Before I start, I want to clearly state that I write this as a private citizen and a student of history.  In writing this, I did all my research on the internet and I do not represent any organization or company.  I challenge you and obligate you to do your own research and drawing your own conclusions.

 

The Past

 

When I was less than 5 years old I was in the car with my family driving along the West Sacramento Harbor.  We went to view the wood chips that had been burning on the harbor for weeks.  I asked my parents why the wood chips were there in the first place.  My parents explained that those wood chips were intended for shipment to Japan, and Japan would make them into composite logs for burning in fireplaces and sell them back to the U.S.  

 

Women of WW2 memorial in London

I then asked why the U.S. couldn’t make our own composite logs.  Because my parents answered that question and every question that came after it, I learned about trade agreements, imports/exports, and about World War II.  I became a life-long student of World War II.  People have asked which part interests me the most, and I simply say, “All of it”.  The war in the Pacific and in Europe, Hitler and the concentration camps, the Japanese suicide warriors, and the internment camps in the U.S.    

 

The range of mentalities and viewpoints that caused this war and its outcomes fascinates me.  I have learned that World War II has defined everything about the geopolitical landscape we live in today.  In many ways, this war took years to finish, and in some ways, it never finished.

 

One war I have never been interested in is the Korean War, and that war is nowhere near finished.  And as a nation, we have nearly forgotten that we left it unfinished.

 

My grandfather fought in the Army in World War II.  I know that he spent time in Australia, and I know that he entered the Philippines when the U.S. gained control.  After the war, he came home and was encouraged to sign up for the reserves because “they would never be called”.  Well, when the Korean War started, the only trained men were the WWII veterans who now had wives and kids.  

 

My grandfather was asked to train troops for Korea, so he packed up the family and they did as they were asked.  Later, this same generation would be asked to sacrifice their sons for Vietnam.  Some men younger than my grandfather fought in Korea, then in Vietnam.  I can’t fathom either scenario.  There has not been a draft in my lifetime.  Our recent two presidents have never served in the military.

 

The little I remember about the Korean War from my public high school education was that China’s presence was a determining factor.  

 

Korean War Memorial, Washington DC

“As U.S. and United Nations forces turned the tide of battle in [South] Korea, MacArthur argued for a policy of pushing into North Korea to completely defeat the communist forces. Truman went along with this plan but worried that the communist government of the People’s Republic of China might take the invasion as a hostile act and intervene in the conflict. In October 1950, MacArthur met with Truman and assured him that the chances of a Chinese intervention were slim.

 

Then, in November and December 1950, hundreds of thousands of Chinese troops crossed into North Korea and flung themselves against the American lines, driving the U.S. troops back into South Korea. MacArthur then asked for permission to bomb communist China and use Nationalist Chinese forces from Taiwan against the People’s Republic of China. Truman flatly refused these requests and a very public argument began to develop between the two men.

 

In April 1951, President Truman fired MacArthur and replaced him with Gen. Matthew Ridgeway.”  — Truman relieves MacArthur of duties in Korea, The History.Com Staff

 

I’m sure that President Truman and General MacArthur are pacing the floors of Heaven in a heated debate at the moment.

 

The Present

 

China now plays an additional role in our daily life.

 

“China’s vast holdings of U.S. government debt jumped $44 billion to $1.15 trillion in June, according to U.S. Treasury Department data. That took China above Japan, which offloaded $21 billion in U.S. bonds in the month.

 

…The willingness of China to lend massive amounts of money to the U.S. government has raised concerns about Beijing’s potential leverage over America.

 

…Experts say the reality is more complicated, arguing that the debt relationship binds the world’s two largest economies closely together.” — China is America’s biggest creditor once again, by Jethro Mullen   @CNNMoneyInvest, August 16, 2017: 5:46 AM ET

 

Sounds like no one is sure what this debtor/loaner position does to the U.S/China relationship in a time of war.  If you ever want to understand a person’s true nature, go into business with them or loan/borrow money.  It has a lot to do with how much you like the other person and what personal psychoses each side has.  It is often not pretty.

 

The BBC reported that the latest Korean nuclear test on 3 September 2017 is estimated at 100-150 kilotons.  While estimates vary, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan in August of 1945 was about 15 kilotons.  As scientists and engineers are prone to do, there are multiple ways to measure the damage caused by the bombs of 1945.

 

“All Japanese homes were seriously damaged up to 6,500 feet in Hiroshima, and to 8,000 feet in Nagasaki. Most Japanese homes were damaged up to 8,000 feet in Hiroshima and 10,500 feet in Nagasaki.”  — The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, by The Manhattan Engineer District, June 29, 1946

 

So, 6,500 feet (or 1.23 miles) away from where the bomb landed ALL homes were damaged.  At 8,000 feet (1.52 miles) most homes were damaged.

 

“Flash ignition of dry, combustible material was observed as far as 6,400 feet from X in Hiroshima, and in Nagasaki as far as 10,000 feet from X.”  — The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, by The Manhattan Engineer District, June 29, 1946

 

If there was a pile of dry material, like grass, paper, or wood over a mile away, it ignited on the spot.  Korea’s recent bomb test was about 10 times as powerful.

 

I’m not ignoring the human damage, sometimes it just easier to get your head wrapped around distance and combustion than the thousands of God’s children that died from a single weapon.

 

Missile reach has also been speculated in the open news sources but can vary depending on trajectory and weight of the payload(s) being carried.  A flatter trajectory increases the range or distance, and more weight decreases the range.

 

So What?

 

If you think that ancient scripture does not apply to the complicated scenarios in our day and age, you are completely and totally wrong.  The Book of Mormon offers wonderful advice, and peace, for such moments as this.  Go to the online scriptures, and search on the word “attack”.  It is amazing the references to war and military strategy that exist in the Bible and Book of Mormon.  

 

There are stories of people burying their weapons of war to avoid fighting their brethren, approaching attacking armies unarmed and being slaughtered, internal divisions weakening nations, scalping, and incredibly creative stories of military strategy.  And there are even a few stories of personal hubris and stupidity in war.

 

I believe that the United States exists to make freedom and the Gospel of Jesus Christ available to all people who desire it.  I believe that maintaining liberty is not just a goal, but also a calling.  Our role is to protect it and make it available so that everyone has the opportunity to choose it, if they desire – both liberty and Jesus Christ.

 

I have always believed that diplomacy is the first choice, but if you attack us first, we will attack in return.  We have taken the diplomatic route for years with North Korea, and yet, they still decided to build themselves some weapons.  In an effort to show their strength, I doubt their first attack will be a conventional warhead.  I now doubt that waiting or attacking second is our best strategy.  Be prepared for a morally complicated conflict.  Preserving the lives of the North Korean citizens will cost the lives of our soldiers on the ground.  Merciless bombing or “total war” may save the lives of our military, but will not preserve much of a North Korean nation.

 

Now What?

 

So, what is our best defense on the home front?  Offering up a humble people and a united nation to the Lord.  The renewed energy applied to racist activities and political party in-fighting has to stop.  We need to get a grip on who the real enemy is, and how close we are to the brink of war. Our strength is our diversity, and it always has been.

 

Alma 51:22-23:

 

“22 Behold, it came to pass that while Moroni was thus breaking down the wars and contentions among his own people, and subjecting them to peace and civilization, and making regulations to prepare for war against the Lamanites, behold, the Lamanites had come into the land of Moroni, which was in the borders by the seashore.

 

23 And it came to pass that the Nephites were not sufficiently strong in the city of Moroni; therefore Amalickiah did drive them, slaying many. And it came to pass that Amalickiah took possession of the city, yea, possession of all their fortifications.”

 

What can you do to protect your family?  

 

  • Pray for righteous leadership and read your scriptures.  Prayer and scripture reading enables us to be ready for the inspiration of the Lord – for us to think outside the box when the need arises.  
  • Make better strides to pay off your debts.  I say this as I put a new roof on my home.  We can all do better at balancing “needs” vs. “wants”.
  • Meet your neighbors now, just in case.  The Southeast United States (including territories) is currently dealing with a terrible hurricane season.  Knowing your neighbors is helpful in the aftermath of any disaster.  Knowing who people are by name, who might need extra help in a disaster, and what skills people have will always strengthen a neighborhood.
  • Circulate and build-up your food storage.  This will serve you in times of unemployment and emergency.  I just spoke to a co-worker who grew up next to two Mormon families.  He remembered one family was not very devout but had a beautiful daughter.  And the other family had converted a whole piece of their home into a food storage locker and told my co-worker’s family they were welcome to share in the event of a disaster.  Apparently, both impressed him.  I’m not that kind of Mormon, yet.
  • Join a Community Emergency Response Team.  Participate in the Great California Shakeout at 10:19 am on 10/19, or similar activities.  https://www.shakeout.org
  • Buy a 72-hr kit or emergency food and water storage for the first 72 hours.  It takes at least 3 days before the government can get organized in any disaster.  Instead of the normal Christmas gifts, make it a “home preparedness” Christmas.
  • To read more of Molly’s articles, click here.

    And some simple ones – organize your toolbox and know where your work gloves are.  Do you own a decent set of leather work gloves?  I think we have 4 or 5 toolboxes, and we can never find the object we need.  I think the kids have left my work gloves on the back patio in the sun again, and one glove is between the washer and dryer.  And due to California’s propensity for wildfires, I also have some air masks.  I think I know where those are.

  • And one final idea from an engineer: Buy duct tape.  Stock up.  Any cloth can be made into a bandage with duct tape. Anything (okay, most things) can be fixed with duct tape.  Speaking of which, I think we might be out.  Don’t tell anyone, I might lose my “street cred” among the engineers.

 

Looks like I have a long way to go.

 

I know that these seem like simple, ineffectual steps.  However, doing something …  anything will make you feel better.  It will humble us and prepare us.  I believe the scriptures when the ancient prophets from two continents say that a humble, prayerful people can save a nation.

 

About Molly A. Kerr
Molly is on a life long quest to figure herself out. Born to be and educated as an aerospace engineer she is also blessed to be a wife and a mom of two in the present, previously served as a full-time missionary, is consistently called to teach the youth in her ward, is eagerly though slowly doing home improvement as money and time allow, all while gradually learning how to be herself and find peace and balance somewhere in between. Despite her attempts to make “the right” decisions in her life, she has learned to deal with some unexpected challenges over the last two decades. Total tornadoes, really. What she has discovered is that her career has taught her a lot about the Gospel and being a better mother, and the Gospel, when applied to challenges at the office, has made her a better professional. She has also learned that it is okay to be herself, and God still loves (and forgives) her for it.

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