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The Military Science

North Korean Nuclear Facilities, From 30,000 Feet 182

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."
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North Korean Nuclear Facilities, From 30,000 Feet

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  • by bug1 ( 96678 ) on Sunday January 08, 2012 @05:33AM (#38628008)

    "N. Korea and Burma are oppressive dictatorships. It is in no one's desire to let these countries have or retain nuclear weapons."

    Indeed, its only oppressive democracies that should be allowed to have nuclear weapons.

    A more important question is, should fair and relaxed dictatorships/democracies be allowed to have them ? Hmm, but i guess they wouldnt need them, because they dont go around trying to bully people all the time.

    Perhaps having nuclear weapons is a sign that a country is oppressive ?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08, 2012 @06:01AM (#38628078)
    If that's the case then democracies only nuke Japan, so they have nothing to worry about.
  • by the linux geek ( 799780 ) on Sunday January 08, 2012 @06:27AM (#38628156)
    You call the 1973 war "Israel attacking its enemies?" Lay off the crazy juice.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08, 2012 @06:41AM (#38628192)

    Is making the error to think countries like NK and Iran will use nukes because dictators are irrational madmen. Sure, they're 'mad' enough but that doesn't make 'm irrational. Launching nukes would mean imminent self-destruction and is akin to walking up to a battalion of tank with a single round of .22.
    The only motivation pursuing nukes is for gaining more means to play the political game. Dictators use ideology (ie. Stanilism, religion) to mobilize citizens to maintain or expand power and/or resources. The rest is a game.

    If you are so naive to believe entire countries act as suicidal maniacs then you're being fooled by the same tools dictators use, only we call it 'peace', 'democracy' and 'stability'.

  • by Jappus ( 1177563 ) on Sunday January 08, 2012 @06:49AM (#38628208)

    From what I've seen in history, only democracies nuke civilians.

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

    Why? By that point, the war was pretty much over anyway. The only two at least semi-sensible arguments for using the nukes was: a) it'd likely make an invasion of Japan unnecessary and b) we have them, so we might as well just use them.

    Given the fact that Germany had to be pretty much completely invaded before it surrendered is a sure sign that while a) actually worked, it would not have cost more than employing the nukes. Compared to the cost of getting to the point of invading the home-turf, the actual act of doing it is much less costly. And the USA were already ready to invade the home-turf of Japan at that point, so the down-payment was pretty much already done.
    And if you look at the post-war recovery speed, both Japan and Germany did not differ much, so invading Japan would have worked just as well as nuking two cities full of civilians -- only that the former is somewhat less morally questionable, as it'd have mostly killed armed soldiers, instead of unarmed civilians and would've given the individual soldiers at least a chance to surrender.

    So, given that fact a) is neither really pro-use nor fully contra-use, the most likely reason why they used the nukes was simply b). They had them, they wanted to test them for real, so they tested them for real. All in all, it just shows the banality of evil, and that a democracy is not immune against committing morally questionable or downright morally evil acts.

    Oh, and using the argument "But it saved the lives of US-American soldiers" -- while certainly right -- is even worse, as it simply shows that your moral compass is blind in certain areas. It is basically trading the few or your own for the many of the others -- and good luck with morally justifying that without sounding just like those who you set out to defeat.

  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Sunday January 08, 2012 @07:04AM (#38628254) Homepage Journal
    See, the North Koreans DID disarm and were working with the US to develop nuclear power that was capable of producing power, but very hard to weaponize. But apparently doing so actually required thought and subtlety to international relations, something Republicans are apparently incapable of actually comprehending. Come in our cowboy man-child president who scrapped the whole deal, called North Korea "evil", and then was shocked when they re-started their weapons program. Same with Iran, and then he, and Obama for that matter, decided to go after the people who WERENT developing WMDs, letting all dictators round the world know that if they develop WMDs they are safe, if they don't, then they will get killed so the president can prove what a "man" he is. Bush was the biggest failure of a president in the post-civil war era, and Obama is only SLIGHTLY better.
  • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Sunday January 08, 2012 @07:16AM (#38628276) Homepage

    Apparently not for those on the receiving end. All the kittens, puppies and babies guilty of war crimes. All life has value, those that ignore this devalue their own life to less than nothing.

  • by indeterminator ( 1829904 ) on Sunday January 08, 2012 @07:19AM (#38628284)
    Adding to parent, they could probably have made their point by nuking much less densely inhabited areas. Instead they decided to go for maximum civilian casualties.
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Sunday January 08, 2012 @07:29AM (#38628302) Journal

    Germany was only partially invaded by the western allies, the russians did the lion share including the brutal Berlin battle. Japan's final battle by comparison was relatively peaceful.

    As for civilians being killed, were these the same civilians who congratulated their sons for the mass murder they committed? I note Japan has never made reparations for their many war crimes.

    The world at the time was tired of war, invading all of Japan by the US alone would have created a terrible cost, not just in soldiers lost but in retaliation by US soldiers against Japanese civilians. Lots of german women were raped, not that anyone could give a shit about it but the Russian soldiers were hardly in the mood to restrain themselves after having fought through the evidence of german war crimes to be nice to those same germans.

    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?

    I also find it highly likely that you are willing to sacrifice soldiers without actually ever having served. An armchar moralist. Gosh, we need more of them. Easy bet you think Iraq was about oil while topping up your SUV.

  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Sunday January 08, 2012 @07:34AM (#38628324) Homepage Journal

    Yes, it would have been much more humane to kill twice as many by invading, or the whole lot of them by blockade.

  • by wmac1 ( 2478314 ) on Sunday January 08, 2012 @07:39AM (#38628346)
    Yes, and the US government has been very much better. The track record of at least 50 wars in less than half a century, Nuking civilian cities and killing or causing the death of millions in those wars is a very good record for your so called democracy.

    If there is one country which should not have the right of having nukes, that's the US. The US has used it before.... will use it again ... possibly
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08, 2012 @08:35AM (#38628522)

    How about "it saved the lives of millions of Japanese"?

    Could the US have just contained Japan until it collapsed? Sure. It wouldn't even have taken all that long, really. Things were pretty grim in Japan in August 1945 - lots of homelessness, and significant problems with production. They were short on every kind of raw material, and the food distribution system was in such dire straits that many factories couldn't operate because their workers had to choose between coming to work or obtaining food. (You don't usually think of "do work" and "obtain necessities of life" as mutually exclusive things, after all - but the official ration was down to starvation level, and so people did what they could to obtain more... which moved more food out of the official distribution system and into the black market, which made it worse for everyone else, which meant even more people had to spend their days getting food instead of working...)

    The transportation network was in ruins. The harbors were mined, the transports were being torpedoed one after the other, the rail bridges were bombed, the ferries were wrecked.

    On top of that, the winter of '45/'46 was one of the worst on record for Japan. Even with food aid from occupying US forces, hundreds of thousands of Japanese starved to death. That's with us providing bread instead of bombs...

    The bombs killed something like 110,000 people, and that's regrettable. But pretending that Japan would have surrendered in August '45 without the nukes is foolish, and every month the war dragged on, the death toll for the Japanese civilian population continued to rise. Things had degenerated to the point where even if the US had literally quit and gone home - just said "forget it, we're declaring peace and not attacking any more" - more Japanese civilians would have died in the next year than died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    That's not even considering the nightmare scenario, where central governance in Tokyo collapsed and Japan's forces overseas could not be brought to surrender. Little Japanese garrisons on a hundred small islands in the Pacific, in the jungles of Southeast Asia, and along the front in China... many of which would require sharp fighting to dig out. Or you could just try to starve them out, of course, but if you take that view of it, you might as well hang up your humanitarian hat...

    It's true that nobody in the US high command was thinking of how many Japanese lives the bomb would -save-.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08, 2012 @09:28AM (#38628724)

    Obviously, you don't understand american politics. The president of the USA has a little bit of power. Real power rests with the lobyists. These draw their power from those who fund them. All the big corporations who run the country behind the scenes. The president is little more than a figurehead. Our own... :P

  • Yes and no. We were deeply into isolationism and trying desperately to ignore Germany. If you read "Beast in the Garden" you'll see our only interest was for them to pay back reparations. When our ambassador tried raising the flag on Hitler's "Final Solution," most thought the stories were made up, the Jews probably created the situation, etc. We "apologized" for any stories neg about Germany and then again, tried to get reassurances we'd get paid back.
  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Sunday January 08, 2012 @02:01PM (#38630556) Homepage Journal

    Oh - I must add one thing that is often overlooked in discussions of this type. Japan had already been subjected to some of the more conventional firebombings, such as Dresden experienced. Those more typical bombings were even more horrible than Dresden, because the Japanese military-industrial complex was more spread out into poor neighborhoods, than Germany had been. They were more terrible, in that Japanese construction was vastly more flammable than German construction, causing the damage to be even more widespread, and more deadly.

    And, those firebombings had not even put a dent in their will to fight.

    Invading Japanese islands and mainland would have been a nightmare indeed. I personally believe that the bombs were a necessary evil.

  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Sunday January 08, 2012 @03:21PM (#38631126) Homepage Journal

    They'd been conditioned to believe that they'd be raped and tortured if they surrendered. I don't know enough about the topography of Japan to suggest a credible invasion plan - must look it up sometime, if it was ever made public; the layout of the country is interesting. It'd make a good, if perhaps bleak, strategy game. But I digress.

    Imaging invading some major city. Apart from regular army resistance, snipers and booby traps, random waves of civilians rush you from nowhere. Grandmothers with kitchen knives. Boys with homemade spears that (after a few guys who get cut with them succumb to gangrene) you conclude are dipped in shit. It won't take much of that before your soldiers, who may have started out with no intention of behaving barbarously - just "doing their job", start shooting anything that moves for their own protection.

    I suspect it'd make the Russian front look like a punch up in a bar.

"I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens." -- Woody Allen