“This would be more like trying to get rid of Allah.”
President Donald Trump has promised to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea and to “totally destroy” the country if it continues to threaten the US or its allies. His administration even recently considered potentially launching a small, limited military strike — what his aides described as a “bloody nose” — if Pyongyang conducted another missile or nuclear test.
But a decorated former South Korean general said this week that North Korean soldiers would fight foreign invaders with nearly religious zeal in the name of their leader, Kim Jong Un, if under attack.
“I try to explain to the Americans — if we have to go into North Korea, it is not going to be like going into Iraq or Afghanistan. It’s not going to be like toppling [ex-Iraqi President Saddam] Hussein. This would be more like trying to get rid of Allah,” retired Lt. Gen. In-Bum Chun told a London think tank audience Wednesday.
“I have had the opportunity to speak to North Korean soldiers who have defected to South Korea — and you cannot imagine how indoctrinated they are,” he continued. “These are people who have defected, and yet there is still an innate belief in their system which is close to ridiculous.”
Chun has firsthand knowledge of what he’s talking about. He spent nearly 40 years in the South Korean military, including a stint leading the country’s special forces, before retiring only about 18 months ago. That means he spent his entire professional life studying North Korea through the eyes as a military professional who knew he might one day have to fight it.