WASHINGTON, D.C.—Rep. Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) issued a bipartisan joint statement yesterday with 15 fellow veterans that thumbed down a potential ground invasion of North Korea.
The statement follows a Congressional Research Service report and a letter from the joint chiefs of staff addressing questions raised by Lieu and Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) about the Pentagon’s plan for military action against North Korea.
In the statement, the House members wrote: “The joint chiefs of staff has now confirmed that the only way to destroy North Korea’s nuclear arsenal is through a ground invasion. That is deeply disturbing and could result in hundreds of thousands, or even millions of deaths in just the first few days of fighting.
“As veterans, we have defended this nation in war and we remain committed to this country’s security. We also understand that entering into a protracted and massive ground war with North Korea would be disastrous for U.S. troops and our allies.
“The joint chiefs of staff, it appears, agree. Their assessment underscores what we’ve known all along: There are no good military options for North Korea. Invading North Korea could result in a catastrophic loss of lives for U.S. troops and U.S. civilians in South Korea. It could kill millions of South Koreans and put troops and civilians in Guam and Japan at risk. The joint chiefs said they have no reason to believe North Korea would resist using their stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons. It is our intent to have a full public accounting of the potential cost of war, so the American people understand the commitment we would be making as a nation if we were to pursue military action.”
The other lawmakers who signed on to the statement includes Gallego, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD), Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Rep. Glenn Thompson (D-CA), Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA).
A nonpartisan CRS report indicates conflict on the peninsula could impact as many as 25 million people on either side of the border, including more than 100,000 U.S. citizens.
“We must pursue every other option before even considering a massive ground invasion.
“The [Trump] administration has also failed to articulate any plans to prevent the military conflict from expanding beyond the Korean Peninsula and to manage what happens after the conflict is over. We’re still engaged in the longest war in U.S. history in Afghanistan with no end in sight.
“With that in mind, 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 joint chiefs’ assessment and the CRS report clearly demonstrate that every diplomatic and economic option must be exhausted before military options are considered.
“If President Trump does intend to pursue a military option against North Korea, he must come to Congress as required by our Constitution. The stakes are too high and the potential outcome too grave for President Trump to violate his constitutional duty to come to Congress to authorize and oversee use of force.”
Lieu is a member of the House Foreign Affairs and House Judiciary committees. He is also a veteran, an assistant whip for the Democratic caucus, and a colonel in the Air Force reserves. (PR)