WASHINGTON, D.C. - Is the U.S. ready to go to war with North Korea? President Donald Trump sure seems to think so. On Friday, he stepped up the rhetoric on North Korea for the third straight day, tweeting early Friday that U.S. military solutions are locked and loaded.
Later, Trump doubled down on the comment saying in a short session with the media. "I hope they are gonna fully understand the gravity of what I said," said Trump. "And what I said is what I mean."
There are several indications that the U.S is ready to strike North Korea if necessary. On Thursday U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said we are ready and the U.S. Pacific Command says it has bombers ready to go if the president orders a strike.
However, a number of military analysts say the U.S. isn't even close to being ready to launch a successful sustained mission in North Korea. They say it would take weeks, if not months, to get the logistics figured out to take out North Korea's artillery. Before any sort of strike the U.S. would need to get the tens of thousands of American citizens currently living in South Korea out so they don't get caught in the crossfire.
While the conflict is still all talk at this point, officials in Guam and Hawaii aren't taking any chances. In Guam, nuclear preparedness pamphlets are being handed out. They include tips like taking shelter in concrete, lying flat on the ground, and not looking directly at any missile strike. Guam's homeland security spokesperson says it would only take about 14 minutes for a missile launched from North Korea to reach the island nation.
At the same time, Hawaii is developing a nuclear attack warning system that includes air sirens and mobile text alerts of incoming attacks. State officials there say it would take between 15 and 20 minutes for a North Korean missile to reach them.
It's still pretty unlikely that North Korea would risk attacking either island, especially after Trump's warning to Kim Jong Un on Friday. "This man will not get away with what he is doing. If he utters one threat in the form of an overt threat, which, by the way, he has been uttering for years and his family has been uttering for years, or if he does anything with respect to Guam, or any place else that is an American territory or an America ally, he will truly regret it and he will regret it fast," Trump said.
However, with the kind of heated rhetoric being exchanged by President Trump and North Korea it would only take a split second for the leader of either country to make a bad decision that leads us down an even worse path.