Friday, November 17, 2017

a war with NK would be nasty, brutish... and probably short

If this defecting soldier counts as some sort of random sample, then we can surmise the North Korean military is in sorry, sorry shape:

A North Korean soldier shot multiple times while defecting to the South is in a stable condition but riddled with parasites that could complicate his chances of survival, his doctor said Thursday.

The soldier dashed across the border at the Panmunjom truce village on Monday, as former comrades from the North opened fire on him, hitting him at least four times.

He was pulled to safety by three South Korean soldiers who crawled to reach him, just south of the dividing line. The young man was rushed to hospital in South Korea by helicopter where he has undergone two rounds of emergency surgery.

“Vital signs including his pulse are returning to stability”, attending doctor Lee Cook-Jong told journalists. However, he warned, the un-named soldier could rapidly deteriorate at any moment.

“We’re paying close attention to prevent possible complications,” said Lee, who on Wednesday said “an enormous number of parasites” including roundworms had been found in the small intestine.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my 20 years as a physician”, he said, adding the longest worm he removed was 27 centimetres (11 inches).

Parasites, especially roundworms, are widespread in North Korea — as they are in many developing countries — where people eat uncooked vegetables that have been fertilised with human faeces, experts say.

—quoted here; found here

If one NK soldier is parasite-riddled, then others probably are, and probably for the same systemic reasons. The North's army is already known to be starving (except for its most privileged units, thanks to the seon-gun, or military-first, policy). What remains is the question of the sanity of the North Korean regime. Most of us Korea hands agree that, in general, the NK government, with Kim Jeong-eun at its head, is actually a rational actor despite the insanity inherent in oppressing one's own people to such an inhuman degree. We know NK is rational because of the strategic, methodical manner in which it plays other countries against each other, the way an aikido master faces three opponents and drives them into each other, deftly redirecting their attacks. However, even sanity goes out the window when things get desperate, and if a ground war were ever to break out on the peninsula, the North's use of nuclear weapons can't be ruled out in extremis. But if nukes don't enter the equation, I suspect a ground war would be fairly short despite the mountainous terrain and multitude of bunkers and tunnel systems... unless China decided to fight on behalf of the North—a prospect that seems less likely the more onerous the North becomes.

1 comment:

  1. I doubt very much the DPRK would use nukes on the peninsula. With the amount of artillery they have pointed at Seoul, they wouldn't have to. I have no idea what shape that artillery is in, but I don't think a war would be pretty.

    Not that I think a war is very likely, of course.



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