North Korea: Bigger threat to our freedom

Jamie DeLoma

President George W. Bush has tried to convince America that Iraq, not North Korea, is the dominant threat to America and its interests. However, after examining some basic information, one will come to the conclusion that he is wrong.

U.S. Senator Bob Graham(D-Florida) recently told CNN that “If you put the two – North Korea and Iraq – on the scales and ask the question, ‘Which today is the greatest threat to the people of the United States of America?’ I would answer the question, ‘North Korea.'”

The Florida Senator is not alone in his conclusion. Many Americans, particularly those among the political and military realm, agree.

First of all, there are tens of thousands of U.S. troops stationed in close vicinity to the DMZ, the zone dividing the Korean continent in two.

Gen. Thomas A. Schwartz recently testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that 70 percent of North Korea’s army, “approximately 700,000 troops, over 8,000 artillery systems and 2,000 tanks” are based within 90 miles of the DMZ and are actively being reinforced.

Further, many are positioned in 4,000 underground locations that they “can attack with minimal preparations or warning.”

North Korea is not a country that one should take lightly. The communist state has the third largest ground force on earth, counting one million active-duty troops, an air force of more than 1,700 planes, an 800-ship navy that includes the largest submarine fleet in the world and a six million man reserve force, according to Checkpoint, a military information web site.

With its large military backbone, North Korea can easily strike America’s closest allies in the Asian theater including South Korea and Japan, not to mention hitting US territory, including parts of Alaska and perhaps US mainland within a matter of years. North Korea has invaded a neighbor in the past century, and very little is stopping it from doing so again today.

There is one more item that makes up the state’s military arsenal — nuclear weapons.

North Korea is believed by many in U.S. Intelligence to posses one to two nuclear warheads capable of reaching targets all over Asia and perhaps even Alaska.

By possessing such arms and continuing, as North Korea appears to be in the process of doing, creating weapons of mass destruction, an arms race could develop in Eastern Asia that could result in Japan beginning its own nuclear program.

If it were not enough that North Korea possessed such weapons, they are willing to sell such weapons to rogue states terrorists are known to be apart of. For instance, in the last quarter of 2002, a North Korean shipment of Scud missiles en route to Yemen was discovered after being tracked from North Korean waters by U.S. surveillance.

That one discovery backed up the worst fears of many around the world: that North Korea is willing to sell its technology to anyone as long as the necessary funds are present.

President Bush is grossly underestimating North Korea’s potential threat to world stability. Instead of focusing so greatly on Iraq, a nation whose military forces have been greatly diminished since the 1991 Gulf War, and where UN weapons and US spy planes monitor the Middle-Eastern nation daily, the Bush administration should make sure that it is not allowing North Korea to do anything that will force the world into something very unpleasant.