LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A retired U.S. Air Force Brigadier General from Louisville says he thinks war with North Korea is becoming more likely.
Rob Givens spent four years on the Korean Peninsula, and just returned from briefing Senate staffers on Capitol Hill about the urgency of the situation.
Givens says war with North Korea would be unlike what most of us have ever seen.
"It would be at a scale that we have not seen since the second World War," Givens said. "We could expect thousands of casualties in the first minutes of the war, both civilian and military. And the main reason why it impacts us is we must be informed as a public, because we must make sure our elected officials are aware of what's going on with North Korea and are debating on what our responses should be."
Below is a transcript of an interview of Givens by WDRB's Elizabeth Woolsey:
WDRB: What do you think our options are at this point?
GIVENS: Our options are limited. We've done a lot of sanctions against North Korea. One of the things that we have to try to understand is, why are they doing what they're doing, and then how do we respond? But as our National Command Authority has said, all options are on the table for these provocations.
WDRB: How likely do you think war is with North Korea and what would that look like?
GIVENS: Well, I think war has always been likely with North Korea to some degree, but I would say that the chances have increased. And what's worse about that, if there is anything is worse about that, is that the potential for damage has significantly increased in the past decade. Their ability to mate nuclear weapons with delivery systems becomes a serious threat to, not only us, but our allies in the region.
WDRB: Why should people watching right now in our area be concerned? How could they be affected by what could potentially happen here?
GIVENS: That is a great question, because living our lives day-to-day here in Louisville, we don't often think about Korea. But a war in the Korean Peninsula would impact us all. One, it would be at a scale we have not seen since the Second World War. We could expect thousands of casualties in the first minutes of the war -- both civilian and military -- and the main reason why it impacts us is, we must be informed as a public because we must make sure that our elected officials are aware of what is going on in North Korea and are debating what our responses should be so we can go forward as one people and not as a few.
WDRB: Not only the potential of lives lost, but this could affect us economically too, here at home.
GIVENS: Absolutely. Seventy percent of the world's economy is tied up with northeast Asia in some way. I mean, look around your house and see what products come from Korea and what comes from Japan. All of that could be impacted by a major war in the region.
WDRB: Lots of people think that the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un is just crazy, making decisions off-the-cuff. You actually feel that this is strategic and these are tactical moves.
GIVENS: Right. The way I try and explain it to people is, that country has "played their pair of twos" better than any other country in the history of mankind. They are very strategic. He is playing a long game and is really working his way into guaranteeing his regime's survival, but possibly also to being a bigger player within the region -- maybe even globally.
WDRB: You're on a mission right now to get people talking about this -- especially at Capitol Hill.
GIVENS: Absolutely. It's essential that our elected officials begin the discussion about what we will and will not do with respect to North Korea. We essentially have two choices that need to be discussed: Do we take losses now to eliminate the risk of their nuclear weapons? Or do we accept the nuclear weapons, with the potential of greater risk later? Whichever path we choose, we need to do it as one people.
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