Tags: Barack Obama | North Korea | War on Terrorism | Ashton Carter | bomb | missile | defense

Presumed Defense Nominee Wanted to Bomb North Korea in 2006

By    |   Tuesday, 02 December 2014 04:25 PM

President Barack Obama's presumed nominee for secretary of defense advocated eight years ago that the United States blast North Korea with a bomb or a missile.

Writing in Time magazine and The Washington Post in 2006, Carter, a physicist with a Yale doctorate who had served as assistant secretary of defense under President Bill Clinton, and William J. Perry, former secretary of defense, argued that the U.S. should launch a "cruise missile or precision bomb with an ordinary high-explosive warhead" to destroy a planned test launch by North Korea of its Taepodong 2 missile, which would be capable of carrying a nuclear device to Hawaii, Business Insider reports.

The North Koreans at the time were preparing to launch the missile, which would violate an agreed-on moratorium, and both men felt that was sufficient provocation for President George W. Bush's administration to launch a "surgical strike" to take out the missile on the launch pad.

"If North Korea persists in its launch preparations, the United States should immediately make clear its intention to strike and destroy the North Korean Taepodong missile before it can be launched," Carter and Perry, both college professors at the time, wrote in the Washington Post.

Obama has not formally announced the appointment of Carter, but both the Washington Post and the New York Times, citing sources inside the administration, reported that such an announcement is imminent.

Should he receive Senate confirmation, Carter would take over from current Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who lost his position after running afoul of the administration.

Both Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who will replace Levin when Republicans take over the Senate next month, indicated that Carter's nomination is likely to be approved, the Post reports.

Carter served as deputy secretary of defense from 2011 to 2013, when he was passed over for secretary of defense by Hagel's appointment and resigned.

The Times noted that Obama has "settled on Ashton B. Carter to be the next defense secretary but is not prepared to announce the move because the White House has not completed its vetting of him."

In the 2006 Post article, headlined, "If Necessary, Strike and Destroy," Carter and Perry wrote, "Should the United States allow a country openly hostile to it and armed with nuclear weapons to perfect an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering nuclear weapons to U.S. soil? We believe not."

"The multi-story, thin-skinned missile filled with high-energy fuel is itself explosive. The U.S. airstrike would puncture the missile and probably cause it to explode. The carefully engineered test bed for North Korea's nascent nuclear missile force would be destroyed, and its attempt to retrogress to Cold War threats thwarted.

"The United States should emphasize that the strike, if mounted, would not be an attack on the entire country, or even its military, but only on the missile that North Korea pledged not to launch —  one designed to carry nuclear weapons.

"Diplomacy has failed, and we cannot sit by and let this deadly threat mature," they wrote.

In the Time article, titled "The Case for a Preemptive Strike on North Korea's Missiles," the pair wrote, "'Surgical strike' is a much abused term, but destroying a test missile as it is being readied for launch qualifies for this category because only one U.S. cruise missile or precision bomb with an ordinary high-explosive warhead could easily puncture and ignite the multistory test booster. As with space-shuttle launches from Cape Canaveral, all personnel would normally be a safe distance away from the rocket at the time, so there should be no collateral damage."

They also advocated striking any further launches attempted by North Korea.

Their recommendations were not carried out, but in the end the North Korean missile was a flop: it landed 200 miles away, less than a minute after launch, in the Sea of Japan, CNN reported.

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President Barack Obama's presumed nominee for secretary of defense advocated eight years ago that the United States blast North Korea with a bomb or a missile.
Ashton Carter, bomb, missile, defense
Tuesday, 02 December 2014 04:25 PM
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