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Congress Warns of Urgent Threat from North Korea! Like They Did Before!

Members of Congress are warning of the urgent threat of North Korea’s plans to develop nuclear weapons that might one day be able to reach the United States. We must act now, they say, before it’s too late.

U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard: “We must stand together with our allies in the region ready to respond to any contingency, and we must take a forward-leaning approach to address this imminent threat.” (a)

Senator Tom Cotton: “North Korea’s nuclear test earlier this week signals an increasingly dangerous and defiant stance that the United States and our allies must confront and defeat!” (b)

U.S. Representative Tom Reed: “Pyongyang’s dismissal of international pressures, as well as its continued work on missile-related technologies, pose a direct security threat to the United States and our allies.” (c)

U.S. Representative Eni Faleomavaega: “I rise today to condemn last week’s launch of a multistage rocket by the North Korean military. Fortunately, the launch failed and the missile disintegrated within a couple of minutes. However, that does not mean a future experiment like this by the North Korean government could not succeed.” (d)

U.S. Representative John Fleming: “Now there is news that North Korea may be preparing another long-range missile test. North Korea’s nuclear weapons testing and production have been a major concern for years as they continue to make technological advances that could one day allow them to deliver a nuclear warhead anywhere in the U.S. This is not the time to cut our missile defense budget.” (e)

U.S. Representative Ted Poe: “North Korea is a nuclear threat and appears to help any nation with evil intentions, and the whole world needs to know about it.” (f)

U.S. Representative Ed Royce: “North Korea is a direct threat to the United States!” (g)

Senator Dianne Feinstein: “Too little appears to have been done with regard to North Korea, which I believe represents the most imminent, serious, and dangerous threat facing the United States.” (h)

Senator Joe Biden: “North Korean missiles and the very real concern that North Korea might even build longer range missiles capable of striking the United States are a driving force behind our plans to build a national missile defense system.” (i)

U.S. Representative J.D. Hayworth: The North Koreans have developed what they call the Taepo Dong missile, an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the continental United States!” (j)

Senator Jon Kyl: “Admiral Studeman, then the acting Director, testified publicly a year ago that the North Koreans could be expected to deploy a missile within 3 to 5 years and that that missile could reach the United States of America.” (k)


(a) Imminent threat? Tulsi Gabbard said this over four years ago, in April 2013.

(b) Tom Cotton said this over four years ago, in February 2013, back when he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

(c) Not once since he made this statement in December, 2012 has Tom Reed pointed out that the “direct security threat” from North Korea has never resulted in any actual attack.

(d) Eni Faleomavaega made this statement in April, 2012. He died earlier this year, but North Korea continues its long tradition of failed missile tests. Could a North Korean missile test ever be successful? Maybe, some day, in the distant future. Alexander Smith of NBC News writes today that “Despite a flurry of recent missile tests, North Korea has not demonstrated that it’s capable of hitting the United States mainland with a nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM. Many experts predict the reclusive country is some way off its goal.”

(e) Actually, there hasn’t been one single missile attack against the United States in the 8 years since John Fleming made this warning about the dire consequences of cuts to missile defense (June, 2009). North Korea still hasn’t come close to making the “technological advances that could one day allow them to deliver a nuclear warhead anywhere in the U.S.”.

(f) Ted Poe made this statement in April, 2008. To this date, there still is no record of North Korea successfully helping any evil nation to acquire nuclear weapons.

(g) Ed Royce made this warning in September, 2006. With 11 years and counting since then, the “direct threat” of North Korea has resulted in precisely zero attacks.

(h) Dianne Feinstein’s statement illustrates the habit of extreme exaggeration of security threats by members of Congress. She made this ominous statement over 14 years ago, in April, 2003.

(i) Joe Biden’s concern about danger from North Korean long range missiles was “very real” When he said this back in March, 2001. 16 years later, actual working long range missiles in North Korea are not real at all.

(j) J.D. Hayworth made this statement in June, 1999. North Korea still doesn’t have a working missile capable of reaching the United States.

(k) Jon Kyl sounded this ominous alarm way back in January, 1996. You may have noticed that, 21 years later, Admiral Studeman’s prediction of a the development North Korean missile capable of reaching the United States by 2001 was dead wrong.

perpetual fear of North KoreaDespite the long years of false predictions of a North Korean nuclear doomsday, warnings that North Korea may sometime soon have missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons all the way to the United States are still being repeated uncritically by journalists. Just yesterday, Public Radio International warned that “There’s no doubt North Korea could develop a missile capable of hitting the continental United States within the next few years.”

The point isn’t that North Korea presents no problem for the United States, or for its allies. The point is that American politicians have used the idea of an imminent, deadly threat from North Korea as a tool to promote wasteful military spending, and to distract from domestic political problems, for decades. North Korea presents a problem, but it’s a chronic, nagging problem, not an emergency.

There is no crisis in North Korea. North Korea is consistently nasty, but militarily weak.

When Donald Trump and his allies in Congress try to convince you that North Korea is an imminent threat to the United States that must be dealt with now, they’re hustling you.

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