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Korean Skies Buzzed by B-2s

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KCNA VIA KNS / AFP / Getty Images

This picture released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on March 26, 2013 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un speaking with military at an undisclosed location on North Korea's east coast.

A pair of the U.S. Air Force’s B-2 stealth bombers made the least-stealthy flight in their history Thursday, flying 13,000 miles round-trip from their Missouri base to fly over South Korea and drop inert bombs on a target range in the Yellow Sea. It was the latest in a steadily escalating war of nerves pitting the U.S. and its South Korean ally against the increasingly bellicose North Korea.

“The United States is steadfast in its alliance commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea, to deterring aggression, and to ensuring peace and stability in the region,” the U.S. military command in Seoul said in a statement. “The B-2 bomber is an important element of America’s enduring and robust extended deterrence capability in the Asia-Pacific region.”

(PHOTOS: North Korea Ratchets Up Tension on the Peninsula)

The U.S. military rarely declares where its B-2s have been. The unusual statement was clearly designed as a brushback pitch aimed at North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s head. It marked the first time the U.S. military confirmed that B-2s had been in Korean airspace, and represents a ratcheting up of tensions that began after North Korea conducted a third nuclear-weapons test Feb. 12.

Screen Shot 2013-03-28 at 8.22.08 AM

USFK Press Release

Translation: “U.S. B-2 bombers conduct extended deterrence mission to the Republic of Korea.”

Since then, the U.S. and South Korea have pushed for additional UN sanctions against the North and engaged in military exercises, including earlier B-52 bomber flights, slated to last another month. In response, North Korea has ordered its forces to high states of alert and generated reams of rhetoric that may be amusing to outsiders but must have much of North Korea scared stiff.

As the B-2s flew their Korean mission, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke by phone with counterpart Kim Kwan-jin, defense minister to South Korea’s new, and first female, president, Park Geun-hye. “Secretary Hagel and Minister Kim reaffirmed the strength of the alliance, which has been, and continues to be, instrumental in maintaining stability on the Korean Peninsula,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said.

(MORE: War Drums Along the 38th Parallel)

But all the martial tit-for-tatting doesn’t mean much so long as North Korea continues to allow hundreds of South Koreans to cross through the Demilitarized Zone into North Korea to work at the Kaesong industrial zone north of Panmunjom. Nearly 500 South Koreas cross into the North each day for textile and other manpower-intensive work, a key source of income for cash-strapped Pyongyang. U.S. officials say the situation on the peninsula will be dire if the North bars South Korean workers from Kaesong.

The B-2 flies over the Utah Testing and Training Range at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, during the test run Sept. 10, in which the B-2 dropped 80 inert Joint Direct Attack Munitions.  (Photo by Bobbie Garcia)

Air Force photo / Bobbie Garcia

Hey Kim Jong-un: this B-2…is for you!

The B-2 flights come a day after the North cut off the final telephone hotline linking the two countries. “Under the situation where a war may break out any moment, there is no need to keep north-south military communications which were laid between the militaries of both sides,” the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said. “War and confrontation can never go together with dialogue and reconciliation under any circumstances.”

While the tone of such dispatches is dire, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un seems to be playing the lead roles in McHale’s Navy, Gomer Pyle USMC and Hogan’s Heroes in non-stop reruns. For much of the past week, he has been shown visiting up to three North Korean military installations a day, issuing non-stop commands to prepare his forces for a war that only North Korea sees as imminent.

A highlight from a typical KCNA dispatch shows a commanding commander-in-chief commanding:

He issued an order for drills without any notice and finally examined the landing and anti-landing capabilities of the large combined units of the KPA Ground Force and the KPA Navy combined unit situated in the eastern sector of the front and the east coastal area.
After receiving a report on the plan of the drills, he gave an order to start the drills.
First the drill of striking and wiping out landing enemies in the waters took place.
Multiple launch rocket systems opened fire all at once.
He was greatly satisfied with the drill. He said “It was well done”, adding that the units made intensive firing at the group of enemy warships after setting a correct time for firing on the basis of the full grasp of the enemy’s landing plan and when the rate of destroying enemy ships was considered as the highest.
He stressed the need to destroy the enemies in waters to the last man through strong firepower so that they might not land in the coast of the territory.
He ordered the soldiers of the heroic KPA to display their mettle in the great war against the enemies and send all of them to the bottom of the sea as they run wild like wolves threatened with fire.
Then the landing operation of KPA Navy Unit 597 started.
High-speed boats charged into the coast in succession.
Watching through field glasses combatants occupying enemy positions at a breath, he said they look highly-spirited and if it were an actual battle, the enemies would have no time to come to their senses.

Just how much senior members of the North Korean military like taking orders from the pudgy, basketball-loving Kim – who has never served a day in uniform – is a topic of much debate inside the U.S. military.

VIDEO: Another North Korea Propaganda Video, Another U.S. City Bites the Dust

62 comments
drudown
drudown

O Angel, protect our B-2 pilots through the darkest night

As our unbridled power breathes its nuclear might. 

mixmuffin
mixmuffin

I think sending a couple of reminders that the US has the ability to precisely drop a bomb that will just wipe out the leader's home with his cronies is a much better tactic than spending oodles of money and messing up the minds and bodies of our young people in the military by declaring war on an entire country. Minimal collateral damage is important in any military exercise, but especially after the war we are just getting out of that was all about oil rights. One of Obama's points when he ran for POTUS the first and second time was that we have the technology, it just needs to be coordinated and used more effectively. Another point was that foreign countries have a bad taste in their mouths from dealing with the oil-loving Bush boys (yes, I said "boys", with a little b), and he promised to improve our soured relations with countries overseas. I think it was a brilliant show of strength with NO casualties!

Chosun1
Chosun1

"Just how much senior members of the American  military like taking orders from the lanky, basketball-loving Obama – who has never served a day in uniform – is a topic of much debate inside the U.S. military."


jhoughton1
jhoughton1

Iraq and Afghanistan, both military disasters but hugely profitable for the MIC, are winding down.  The hookers in the Pentagon who lobby for the benefit of defense contractors are desperate to start a new conflict.  Hopefully the American voter will stop them, but the record isn't very encouraging.

daviskip2
daviskip2

who is the beneficiary from this war,if tomorrow N.korea drop nuclear bomb. i thought no one is win!

Jesus278
Jesus278

Y doesnt the govts of the world send navy seals to get rid of kin jun un? Instead of starting a costly and deadly war, if the world really wants to get rid of this guy and make peace then they know what to do. Send secret agents to take him out

x1
x1

1. Could it be a Chinese ploy to get a close look at our military capability and tactic safely since China is now trying to exert US style hegemony in the area..

2. Could China be telling or goading Un  to fight a proxy war for them?

Don_Bacon
Don_Bacon

Kim, who has never served a day in uniform, is giving orders to the military?
OMG -- that could never happen in the US of A.

Meanwhile, after sending B-2 stealth Korea from Missouri to drop dummy bombs on Korea, an action banned by the 1953 Armistice Agreement, Chuck Hagel said that North Korea actions have"ratcheted up the danger. North Koreans have to understand that what they're doing is very dangerous."

And we thought Uncle Leon was cookoo. (Well, I did.)

timevicente
timevicente

 . . . to mollify and appease the ever-suspicious North Korean leaders. Nixon did just that to Mao Zedon 

timevicente
timevicente

It may be time to call Richard Nixon from the dead and again send him to SE Asia (this time to North Korea instead of the old China itinerary) 

timevicente
timevicente

The US government will be on the right track if it distinguishes between the bellicose NK leaders and the basically peace-loving Norh Korean citizens.  Will it rain hell on innocent people there  in case of war when it has been the NK leaders who may deserved to be nuclear-scorched?  

tomsquawk
tomsquawk

thought we had already posted a warning by sending Rodman over there

timevicente
timevicente

Can stealth bombers intercept nuclear-tipped ICBMs from North Korea targeting the US East Coast and short-range nuclear missiles aimed at South Korea? 

tiktin
tiktin

Considering that we have a government that wastes about half the gross national product, this is a minor incident. Nevertheless, as a taxpayer, I am outraged by this pointless publicity stunt which has cost us millions of dollars. We have enough military power in the area to wipe North Korea off the face of the earth. To send this turkey on a 13,000 mile round trip to drop a couple of dummy bombs is, in the word of one reporter, "surreal". It is not going to "reassure our allies" or frighten our enemies. It is going to make them wonder if we are quite sane.

somereasoning
somereasoning

we should actually go in and take this guy out. It would have so nice, and was hoped for, that this young man would take a course different from his father and grandfather, but that is not the case. 

We owe that to the Korean people. We owe that to our own credibility, our moral standing in the world. It is not about oil or precious minerals, or about forcing open access to markets. It is just the right thing to do, which we have not done very much of since WWII.

Don_Bacon
Don_Bacon

How childish and stupid -- and illegal. A provocation which when Russia does it is headlined as **Russia Tries to Bully U.S. With ‘Bomber Diplomacy’**

Excerpt from 1953 Armistice Agreement:

 ** with the objective of establishing an armistice which will insure a complete cessation of hostilities and of all acts of armed force in Korea until a final peaceful settlement is achieved**

North Korea was devastated by US aerial bombing in 1950, and the US knows they're naturally touchy about US bombers, so they figure it's worth every penny.  Why talk when you can bomb? That's what passes for US foreign policy. Childish and stupid.

antonmarq
antonmarq

China is going to get a rude awakening from their puppet state, who will turn on them first. 

mtngoatjoe
mtngoatjoe

We always knew the guy was crazy, but this is getting worrisome. Fatboy may really want a war!

oldwhiteguy
oldwhiteguy

While a lot of us look at Michelin Boy and chuckle, two things to remember.  First, people like this have to maintain a fantasy land scenario in which a threat is constant and imminent.  Otherwise the rubes won't go along with the program.  It's sort of like the tea party and Fox News.  Second, people - especially people programmed since childhood - can be remarkably naive and gullible.  We can look at the North Korean population and wonder how they cannot see the dangerous farce that is their government.  But again, we have lots of people right here who believe in creationism and the literal word of the bible.  So if you're thinking that dumb and dumber happens only in North Korea, have a listen to Glen Beck sometime.

drudown
drudown

@Chosun1 

As opposed to Bush, i.e., someone that avoided military service via false pretenses?

President Obama killed Bin Laden, which is more than I can say for your GOP ilk that went as soft on terror as a kitten's belly.

"American terrorists that conspire to destroy us in Yemen have due process rights too!" - Rand Paul

drudown
drudown

@x1 

Given our respective sphere of influence, China (and its people) sees the US as its strategic partner. 

JohnWhitehurst
JohnWhitehurst

@Don_Bacon

" Meanwhile, after sending B-2 stealth Korea from Missouri to drop dummy bombs on Korea, an action banned by the 1953 Armistice Agreement"
You mean the one dumb Arse Canceled, right along with the hot line to his dumb arse..  Just in case there are some questions like;  did you really mean to  drop artillery rounds on the south or was it just an accident.

JohnWhitehurst
JohnWhitehurst

@timevicente   "to mollify and appease the ever-suspicious North Korean leaders"

Now read it this way, " to mollify and appease the ever-suspicious Japaneese leaders"

How did that work out, try World war two..

History repeats it self often but South  Korea is ready for any supprise moves by the North this time want be like last time. South Korea had rather live in peace and let the North starve to death. I have been to korea Have you??????????????????????//

killerdrgn
killerdrgn

@timevicente You do realize that North and South Korea isn't in SE Asia right? I think you might want to crack open the geography books before you comment again.

mixmuffin
mixmuffin

I think young Kim has become a power-hungry brat, and this little reminder of our superior technology and military strength amounted to a public spanking. I love it.

JohnWhitehurst
JohnWhitehurst

@timevicente "basically peace-loving Norh Korean citizens"

Please  tell me what world you are living in?? Thoes people only know what they have been told and would die by the thousands, millions to protect dear leader. Suggest doing some reading, that thing where one uses the alphabet often.  JAPAN world war II, why Truman Nuked them instead of a ground invasion. North Korea is worse than that with the propoganda sine the Korean Conflict.  Oh and find a book printed before 1970 one that has not been re written to change history.

JohnWhitehurst
JohnWhitehurst

@tomsquawk Yea that mentallychallenged KIM, guess we need to send the ROD man back for more negeotions.. But he ought to dye his hair orange  before going a second time..Now that might impress the KIM ie...........

killerdrgn
killerdrgn

@timevicente North Korea doesn't have the technology to hit the Eastern Seaboard of the US. The North Korean Taepodong-2 missile barely has the range to hit Alaska. And on top of that it would be a great test to see if the Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense Shield would actually work. For the short range missiles, the US has Patriot missile batteries set up on the DMZ.

With this, and your other comments, I think you might want to brush up on your world geography.

mixmuffin
mixmuffin

I think that was the message, tiktin...you have to deal with people like him (a little boy with a big toy) in a manner he can comprehend. Meet insanity with BIGGER, BETTER insanity.

PATRIOT/VETRAN
PATRIOT/VETRAN

@tiktinI TOTALLY AGREE DON'.T WASTE ANY MONEY HE IS A PRO AT IT  AND I THINK HE THINKS HE HAS THE COUNTRY US  BUFFALOAD!

TomLong
TomLong

@somereasoning I guess you need to read a little history called the Marshal Plan when you say things like "which we have not done very much of since WWII"

poliphobic
poliphobic

@somereasoning 

I'm sorry to be the one to have to enlighten you, but post Iraq & Afghanistan, you have no moral standing in the world.

mixmuffin
mixmuffin

I'm glad you think it's childish and stupid. Hopefully Kim saw it that way, too, and is thinking our Prez is as insane as he is. Insane leaders are pretty scary. (Think "Hitler".)

JohnWhitehurst
JohnWhitehurst

@Don_Bacon

** with the objective of establishing an armistice which will insure a complete cessation of hostilities and of all acts of armed force in Korea until a final peaceful settlement is achieved**  And iam so glad Kimme abides by it aren't you?

Really now;  Pac rim is tired of Dear leader and his antics. It is aUN problem let them handel it, knowing all the while it will fail of course..

Yea nothing to what  it would be a second time around. And dumb  Kimme needs to realize it but, alas too  stupid..... Mass graves are cheaper and Kim knows it well....

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@Don_Bacon Perhaps you missed the stories about how North Korea is threatening war and considers the armistice null and void?  This isn't diplomacy.  This is psychological warfare.  

 What's childish and stupid is not acknowledging the fact that while North Korea would be insane to go to war (because both the Chinese and the Russians - who aided them in the 1950's - would likely help put them down instead of aiding them because of the economic instability to both countries a war in Korea would cause), North Korea's leader appears to be insane.  So preparations are certainly in order.  And among those preparations are messing with their heads just like they're trying to mess with ours.

So yes, they're touchy about bombers.  Great.  That's a lever.  Push it.  They've been prepping for war all along.  If they back down, they'd have backed down anyhow.  If they don't, it's not because of the lever we pushed.  It's because they were going to go to war in the first place.  But I don't think it's that much of a lever.  Their current leader wasn't around in the 1950's to see what happened then.  It's unlikely he's any more frightened of bombers than you are.  And there's nothing illegal about conducting joint exercises with a military ally - which is what this bomb run was part of.

Comparing North Korea to Russia is an insult to the Russians.  They're generally pragmatic about things.  North Korea is paranoid and probably psychotic.  Russians are usually open to discussions - you know, diplomacy.  The North Koreans aren't.  So communication has to come to North Korea in a language they're both using and that they understand.  And what happens is what they were planning on doing all along.

LuwianMemories
LuwianMemories

@antonmarq 

And then North Korea will just be another Korean Autonomous Prefecture (I wonder what they will name it as, maybe Pyonyang Korean Autonomous Prefecture?) in the PRC, like Yanbian.

JohnWhitehurst
JohnWhitehurst

@oldwhiteguy " But again, we have lots of people right here who believe in creationism and the literal word of the bible"
Would that be in line like in beliving in OBAMA, who can do no wrong, hook line and sinker..

Another old guy, perhaps older with a different opinion, who is beck like in becks beer?

But I do know who ObamO is for sure, Kimmies half brother but nuts and liars..

chips
chips

@oldwhiteguy I agree with your two points 1) the idea that NK's are under constant threat, how else would Fat Man control the minds of the people. 2) here again, programed since childhood to believe that anything outside of their militarist state is real. However, why did you have to compare it to believers in a faith. Are you just trying to stir up the masses? For one, I believe in creation and the Bible but somehow I just am not drawn to listen to Glen Beck. Oh yeah, that's why - I have free will. 

x1
x1

@drudown @x1 You are mistaken, Russia is their strategic partner since they align on any vote to thwart our ambitions. They are spying on us and preparing to neutralize our influence. 

mixmuffin
mixmuffin

I think our Prez responded to Rodman with something along the lines of he needs to stick to basketball and leave foreign relations to those who know how to go about getting the proper message across to bratty dictators: "Back off, or pay the consequences."

mixmuffin
mixmuffin

You are exactly right! That's why our POTUS is showing calm, level-headed strength with a gentle reminder, rather than stepping in with guns blazing and lots of collateral damage. I, personally, prefer a President who walks softly, but carries a big stick. Remember how he handled those Somalian pirates? Thank God Mitt Romney wasn't elected!

JohnWhitehurst
JohnWhitehurst

@DeweySayenoff @Don_Bacon  You Sir are Correct, been there know it also.  "Comparing North Korea to Russia is an insult to the Russians. They're generally pragmatic about things. North Korea is paranoid and probably psychotic. Russians are usually open to discussions - you know, diplomacy. The North Koreans aren't. So communication has to come to North Korea in a language they're both using and that they understand. And what happens is what they were planning on doing all along"

Don_Bacon
Don_Bacon

@DeweySayenoff@Don_BaconWrong. There was diplomacy with DPRK under Clinton, called the Agreed Framework, which Bush destroyed in his SOTU Jan 2002, including NK with Iran in an Axis of Evil.

Calling a government "paranoid and probably psychotic" as you do is silly.  It's American Exceptionalism -- we're always right and they're always wrong. 

DPRK isn't stupid, it's smart. They see what happened to  countries which gave in to the West and gave up their nukes -- Iraq and Libya.  What more do they need to know? .So call them names if it makes you feel better, meanwhile DPRK is refusing to sit up and beg. Good for them.

JohnWhitehurst
JohnWhitehurst

@Don_Bacon @DeweySayenoff

Dip Stick a country where cannibalism exist because of their stupid policies. Bet your arse they  N Korean Military is not hungry. But they can die buy the Hundreds of thousand for dear leader.. AN any real move by N Korean stooges and that is probably what will happen.

Really did not mean to degrade the term stooge I appoligize to all..EXCEPT idiots

Chosun1
Chosun1

@Don_Bacon @DeweySayenoff - So you are a fan of North Korean policies?  Wow, you may be the only one on earth outside of North Korea (unless that is where you are, then your comment makes a lot of sense).


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