WASHINGTON (AP) - 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
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.