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PEACE: Foreign Policy & Terrorism | January 14, 2003


An E-Mail to a Democratic National Committee Member 

As I read...[in http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/dprk/missile/td-2.htm and other articles], the North Korean missiles use a fuel based on nitric acid that is so corrosive that they have to be practically rebuilt after test firings -- any launch is, in effect, a test. The upshot is that, although not yet formally tested (although it is scheduled to be so soon), the TD2 should be considered already available, and at least Alaska within reach -- if Kim Jon Il really felt he was going the way of Saddam Hussein (what this current saber-rattling is all about, if you ask me -- I doubt he's as concerned about, say, the energy or even food needs of his nation as a whole) then he could deal a devastating blow to the economy of the rest of the world by hitting our oil processing facilities in Alaska, as Hussein might in Saudi Arabia (remember what his retreating troops did to Kuwaiti oil fields?) -- world markets for energy (key to all industry) would be upended, for perhaps as long as the radiation persisted.

A political scientist, an expert in this subject, replied that the TD2 had already been test launched, in 1998 (I believe that was the first stage only), but that the threat has been overstated by the Administration (In that reference I cited, now Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld headed a commission that indicated that with modifications, a North Korean missile might soon be able to hit almost anywhere within the western U.S.).

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