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Failed North Korean Taepodong-2 Missile Pointed at Hawaii?

A Japanese newspaper is reporting that the North Korean taepodong-2 missile that failed after 42 seconds may have been pointed at Hawaii:

A North Korean missile launched on Wednesday was aimed at an area of the ocean close to Hawaii, a Japanese newspaper reported on Friday


Experts estimated the Taepodong-2 ballistic missile to have a range of up to 6,000 km, putting Alaska within its reach. Wednesday's launch apparently failed shortly after take-off and the missile landed in the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan, a few hundred kilometres from the launch pad.

But data from U.S. and Japanese Aegis radar-equipped destroyers and surveillance aircraft on the missile's angle of take-off and altitude indicated that it was heading for waters near Hawaii, the Sankei Shimbun reported, citing multiple sources in the United States and Japan.

North Korea may have targeted Hawaii to show the United States that it was capable of landing a missile there, or because it is home to the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific fleet, the paper said.

I commented earlier that Kim Jong-Il is like a spoiled child craving attention. I am not trying to make light of this situation. This nutcase is attempting to blackmail us into one-on-one talks, which will never happen.

Update: David Piper is on Greta's show saying that the conservative Japanese newspaper that reported this story is quoting unnamed American and Japanese sources; however, he can't confirm the details of the report just yet.

Update II: Ed Morrissey is following the news and writes this:

We have waited to see what analysis could be made by defense experts from the limited telemetry available about the intended target. If this proves correct, it will increase pressure on the White House to pursue a tougher line on Pyongyang and its missile tests -- perhaps even pushing us towards the risky policy of hitting the launch sites before any more ICBMs fly.

Will we know which site NoKo will be launching from? We were caught off guard with the failed Taepodong-2 launch because it came from an unexected launch site. Correction: the Taepodong missile was visible; the short range missiles came from unexpected sites.

If the report is confirmed that the Taepodong missile was aimed for Hawaiian waters, then the US may have to destroy any ICBM's that are positioned on the launch pad for fueling. Just because the first Taepodong missile failed quickly, doesn't mean NoKo won't get the technology right eventually.

Update III: Japan has decided to speed up its installation of a missile defense system.


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Comments (50)

I'm not a military mind by ... (Below threshold)
fatmuggz:

I'm not a military mind by any means, but if the missle was aimed at Hawaii, wouldn't it most likely be armed with some sort of chemical, biological, or nuclear payload? I don't see any point of aiming a missle at Hawaii with ordinary explosives. Has anyone seen any mention of the possibility of searching for the failed long-range missle that failed to examine what it may have been carrying?

Last time I heard of a weap... (Below threshold)
blueeyes:

Last time I heard of a weapon that big blowing up on the launch pad, over a hundred and thirty people died. Kim obviously has no cares for the lives of his people, I have no doubt that he'd be willing to sacrifice them to get an obvious sign of war.

Most likely, that results in an attack on South Korea, the border of which has been suffering from a buildup of northern troops, minimum. Worst case, China and the US start duking it out

Not worth the risk.

Launch sites, especially fo... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Launch sites, especially for ICBM's are not that difficult to spot and target. We should warn his fatness that things will be very different if he launches any more ICBMs. If he does, blow everyone of those sites up. He's trying to ruin our ecomony with counterfiet bills, he's used to attention and having his ass kissed. He's back out of every deal his made to date. Maybe he just needs the Kadafy treatment.

Kim's got a million man army, and no place to go with it. He can't even feed his own people, yet he has it good.

What he needs is blunt talk that if he keeps screwing around, he's going to attain room temperture.

The point wasn't to hit Haw... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

The point wasn't to hit Hawaii, but to show that he could hit Hawaii.
Had there been a warhead of any sort on such a missle, it would have been seen as an unprovoked act of war by even the French, Chinese and Russians.
In short, any retaliation by the US short of a nuclear strike would be met with little more than a shrug.
Glorious Leader may be crazy, but not that crazy.

We missed a really good opp... (Below threshold)

We missed a really good opportunity this week.

They should have set off a big flare for each missile that NK launched, then told everyone that we shot them all down...

Aloha from Hawaii where thi... (Below threshold)
cate s.:

Aloha from Hawaii where this was not the lead story on the local news KITV-4 but the fifth story. For those of you who don't live here the fact that it could hit here is scary for those of us who do. NK could put some type of weapon on it and hit Honolulu. Oahu is the seat of the State and has the most visitors and residents as well as the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines & Coast Guard. Also, don't forget Pearl Harbor is in HI. However, I believe as the story develops there will be more reaction here.

I'm going to reserve judgem... (Below threshold)

I'm going to reserve judgement on this one until there is real confirmation. Mostly because based on the rocket's performance I'm not sure they were aiming at all.

I think they just stuck it on a launch pad, pointed it way from themselves and China and hit the go button.

Sounds like a li'l chubby d... (Below threshold)
macofromoc:

Sounds like a li'l chubby dictator is trying to show that he's too powerful to be overthrown by his own Generals. I see it in Chavez and little Kim

ya but...if my neighbor get... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

ya but...if my neighbor gets drunk and starts randomly firing a 357 magnum into the air, I'm not gonna wait until he HITS something before cold-cocking his ass!

Time to cold-cock ole Kimmy!!

"Will we know which site No... (Below threshold)
jdavenport:

"Will we know which site NoKo will be launching from?"

Probably a coincidence, but didn't the NKs recently decide not to return some trains to china.

The Taepodong-2 was the one... (Below threshold)

The Taepodong-2 was the one we had been watching, we knew where it was coming from. It was the short and mid range missles that came from places we didn't expect.

JustrandNow I didn... (Below threshold)
macofromoc:

Justrand

Now I didn't say that he wouldn't or shouldn't inadvertantly fall down the staircase.

I hear properties in Hawaii... (Below threshold)
George:

I hear properties in Hawaii are becoming more affordable.

China is acting as a 'prote... (Below threshold)
d_Brit:

China is acting as a 'protector' shield for the NK

But the real complicating factor in a military response to NK vieled threats and actions is South Korea. As well as Japan, though to a lesser degree.

They rightly fear a spiteful NK attack should we attack the launch sites. And they have thier appeasers too.

Nevertheless, dialog and negotiaton will only exacerbate the situation.

So what do we do?

Ideally we would impress upon upon everyone, most especially China, that our patience has run out and that launching 'test' missiles aimed at the general vicinity of any nation is crossing the line and will be met with overwhelming force.

The problem with this approach is the immediate condemnation that the MSM, liberals, the UN, et al would launch should we actually respond to the NK

So, just as in WWII, we will do nothing until it escalates to the point where millions will inevitably be condemned to die.

I am a military mind, (ref ... (Below threshold)
Cletus:

I am a military mind, (ref post one; I've got 19 years active duty USAF) there are things to consider when looking at the threat posed here. Keep in mind; this rocket is liquid fueled. This means that they can't fuel it up in secret, then erect it on a pad and launch; they have to erect and assemble the stages, then fuel it (very carefully, liquid rocket fuel is about the most volatile substance on earth) which means that the rocket will have a large number of fuel containers around it; this process takes days to weeks, is very visible and is why both the US and USSR back in the bad old days developed solid fuel ICBMs as soon as they could. Another thing to consider is that once a missile with liquid fuel is fueled up, the clock begins ticking; the fuel is corrosive to the rocket systems and must be fired within a certain timeframe, measured in weeks at most with possible deterioration building the longer the delay. Bottom line is that they do NOT have the capability to prep and fire one of these missiles without us spotting it ahead of time. The north Koreans are not going to surprise us with a missile; the only question is whether or not we are going to decide that we will or will NOT accept the launch of a missile that may or may not be aimed at our territory.

The republicans have a stak... (Below threshold)
Lee:

The republicans have a stake in keeping tensions high as we approach the election.

Since the suggestion that the T2 was aimed at Hawaii is based, in part, on American intelligence -- the same intelligence community that told us that Saddam was buying yellow-cake uranium and importing high quality aluminum tubing -- I will reserve the appropriate degree of skepticism that any smart American should apply --

-- once you know that your government will lie to you for political gains.

fatmuggz--no, I'm sure abso... (Below threshold)
Totally Matt:

fatmuggz--no, I'm sure absolutely nobody in the Navy (or the Pentagon more generally) has thought of picking up debris from the missile to check for WMD. Actually, sarcasm aside, Rumsfeld probably hasn't thought of it. You should give him a call.

d_Brit, chill out. What year was Kristallnacht, and what year did the US enter WW II? And of what political stripe were the vocal isolationists of that era? Hint: not liberal. Devil's in the details, dude.

Kim Jong-Il has a massive array of chemical weapons (and biological?--doesn't matter) capable of hitting Seoul and killing tens of millions of human beings, using conventional artillery batteries. What do you think he'll do if his silos get attacked? Please, if you run into George W. Bush or any other Senior White House Official at a Krispy Kreme tomorrow morning, ask him or her not to blow up any North Korean missile silos. There is a significant chance that preemptive action, in this case, could lead to more deaths than the Civil War, and half as many as WW II, within a day. Is there any intelligence that claims he has a warhead small enough to deliver with one of these missiles anyway? If not, wouldn't it be best to publicly ignore him, or to continue the multilateral saber rattling, and devote massive resources to undermining him from within his own regime?

Please?

Lee-"the same intell... (Below threshold)

Lee-
"the same intelligence community that told us that Saddam was buying yellow-cake uranium"

The actual claim was that they were trying to buy it, which was quite true. That was Joseph Wilson, in his official report (as opposed to the lies he told in his New York Times column and on TV).

Totally Matt -
"Please, if you run into George W. Bush or any other Senior White House Official at a Krispy Kreme tomorrow morning, ask him or her not to blow up any North Korean missile silos."

Don't worry - the most vocal people calling for that are the Democrats in Congress, who are proving yet again that they can be counted on doing the exact opposite of the smart thing when it comes to military actions.

Lee you really are too stup... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Lee you really are too stupid for words.

North Korea (potentially) fires a missle at a U.S. state and your answer -as it is on every post- is "I blame George Bush."

sigh.

Lee you idiot why don't you... (Below threshold)
cate s.:

Lee you idiot why don't you come out here to HI and sit and wait for the missle. You can wait with your friend Ehren. ALOHA

I'm sorry that you guys are... (Below threshold)
Lee:

I'm sorry that you guys are choosing to being terrorized by your government -- I choose not to. That isn't to say that I am ignoring the situation, just that I'm not blindly buying into what our government tells us -- the same way most of you don't blindly buy into what the evil-doing mainstream media tells us.

Your gullibility is truly amazing - when it comes to something you want to believe, that is. If the same Japanese newspaper told you two weeks ago that Bush would prevail in the SCOTUS regarding Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, you guys would be calling this newspaper all sorts of names -- but when they write something you want to hear you quote and link to them. You look pretty schizoid here Wizbang! Make up your minds!

I've made up mine -- it appears the Republicans now have to turn to Japanese newspapers to leak their tripe. This is good news.

Where will the country turn in crisis, now that we can no longer trust the White House and Congress, is the question - we live in interesting times.

Totally Matt-You k... (Below threshold)
fatmuggz:

Totally Matt-

You know... I tried calling Rummy earlier, but he was 'busy'... something about a new Haliburton project in Asia.

I know you said 'sarcasm aside', but with my beer-fueled sarcasm sensors at 100%, I think you are a complete tool.

Lee--I suggest you... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Lee--

I suggest you go back to your hatter, and have him realign your tinfoil derby...apparently the reception is a little fuzzy.

To everyone else:I... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

To everyone else:

I should probably point out at this juncture that, like in 1991 in Iraq, we are still technically at war with NK...afterall, all we have right now is an armistice, which is simply a cease-fire, but not a peace settlement. Any more ballistic ejaculations from the Kimster could be considered a breach of the armistice, especially if they are aimed towards us or SK.

Cletus,Thanks for ... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:

Cletus,

Thanks for that informative post.
My question, deferred to your expertise is, what if they load up fuel in an underground silo? Would we be able to detect such a thing?

2nd question:
Lee, why are you ALWAYS such an asshat?

Thanks,
SOTG

I'm not Cleatus, but I'll g... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

I'm not Cleatus, but I'll give my conjecture:

1. The fuel, not only is highly corrosive, but most likely it's vapours would also be extremely flammable. Fueling underground in an enclosed space...I can imagine what would happen if one stray spark was in the chamber. Fueling above ground would allow the vapours to dissapate away from the vehicle.

2. Lee is an asshat, because, in lieu of actually being able to debate reasonably, has little recourse but to throw rhetorical sabots into the machinery. Much like the Kimster's need for attention.

Back in the old days of the... (Below threshold)

Back in the old days of the US ICBM program, we used liquid-fueled boosters like the Atlas and Titan.

The whole missile was on a big elevator, and they filled the tanks while it was still underground, then raised it to firing position. The whole thing took about 15 minutes from start to firing.

At least one ICBM blew up when they were practice-filling the tanks.

That happened back in '65, ... (Below threshold)

That happened back in '65, Cirby, when someone dropped a BFW in a Titan silo and it bounced down and punctured a fuel tank. The Titan II series was kept fueled at all times, with hydrazine and nitric acid (I believe) and the leak eventually sparked an explosion that blew off a 790 ton concrete silo lid and ejected the warhead down-range a mile or two. (It didn't go off - you wouldn't believe the safeties on one of those things.)

Thanks James & Cirby,... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:

Thanks James & Cirby,

I'm wondering if Kimmy had a sizeable underground facility, would the vapors be a problem (with a proper exhaust system), or do you think it would still be too risky?... And I also wonder if there would be a way we could actually track large quantities of liquid fuel vapor from satellite?

NK is not now and not likel... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

NK is not now and not likely to be in the future a serious threat to the USA. Once their true intentions are known, we will simply let the ruling elite and military leaders know exactly where the first missles will be landing, and they will take care of Little Kim. I have tremendous faith that the government is on top of the situation.

Lee: Will you never get tired of embarassing yourself?

fatmuggz, duly noted. I gue... (Below threshold)
Totally Matt:

fatmuggz, duly noted. I guess I should quit my job and go work at Wal-Mart. My parents will be disappointed.

USMC Pilot, you're absolutely right. Just because L'il Kim has no survival instinct, doesn't mean his top brass don't.

BTW - BFW meant "Big Fallin... (Below threshold)

BTW - BFW meant "Big Falling Wrench" in my post above.

J.

LONDON (Reute... (Below threshold)
Lee:

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil hit a fresh record high of $75.78 a barrel on Friday, boosted by strong demand in the United States and global tension ranging from Iran's nuclear work to North Korea's missile tests.

In addition to the republicans hoping to gain lost ground in the polls, there's the incentive to keeping tensions high as it also serves to keep their friends in the oil industry rolling in their record profits.

Shameless. Absolutely shameless. Republicans don't care about America -- they care about their agenda, and nothing more. Real patriots take note.

Translation of Lee's latest... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Translation of Lee's latest:
BLOOD FOR ODIN

Yes Lee, Master Rove mad... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:

Yes Lee, Master Rove made it so we have a strong demand in the U.S.... He told Kim to launch those missile tests. He ordered the Mad Hatter in Iran to deveop a nuclear program...

You've found us out - It's all about the OOOOOYYYYYEELLLL!

Dumbass.

BLOOD FOR ODIN!... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:

BLOOD FOR ODIN!

Lee,The oil compan... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Lee,

The oil companies are paying out the nose per barrel, so the price skyrocketing doesn't help anyone but the sellers.

And of course international... (Below threshold)

And of course international uncertainties have no effect on the international oil markets because they're completely controlled by the White House. Rove sneezes, and oil prices are supposed to rise a dollar.

Anyone tell China and India that, BTW?

J.

Lee, You're not re... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

Lee,

You're not really that silly, are you?

High oil prices leads to higher prices for everything, including gasoline.

Higher oil prices lead to drops in polls for the party in power.

So, if the whole thing is a scheme to keep GOP poll numbers high (and that, of course, presumes that Kim Jong-il tested the missiles on behalf of Rove, Dubya, and the GOP), it's a miserable failure for the simple reason that it serves to undermine polling results.

Really, Lee, your BDS is derailing your logic train.

I'm not as cynical as Lee, ... (Below threshold)
Totally Matt:

I'm not as cynical as Lee, Heralder, but the correlation between gas prices and the price of crude hasn't really added up lately. Gas prices have increased by a significantly higher %age than the price of oil lately. And oil companies are making record profits.

So I don't think there is some grand Rovian conspiracy to line their pockets with gold bricks, but I don't think oil execs are as distraught as the average consumer seems to be.

Take a look at Exxon's stoc... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Take a look at Exxon's stock price rise since the NK crisis has served to increase tensions. EXXON's market capitalization has increased by approx $36 Billion since mid-June, when the North Korea missle crisis, engineered by the Republicans, ratcheted up oil prices. No doubt record profits are on the way for Exxon this quarter as well.

Meanwhile, our economy is slowing (just as I had predicted) thanks to high gasoline prices.

Bend over America, the Republicans aren't through with you yet....

So, Lee, a slowing economy ... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

So, Lee, a slowing economy is good for the GOP?

And exactly how did the Republicans engineer this crisis? Are you suggesting that we should ignore North Korean missile developments and tests?

Ignore the situation? Absol... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Ignore the situation? Absolutely not. We should defuse the situation - not fan the fires as the republicans have chosen to do.

Holding the American citizens of Hawaii as psychological hostages is unconscionable -- but since Hawaii is decidely liberal I guess the republicans feel it is be a small price to pay in order to further their agenda.

You see - the chances are that we could not stop a missle headed for Hawaii, given the current state of our defense systems...

So, Lee, a slowing econo... (Below threshold)
Lee:

So, Lee, a slowing economy is good for the GOP?

Watch for a reversal and the beginnings of a recovery, somehwere around October 1. The oil companies wil find it in their hearts to lower gasoline prices dramatically right about then. Meanwhile we'll pay through the nose all summer, and the economy will continnue to weaken till then.

"Take a look at Exxon's sto... (Below threshold)

"Take a look at Exxon's stock price rise since the NK crisis has served to increase tensions."

Yes, it's gone up nearly ten percent. Of course, it's actually lower than it was in April, but why let reality intrude on your conspiracy theory? It's following an overall slow trend that's been going on for about forever (You can track it to the early 1970s).

And, once again, Exxon's price to earnings ratio is what's important, not its market cap. The P/E is less than 11%, by the way, putting it into the "solid but not spectacular" range.

Okay, basic Econ101 for the... (Below threshold)

Okay, basic Econ101 for the benighted.

Texaco [e.g.] has a drilling division and a refining division, with separate accounting&finance departments. They are separate cost centers.

Texaco Drilling pumps oil out of the ground at $25/bb and sells it to Texaco Refining at the market price of $75. We would all love to have Texaco Drilling sell their $25 oil to Texaco Refining for, say, $30, but if Texaco were to do that then OPEC, which commands the internatinal oil market, would sell their oil for just over cost themselves.

Only thing is, "cost" to the third world-run OPEC is not $25/bb. It is $5/bb [m/l]. Next thing you know, Texaco Drilling is out of business. Goodbye Texaco [et American al]; hello $150/bb oil.

So Texaco Drilling is making $50/bb profit on its own oil. The question is: what should Texaco do with it?

Solution 1: invest in raw material production. I.e., drilling.

...find someplace to drill that doesn't have a cadre of neo-luddites swarming around it with thei NIMBY lawsuits and tear-stained pamphlets and bought-n-paid for legislators.

Solution 2: invest in product production. I.e., refining.

...find someplace to refine that doesn't have a cadre of neo-luddites swarming around it with their NIMBY lawsuits yadda yadda.

Solution 3: Penalize Texaco for daring, DARING I tellz ya, to exist in a nation that has swarms of neo-luddites running around with NIMBY lawsuits, tear-stained pamphlets and owned legislators.

Solution 4: something sane ... if we can figure it out.

...and then there's the who... (Below threshold)

...and then there's the whole "they don't just sell oil" thing that everyone seems to forget.

In one recent year, I got to sit in on a meeting with some Texaco folks, and the big thing the accountants pointed out was that about half of their actual profit came from selling sandwiches and drinks at their stations, not gasoline or services.

A gas station makes about as much profit from that Big Gulp you bought as it did from that $10 gas purchase.

"[...]about half of their a... (Below threshold)
Totally Matt:

"[...]about half of their actual profit came from selling sandwiches and drinks at their stations, not gasoline or services." -Cirby

You mean half of the profit of individual stations, Cirby, not the overall corporation itself, right? The former is reasonable although surely an exaggeration (unless you include tobacco, as I expect you would), whereas the latter is patently absurd. Can you clarify?

Oil is a commodity Market c... (Below threshold)

Oil is a commodity Market conditions and OPEC control oil prices. Any other claim is pure fantasy.

Oil companies, on average, make approximately 9 cents per each gallon of gas. The average state tax is 18 cents per each gallon of gas. Federal gets 18 cents per each gallon of gas.

Now who should everyone be blaming for high gas prices?

Totally Matt:Actua... (Below threshold)

Totally Matt:

Actually, it's for the whole company.

People spend a lot of money on the other stuff, which is high-profit sales, as opposed to the low-profit and higher volume sales of gasoline.

Think about it: most people go in and buy ten or twenty bucks of gas, and while they're there they grab a Coke and some gum, and maybe a pack of cigarettes (though those aren't as high profit as the soft drinks). And when gas prices go up, people buy that same ten or twenty bucks of gas, but they do it more often (less gas per fill-up), so they buy the high-profit stuff, while the company makes less per transaction on the gasoline (even with a slightly higher per gallon profit, they buy less gallons per transaction).




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