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Pentagon says only a ground invasion could destroy North Korea's nuclear program
A military response to North Korea's nuclear program would potentially cost millions of lives, a Pentagon official warned Saturday. Congressional members cited his assessment and urged the White House to do more to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.
By Mae Owen
Feb 22, 2018

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WASHINGTON D.C. — It would take more than precision air strikes to forcibly stop North Korea's nuclear ambitions, a top Pentagon official said Saturday. Rear Admiral Michael Dumont warned members of Congress that North Korea could counterattack and kill hundreds of thousands of South Koreans, and that nothing but a full-scale ground invasion would stop the threat.

Dumont gave his assessment at the request of two Democratic Congressional representatives who had asked him in writing to estimate the potential cost of a war with the communist state. The cost could be hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of lives in just the first few days of combat, he said.

Dumont said that North Korea has massive arrays of artillery and rockets trained on population centers throughout much of South Korea. This includes the South's capital of Seoul, which has 25 million residents and is only 35 miles from the North-South border.

As soon as war breaks out, the North could unleash this arsenal on its neighbor and cause massive devastation and loss of life, he said. The death count may be even higher if the North deploys chemical and biological weapons, he added.

Dumont's assessment is "deeply disturbing," a group of 16 members of Congress15 Democrats and one Republicansaid in a statement Saturday. The group urged President Trump to do more to reach a peaceful solution.

"The thought of sending troops into harm's way and expending resources on another potentially unwinnable war is chilling. The president needs to stop making provocative statements that hinder diplomatic options and put American troops further at risk," the statement read.