DoD Deploys Mattis To Demilitarized Zone To Stare North Korea Into Submission

news
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and South Korean Minister of Defence Song Young-moo visit the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea during a visit to the Joint Security Area in South Korea, Oct. 27, 2017.
Photo via DoD

Secretary of Defense James Mattis ostensibly traveled to South Korea to lay the groundwork President Donald Trump’s upcoming first official visit to Asia: “Our goal is not war,” the Pentagon chief told reporters on Oct. 27. But everything about his visit to the demilitarized zone separating North Korea from South came with a less-than subtle subtext: Don’t fuck with me.


“We’re doing everything we can to solve this diplomatically — everything we can,” Mattis said after descending from a Black Hawk helicopter at Panmunjom, the “truce village” where the uneasy ceasefire between North and South Korea was finalized in July 1953. The U.S. goal, said Mattis, isn’t armed conflict, “but rather the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

But Mattis’ trip to the 38th parallel seems to say otherwise: Just look at these photos of the former Marine general staring down North Korean border guards after declaring the regime in Pyongyang an “oppressive regime that shackles its people, denying their freedom, their welfare and their human dignity.”

Mattis: "I could kill you right now and nobody would suspect a thing."Photo via DoD

Nothing fancy, just Mattis doing 3/4 of a perfect parade rest while casually conversing with a U.S. Forces-Korea staff officerPhoto via DoD

Mattis: "That's a subpar knife hand, but I'll allow it."Photo via DoD

The face of doom.

Diplomacy, Mattis told reporters on Oct. 25, needs a credible threat of force behind it. “Ultimately, our diplomats have to be backed up by strong soldiers and sailors, airmen and Marines, so they speak from a position of strength, of combined strength, of alliance strength, shoulder to shoulder,” he said, adding that North Korea’s “provocations continue to threaten regional and global security.”

Mattis’ comments cap off weeks of slow, steady military build-up as tensions between the U.S. and North Korea once again soar.

On Oct. 25, the Navy announced the retasking of the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier to the Korean peninsula after completing its mission as part of Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIS in Iraq and Syria in the Middle East. That means that three U.S. carrier groups will be operating in the Pacific for the first time in more than a decade. On Oct. 23, the Air Force announced it would deploy a dozen brand-new F35A fighters to Okinawa in “early November,” a move “designed to demonstrate the continuing U.S. commitment to stability and security in the region,” the branch said. And On Oct. 16, the nuclear submarine USS Michigan stopped off in the South Korean city of Busan for a “routine port visit,” outfitted with two silos for SEAL Delivery Vehicles — and raising the spectre of a “decapitation strike” that’s had Kim Jong Un shaking in his boots for months.

Related: Mattis To Military: ‘Be Ready’ For What Trump Decides To Do About North Korea »

It’s not just U.S. Pacific Command rattling its sabers. On Oct. 19, South Korean officials unveiled a brand new, three-layer attack strategy based around — I shit you not — a  surface-to-surface “Frankenmissile” that’s “powerful enough to destroy North Korea’s underground military facilities and command center,” according to the Korean Herald.

The “three tier missile attack plan,” as The War Zone succinctly described it on Oct. 26, is “to present North Korea with the threat of rapidly losing much of its ballistic missiles, nuclear weapons, and long-range artillery capabilities, which the South Korean Army said would be ‘unbearable costs’ for Kim Jong-un’s regime.”

Those reports capture South Korea’s significant reinvestment in its own defensive and first-strike capabilities, beyond the protective resources the of U.S. military in the region. Even a U.S. surgical strike on North Korean command-and-control facilities (or a “decapitation” strike against regime leadership) could likely trigger retaliatory artillery strikes from the North, causing potentially thousands of daily casualties in the South. Officials in Seoul are clearly planning to prevent that. “We would use those three types of missiles as the first salvo of the missile strike and concentrate them during the initial phase of war to destroy North Korea’s long-range artillery units and missiles located in ballistic missile operating area,” Korean Army officials wrote, per The Korea Herald.

All of this is, well, pretty sweet. Let’s just hope PACOM doesn’t decide to call in Mike Pence for reinforcements.

WATCH NEXT:

A Marine wanted for killing his mother's boyfriend reportedly escaped police by hiding inside an RV they'd spent hours searching before towing it to a parking lot, where he escaped under the cover of darkness.

It wasn't until more than two weeks later authorities finally caught up to Michael Brown at his mom's home, which was the scene of the crime.

Brown stuffed himself into a tight spot in his camper during an hours-long search of the vehicle on Nov. 10, according to NBC affiliate WSLS in Virginia. A day earlier, cops said Brown fatally shot his mother's boyfriend, Rodney Brown. The AWOL Marine remained on the lam until Nov. 27, where he was finally apprehended without incident.

Read More Show Less

No motive is yet known for last week's Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard shooting tragedy, which appears to have been a random act of violence in which the sailor who fatally shot two civilian workers and himself did not know them and did not plan his actions ahead of time, shipyard commander Capt. Greg Burton said in an "All Hands" message sent out Friday.

Machinist's Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Antonio Romero of San Antonio, an armed watch-stander on the attack submarine USS Columbia, shot three civilian workers Dec. 4 and then turned a gun on himself while the sub rested in dry dock 2 for a major overhaul, the Navy said.

"The investigation continues, but there is currently no known motive and no information to indicate the sailor knew any of the victims," Burton said.

Read More Show Less
A projectile is fired during North Korea's missile tests in this undated picture released by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) on November 28, 2019. (KCNA via Reuters)

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said it had successfully conducted another test at a satellite launch site, the latest in a string of developments aimed at "restraining and overpowering the nuclear threat of the U.S.", state news agency KCNA reported on Saturday.

The test was conducted on Friday at the Sohae satellite launch site, KCNA said, citing a spokesman for North Korea's Academy of Defence Science, without specifying what sort of testing occurred.

Read More Show Less

Since the Washington Post first published the "Afghanistan papers," I have been reminded of a scene from "Apocalypse Now Redux" in which Army Col. Walter Kurtz reads to the soldier assigned to kill him two Time magazine articles showing how the American people had been lied to about Vietnam by both the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations.

In one of the articles, a British counterinsurgency expert tells Nixon that "things felt much better and smelled much better" during his visit to Vietnam.

"How do they smell to you, soldier?" Kurtz asks.

Read More Show Less
Erik Prince arrives for the New York Young Republican Club Gala at The Yale Club of New York City in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., November 7, 2019. (REUTERS/Jeenah Moon)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Erik Prince, the controversial private security executive and prominent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, made a secret visit to Venezuela last month and met Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, one of socialist leader Nicolas Maduro's closest and most outspoken allies, according to five sources familiar with the matter.

Read More Show Less