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The Military Science

North Korean Nuclear Facilities, From 30,000 Feet 182

Posted by timothy
from the that-seems-like-a-nice-safe-distance dept.
Harperdog writes "Niko Milonopoulos, Siegfried S. Hecker, and Robert Carlin analyze terrific overhead photos of North Korea's nuclear facilities, discussing the rate of building and what the photos show. Also points to options for dealing with North Korea and their energy needs."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

North Korean Nuclear Facilities, From 30,000 Feet

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  • by DCTech (2545590) on Sunday January 08, 2012 @04:00AM (#38627894)
    North Korea knows fully well people are constantly spying their area. That's why much more interesting thing is that they're likely developing nuclear sites with Burma/Myanmar [bbc.co.uk], deeply within the jungle and inside caves in mountains. They were doing business together back in 2004 too.

    The North Koreans, aided by Burmese workers, are constructing a concrete-reinforced underground facility that is '500ft from the top of the cave to the top of the hill above'," reads the cable, published by the Guardian newspaper.

    Some 300 North Koreans were working at the site, the authors said, although the cable suggested this number was improbably high.

    The BBC's diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus says that for months there have been persistent reports in the press and specialised journals suggesting that Burma is building a nuclear facility with North Korean help.

    Another cable released by the whistle-blowing site suggests that China, Burma's most powerful ally, is growing impatient with the country's leaders.

    Frankly, this is what happens when powerful nations have nuclear weapons and smaller ones want them too to defend themselves. And remember that U.s. is still the only nation on planet to ever have used nuclear weapons. Against civilians, no less.

  • by F69631 (2421974) on Sunday January 08, 2012 @05:17AM (#38628124)

    You often hear about the nuclear bombs and the horrors caused by those. It's a sexy story: A new weapon so powerful that nobody truly understood what it would do... A single massacre of civilians to end a war... It makes for great movies and great ethical arguments. Nothing like the cold and calculated cruelty, such as firebombing [wikipedia.org], that was utilized by both sides but perfected by allies when effectively destroying [alien8.de] European cities.

    For those too lazy to go to Wikipedia, Firebombing is a nasty tactic: The first wave of bombers attacks infrastructure (roads, electricity, firefighters, roofs of buildings), the second one contains powerful incendiary bombs. The fires are difficult to put out (due to the first wave) but there is also an added benefit: The people who managed to get into shelters have pretty good chance of suffocating to death as the whole city block is in flames for hours. This was used over and over again against civilian targets.

    Not that ordinary bombing wasn't bad enough: It's nothing like the romanticized idea of a couple of people in a small bunker in their backyard. I've visited the old bomb shelters of Berlin: There are airtight rooms that can't be opened from the inside (if they run out of air there, opening the door would just result in them consuming all the oxygen from the rest of the shelter, too. It's better to just open the door from the outside after the raid is over and see if the people are still alive or not). There were dozens of people tightly packed into relatively small space, being very still and hoping that the air would last. At the beginning of the wars, there were indicators to tell how much oxygen was left (three at different levels and they'd change color when the oxygen was out near the roof, near the center and near the floor) but those just caused panic and were removed soon. As the number of raids grew, it no longer made sense to leave the shelter for extended time periods. The managers removed doors from toilets because by removing all the privacy, they were able to somewhat lower the amount of suicides (Several each day) that people committed in the shelter. This was all caused by the good guys.

    To point out something "nice" from the Axis portfolio... The siege of Leningrad: The only place and time (as far as I'm aware of) in the modern western world where cannibalism actually became a widespread problem among the civilian population of a major city.

    So... yeah. Nuclear weapons were bad but I don't think they're nearly the worst things that happened in those wars. I wouldn't even list them in top 3 (though they would get into top 10). This is also why I always feel a small amount of outrage when Americans talk about how they're at war (or even two wars): USA pays some people to risk their life overseas, some of which then end up dying. That's an invasion or perhaps expensive armed conflict or something, but hardly equivalent to being in war.

  • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Sunday January 08, 2012 @05:21AM (#38628136) Homepage Journal

    Could you please compare the bombing of Hiroshima with something more "acceptable", such as the repeated firebombings of Dresden? In your comparison, please include comparisons of number of lives lost, percentages of military to civilian deaths, personal property losses, infrastructure losses, and the military value of all those losses.

    Perhaps, if you have enough background, you could compare the overall losses to both German and Japan during and immediately after World War 2.

    And, if you're up to the task, maybe you could explain why the US military still has a surplus of Purple Heart medals, to the tune of a quarter million of them.

    Nuclear weapons are terrible, I'll grant that. But, so is a 500 pound incindiary bomb landing in your living room. To the dead people, there is no difference.

  • by Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) on Sunday January 08, 2012 @05:47AM (#38628204)

    nut jobs who think strapping explosive to themselves is a way into heaven and 72 virgins via martyrdom

    Usually the promise of the martyr's family's safety and prosperity, as being something tangible, is a much greater incentive than any hypothetical harem in the afterlife. And those 72 virgins are an urban legend that is used to make saboteurs into religious fanatics they aren't. Most of the bomb attacks are not even suicidal, but it sounds exciting and western "civilizations" are suckers for gore.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08, 2012 @09:21AM (#38628998)

    I shared this point of view once... that the nukes were acts of state sponsored terrorism. I sought out quite a bit of info on the topics... I think most "woah" was a History channel special and an article about Operation Downfall (Not the Wikipedia one). But anything I has out would probably be included in this wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debate_over_the_atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki
    I am convinced that due to the world's need for a Japanese surrender (War can only end when one side is defeated or surrenders), the pride of the Japanese emperor, had the bombs not been dropped, the Japanese "civilian" deaths would have been greater in the months that followed, and the military deaths at least 3x higher on both sides. That, with conventional war. But maybe that's just propaganda.

  • by denzacar (181829) on Sunday January 08, 2012 @09:28AM (#38629022) Journal

    I note Japan has never made reparations for their many war crimes. ...
    What would US soldiers have felt about the japanese people if they had to fight through Japan with more and more evidence of Japanese war crimes to fuel the already bitter hatred of the Japanese?

    One - Japan got a free ride from the USA in exchange for the data it gathered from their inhumane experiments. [wikipedia.org]
    Two - They DID make reparations for many war crimes. [wikipedia.org]
    Three - US soldiers would not feel a damn thing (other than the already present racism against the Japs [sfsu.edu] which was rather prevalent back then) - as Japan was not Nazi Germany.
    Their concentration camps (as in places where war crimes was a part of daily routine) were mostly offshore in places like Korea, China and Philippines [mansell.com] - you know... places where they were actually doing the fighting, capturing and executing of soldiers and civilians, pillaging and other activities that make war so much fun apparently.
    Their camps in Japan were mostly of the interment kind. [comcast.net]
    No gas chambers or furnaces. Or even that much civilian prisoners.

    As for German women being raped...
    That was NOT due to Russians fighting through "the evidence of german war crimes".
    Russians even did their share of mass executions. Just ask Poles. [wikipedia.org]

    Russian soldiers were let loose in Germany because of the 26,600,000 Soviets lost in the WWII. [wikipedia.org]
    About 8.6 million of them soldiers.

    It was not some temporary loss of moral compass due to seeing incredible injustice and evil. It was a calculated revenge of a victor.

    "What would US soldiers have felt about the japanese people if they had to fight through Japan with more and more evidence of Japanese war crimes to fuel the already bitter hatred of the Japanese?"

    You mean the way they systematically raped and killed German civilians after having to fight through half of Europe, littered with evidence of German war crimes?
    Oh no... wait... I meant the way they systematically distributed aid to German civilians. [wikipedia.org]
    Slip of tongue there.

  • by satuon (1822492) on Sunday January 08, 2012 @09:43AM (#38629110)

    And it's a good job they did too. For practically everyone including Japan.

    You are more right than you think.

    Many people don't know that the Soviets had just declared war on Japan, and, after defeating the Kwantung army, had occupied nearly all territories held by Japan on the continent. After that they were planning to invade the Home Islands. Had the nuclear bombs not persuaded Japan to surrender at that moment, they might have been occupied by the Soviet Union. That would have had serious implications not just during the war, but after, because we would have likely had the People's Republic of Japan. What standard of living would its citizens have had?

  • by misterjjones (1331965) on Sunday January 08, 2012 @04:01PM (#38631776)
    False Dichotomy

    They could have dropped the bomb on an uninhabited area, as a demonstration to the Japanese government. They could have allowed a longer period of time for the Japanese to surrender after Hiroshima instead of following up so quickly with the Nagasaki bomb. Etc. etc.

    Overall, I agree with your point, better two cities lost than all the deaths that would have followed an invasion, but that's not to say that nuking two major cities was the best possible outcome

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