Radio Interview with General Bell
on the Rusty Humphries Show
MR. HUMPHRIES: General B.B. Bell, it is an honor to have you
on "The Rusty Humphries Show." Thank you for dropping
by today. I appreciate it.
Thank you, Rusty. I'm glad to be here.
Now, you've got one of those really, really long but important
titles. Let me see if I have it right. It's commander, United
Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/United States Forces
Korea. What does that mean?
Well, Rusty, I admit that's a mouthful, and I'm still figuring
it out myself a little bit. But what it fundamentally means
is that we've got a United States command over there, a joint
command, and that's U.S. Forces Korea. We've also got a combined
command, and that means we are fully integrated with our Republic
of Korea ally and that's the Combined Forces Command, and I
also command that in wartime. And then, on top of all that,
we have the United Nations Command, which was the command during
the Korean War, that fundamentally fought the war and remains
today to ensure the armistice along the DMZ is enforced. So
there's three commands. They support one another. And in fact,
I've got three staffs and only me. So I keep all three of those
staffs going in the right direction.
Now, we have been in Korea a long time. As a matter of fact,
my father joined the military at 14, snuck in and was in Korea
when he was 15 years old. We've been there for a long, long
time, haven't we?
Rusty, we have been there for a long time and for all the right
reasons. And first, you mentioned your father, I read your bio,
and God bless him and the service that he gave our country.
And I know that you lost your father during the Vietnam War,
and we're all very grateful for his service. So thank you for
that, and thank you for what you do.
You know, why are we in Korea? And I appreciate you giving me
that introduction because it's vital, in my view, to our national
interests. If I might just real quickly put this in a context
of the battle for ideas and the battle of ideals that the United
States of America is in right now and this global war on terror,
and then you try to relate it to something like the Korean war,
which was another time, another place, et cetera, et cetera.
And oddly enough, in my view, there is a direct, an important
correlation that we all ought to think about.
Korea is a wonderful example of democracy in action rising from
the rubble of war caused by a broken idea -- in those days,
communism -- which we and the Korean people stood up against,
fought against and overcame. And it's taken us 50 or more years,
as an alliance with our Republic of Korea ally, to, one, help
build the 10th-largest economy in the world, the Republic of
Korea; a fully functioning democracy where the people elect
the leadership; a democracy where diversity is accepted; spiritual
diversity is the norm; gender equality is real, et cetera, et
cetera, et cetera, in an area of the world that just four or
five decades ago, everyone assumed would be -- would not work
out well, a lot of deaths, tremendous turmoil, et cetera, et
to me today is a model of partnership in alliance between a
free people, the Republic of Korea people, and the United States
staying together for the long haul.
in that area of the world, Northeast Asia, along with our allies
in Japan, we see our largest trading partner outside the NAFTA
region. A lot of our economy and a lot of the goodness that
we achieve in our own nation is a function of our ability to
trade with that area of the world.
list just goes on and on and on. And so for --
And this is just another model, General. This is just another
model to show that Iraq will -- we'll succeed in Iraq, won't
Well, it sure is a model that says there is a path to success,
and if you stick with it, you can see success. And in the end,
people relish democracy. They relish freedom. It's the normal
state of the human endeavor, and given a chance, it will grow
and grow strong.
Yeah, I've heard a lot of the people who are antiwar come out
and say, "Well, gosh, why didn't we go after Kim Jong Il
first? Why'd we go after Saddam?" Well, the reason why
-- and you tell me if I'm wrong -- he's already got the bomb.
I mean, kind of -- we're in nuclear blackmail there, and that's
one of the reasons we wanted to stop Saddam and we want to stop
Well, there's certainly lines of logic for that. Kim Jong Il
and the North Korean regime is a problem. I will tell you this
-- the notion of containment, deterrence and steadfast confrontation
by the allies -- the Republic of Korea and the United States
-- gives North Korea -- has kept them in their box properly
for a long, long time, and we'll continue to do that.
model has application worldwide as we look at places in the
world where democracy is sprouting and has an opportunity to
grow and take care of the people in those regions. So I think
there's a correlation. I'm convinced of it, and I know for a
small investment day to day that we reap enormous benefits through
our alliance with the Republic of Korea.
We know Kim Jong Il and North Korea have -- announced they have
nuclear weapons. We're pretty sure they do. What other weapons
and concerns do we have coming out of that region, and why are
we there protecting ourselves from them?
Well, we are concerned about it. The notion of the six-party
talks, where we've tried to bring together a coalition of like-minded
nations to confront the North Koreans, bring them into the peaceful
group of countries in the world, allow them and give them an
opportunity for their people to raise their kids and their grandkids
in peace and prosperity -- all those things are normal to me
and you, but they're not normal to the North Koreans. They have
decided as a strategy to proliferate weapons of mass destruction,
it would appear. They decided as a strategy to make missile
technology and other technologies for sale on the world market
to the highest bidder.
are a problem for a free people everywhere in the world, and
it's appropriate, for those of us who cherish freedom and those
of us who cherish our way of life, to confront the North Koreans.
exactly what we're doing, and we're going to do it through a
coalition of like-minded nations until such time as the North
Koreans can better see a path to a future for their people other
than one of the path of confrontation that they've chosen this
day and age, and that is making weapons of mass destruction,
having them in their inventory, and being proliferators of technology.
The other thing I heard is they're counterfeiting our money
and trying to flood the market with it.
Well, I'll tell you there's evidence of that. Of course, they
are a cash-strapped country. They don't have a free-market enterprise.
If they would just simply go for free-market enterprise, their
people and their capabilities would reap the benefits of democracy,
et cetera. But being cash-strapped, they're just making it.
And part of it certainly confronts us, because our money and
our monetary system depends on the proper financial institutions
worldwide functioning normally and not having these kinds of
counterfeit operations going on.
we're confronting that, and we are taking the appropriate measures
worldwide, so that money that is counterfeited by the North
is not allowed to get into the stream -- monetary stream worldwide.
And that's the right policy, and our nation's going to continue
to do that.
there's evidence they've been counterfeiting money. They've
been counterfeiting goods and services. And they're doing just
about anything they can to make money to stay in power and to
continue their ways that -- the ways that we've seen over the
last 10 years or so.
That Korean peninsula is the perfect example of the differences
between capitalism and communism, isn't it?
Rusty, it's a(n) absolute perfect example. When you look at
any kind of photography -- commercial photographer or whatever,
you see in the South a 47 million population, a wonderful democracy,
free-market enterprise, worldwide trade going on, and the people
with good schools, good medical care, terrific job opportunities.
The kids' health is good. I mean. it's just a thing of beauty.
you just look right across the border. The same people, the
same traditions and history, the same culture over the centuries,
and they're being deprived, they're being put in a position
of inability to further their own needs at the expense of the
regime. So the difference is profound.
opportunity for us to remind the world that this is a model
-- the South Korean approach to governance is a model for free
people everywhere -- and that what the North is pursuing is
not a model at all but is something that's abnormal and something
that free people everywhere ought to stand up against.
Colonel (sic) Bell, I know you've got a lot of people you want
to talk to. And I could talk to you for hours, and I appreciate
you taking time.
I let you go, though, Memorial Day coming up on Monday. People
are going to be thinking about our troops, think about those
that lost their lives. But you have a lot of people under your
command, and a lot of their loved ones may be listening to this
program right now. What would you like to say to the families?
Thanks, Rusty. I would like to just say something real quick.
I've got a lot of Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine service members
under my command. Most of them have served in the global war
on terror, either in Iraq or Afghanistan, and so they've been
away from home once or more times. And in many cases, they are
again now in Korea. We have -- most of our personnel over there
are on unaccompanied tours, a long way from home. And they're
serving selflessly, as great patriots and great volunteers for
word to their families is, one, thank you for allowing us to
serve with your sons and daughters in defense of freedom and
in defense of our Constitution.
I want all them to know that service to nation is one of the
most fundamental obligations that citizens have, but it's also
a fundamental trust that military leaders have with respect
to these young men and women. And we'll do everything in our
power to take care of them, make certain that they have opportunity
to succeed and, when their tours are up, to send them home to
their moms and dads or their loved ones in good order, so they
can continue to be great citizens of the United States of America.
Well, General B.B. Bell, things have been very quiet over in
the Korean peninsula lately, and I think a lot of it would have
to do with your leadership. Thank you very much for your service
to our country, and thank you being on "The Rusty Humphries
Show." I really appreciate it. Thank you, sir.
Thank you, Rusty. I greatly appreciate the opportunity.