Might invading North Korea be both a moral duty, and a sure thing?

There’s just too much of it. 80,000 pieces, IIRC? Mostly dug into the hillsides? Something like that. Anyway, the point is, you can’t take enough of them out before there are literally millions of dead South Koreans.

Maybe that was “eighteen” rather than “eighty”. Either way, the point is, too much.

Would some sort of nuclear weapons be able to suppress the artillery sooner? Would that save lives on balance? What would NK do with its nukes? Does U.S. have contingency plans for this?

I hope Dopers with access to U.S. military secrets will fill us in…

If they had access to secret materials and they posted that here, their access would likely not last much longer.

Killing millions of foreigners in order to affect social and political changes because we judge their society to be too repressive or backwards is always a moral duty, especially for Americans! Forget the moral stuff, actually. If there’s one thing we’re actually good at it’s adjudicating other’s internal conflicts, right?

The solution, as always, is dissolution.

Does it matter? It’s not an option: attacking North Korea with nuclear weapons without provocation would without question make the Unites States the bad guys.

You are correct. What I mean was that the US has gone down the path of unilateral invasion (somewhere else) already, and it did not turn out well.

Not to worry, we have almost 40,000 troops in the region, plenty enough to accomplish the mission. And, lest we forget, we’ll be greeted as liberators.

Will there be cake?

If I understand the OP, we should invade NK because it is a bad government led by an evil man. If that is our criteria, we will be very busy in the future. Why not start 90 miles off of Florida and take care of the Castro regime first?

There’s probably a moral duty but so what? There’s a moral duty for a lot of things. I think we have a moral duty to treat all Americans to a decent place to live, food and basic medical care. Do they get that? No, so before we concern ourselves about Koreans, let’s take care of our own people first

The real problem is that no one cares about North Korea. Why do you think Kim Jong Il stays in power.

Because there’s nothing to offer. China doesn’t want it. South Korea doesn’t want it. North Korea is in such bad shape it’d be a huge and I mean HUGE burden on a country trying to take it over.

So why doesn’t anyone oppose Kim Jong Il? 'Cause people aren’t stupid. Suppose you have a company that is two weeks away from bankruptcy. If someone offered you a job saying “save our company.” Would you? Would you leave a job to take another job that is virtually doomed to fail? No, the only person that would take it would be one who has nothing to lose, and in that case he/she wouldn’t be very qualified. Therefore he/she would only make it worse.

The biggest problem will be a shortage of rose petals to sprinkle on our troops.

All in all it is China’s Sphere of Influence, let them do it. But yes. the US and ROK could do it. (Of course this presumes the ROK wants to do it.) I also presume operational surprise.

If we have most of the artillery pits located we could smite them in a single massive strike with heavy bombers. Say 50 aircraft each zapping five targets and repeating sorties every twenty-four hours or so. In a day or two it would be cleared up. Bombers would also break the PDRK’s fiberoptic backbone as jamming reduces their C&C. Then of course comes the messy part. But it could be done.

Incidentally, I am reading a most excellent book on the PDRK, Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader. You ought to give it a try, the first close look at the PDRK leadership I have ever seen.

Now ought we to? Only if they attack us again. As I said, I would prefer not to fight for China’s benefit.

Launching an on-going artillery attack which could kill literally hundreds of (our allies’) civilians every minute would certainly constitute “provocation” of an urgent nature. AFAIK the U.S.A. has never adopted a “no first use” policy.

Oh… Never thought of that.

In other words, not nearly fast enough to save Seoul. It doesn’t take a “day or two” to fire an artillery piece.

The disparity between NK and SK greatly exceeds that of East and West Germany. I think they would appreciate the effort when everything was said and done.

However, the brainwashing that exists and the complete lack of communication with the outside world means the initial fight would be ugly, mostly for them. Their air force consists of pilots with 7 hrs of flying time so anything that went up would go straight back down. Without air support their ground machinery would be wiped out in a matter of hours and days. It would be very similar to what happened in Kuwait. Iraq had the 3rd largest standing army (now a position held by NK) and it was systematically chewed up.

What Iraq didn’t have was nuclear weapons so it would be a huge gamble to assume the missiles could be shot down.

They may have nuclear weapons, but do they know where they are going to go once they launch them?

They don’t need more than a vague idea to do enormous damage. For that matter, against an invasion they can bury one under a likely invasion route, or even under their own capital. I could certainly see the kind of leaders NK has responding to a successful invasion by waiting until the enemy army is well within the capital city and then detonating a suicide nuke there.

At the risk of sounding like a hippie cliche, war is not the solution to every freaking problem. Not the drug problem in Mexico, not the starvation and militarism in North Korea, not radicalism or anti-Semitism in the Middle East, not AIDS or corruption or lawlessness in Africa. In each of those you would see many deaths and the general situation would likely get worse before it gets better.

I would not be surprised if there is a great deal of validity to the OP’s assumptions about the loyalty of the North Korean military and the comments from other posters about the state of their military, and their ability to damage South Korea. All of those things could be overstated in most reports. But none of those are the main deterrant either. The major problem is that North Korea has been fucked up to an enormous extent by 60 years of rule by the Kims. Whenever the dictatorship ends, the country is going to have to be rebuilt from the ground up. It is going to be a monumental effort that will take decades. It’s not something that should be undertaken because “we” got huffy one day and decided “enough is enough.”

Interesting. I didn’t think about the possibility of a suicide nuke, which of course isn’t something I would put past the NK leadership. I was more getting at the fact that we’ve witnessed their launch failures to even get some of these delivery systems off the ground, let alone the challenges of accurately aiming them somewhere.