The following article has been retracted by the editors because it misrepresents what the speaker said. Mr. Gingrich said that North Korea could pose a more serious threat because it might use an electromagnetic pulse weapon, not that the country should be attacked with such a weapon by the United States.
The editors regret the error.
The original article appears below.
Only hours after North Korea launched a rocket, Newt Gingrich was on television saying the United States should have preemptively attacked the nuclear-armed country -- with an electromagnetic pulse.
"We do not appreciate the scale of threat that is evolving on the planet," the former House Speaker said on Fox News Sunday. "And North Korea is a totally irresponsible dictatorship run by a person who is clearly out of touch with reality."
The North Korean government says it launched an experimental communications satellite that is now orbiting in space; U.S. officials claim it was a missile that quickly fell into the Pacific ocean.
President Barack Obama, in Prague on his first tour of Europe, blasted the rocket launch as "provocative," saying it violated a U.N. resolution, and pledged to take action at a U.N. Security Council meeting. Obama had joined other world leaders in urging the hard-line communist state to drop plans to test a missile.
But to Gingrich, who said on Fox that all United Nations dealings with both North Korea and Iran have been ineffective, talk is cheap. "One morning, just like 9/11, there's gonna be a disaster," the former Georgia congressman said. "And people are going to look around and say 'Gosh, why didn't anyone think of that?' Well I'm telling you, the time to think about it is before the disaster, and not after."
Pressed by Fox host Chris Wallace, Gingrich mentioned a few preemptive possibilities for stopping North Korean: "There are three or four techniques that could have been used, from unconventional forces to standoff capabilities... I'd recommend look[ing] at electromagnetic pulse...which changes every equation about how risky these weapons are."
An electromagnetic pulse is a short, high-intensity burst of electromagnetic energy which can damage electronic and electrical equipment.
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) agreed with Gingrich's preemptive policy, saying that "in the countryside of South Carolina, at some point you've got to back up words with action."
Obama, who on Sunday called for a nuclear-free world, said North Korea should be punished and that "rules must be binding, violations must be punished, words must mean something."
Congressman Howard Berman, who heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that the U.N. Security Council should take further action. Berman called on China and Russia � which have diplomatic ties with Pyongyang � to join ranks with the United States and its allies Japan and South Korea in condemning the test.
This video is from Fox's Fox News Sunday, broadcast Apr. 5, 2009.
With wire reports.
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