A former U.S. Army intelligence officer lays out one frightening war scenario for Korea, should North Korean leader Kim Jong-un decide that he’s got one shot to unify the peninsula under his leadership. Here is an excerpt:

In a secret underground base, Command Post Tango, the combined headquarters of the U.S.-South Korean command, is abuzz with activity.

North Korean artillery has pummeled sites around Seoul, leaving thousands of South Korean and American civilians and service members dead.

A toxic combination of North Korean provocations and U.S. escalation has prompted the North to launch a last-ditch effort to seize the whole peninsula.

As the generals fill an auditorium-sized sand-table battlefield showing the disposition of friendly forces and the extent of likely follow-up attacks, hundreds of thousands of South Koreans are displaced in and around Seoul, seeking shelter and safety.

Reports of North Korean insurgent strikes are streaming in as computer screens flash with alerts of cyberattacks on Seoul’s infrastructure, taking water and power off the grid and paralyzing attempts to help the civilian population.

This is a fictional scenario, but an all-too-possible one.

Read the rest here.

Analyst comment: There are several scenarios that could play out on the Korean peninsula, depending on the variables. Would China intervene? How about Russia? Would South Korea immediately sue for peace? Would the United States balk at its commitment to Seoul’s defense? Would nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons be utilized? How massive would the humanitarian crisis in the war’s aftermath become?

One thing most analysts agree on: War on the peninsula would be brutal and deadly on a scale we’ve not seen in decades.