Army Chief: U.S. Able To Fight N. Korea If Necessary

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is playing down the tensions stemming from North Korea's nuclear and missile tests this week, but the Army's top officer says the U.S. could fight an old-fashioned war against the communist regime if necessary.

Asked whether the American forces would be prepared to fight if war broke out between South Korea and North Korea, Gen. George Casey replied, "The short answer is yes." But he added that it would probably take a little bit longer to "shift gears" away from the type of counterinsurgency fighting that now occupies the Army.

Casey said his usual rule for how long it would take the Army to gear up for a new "conventional" war is about 90 days. But he says that doesn't mean it would take 90 days for the U.S. to effectively fight the North's million-man army.

Meanwhile, Gates -- speaking to reporters as he traveled to the Far East -- says North Korea's actions have not reached a crisis level that would warrant additional U.S. troops in the region.


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