artillery destruction of Seoul, and possibly (if our intel isn’t good enough) a counter-nuke in the bargain if we don’t find them all;
    (2) Conventional attack, with the probable result of the conventional artillery destruction of Seoul, a possible nuclear reprisal on South Korea or Japan (or, slight possibility, the U.S.), diplomatic chaos, and refugee hell,
    or (3)  Keep eating the shit sandwich, trusting China to yank North Korea’s chain occasionally as they have before (as when they cut off energy pipelines to NK for a few days “by accident” a few years ago in response to a NK provocation), in effect trading a few lives for many tens or hundreds of thousands more, and take the long view hoping for regieme change or other more favorable circumstances.
    I don’t see a (1) or (2) approach that doesn’t lead to massive, crippling destruction in South Korea — our ally — that goes vastly beyond “some distasteful things.”
    Learning from history is good.  But assuming every strategic or tactical situation is the same as it was in history is not good.  And we’re not just gambling with our lives here — we’re gambling with the lives of our allies, the South Koreans.

  21. There’s also the question of whether thousands of North Korean civilians deserve to die just so we can teach a handful of regime members a lesson.

  22. Lgbpop says:

    Ooooh, feel the love from the peaceniks. Tell me, will all those two-headed North Koreans look like all the two-headed Japanese that were born after 1945? And as far as North Korean civilians dying as collateral casualties, who cares? They have been a thorn in the side of the world for almost 60 years now. Payback’s karma. Furthermore, why do you care when the PRK leadership doesn’t care? They’ve been systematically starving their own people for years. I’d be willing to bet more than a few of the people in the worker’s paradise would turn on that government like liberals on Obama with a bit of outside help.
    Really, in the long run my concerns run more toward the safety and well-being of my own countrymen, not the enemy’s. If those madmen want to start a war with us as a participant they’ll conduct it and attack us whether we like it or not – in which case we’d better be ready. I don’t want to be the one to make the first move, but by God I want us to be the ones making the last move.

  23. anjin-san says:

    > Furthermore, why do you care when the PRK leadership doesn’t care?
    Because I am not as big of a asshole as they are? Or perhaps as you are…
    > I don’t want to be the one to make the first move
    What will you be moving – your cursor? Another armchair warrior…

  24. Linda says:

    Ugh, my router died last night, and I just got the new one set up. Now:
    Kiss my grits… Thoughts on diplomatic talks with NK.

  25. Linda says:

    Besides, Carter thinks we should have direct talks with NK, which means talks are a bad idea, because Carter is a buffoon.

  26. Lgbpop says:

    “> Furthermore, why do you care when the PRK leadership doesn’t care? Because I am not as big of a asshole as they are? Or perhaps as you are… > I don’t want to be the one to make the first move What will you be moving – your cursor? Another armchair warrior…”

    anjin, I may be missing a leg thanks to gook artillery in 1952 and 79 years old to boot but I would tear your face off for that remark if you were within ten miles of me. Remarks like yours are what make me loathe you leftists. You jump to conclusions and toss insults around with abandon, yet whine about the world not being a more tolerant place. You’re also the last people on earth to lift a finger for your fellow countrymen, yet complain that other people don’t give enough to the government.
    No, I’m not jumping to a conclusion here, just concluding that where there’s smoke there’s fire. Perhaps you should move to North Korea. You certainly don’t deserve to be here, and we don’t deserve to have you here either – we deserve better.

  27. michael reynolds says:

    Linda, you and I hav already been through this.  You ended up conceding that you had no idea what to do about North Korea.
    So now someone says “nuke ’em” and you suddenly have an idea.  Unfortunately the idea you have is mass murder, a crime against humanity, a disaster that will harm our friends and allies and our own soldiers, all to no purpose.  In other words, a really f–king stupid idea.
    You were far wiser when you were admitting you didn’t have an idea at all.

  28. Linda says:

    Michael, I was merely pointing out that apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought NK was being coddled. Mind you, nuking NK might be a tad extreme, but I do believe that I had mentioned a MOAB (or other conventional armament) smack in the middle of Pyongyang.
    Again, is that the answer? I don’t know, but NK is doing more than sabre-rattling, and we’re twiddling our thumbs. Oh, let’s just wait for China or Russia to give them a slap on the wrist and call them naughty. Yeah, that’s the answer…

  29. nevrdull says:

    <a MOAB (or other conventional armament) smack in the middle of Pyongyang> a tactical move, that would make little to no sense at all. which is why I have doubts about your overall expertise on this matter, with all due respect.

  30. Ken says:

    Yeah.  Assuming for the moment that nukes, with their probable long-term negative impact on our ally, are off the table, I still haven’t heard a tactical scenario for using a MOAB that doesn’t still result in Seoul getting turned to rubble by the biggest standing artillery force in the world.

  31. Lgbpop says:

    Damn the details, figure them out later – just smack those bastards but good. All the hand-wringing and deploring and condemning and tsk-tsking have done is show them we won’t do anything if attacked. Matter of fact, my money right now is on this assemblage of appeasers we call a governmnet giving the PRK one more “one-time” shot of humanitarian aid, most of which will be diverted (again) to their military.
    Even better would be to tell the South Koreans they were on their own. Amazing how fierce they can fight when their OWN lives are on the line.

  32. Linda says:

    nevrdull, please see:
    where tactical nukes are being talked about.

  33. Linda says:

    Ken, if NK’s artillery emplacements are targeted and taken out first…
    Talks with NK are useless, because they will continue doing as they please. What is the point of going back to the table with them? It’s been done, UN sanctions have been done, and they didn’t work. NK sank an SK ship, and now they’ve attacked civilians without provocation…

  34. michael reynolds says:

    Target and “take out” something like ten thousand artillery pieces in hardened emplacements.  Yeah.  Should be no problem.  How many rounds do you think those pieces will fire before we magically “take them out?”  Let’s say just five each — because after all, you’ve got Harry Potter’s wand and you know how to knock out hardened artillery — so that’s just 50,000 shells dropping on the suburbs of Seoul.  Wow.  Barely worth worrying about.

    Damn the details, figure them out later – just smack those bastards but good.

    You mentioned earlier LGBpop that you were 79.  Maybe you’ve given up giving a shit about the future.  The rest of us haven’t.  The “details” are mass murder of civilians, deaths of allies, deaths of  American soldiers, fallout, shattered relationships with China and Japan.  So with all due respect to your service and your age, you’re an idiot.
    I assume you’re both Tea Party supporters, right?  Palin fans?

  35. Lgbpop says:

    Yes, you did give up on your future because when the chips are down you worry about the enemy more than your own side. Watching pansy-assed whiners like you talk yourself out of a fight because if involves work, struggle and injury makes me ill. My buddies and I didn’t risk everything we had to save this country to hand it off to smartasses like you.
    Again, a leftist with the assumptions. Why does someone who believes in his country automatically get labelled derisively by the likes of you and ridiculed? Who are you to call anyone names? For your information, you ignoramus, a state of war changes international law. Deaths due to warfare are not considered murder, they are casualties. Until your misbegotten generation came around, killing the enemy in wartime was the way one waged war. Now, you try to criminalize it, try soldiers in civil courts and apply your mentality of surrender to everyone. I am no great fan of Governor Palin, but she has more balls than you have. Why on earth anyone should listen to you the way you talk down to them is downright crazy. With NO respect for you at all, YOU are the idiot and a traitor to boot. I spit on you.

  36. michael reynolds says:

    I doubt you served in combat.  I think you’re a fraud.  You sound like a drunken old fart playing veteran. In fact I suspect you may be our old troll Triumph.  Frankly you’re too dumb to be real.

  37. Linda says:

    Well, Michael, aren’t we snarky?
    No, I am not a Tea Partier. I am, however, for smaller, limited government. And while I like Sarah Palin, because she’s not afraid to say what needs to be said, I would not vote for her, because I feel she’s too polarizing.
    I did vote for McCain in 2008, because Obama is a socialist, and he told the American people that, but sadly, many didn’t seem to grasp that. In the 2008 primary, I voted for Ron Paul. I’ll see who’s running in 2012, and weigh my choices.
    You really wouldn’t like my ideas about the Mexican border. 🙂 I think a high power electric fence would solve the problem. Makes it a tad more difficult to go over or through it. Yes, I know, I’m just a meanie, for wanting to keep our borders secure. But we can’t keep absorbing the illegals from south of the border.
    And for your edification, I tend to agree with LGBPOP’s characterization of you.
    Have a lovely day.

  38. anjin-san says:

    >  You jump to conclusions and toss insults around with abandon,
    > You’re also the last people on earth to lift a finger for your fellow countrymen,
    Interesting that you put these two sentences in the same paragraph. You “loathe” people who jump to conclusions and toss insults around, then that is exactly what you do. You don’t have a fricking clue what I have done for my fellow countrymen. In the last 5 years I have spent in excess of 100K taking care of folks who can’t take care of themselves, so I think I am carrying my weight and then some. We are not wealthy, and have given up a lot because it needs to be done.
    I have a relative who was at Frozen Chosin & my Dad enlisted during the war, though he ended up in Europe, so I know a bit about what went on in Korea and the sacrafices your generation made. I’m sorry to hear that you had to give so much in the service of your country, but it does not excuse your  bloodlust and hatred.  I am not willing  to kill millions of Koreans because you are bitter.
    BTW, while the Korean war was one that was worth fighting, you did not “save this country” there.

  39. anjin-san says:

    > Damn the details, figure them out later
    Worked like a charm in Iraq, why not go again, eh?

  40. nevrdull says:

    i have read that piece. still does very little to explain why the use of tactical weapons would make any sense in that scenario, which was my original point. these munitions are very indiscriminate in their effect, so unless you just want to lay waste to the major cities in NK, there is not much sense in using them. (bear in mind, also, that this isn’t the 1950’s where low-yield nukes were to be used on the battlefield) it is a telltale sign of armchair warriors like yourself, LGB(T)POP and indeed Mr Reynolds to immediately cry for the biggest, most badass – sounding weapon out there whenever a discussion like this comes up. like I said, it speaks to your expertise, ar rather the lack thereof. people like you have cried for the use of nukes in afghanistan and iraq, simply as an expression of their own outrage and insecurity. (and prbably a certain nostalgia for the cold war)
    the fact is that in most scenarios in NK, should this turn into a shooting war, conventional weapons will be deployed, even if KJI were to go nuclear (which he isn’t). there is really no way to win this by force alone.

  41. Linda says:

    I feel it isn’t so much about the use of tactical weapons, but rather the show of force. Let NK see what could be unleashed if they continue. So far, Kim has not been properly chastised, and if the world is waiting for China to step up, it’s going to be a long wait. Finger wagging, even from a consolidated front, is still just finger wagging.
    Just 2 days before NK initiated this latest action, the world found out about their new, modern, nuclear facility. Coincidence?

  42. michael reynolds says:

    Not quite sure why you’re tossing me in as an armchair warrior, since I’ve been saying from the start that we need to stick to our current strategy.

  43. Linda says:

    BreakingNews Breaking News

    S. Korea orders residents of bombarded Yeonpyeong Island to shelters after reports of N. Korea missile deployment

    I’m sure the residents of Yeonpyeong think more talks are really going to help.