New sheriff won't allow Norks to rain fire

With Donald Trump's decision to call Kim Jong-un's bluff by sending the USS Carl Vinson task force steaming in the direction of the Hermit Kingdom, there have been multiple articles out there repeating the possible dire consequences of actually engaging the belligerent little bully militarily.  The obscure North Korean functionary and propagandist who years ago first threatened to turn his country's southern sister state into a "Sea of Fire" in response to some minor provocation may have seemed a bit of a ham-handed saber-rattler at the time, but he most assuredly created a lasting and wearisome media cliché that surfaces in Western publications every time there's a new dustup with North Korea.

Moreover, almost every article referencing this "Sea of Fire" explains that term to readers by pointing out that Seoul, South Korea's largest city, lies so close to the border between the two nations that it will likely be destroyed in the opening artillery salvos from the North should the balloon go up.  This, they point out, is almost certainly due to the fact that North Korea has positioned countless thousands of artillery pieces and rocket launchers along its side of the demilitarized zone for just that purpose.  They usually quote some military expert that any American attack on North Korea unavoidably will sign Seoul's doom.

This old soldier ain't buyin' it.  For one thing, if Seoul is 30 to 35 miles from the closest Nork artillery placements, a quick examination of the map shows that from that narrow southernmost point, the North Korean border swings back north, both east and west from that closest point, so that there could only be but a few hundred artillery pieces and rocket launchers, not the thousands quoted by Western media pundits, that are actually that close.  More importantly, there are damned few artillery pieces in the Nork army that have a range of 30-plus miles.  And for those that do, American and South Korean defensive artillery forces have counter-battery radars in place that are so advanced that they not only can direct effective defensive fire to destroy incoming rounds, but also pinpoint the precise firing location of the offending artillery pieces so quickly that our own artillery fire and airstrikes can be directed on them within seconds.  As Saddam's Iraqi forces learned quickly, to fire your artillery at the Americans was to invite your own violent, concussive death mere moments later.  And those American radar detection systems and the counter-battery tactics have just kept getting more sophisticated and deadly since we used them in Iraq.

Another fact we hear ballyhooed about the mighty North Korean Army is that it is the fourth largest in the world.  That might count for something if they were properly fed, properly clothed, properly trained, and properly armed.  The Nork annual military budget is a mere seven billion dollars (slightly more than Mexico's), which doesn't go very far when you are trying to field the fourth largest force on the planet.  It's telling that sites that rank nations by their military capabilities don't seem too impressed with the Norks.  The algorithm places them at number 25, right between Saudi Arabia and Algeria.  In Business Insider's survey of the world's 35 most powerful militaries, guess who's dead last.

Those ratings don't say much for the fighting capabilities of the world's fourth largest army, do they?  A major factor in this negative ranking is that the Nork army is largely a vestige of the Soviet era, without sufficient funds to modernize.  That Soviet aspect is clearly captured in the many pics and videos of the recent Day of the Sun celebration in Pyongyang.  Look at those visuals, and if you're old enough, tell me they don't look exactly like Soviet Union output in the 1950s and 1960s.

It's one thing to fill a public square with smartly dressed formations of goose-stepping troops to impress the folks, and it's quite another to send those troops out to fight the most technologically advanced fighting forces in the world.  And some sharp-eyed observers, even among their allies, are even saying the Nork missile displays may be a bit off center and wobbly.

I've said nothing about the air component of a war with North Korea, but I'd bet the farm that if the Norks keep pushing it, they are in for their own coming version of Shock and Awe: a display of our combined modern airpower capabilities that will send a memorable message to Trump-taunting tyrants around the world: "Don't ever take it as far as that fool did."

In the decades we've had to plot and monitor North Korea's air defenses, I would wager almost every single site sits clearly in the crosshairs of one very effective and deadly American or South Korean weapons system or another, with its continued existence, and that of those Norks manning it, depending entirely upon the lack of a command to  "commence firing."  Quickly destroyed or degraded, they are thus helpless to protect the remainder of the Nork forces, including their vaunted tank divisions, again mostly aged Soviet hand-me-downs, from a relentless and deadly air onslaught.

Are you beginning to see why I don't buy into all this frantic, lefty media hype about these fearsome Norks?

I close with what will undoubtedly be recognized and lauded by knowledgeable journalists as the best triple-decker cliché of the year:

There's a new sheriff in town, and at the end of the day, he won't allow the Norks to rain fire upon Seoul.