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DRUMS OF WAR? "Fire and fury" rhetoric raises alarm bells

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Pres. Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un are - shockingly - a step closer to a nuclear exchange.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – On this date, 72 years ago, a U.S. Army Air Force B-29 bomber, nicknamed Bockscar, dropped the “Fat Man” nuclear bomb over Nagasaki, Japan – three days after the “Little Boy” nuke destroyed the city of Hiroshima (140,000 dead) – resulting in a blast yield of 21 kilotons of TNT over that city, resulting in the deaths of 35,000 people, with approximately 60,000 injured.

So it is more than a little eerie, here on August 9, 2017, that the top story around the world is that of North Korea and its threats to possibly target the island of Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific Ocean, with a nuclear-tipped missile.

“Nuclear weapons are incompatible with mankind,” said Yoshitoshi Fukahori, an 88-year old survivor of the Nagasaki bombing, who lost his sister in the blast.

At a ceremony held at Nagasaki’s Peace Park, the mayor, Tomihisa Taue, urged nuclear states – as the Republic of the Marshall Islands has done in international court – to abandon nuclear weapons altogether, while criticizing his own nation for “not taking part in the global effort toward a nuclear ban,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

“The international situation surrounding nuclear weapons is becoming increasingly tense,” Taue said today. “A strong sense of anxiety is spreading across the globe that in the not-too-distant future, these weapons could actually be used again.”

Indeed. With North Korea testing two long-range ballistic missiles in July, and announcing it was “examining the operational plan” to strike U.S. bases on Guam.

As a result of North Korea's bellicosity, on Tuesday, President Donald Trump gave the world pause when he said “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire, fury and, frankly, power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.” (Emphasis ours).

Trump gave no indication that diplomatic solutions were being pursued. He is not one to back off or back down. And Secretary of Defense John "Mad Dog" Mattis is backing Trump's statements, saying today: that the North Korean regime "cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and destruction of its people." (Emphasis ours).

And, accompanied with Trump’s low poll numbers, ongoing chaos in the White House and Trump's increasingly erratic behavior, it almost seems that he has a growing interest in looking to carry out pre-emptive strikes against North Korea.

In fact, there is every indication to think that the Trump administration wants to intentionally escalate the growing crisis on the Korean peninsula by ratcheting up the “hot” rhetoric of “fire and fury.” That sort of unhelpful language could very quickly lead to the deaths of millions.

In addition, recent UN Security Council sanctions, imposed to take out North Korea’s economy, are taking this dangerous situation up another notch, possibly leading Pyongyang to possibly take action against Guam or cities like Seoul or Tokyo, cities with millions of people. The very possible scenarios that could unfold boggle the mind and chill us to the bone.

Personally, I have not heard anything quite like this since the early 1980’s, during the Reagan administration, when the threat of nuclear war between the US and USSR was at a peak. Prior to that, before I was born, was the 1962 Cuban missile crisis which was also very serious and occured when John F. Kennedy was president.

It goes without saying that the next days and weeks are utterly critical, as any “incident,” no matter how minor, could lead to a nuclear conflict beyond just the Korean peninsula, possibly involving other nuclear-armed powers including Russia and China.

And back in April, in my post “HIGH STAKES: Trumpist chaos and Kim’s mind games leading world down dead-end road,” we noted (following American warships near the Korean peninsula and "confusing" statements being made by officials at the time that “(t)oo much is at stake! And by the way, where is China in all of this? Trump is determined to make China an enemy, rather than getting them to commit to talk down North Korea's ambitions, whatever they may be. Terrifyingly, it's that sort of "confusion" that leads to big bombs being dropped and lots of people dead."


Regarding the island of Guam, the United States occupied the island during the Spanish-American War of 1898, following the Treaty of Paris. Control of Guam was then under the authority of the U.S. Navy.

However, during World War II, the Empire of Japan gained control of Guam. That is, until the “Battle Of Guam,” which lasted from July 21-August 10, 1944 – 73 years ago this week.

During this major battle between the Allied troops and Japan, 18,000 Japanese were killed and only 485 surrended, with Japanese Sgt. Shoichi Yokoi, the lone holdout on Guam, only surrendering nearly 28 years later – in January 1972 – after being discovered by local islanders.

Red Dirt Report communicated with Majuro, Marshall Islands-based author and filmmaker Jack Niedenthal (we recently reviewed his 2001 book For the Good of Mankind, about the people of Bikini Atoll and the use of their island for dozens of nuclear bomb tests by the U.S. military in the 1940’s and 50’s, during the early years of the Cold War) about the heightened tensions in the Pacific, with a focus on Guam, which is part of Micronesia, which is comprised of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean.

Said Niedenthal: “I believe that the people of Micronesia have already done their fair share for mankind. The idea that Guam is ‘where America's day begins,’ and therefore puts them is harms way when it comes to North Korea is terrifying for all of us who live out here.  

I am also stunned to read so many reports about the ‘7000 US military personnel’ that are in Guam without even mentioning the fact that there are 175,000 civilians who are all US citizens and just the same as someone from Oklahoma or California.

And it is the people of the Marshall Islands, located just east of Guam, who are all-too-familiar, as Niedenthal noted, with the catastrophic dangers of using nuclear weapons. They have been ratcheting up their own efforts to warn the world of the dangers of nuclear arms and nuclear warfare.

We all should heed their warning. Again, too much is at stake!

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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