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Krazy North Korea
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PostPosted: 09-04-2003 22:43    Post subject: Krazy North Korea Reply with quote

Did anybody catch the story on From Our Own Correspondent (BBC World Service), about the North Koreans digging tunnels under the border into South Korea?

It's not up in the archive section yet, which is a pity.

A truly Fortean piece. Four of these massive tunnelling efforts have been discovered. Apparently, one of them, alone, was big enough to send 10,000 N.Koreans an hour under the border into S.Korea!

S.Korean conspiracy buffs fear that they're still digging and even people, 100km away, on the other side of border, believe they can hear them in the night!

The BBC correspondent was played a tape recording, by one buff, who claimed it proved that the N.Koreans were digging away under their feet! Eek Eek
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PostPosted: 09-04-2003 23:11    Post subject: Reply with quote

The North Koreans have been digging for forty years now, the tunnels probably go all over the world...
to Malta and the Hypogeum...
from Paris to Edinburgh...
the Carlsbad caverns...
underneath Wanstead-
(or is that the Central Line)...
they are everywhere I tell you
Richard Shaver was right...
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PostPosted: 10-04-2003 01:32    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kind of a giant version of what we did on the Western Front...
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PostPosted: 10-04-2003 17:03    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those North Koreons must have trousers to rival MC Hammer
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PostPosted: 11-04-2003 08:46    Post subject: Reply with quote

The best thing the South Koreans could do is find one of the tunnels and divert a river into it - that would teach the naughty chappies!

Or get lots of moles, train them the tunnel under the enemy tunnels and lay mines - sabotage at its best!

There also exists the very scary thought that they may be undermining the whole of South Korea in order to knock out the supports and sink the country into the sea! A hard act to follow.

Only the ramblings of a Wombling burrow dwellers mind.


Uncle Bulgaria
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PostPosted: 12-05-2003 20:25    Post subject: north korean triplets Reply with quote

The north korean regime knows all about the power of superstition...

"North Korea warehouses triplets

By Michael Sheridan / The Sunday Times

London - All baby triplets in North Korea are being removed from their parents and placed in bleak state orphanages where they are fed by foreign aid.

The policy has prompted concern among diplomats and aid officials, who have witnessed sets of babies kept in special "triplet rooms" in orphanages across the country.

"There is no doubt that the policy is compulsory and universal," said a seasoned diplomatic visitor to North Korea who has seen the rooms. He said he had not noticed family members visiting the children in his many calls at the orphanages. Conditions when foreigners are allowed to enter appear to be spartan but clean, according to several witnesses.

Food supplies to orphanages are a priority for both the United Nations relief agencies and the North Korean authorities. Local officials have assured inquirers that the babies are being given privileges to relieve their parents of the anxiety of feeding three mouths while the impoverished Stalinist nation endures an eighth year of food shortages.

But diplomatic experts who understand the Korean language and culture cast doubt on the official explanation.

They believe the true reason is linked to some of the most bizarre aspects of Kim Jong-il's dictatorship. The number three is auspicious in Korean mysticism and triplets are revered for exceptional good fortune. Some believe they may be destined for power and great achievements, which would account for the regime's desire to keep them under observation.

Diplomats and international aid officials also doubt that poverty is the explanation, because not even triplets born to high-ranking party members are exempt. "It may be officially atheistic and Stalinist but essentially North Korea operates a state religion infused with superstition, astrology and a personality cult which glorifies Kim as a unique individual," said the veteran diplomat. "You don't take any chances with rivals in that system."

Power conferred by blood descent is also important in Korea's ancestral Confucian tradition. The North Korean capital, Pyongyang, was rebuilt by its communist rulers along principles of Chinese geomancy, with "power lines" linking the purported birthplace of the previous dictator, Kim Il-sung, with the purported tomb of Tangun, founder of the Korean race. As heir to the world's only communist dynasty, the younger Kim exploits every such tradition to exalt himself, while keeping a careful watch on his clan network of intermarried army and party men.

Children of the elite are usually taken from their parents by the age of two and placed in party-controlled schools to break the bonds of family loyalty and to consecrate their devotion to Kim. Foreign observers believe the triplets are kept together and transferred to these schools when old enough.

North Korea's segregation of triplets has provoked an internal debate among UN aid agencies and non-governmental organizations delivering help to the country.

Although there appear to be no reasons to fear for the physical safety of the triplets, regular visitors to North Korean orphanages report desperate scenes of isolation and sadness.

On a recent visit a member of a foreign delegation entered a room to see infants placed several to a cot, all rocking backwards and forwards.

"Our people were stunned into silence," the delegate said. A pediatrician outside North Korea who assessed evidence collected on the visit diagnosed severe emotional trauma.

Witnesses said they had noticed better nursing attention and care for triplets in the special rooms. "But none of those infants knows what affection is," said one visitor. "Our staff try to cuddle them for a few minutes but then, of course, we have to leave."

Up to 300 sets of triplets a year are believed to be born in North Korea. In an official statement to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, North Korea said: "Triplets are supplied by the state free of charge with clothing, bedding, a one-year supply of dairy products and a preschool subsidy, and special medical workers take charge of such mothers and children and care for their health." The UN's World Food Program has reported a sharp improvement in children's health in North Korea thanks to foreign aid. Since 1998 cases of acute malnutrition in children under seven have fallen from 16 per cent to nine per cent, and the number of underweight children has decreased from 61 per cent to 21 per cent .

As tension mounts between North Korea and the United States over Pyongyang's nuclear program, however, aid officials fear that any military clash could put at risk their ability to feed the children.

There is little doubt of the regime's cold-hearted approach to pediatrics. In 1998, Medecins sans Frontieres pulled out of North Korea, alleging that aid agencies were denied access to so-called 9-27 camps in which sick and disabled children had been dumped under a decree issued by Kim to "normalize" the country.

The UN agencies are still arguing for access to closed districts in the northeast of the country, where prison camps and sensitive military facilities are located.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has said America will send 36,000 tonnes of aid this year but will deliver a further 54,000 tonnes only if North Korea improves access and monitoring for the food program. The prospects for that look as bleak as an orphanage in winter. "
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PostPosted: 24-11-2003 20:14    Post subject: POW Escapes: After 50 Years Reply with quote

Korean War POW Escapes North, Caught in China
By John Ruwitch

BEIJING (Reuters) - China is holding a South Korean man who escaped from North Korea this year -- 50 years after being taken prisoner during the Korean War -- after he and his wife were caught with fake passports.

A South Korean embassy official in Beijing said Seoul had asked China to release Jeon Yong-il, 72, and his wife, who were caught in the eastern city of Hangzhou at the airport trying to leave with forged passports.

"He is a South Korean national and a war prisoner. There is no doubt about that. We've proven his case," she said. "We hope the Chinese authorities will send him to South Korea as soon as possible."

Jeon joined the South Korean army in June 1951 and was caught about two years later by Chinese soldiers helping North Korean leader Kim Il-sung's troops during the 1950-53 conflict, the embassy official said.

The South Korean embassy had not been granted permission from China to send a consular official to meet the couple, the official said. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement it was investigating the matter.

Jeon slipped into China from North Korea, probably in April or May this year, and an "assistant" of his came to the South Korean embassy in September to ask for help in his return to South Korea, the official said.

But since Jeon was not on the South Korean Defense Department's list of prisoners of war -- he was on the killed-in-action list -- nothing was done, she said.


"But we have his photos. We have a video tape he took in Beijing quite recently and his family confirmed he is the person. The family also thought he had died," the embassy official said.

"We have his military record. Also, he wrote his personal history on his own, which we have too," she said.

South Korean media reported that Jeon had personally called on the South Korean embassy but was turned away, sparking a public outcry over the case.

The embassy did not confirm South Korean media reports that Jeon and his wife had been transferred to a camp for refugees in Tumen on China's border with North Korea, where they faced forced repatriation.

South Korea believes that as many as 300 prisoners of war are still alive in North Korea 50 years after the end of the war. According to government figures, 32 of the POWs have escaped the North and returned home since 1994.

More than a million Chinese troops poured over the Yalu River to the aid of the North Korea Communists during the war.

But in the ensuing years, particularly since China's economic reform program began in the late 1970s, the two countries have drifted apart.

Still, Beijing has an agreement with Pyongyang to repatriate North Koreans who illegally enter China despite stories from defectors, aid workers and analysts that those sent back face torture or even execution at the hands of security forces.

China remains North Korea's closest friend and has been key in seeking a solution to the international crisis over the North's nuclear weapons program since October 2002.

11/24/03 05:37

© Copyright Reuters Ltd. All rights reserved.
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PostPosted: 07-01-2005 03:07    Post subject: Reply with quote

N. Koreans Told To Prepare For War

Jan 5, 2005 7:14 am US/Mountain

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) North Korea has ordered its citizens to be ready for a protracted war against the United States, issuing guidelines on evacuating to underground bunkers with weapons, food and portraits of leader Kim Jong Il.

The 33-page “Detailed Wartime Guidelines,” published in South Korea’s Kyunghyang newspaper on Wednesday and verified by Seoul, was issued April 7, 2004, at a time when the communist regime was claiming it was Washington’s next target following the Iraq war.

The manual—the first such North Korean document made public in the outside world—was signed by Kim Jong Il in his capacity as chairman of the Central Military Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party. That ended speculation over whether Kim has assumed the top military post following the 1994 death of his father, President Kim Il Sung.

Analysts said the guidelines reflected Pyongyang’s fear over a possible U.S. military strike amid stalled talks on its nuclear weapons programs. They said the guidelines were also meant to whip up a sense of crisis among its 22 million people, reportedly growing discontent amid economic hardship.

“The United States has cooked up suspicion over our nuclear programs and is escalating an offensive of international pressure to strangle and destroy our republic,” the booklet said. “If this tactic doesn’t work, it plots to use this (nuclear) problem as an excuse for armed invasion.”

Kyunghyang did not clarify where it acquired the document classified as “top secret.”

Seoul’s National Intelligence Service said in a one-sentence statement: “We believe the document reflects North Korea’s wartime preparations.”

The manual urged the military to build restaurants, wells, restrooms and air purifiers in underground bunkers, which government offices and military units will move into if war breaks out.

When North Koreans evacuate to underground facilities, they should make sure that they take the portraits, plaster busts and bronze statues of Kim and his parents so that they can “protect” them in a special room, the guidelines say.

The Kim family has ruled North Korea for more than a half century, creating a powerful personality cult. Portraits of Kim and his father hang side-by-side on the walls of every house.

Since the Korean War ended in 1953, North Korea has built a 1.1 million-member military, the world’s fifth largest, although most of its weapons are outdated. It already keeps vital military facilities in an estimated 10,000 underground tunnels and bunkers, South Korean officials say.

The Pyongyang subway is hundreds of yards below the surface to double as an air raid shelter, and the North’s military has dug “invasion tunnels” across the border with the South.

North Korea is locked in a dispute with Washington and its allies over its nuclear weapons programs.

Pyongyang escalated its threats after the United States invaded Iraq, which President Bush termed as an “axis of evil,” together with Iran and North Korea. North Korean villages are festooned with slogans exhorting the people to prepare for a war with “our sworn enemy, the U.S. imperialists.”

“The North has real fear that it may become the next Iraq under the Bush administration,” said Kim Tae-woo, a senior fellow at Seoul’s Korea Institute for Defense Analyses. “The guidelines also appear aimed at tightening domestic control on the people as the economic difficulties erode the regime’s grip on power.”

Kim said Washington is building more powerful missiles that could destroy underground military targets in countries like North Korea.

On Tuesday, North Korea accused the United States of planning to deploy those missiles in South Korea for a “preemptive attack” on the North. Washington says it wants to end the nuclear dispute peacefully.

© 2005 The Associated Press.

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PostPosted: 07-01-2005 11:59    Post subject: Reply with quote

A guy sweating and crazey looking, ear to the sidewalk screems "ants like ants".... a film where the chinease had tunned right under virtuly all of America and install all sorts of bombs etc... Que lots of almost oriental guys in coloured boiler suits running thro tunnels etc...what the hell was that film called!

BTW an established way of @dealing@ with tunnels in Vietnam was to fill them with acetaline gas and drop a granade down... its main "action" despite the spectacular bang was to burn all the ozygen so "dealing" with ocupants, despite any blast doors/water traps etc.
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PostPosted: 07-01-2005 12:08    Post subject: Reply with quote

sidecar_jon wrote:
A guy sweating and crazey looking, ear to the sidewalk screems "ants like ants".... a film where the chinease had tunned right under virtuly all of America and install all sorts of bombs etc... Que lots of almost oriental guys in coloured boiler suits running thro tunnels etc...what the hell was that film called!

The movie was Battle Beneath the Earth
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Disturbingly familiar
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PostPosted: 07-01-2005 12:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, those crazy, paranoid days huh?
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PostPosted: 07-01-2005 16:45    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heckler wrote:
sidecar_jon wrote:
A guy sweating and crazey looking, ear to the sidewalk screems "ants like ants".... a film where the chinease had tunned right under virtuly all of America and install all sorts of bombs etc... Que lots of almost oriental guys in coloured boiler suits running thro tunnels etc...what the hell was that film called!

The movie was Battle Beneath the Earth

ah ha..cheers for that, been nagging me for ages.
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PostPosted: 08-01-2005 19:16    Post subject: Reply with quote

North Koreans told to cut hair - Link

North Korea has launched an intensive media assault on its latest arch enemy - the wrong haircut.

A campaign exhorting men to get a proper short-back-and-sides has been aired by state-run Pyongyang television.

The series is entitled Let us trim our hair in accordance with Socialist lifestyle.

While the campaign has been carried out primarily on television, reports have appeared in North Korean press and radio, urging tidy hairstyles and proper attire.

It is the strongest media campaign against men's sloppy appearances mounted in the reclusive and impoverished Communist state in recent years.

The propaganda drive on grooming standards has gone a stage further than previous attempts. This time television identifies specific individuals deemed too shoddy.

Crew cut

Pyongyang television started the campaign last autumn with a five-part series in its regular TV Common Sense programme.

Stressing hygiene and health, it showed various state-approved short hairstyles including the "flat-top crew cut," "middle hairstyle," "low hairstyle," and "high hairstyle" - variations from one to five centimetres in length.

The programme allowed men aged over 50 seven centimetres of upper hair to cover balding.

It stressed the "negative effects" of long hair on "human intelligence development", noting that long hair "consumes a great deal of nutrition" and could thus rob the brain of energy.

Men should get a haircut every 15 days, it recommended.

Named and shamed

A second, and unprecedented, TV series this winter showed hidden-camera style video of "long-haired" men in various locations throughout Pyongyang.

n a break with North Korean TV's usual approach, the programme gave their names and addresses, and challenged the fashion victims directly over their appearance.

The North Korean media normally reserves the reporting of names of its citizens to exemplary individuals who show high communist virtues.

The series was shot at various public locations - on the street, at a sports stadium, a barbershop, a bus stop, a restaurant, a department store.

Some unruly-haired pedestrians or customers captured on camera "meanly ran away", the programme said, while others made excuses about being too busy to get a trim.

Television newsreels such as "Employees of Pyongyang Textile Plant keep their hairstyle and dressing neat and tidy" and "Hairdressers at Ch'anggwangwo'n manage men's hair according to the demands of the military-first era" have also aired.

What not to wear

State radio programmes such as "Dressing in accordance with our people's emotion and taste" link clothes and appearance with the wearer's "ideological and mental state".

Tidy attire "is important in repelling the enemies' manoeuvres to infiltrate corrupt capitalist ideas and lifestyle and establishing the socialist lifestyle of the military-first era," the radio says.

Newspapers too highlight the civic advantages of short hair and smart shoes.

Hair is a "very important issue that shows the people's cultural standards and mental and moral state", argues Minju Choson, a government daily.

"No matter how good the clothes, if one does not wear tidy shoes, one's personality will be downgraded."

For party papers such as Nodong Sinmun, the struggle against foreign and anti-communist influence is being fought out in the arena of personal appearance.

"People who wear other's style of dress and live in other's style will become fools and that nation will come to ruin," it says.

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PostPosted: 10-05-2005 16:28    Post subject: Reply with quote

Review of an interesting sounding book.


Gods and monsters in Pyongyang

Jacob Margolies / Yomiuri Shimbun New York Bureau

Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty

By Bradley K. Martin

Thomas Dunne, 868 pp, 29.95 dollars

The sad, strange, frightening and often surreal story of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, which is of course neither democratic nor a republic, is the subject of Bradley Martin's fascinating new book. The American journalist has traveled to North Korea four times, and has been closely observing the country since his first visit there in 1979. His loosely knit chronological account may be the best and most comprehensive English-language history of North Korea ever written. Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader, in more than 700 pages followed by another 142 pages of detailed footnotes, covers a great deal of territory.

The first half of Martin's book is largely a biography, telling the story of Kim Il Sung and his son, Kim Jong Il, who have ruled North Korea since its birth in 1948, following the Soviet occupation of the northern half of the Korean Peninsula after World War II. Martin penetrates the self-mythologizing haze constructed by Kim Il Sung and his North Korean hagiographers.

We learn that the elder Kim was brought up in a Christian family and played the church organ in his youth. There is considerable evidence that in his early years the father of the North Korean state was a guerrilla leader of some note, fighting the Japanese in the 1930s before fleeing to the Soviet Union. While the Soviets installed him as North Korea's leader, Kim's nationalist credentials were genuine and his years as a guerrilla fighter provided the essential foundation for the many lies North Korea would propagate about the man who became known as the Great Leader.

Kim Il Sung was canny and ruthless in consolidating power. Kim's dream was to unify Korea. Though his invasion of South Korea in 1950 was unsuccessful, and resulted in the death of perhaps 2.5 million North Koreans, he never gave up this ambition.

Martin describes how Kim blamed potential rivals for the failure to win the war before purging them from positions of authority.

Kim encouraged a cult of personality from the start. Over time it became more and more extravagant until the Great Leader came to be seen as the embodiment of the state itself, achieving a godlike status. In fact, Kim Il Sung-ism survived as the state religion even after Kim's death in 1994. The fusion of Kim Il Sung and North Korea is in many ways a Gothic tale. The fawning official accounts of his unparalleled accomplishments in every sphere of human endeavor are so ludicrous and heavy-handed that it is difficult not to laugh out loud reading them.

But there is nothing funny about this story.

On one of Martin's tightly controlled visits to North Korea, his assigned watcher proudly brings him to the Grand People's Study House to examine the more than 13,000 volumes of Kim Il Sung's collected works. At a Pyongyang nursery, Martin sees little children bowing before Kim's boyhood portrait. By the time they are in kindergarten, all children have learned to say, "Thank you, Great Fatherly Leader," upon receiving their snacks.

There is debate about the extent to which Western and Eastern models influenced North Korea's peculiar system. Stalinism appears to be the primary influence, melded with the militaristic, Spartan, conspiratorial and anti-intellectual atmosphere of Kim's years as a guerrilla fighter in Manchuria. Some, including prominent North Korean defector Hwang Jang Yop, argue that certain Confucian notions, such as filial piety, may have made Koreans susceptible to the personality cult propagated by the regime.

Although Kim Jong Il is often depicted in the international media as a buffoon, in Martin's account he comes across as ambitious, clever and politically astute. It was by no means assured that Kim Jong Il would follow his father, as other possible successors were angling to take power. After a wild and dissolute early adulthood, Kim Jong Il gradually succeeded in attaining power, going to great lengths to flatter his father while simultaneously eliminating potential rivals. As Kim Il Sung became an old man, his son steadily assumed greater responsibilities. He also shared with his father the perquisites of power which, according to North Korean defectors, included about 100 royal villas and the Mansions Special Volunteers Corps, essentially a harem of thousands of carefully selected attractive young women.

Besides examining the monstrous excesses of Kim Il Sung and his son, Martin's book also looks at the lives of ordinary North Koreans. Depending heavily on the accounts of defectors and economic refugees who have escaped to South Korea (usually by way of China), Martin examines how the relative prosperity of North Korea in the 1960s and '70s was followed by a long, steady economic decline. There are heartbreaking accounts of families slowly starving to death, as well as other horrific stories of the cruelty and extreme privations imposed on those sent off to the prison camps that dot the North Korean countryside.

This is a terrible story, but Martin remains judicious and evenhanded in his analysis. Significantly, he notes, there is some recent evidence of change in North Korea, including seemingly genuine attempts by Kim to liberalize the economy. Informal markets have sprung up throughout the country and there are hints of a weakening of the personality cult surrounding Kim Jong Il.

In attempting to understand the current situation, Martin does his best to surmount the obvious problems of writing about a closed society where all information is controlled. Inevitably, defectors sometimes exaggerate and the reports of some who have escaped the North Korean gulag may be self-serving. The copious footnotes are helpful in allowing the reader to evaluate sometimes contradictory claims.

Given the history, and the revelations in the last three years about North Korea's ongoing nuclear weapons programs, it comes as something of a surprise that Martin believes the United States needs to do more to engage Kim Jong Il and provide enticements for him to move away from the nuclear precipice. While dealing with the odious Kim is unappealing, Martin believes that if he were overthrown it is possible that even more belligerent hard-liners would emerge.

Despite the suffering endured by its people, it is extremely unlikely that the North Korean state is about to collapse. In fact, after somewhere between 200,000 and 3 million famine deaths from 1995 to 1999, there are indications the economy has improved modestly in recent years. And despite the grinding poverty, the government's systematic brainwashing of its citizens seems to be effective.

Several defectors Martin meets continue to profess their love for Kim Il Sung, and nearly all express the hatred they felt toward the United States while living in North Korea. Furthermore, as Martin points out, none of North Korea's neighbors are anxious to see the regime crumble. A unified and potentially nuclear Korea is not in the interest of China, Russia or Japan, and South Korea recognizes the huge dislocations and burdens that unification of the Korean Peninsula would entail.

So this grim tyranny continues. The question of who will succeed 64-year-old Kim Jong Il is unsettled. Martin sees his eldest son, Kim Jong Nam, reportedly hotheaded like his father, as a leading candidate.

While there seems little reason to expect meaningful change in the short term, Martin quixotically suggests that North Korea might eventually evolve into a constitutional monarchy, perhaps similar to Thailand. But given everything that we have read, it seems unlikely that Kim and his cohorts would be willing to surrender the absolute control that they hold. The best one can reasonably hope is that the bitter hardship that the North Korean people have experienced over the last generation will ease slightly.

The worst prospect is that an increasingly isolated North Korea, with its growing nuclear arsenal, will make a terrible miscalculation.

That is a possibility that is almost too awful to contemplate.

Copyright 2005 The Yomiuri Shimbun
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PostPosted: 10-05-2005 18:07    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scary, scary country. Those triplets will grow to be really screwed up, sounds as if they're preparing an army of mindless zombies.

The US is in no position to invade Korea. With the situation in Iraq they'd be stretched to breaking point and have to introduce a draft, which could set off serious civil unrest. The moment an armed force stepped on North Korean soil the Korean's would simply attack the South, maybe using Nukes, then invade. The US would have to deal with protecting one country and invading another. Even if they somehow managed to defeat Korea's army, they'd likely face huge resistance.

Mind you, Dubya could just be insane enough to try.
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