Archive for the ‘North Korea’ Category

Warships from Japan, U.S. Could Shoot Down North Korean Missile

March 27, 2009

North Korea says it is prepared to launch a long range missile that will put a satelliete into orbit.

The U.S. says North Korea is really testing a long range ballistic missile that could put a nuclear weapon on the United States.

japan is stuck in the middle.  If the North Korean flight fails, Japan could be under a rain cloud of debris and rocket fuel.  If the North korean flight is successful, Japan could be the victim of a North korean missle attack.

Both the U.S. and Japan have the capability to shoot down the North korean missile, experts say, and both sides have sent ships at sea in a show that they mean business.

North Koreea upped the ante Thursday by saying if their missile is shot down they will restart their nuclear weapon progam.  Previously the North koreans said  by shooting down its peaceful satellite launch the aggressor would commit an act of war.

USS Hopper, a destroyer with the Aegis radar system aboard, was scheduled for a port call in Japan in coming days. But the port call was canceled and the ship will remain in the Sea of Japan ahead of the launch. Hooper is on the missile shoot down patrol and will be joined by at least two other U.S. Navy ships and at least two from Japan that could shoot down the North korean missile.

It’s a classic stand off of politics and military.

Peace and Freedom

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TOKYO – Japan’s military mobilized Friday to protect the country from any threat if North Korea‘s looming rocket launch fails, ordering two missile-equipped destroyers to the Sea of Japan and sending batteries of Patriot missile interceptors to protect the northern coastline.

Pyongyang plans to launch its Kwangmyongsong-2 satellite April 4-8, a moved that has stoked already heightened tensions in the region. The U.S., Japan and South Korea suspect the North will use the launch to test the delivery technology for a long-range missile capable of striking Alaska.

Japan has said that it will shoot down any dangerous objects that fall its way if the launch doesn’t go off successfully. Tokyo, however, has been careful to say that it will not intervene unless its territory is in danger.

The North said earlier this month that any attack on the satellite would be an act of war.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090
327/ap_on_re_as/as_japan_nkorea_missile

CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD
/asiapcf/03/27/north.korea.us.ships/index.html

The USS Chaffee is one of two destroyers headed to South Korea for an upcoming ceremony.

The USS Chaffee is one of at least two U.S. Navy destroyers headed to patrol.

North Korea Threatens To Restart Nuclear Weapon Program

March 26, 2009

Do you get the feeling that North Korea is not going to go away anytime soon and won’t go quietly?

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SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea said on Thursday that if the international community punishes it for next month’s planned missile launch it will restart a nuclear plant that makes weapons grade plutonium.

The secretive state this week put a long-range missile in place for a launch the United States warned would violate U.N. sanctions imposed on Pyongyang for past weapons tests.

The planned launch, seen by some countries as a disguised military exercise, is the first big test for U.S. President Barack Obama in dealing with the prickly North, whose efforts to build a nuclear arsenal have long plagued ties with Washington.

North Korea warned that any action by the U.N. Security Council to punish it would be a “hostile act.”

” … All the processes for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula … will be brought back to what used to be before their start and necessary strong measures will be taken,” the North’s foreign ministry spokesman said in comments carried by the official KCNA news agency.

North Korea has frozen its aging nuclear reactor and started to take apart its Yongbyon atomic plant under a deal signed by regional powers in 2005 that called for economic aid and better diplomatic standing for the isolated North in return. Despite the agreement, the North carried out a nuclear test in 2006.

The South Korean daily Chosun Ilbo quoted a diplomatic source as saying the North could fire its Taepodong-2 missile, which has the range to hit U.S. territory, by the weekend.

This is earlier than the April 4-8 timeframe Pyongyang announced for what it says is the launch of a satellite.

“Technically a launch is possible within three to four days,” the Chosun Ilbo quoted a diplomatic source in Seoul as saying.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090
326/wl_nm/us_korea_north_missile_11

Musudan Ri, North Korea, formally know as Taepo-dong missile ...

Musudan Ri, North Korea, formally know as Taepo-dong missile launch facility, the area where North Korea rocket launch facility is located is seen in this QuickBird satellite image by DigitalGlobe taken on March 23, 2009. North Korea has positioned what is believed to be a long-range ballistic missile on a launch pad in what could be a preparation for launch, a U.S. counterproliferation official said March 25, 2009. REUTERS/DigitalGlobe/Handout

President Obama’s Overseas Outreach: How Goes It?

March 26, 2009

AMERICA’S enemies smell blood and it’s type “O.”

All new administrations stumble a bit as they seek their footing. But President Obama’s foreign-policy botches have set new records for instant incompetence.

By Ralph Peters
New York Post

Contrary to left-wing myths, I wasn’t a fan of the Bush administration. (I called for Donald Rumsfeld to get the boot in mid-2001.) But fair’s fair. Despite his many faults, Bush sought to do good. Obama just wants to look good.

Vice President Dick Cheney was arrogant. Vice President Joe Biden is arrogant and stupid. Take your pick.

Don’t worry about the new administration’s ideology. Worry about its terrifying naivete.

Consider a sampling of the goofs O and his crew have made in just two months:

China: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (you know that gal married to the Saudi hireling) crawled to Beijing to tell the party bosses that human rights don’t matter. Our “relationship” is more important than freedom and human dignity.

Beijing’s response? A staged military confrontation with an unarmed US Navy vessel; continued screw-America currency cheating; a renewed crackdown on dissidents and, yesterday, a call for a new global currency to replace the dollar.

Thanks, Hill. You’re a sweetheart.

Pakistan: With viral corruption throughout and Islamist fanatics sweeping half of its territory, Pakistan’s coming apart. Its Dem-adored prez tries to ban opposition parties and gut the judiciary. It has nukes and seethes with hatred of America. And Islamabad controls our primary supply route into Afghanistan, using it as an extortion tool.

Obama’s response? Billions in new aid for Pak pols to pocket. We’d be better off handing the money to AIG to pay out more bonuses.

Afghanistan: Obama’s Vietnam. Am I the only American who remembers that candidate Obama had a plan to capture Osama bin Laden and fix our previous “mistakes” in Afghanistan? President Obama doesn’t have a clue.

Iran: Obama tried to reach out, to talk. After all, talking got him to the White House. But America-bashing is what keeps Iran’s leaders in office, it’s their political essence. After 30 years of fierce hostility, hasn’t anyone figured out that the senior mullahs need us as an enemy? Without the Great Satan America to blame, they’d have some real explaining to do to their homies. So O got the left-hand finger.

He wanted to chat with the Taliban, too. They told him he could stick it where the sun don’t shine.

Russia and China rearm?
China boosts military, cyberwarfare capabilities
.
 Gates readies big cuts in weapons
.
 Russia Pressing “Reset,” Medvedev Orders Military To Re-Arm

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 Era of Obama, American Weakness Emboldens Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Terrorists

Sun Setting On American Superpower?

US deploys warships as North Korea prepares to launch missile

March 26, 2009

The US has deployed two warships with anti-missile capabilities in the waters off Japan as tensions mount over North Korea’s plans to test-fire a long-range ballistic missile capable of striking Alaska.

By Peter Foster
Telegraph (UK)
.
The deployment comes as America, Japan and South Korea threaten North Korea with ‘serious consequences’ if it proceeds with plans to conduct the missile test in defiance of a 2006 UN resolution.

North Korea, which has informed international agencies of its plan to fire the missile between April 4 and 8, says the launch is a “satellite test” which it is entitled to make under international law.

USS Chafee: US deploys warships as North Korea prepares to launch missile

USS Chafee:The US Navy spokesman said the two destroyers, the USS McCain and USS Chafee, had left Sasebo port in southwestern Japan Photo: AP

 

Recent satellite imagery has shown that the North Korea has now assembled two stages of the three-stage Taepodong-2 missile on a launch pad in the country’s northeast. Experts estimate that missile could be ready to fire within four days.

Japan has threatened to shoot down the missile if it crosses over Japanese territory, a move which Pyongyang has already said it would consider an “act of war”.

Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, has warned any launch would threaten to end the six-party talks over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme. The talks have been stalled since December in a dispute over how to verify its disarmament.

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/
asia/northkorea/5053883/US-deploys-warshi
ps-as-North-Korea-prepares-to-launch-missile.html

Related:
 North Korea, China, U.S., Japan: Missiles, Missile Defense, Naval Power At Sea

Commanders: US ready for any North Korean missile

March 19, 2009

Two senior U.S. commanders said Thursday that the military is ready if called upon to shoot down North Korea’s planned rocket launch next month.

The top U.S. commander in the Pacific, Adm. Timothy Keating, told senators at a hearing that there was a “high probability” that the United States could knock down a North Korean missile. Gen. Walter Sharp, the U.S. commander in South Korea, said the threat “is real.”

Associated Press
The comments come as North Korea reportedly prepares for what many believe will be a long-range missile test in early April. North Korea says it will launch a communications satellite, and defends the launch by saying other countries have been pursuing peaceful space programs.

Keating said the United States is getting “reasonable intelligence” reports that give a close look at North Korea’s activities.

“We’ll be prepared to respond,” he said, adding that “the United States has the capability” to shoot down any missile.

Sharp said any launch would be a “very clear” violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution. “The threat,” he said, “is real, and it is felt in South Korea.” The U.S. has some 28,500 military personnel in South Korea.

“We call on North Korea not to act in this provocative manner,” Sharp said.

In his testimony, Sharp said North Korea continues to build missiles of “increasing range, lethality and accuracy” for sale in Syria and Iran and elsewhere and for its own forces.

The United States, he said, “cannot afford to overlook” the threat those missiles pose to Asia and the world.

Sharp said North Korea is struggling with attempts to balance increased contact with the outside world and the risks such contact poses to “regime control.”

That, Sharp said, “raises questions about the long-term viability of an increasingly stressed North Korean regime.”

Sharp also said North Korean leader Kim Jong Il “is in charge. Every major decision is coming directly from him.”

Kim, 67, reportedly suffered a stroke in August. North Korea denies he was ill.

U.S. Navy announces new missile defense command

March 16, 2009

Next month the Navy will establish a new command with missile defense in mind.

Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, announced the coming formation of the Navy Air and Missile Defense Command during a speech before a business group Wednesday night in Northern Virginia.

Andrew Scutro
Navy Times

“We’ll formally stand it up in April, but it will be the place where the Navy comes to bring together the thinking, the ideas, the concept, the intellectual effort for our air and ballistic missile initiatives, efforts and programs so that we can stay in the forefront of this important mission area,” Roughead told the group.

He said it will be based in Dahlgren, Va. — where the Navy has an existing facility — though further details about the new command were not readily available Wednesday night.

Tensions over ballistic missile launches have risen in recent weeks because of news that North Korea was preparing a test launch. The saber-rattling was taken seriously enough to prompt a comment from Adm. Timothy Keating, head of U.S. Pacific Command, who was quoted saying, “If a missile leaves the launch pad, we’ll be prepared to respond upon direction of the president.”

The Navy has had several successful ship-launched intercepts of test ballistic missiles. As of November, Navy shot 19 interceptor missiles at speeding targets and was successful in 16 attempts.

Read the rest:
http://www.navytimes.com/news/2
009/03/navy_bmd_command_031609w/

North Korea, China, U.S., Japan: Missiles, Missile Defense, Naval Power At Sea

March 15, 2009

Kim Jong Il is obviously uncomfortable. As tens of thousands of U.S. and South Korean troops staged an annual war-games exercise last week, he put North Korea’s military on alert. The real pea under his mattress, though, could be four battle cruisers that ply the Sea of Japan, just over the horizon from the Dear Leader’s beaches. These ships—two American, two Japanese—carry missiles capable of reaching North Korean nuclear-tipped rockets on their way to Japan, or even the satellite Kim has promised to put up any day now. U.S. Admiral Timothy Keating may have had these same missiles in mind when he threatened in late February to shoot down anything Kim felt emboldened to launch.

Related:
 US deploys warships as North Korea prepares to launch missile

By Fred Guterl
Newsweek
March 14, 2009
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The Aegis cruiser USS Lake Erie launches a Standard Missile III off Kaua’i, Hawaii, 25 January 2001. The RIM-161 Standard missile 3 (SM-3) provides Lake Erie with the capability to shoot down ballistic missiles.

These four cruisers aren’t the only ships that act as a de facto antimissile defense. The U.S. Navy has 73 Aegis ships around the world equipped with missiles that can reach space targets—whether the intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that carry nuclear warheads or satellites that fly in low earth orbit. As the Obama administration shows signs of backing away from plans to put missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic, this fleet of “Aegis” cruisers, as they’re called, may be called upon to take up the slack. U.S. Representative Ellen Tauscher, head of the House strategic forces subcommittee, praised recent progress on Aegis in hearings last month. “This was a major accomplishment that we should all take pride in,” she said. “The same cannot be said of the long-range” ground-based missile defense. However, there are reasons to doubt that relying on Aegis will be an effective military strategy in the long run.

Compared with land-based missile defense, Aegis has the advantage of proximity. Ships can go, with minimal diplomatic hassle, wherever the threat is greatest. Kim’s saber rattling, in fact, led the United States to supply Japan with Aegis equipment and know-how. Aegis, a combination of radars and interceptor missiles, was originally designed to defend battle cruisers against fighter jets. Technological improvements over the years gradually extended its range. The Bush administration funded a new interceptor—SM-3, for “standard missile”—capable of reaching the ICBMs Russia and China have and North Korea and Iran want. Tests suggest that it can fly fast and far enough to catch an ICBM shortly after leaving the atmosphere. That’s an impressive feat, but experts caution that these tests were “scripted” and didn’t take into account countermeasures an enemy might invoke. By the time a rocket leaves the atmosphere, it’s almost impossible for an interceptor missile to tell the difference between the warhead and a decoy balloon. “If I were to throw a rock at you, but warn you ahead of time, you’d probably be able to deflect it,” says Philip Coyle, former assistant deputy of defense in the Clinton administration and now an adviser to the Center for Defense Information in Washington, D.C. “But that’s not to say you could get every rock thrown in the room, or in the whole country.”

CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORL
D/asiapcf/03/12/nkorea.launch/in
dex.html#cnnSTCText

File:USSLeyteGulfCG-55.jpg
Aegis cruiser USS Leyte Gulf

Tokyo is now developing a lighter, faster and more nimble version of the SM-3 that would come closer to hitting an ICBM at the end of its “boost phase,” before it had time to throw up decoys. The new version, expected to be ready in a few years, will travel twice as fast as the current one, but still too slow by half, says MIT missile expert Theodore Postol. The Navy has an Aegis missile on the drawing board designed to attain such speeds, though funding has yet to be approved.

This missile wouldn’t be a silver bullet either, says Postol. Even if the new interceptors hit their targets 100 percent of the time, they would still allow some warheads through. That’s because the warhead occupies a small volume of the missile, usually at the tip, and interceptors aren’t close to being able to sniff them out and make a direct hit. An airtight defense would require layers of redundancy—throwing lots of missiles at each ICBM—and could be countered easily by launching more ICBMs. “Missile defense encourages the enemy to do exactly what you don’t what them to do—build more missiles,” says Coyle. “I don’t know if Kim is worried, but he shouldn’t be.” Postol argues that putting missiles on drone planes, which could shoot down on ICBMs while they’re still rising off the launchpad, would work better than firing missiles from ships.

In one respect, Aegis is a completely effective weapon: it could easily take out low-flying military intelligence satellites. Does that confer a significant military advantage? Shooting down a nation’s satellite would be so provocative it’s hard to envision a scenario in which it would be a smart move. Besides, a hit on a 15-ton spy satellite would more than double the amount of space debris currently in orbit. That would make everybody uncomfortable.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/189255

 Sun Setting On American Superpower?

File:DDG-178MakingAshigara.jpg
A Japan Navt Aegis ship of the Kongo class

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Obama Backs Off, Japan Ready To Shoot Down North Korean Missile

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Sun Setting On American Superpower?

March 15, 2009

In February, 1979, when religious extremists overthrew and ousted the Shah of Iran, an immediate search began for “who lost Iran.”

For many Americans living in wealth at home, this may be of little concern.  But some would say, once the Shah was out of Iran we started on the road to today: an Iran on the brink of having a nuclear bomb and Isreal fearing for its very existance — a situation that has involved the U.S. for three or four decades and could ruin our whole day for years to come; unless a nuclear war comes first.

North Korea also has nuclear weapons and long range missiles and is making noise about starting trouble yet again.

Barack Obama needs to look himself in the mirror now and say, “Things are happening on my watch” and get rid of the notion that “We inherited a mess.”

Obama using recession to justify largest expansion of federal authority ever; U.S. less safe

Last week China’s Premier Wen Jiabao wondered aloud and very publically if the U.S. could be trusted to get its economic house in order.  He didn’t say this while George W. Bush was president: he said it two days ago.U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon even called the U.S. a “deadbeat” this last week.

Wen Jiabao wondered about the credibility of the U.S. after Obama failed to respond convincingly to an incident at sea between Chinese ships and an unarmed American naval vessel — and after Obama borrowed over $740 billion for the stimulus and another $410 billion for the omnibus, thus doubling the U..S. debt.

Wen Jiabao and Ban Ki-moon didn’t say, “I don’t have confidence in Bush; I do have confidence in Obama because he inherited this mess.”

When Russia maneuvered to eliminate the U.S. air base at Manas, Kyrgyzstan  recently, did anyone hear from Mr. Medvedev and Putin in Russia, “We did this because of Bush.  We are just peachy with Obama”?

When North Korea thumbed its nose at the United States last week, and threatened war, the White House indicated that it probably would not shoot down the long-range missile North Korea threatens to launch.

Japan had to step in and say, “We’ll take a shot because that North Korean missile is a threat.”

When Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez offered “a whole island with an airdrome, which we can use as a temporary base for strategic bombers,” to Russia yesterday, he didn’t say, “because of Bush.”

And when the Russians failed to say, “That’s a crazy idea,” it wasn’t because of Bush but it was because of Obama.

So we all need to think now that Barack Obama promises a lot of things that might, maybe, possibly could lead to a better America: health care, improved schools, a new energy system, the curing of cancer, the elimination of global warming, and etc. — all great stuff.

But will there be people asking: “Who lost Japan?  Who lost Korea?  Who lost Afghanistan, Pakistan and other nations?”

And will the certain losses matter, juxtaposed to the maybe gains?

And if American debt is so great that China stops buying U.S. Treasuries, or China “calls the shots” with America, will that matter?

And if our border with Mexico becomes overrun with Mexican drug cartels, I mean, just suppose, while we are looking the other way and fixing health care and spending our limited treasury on everything else, will that matter?  I am just dreaming here, I know.

That could never happen.  But just suppose…..

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

PS:  I am starting to hate this “inherited” BS.  Obama ran to get into the White House, along with all the goodies and problems that came with that.

Nobody “inherits” the White House unless death is involved….

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American adversaries are thumbing their noses, while this man wanted to run the census and now will supervize the writing of a measure to federalize schools. Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gestures prior to the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, in Washington, January 20, 2009.(Jim Young – UNITED STATES/Reuters)

Obama Maybe Doesn’t Know: Nice guys get finished first

March 15, 2009

“Can’t we all get along … let’s try to work it out.” That was Rodney King’s plaintive plea in May 1992 after his highly controversial confrontation with the Los Angeles Police Department led to arson and anarchy. Now, 17 years later, the Obama administration has apparently made “just get along” their response to every national security test. So far, it has been the wrong answer.

By Oliver North
The Washington Times

Since Mr. Obama’s announced his deadline for pulling U.S. combat troops out of Iraq, there has been a spike in violence in the Land Between the Rivers. His decision to “open a direct dialogue” with the theocrats ruling in Tehran has thus far yielded an Iranian satellite launch – using North Korean ICBM technology, a check-ride on Iran’s Russian-built Bushehr nuclear plant, and, just in case we didn’t get the message, rejected visa applications for the U.S. Women’s Badminton Team.

“Nice guy” diplomacy hasn’t worked very well elsewhere either. Pakistan replied to the administration’s “let’s get along” overture by allowing Dr. A.Q. Khan – the world’s most notorious nuclear-weapons proliferator – to travel and “resume scientific research.” Hamas responded to the promise of $1 billion in U.S. “reconstruction funds” by showering Israeli civilians with Iranian-made, Syrian-delivered, Egyptian-facilitated rockets.

Syrian strongman Bashar Assad’s answer to the recent White House proffer of “dialogue with Damascus” came last week when he told visiting Japanese journalists such talks would “have to involve” the Iranian-controlled terror group Hezbollah. For those who may have forgotten, the only terror organization that has killed more Americans than Hezbollah is al Qaeda – on Sept. 11 2001.

The “O-Team” offer to “restart” or “reboot” the U.S.-Russia relationship was so moving that Moscow bribed Kyrgyzstan’s government into booting U.S. troops from the Manas airbase, crucial to supporting allied operations in Afghanistan. The Kremlin followed up by forging ahead with plans to sell advanced S-300 (SA-10) surface-to-air missiles to Tehran, presumably to help protect Iranian nuclear facilities.

With this track record as preamble, it is not surprising that the People’s Republic of China decided to conduct a little “O-Test” of their own. On Feb. 22, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton concluded two days of “very promising” meetings in Beijing by emphasizing that “the United States and China have a positive, cooperative relationship.” Five days later, the United States and China resumed direct military-to-military “consultations” – talks suspended in 2008 when the Bush administration sold Patriot air-defense missiles to Taiwan. It went downhill from there.

On March 4, Chinese ships and aircraft began harassing the USNS Impeccable and the USNS Victorious while they were operating in international waters. The two unarmed, civilian-manned vessels (with U.S. Navy personnel aboard to operate specialized equipment) are designated as Ocean Surveillance Ships. Both are equipped with the newest generation of submarine tracking sonar, known as SURTASS LFA – Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System – Low Frequency Active.

The Victorious, operating in the Yellow Sea, between the Korean Peninsula and mainland China was approached at night by a Chinese patrol vessel using a high-intensity spotlight or visual-spectrum laser to momentarily blind lookouts on the ship’s bridge. The Impeccable, operating in the South China Sea, 75 miles off the coast of the major Chinese Naval and submarine base of Hainan Island, was repeatedly “buzzed” by Chinese Y-12 Maritime Patrol Aircraft and then surrounded by no fewer than five Chinese vessels.

According to the official complaint filed with Beijing by U.S. commander in chief Pacific (CINCPAC), the confrontation required the Impeccable to “maneuver to avoid” a collision with a Chinese Navy frigate, that the Chinese ships “approached to within 25 feet of the U.S. vessel” and that “high-pressure water hoses were employed” to prevent being boarded.

A Defense Department spokesman said Chinese sailors made “an attempt to snag the Impeccable’s towed acoustic array sonar” and described the incident as evidence of “increasingly aggressive conduct by Chinese vessels.”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.co
m/news/2009/mar/15/nice-gu
ys-get-finished-first/

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Pentagon Rethinking Strategy, Planning, Budgeting and Weapons-Buying

March 14, 2009

The protracted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are forcing the Obama administration to rethink what for more than two decades has been a central premise of American strategy: that the nation need only prepare to fight two major wars at a time.

By Thom Shanker
New York Times
.
For more than six years now, the United States has in fact been fighting two wars, with more than 170,000 troops now deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. The military has openly acknowledged that the wars have left troops and equipment severely strained, and has said that it would be difficult to carry out any kind of significant operation elsewhere.

To some extent, fears have faded that the United States may actually have to fight, say, Russia and North Korea, or China and Iran, at the same time. But if Iraq and Afghanistan were never formidable foes in conventional terms, they have already tied up the American military for a period longer than World War II.

A senior Defense Department official involved in a strategy review now under way said the Pentagon was absorbing the lesson that the kinds of counterinsurgency campaigns likely to be part of some future wars would require more staying power than in past conflicts, like the first Iraq war in 1991 or the invasions of Grenada and Panama.

In an interview with National Public Radio last week, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates made it clear that the Pentagon was beginning to reconsider whether the old two-wars assumption “makes any sense in the 21st century” as a guide to planning, budgeting and weapons-buying.

The discussion is being prompted by a top-to-bottom strategy review that the Pentagon conducts every four years, as required by Congress and officially called the Quadrennial Defense Review. One question on the table for Pentagon planners is whether there is a way to reshape the armed forces to provide for more flexibility in tackling a wide range of conflicts.

Among other questions are the extent to which planning for conflicts should focus primarily on counterinsurgency wars like those in Iraq and Afghanistan, and what focus remains on well-equipped conventional adversaries like China and Iran, with which Navy vessels have clashed at sea.

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