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Veteran Lawmakers Warn Against Pentagon's North Korea Ground Invasion Plan

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A group of 16 veteran members of the US Congress have expressed concern over the Pentagon's proposal of a ground invasion of North Korea, and warned that it could kill millions of people. They have asked President Donald Trump to stop making provocative statements that hinder diplomatic options and put American troops further at risk.

Democratic Representatives Ted W. Lieu and Ruben Gallego had sent a letter to Defense Secretary Mattis seeking casualty assessments in case of any military action against North Korea.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Rear Adm Michael J Dumont offered his blunt assessment of US options in response to the letter, saying that the only way to locate and secure all of North Korea's nuclear weapons sites would be via ground invasion. The Joint Chiefs said they have no reason to believe North Korea would resist using their stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons.

A nonpartisan report by the Congressional Research Service (CSR) indicates that conflict on the peninsula could impact as many as 25 million people on either side of the border, including more than 100,000 U. S. citizens.

Lieu, along with 15 fellow veterans from the House and Senate, issued a bipartisan joint statement in response to the letter from the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CRS report.

It warned that a potential ground invasion in North Korea is "deeply disturbing and could result in hundreds of thousands, or even millions of deaths in just the first few days of fighting".

"There are no good military options for North Korea. Invading North Korea could result in a catastrophic loss of lives for U. S. troops and U. S. civilians in South Korea. It could kill millions of South Koreans and put troops and civilians in Guam and Japan at risk. It is our intent to have a full public accounting of the potential cost of war," the statement says.

The lawmakers called to pursue every other option -- diplomatic and economic - before even considering a massive ground invasion.

"If President Trump does intend to pursue a military option against North Korea, he must come to Congress as required by our Constitution," according to the lawmakers.

In a u-turn from his earlier stand, Trump said in a TV show on Monday that he would "certainly be open" to meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

But later in the day, after his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump told reporters that Japan could shoot North Korean missiles "out of the sky" with military equipment bought from the US.

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