Let this one sink in: the White House wants the Pentagon to provide plans for a military strike against North Korea, and some in the White House are annoyed that the Pentagon may be slow-walking such plans.
The national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, believes that for Mr. Trump’s warnings to North Korea to be credible, the United States must have well-developed military plans, according to those officials.
But the Pentagon, they say, is worried that the White House is moving too hastily toward military action on the Korean Peninsula that could escalate catastrophically. Giving the president too many options, the officials said, could increase the odds that he will act.
Can someone please let McMaster know that the world will be better off if Trump’s warnings aren’t just not credible but stop? “Oh, the president is threatening nuclear war on Twitter again. We’d better make sure he has the tools to make it happen next time a tweet doesn’t make him feel like a big enough man.”
So, yes. While the Pentagon formally denies dragging its feet over providing the White House with options for a military strike, it seems that the military establishment is the voice for diplomacy here. Maybe because they understand the stakes:
[Defense Secretary Jim] Mattis and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., argue forcefully for using diplomacy. They have repeatedly warned, in meetings and on video conference calls, that there are few, if any, military options that would not provoke retaliation from North Korea, according to officials at the Defense Department.
Even McMaster knows how bad it could be at the same time he’s pushing for Donald Trump to have ready access to plans to start a war:
Asked by a reporter in August whether there was any military option that would not put Seoul in North Korea’s cross hairs, he paused briefly, then said, “No.”
Let’s hope this is the scariest news we read all day, but it’s early and the Trump administration has a lot of hours left to give us real nightmares.