When my father was 16 years old, he dropped out of school and lied about his age so he could fight in the Korean War. I can imagine what he might say about what's happening in North Korea now, but I wouldn't repeat it in a family newspaper.
I think about our Korean War veterans as I watch the situation in North Korea deteriorating rapidly. "M*A*S*H" captured the mood of futility many of those soldiers felt when the war was fought to a standstill.
And now, with hothead dictator Kim Jong-Un in power, North Korea is rattling more than sabers.
CNN reported Thursday that the United States intercepted communications in recent days that North Korea could be planning to launch a mobile ballistic missile soon.
U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Ind., is on the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, which controls the Pentagon's spending. He spoke with The Times Editorial Board and on the nwi.com Political Roundtable show about the situation in Korea.
"You don't know what will happen, and you don't want to think, 'Gee, we should have done this or that,'" said Visclosky, of Merrillville.
So the U.S. military is moving monitoring equipment and crews into place to see what North Korea might do next. Is the dictator just bombastic, or will there be real bombs?
"No rational person would ... ," Visclosky began to say. "What do you expect to gain?"
But Visclosky knows the danger of expecting everyone to have the same mindset, the same sanity, as a typical American. That's why the military must plan to defend the nation not just against terrorists, but also against rogue nations that fit former President George W. Bush's definition of the "axis of evil."
When Dad fought in the Korean War — which I hope won't be renamed Korean War I — the Chinese military was an enemy. So what will China's role be if the current conflict escalates beyond the Bay of Pigs scenario that seems to be shaping up?
"You would hope people like China would exercise responsible judgment," Visclosky said. China doesn't want the refugees that could come if North Koreans or anyone else would flood into China.
North Korea on Thursday accused the United States of "pushing the situation on the Korean Peninsula to the brink of war."
It seems to me, as it apparently does to Visclosky, that Kim Jong-Un is the bully in this situation.
It's too bad the Nunn-Lugar threat reduction program and the Salt II treaty weren't able to keep nukes from nuts in every case.
I'd hate to see the United Nations have to take military action against North Korea six decades after we thought that war was over.