When everyone talks about the possibility of a US attack on North Korea, the major focus is on North Korea’s fledgling nuclear weapons program, and the possibility of retaliatory nuclear strikes against densely populated cities, causing unimaginable destruction.
Assessments of what could happen in this war, however, note that the danger extends far beyond nuclear weapons, and that even in a nuclear-free war, massive exchanges of conventional fire would result in the deaths of as many as 300,000 people in just the first few days.
It should go without saying that this is the case, as North Korea was working on retaliatory deterrence for decades before having managed to successfully test a nuclear weapon. North Korea has a massive amount of long-range artillery to call out in the event war broke out.
Hundreds of thousands dead in a few days should be sufficient deterrent to preclude a US attack, but even that is likely overly optimistic, since analysts have been virtually unanimous in agreeing that there’d be no way to keep a war with North Korea “limited,” and that a nuclear exchange would be virtually assured.