In the White House press briefing this afternoon, Tony Snow was asked whether the White House believes the military is so overstretched that it would trouble responding to a potential North Korea threat:
QUESTION: Do current military obligations in any way limit or restrict potential U.S. responses to North Korea?
SNOW: Not that I’m aware of. But that’s probably better posed to the Pentagon, which would have — it’s not a question that I can give you an informed answer to.
Snow may want to check in with the Pentagon himself because the Joint Chiefs of Staff has already stated on the record that the military would have trouble responding to a military conflict in either North Korea or Iran. From USA Today, 2/16/05:
Stretched thin in Iraq, the U.S. military would have trouble responding as quickly and effectively as commanders would like if it had to go to war in Iran or North Korea, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Congress Wednesday.
Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, said a sudden military crisis in one of those two nations “” both of which are resisting U.S. demands that they give up nuclear programs “” would likely force the Pentagon to remobilize reserve and Guard components that have rotated home from Iraq to rest.
In addition, because of the current strain on U.S. forces, it would take longer for U.S. troops to respond to a crisis in Iran, North Korea or some other major conflict than U.S. battle plans call for, Myers told the House Armed Services Committee.
“The timeliness of our response might not be totally consistent with what the combatant commander wants and so forth,” Myers said.
(ed. note: The original title of the post caused confusion. We have updated it.)