WASHINGTON, Oct 24 (Reuters) The United States has the capacity to defeat any enemy with overwhelming power, despite the Iraq war, but a new conflict would involve more brute force and civilian casualties, the top U.S. general said today.
Asked about any potential threat from North Korea, Marine Gen Peter Pace, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he did not know the intent of the Pyongyang leadership but the US military could cope with any potential enemy.
''It is true that our units that are here at home are not fully equipped, as they would be if there wasn't a war going on,'' Pace told reporters at the Pentagon.
''But none of our potential enemies should miscalculate the capacity of this nation to generate overwhelming combat power, tomorrow, to defend our national interests.'' Pace said the conflicts in both Iraq and Afghanistan meant some precision weapons and intelligence systems were already in use and could not be immediately be deployed elsewhere.
''It would be more brute force, wherever we might have to go next, than it would be if we weren't already involved in the war we have going on in Iraq or Afghanistan,'' Pace said.
''You would end up not having all of the precision weapons that you might otherwise have going into a second theater, wherever it might happen to be, and therefore you would end up using more dumb bombs, so to speak, more brute force, than you would otherwise,'' he said.
''So you end up with more collateral damage. You end up more like a World War Two, Korean War campaign than you would sitting at home waiting with the war not going on.'' But he said that would not affect the capacity of the US military to defeat any enemy.
''It would not be as clean as we would like it to be. But it would certainly be sure. And the outcome would not be in doubt,'' he said.
The United States has said it wants to use diplomacy to resolve its standoff with North Korea, which escalated when the secretive Communist state conducted a first nuclear test on October 9, but will take no option off the table.
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