Friday, June 19, 2009

The Hand-Off

How an idea circles the world at the speed of dumb.

This on the front page of yesterday's Yomiuri Shimbun:



Begets this, four hours later:

Report: NKorea may fire missile toward Hawaii
Associated Press

By HYUNG-JIN KIM – SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea may fire a long-range ballistic missile toward Hawaii in early July, a Japanese news report said Thursday, as Russia and China urged the regime to return to international disarmament talks on its rogue nuclear program.

The missile, believed to be a Taepodong-2 with a range of up to 4,000 miles (6,500 kilometers), would be launched from North Korea's Dongchang-ni site on the northwestern coast, said the Yomiuri daily, Japan's top-selling newspaper. It cited an analysis by the Japanese Defense Ministry and intelligence gathered by U.S. reconnaissance satellites.

The missile launch could come between July 4 and 8, the paper said.

While the newspaper speculated the Taepodong-2 could fly over Japan and toward Hawaii, it said the missile would not be able to hit Hawaii's main islands, which are about 4,500 miles (7,200 kilometers) from the Korean peninsula...
Which leads to this:

Will North Korea Fire a Missile Toward Hawaii?
ABC News

by Noriko Namiki - North Korea may be preparing to launch a long-range ballistic missile, possibly in the direction of Hawaii, a Japanese newspaper said Thursday, citing an analysis by the Japanese Defense Ministry.

The conclusion was reached after analyzing North Korea's recent activities and looking at intelligence gathered by U.S reconnaissance satellites, according to the The Yomiuri Shinbun, one of Japan's major dailies...
Which, of course, leads to this:

US prepares for N.Korea missile launch on Hawaii
Agence France Presse

By Dan De Luce – WASHINGTON — The US military has moved additional defenses to Hawaii in case North Korea launches a missile towards the Pacific island chain, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said.

"We do have some concerns if they were to launch a missile ... in the direction of Hawaii," Gates told a news conference on Thursday...

And of course, to this:

U.S. Fortifies Hawaii’s Defenses Against North Korean Arms
The New York Times

By THOM SHANKER - Published: June 18, 2009 -WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced Thursday that he had ordered the military to deploy missile interceptors and radar to protect Hawaii from a North Korean long-range rocket...

Amaterasu! Make it stop!

For all you lazy [expletive deleted]s, would it kill you to provide some context and analysis? Is it not proper to ask why the Japan Defense Ministry would think a rocket might be fired due East from the Dongchangri or Mudanri sites, overflying Aomori Prefecture, heading in the direction of Hawaii?

Could it be, just maybe, because firing a rocket due East makes maximum use of the rotation of the Earth to boost the distance the rocket travels?

And could it be important that when a missile is fired due East from North Korea, the path of least energy twists southward (when one looks at a flat map) toward the open waters of the Pacific, paralleling the Hawaiian Island chain?

And could it be significant to note that there is very little shipping traffic in out in the waters southwest and even less in the waters southeast of the Hawaiian Islands, making these zones as good a place as any to safely splashdown a rocket? Or to emphasize that in the original JDM analysis, the Hawaii route was considered most likely because transited the fewest sovereign air spaces and posed the least threat to heavily inhabited regions? Or that even in the lackadaisical AP report, the Taepodong is noted to have insufficient range to reach Hawaii?

And might it be important that the sea-based radar Secretary Gates is ordering to sea to contribute to Hawaii's defense has Honolulu as its homeport...and that the Department of Defense caught flak for not ordering the radar out to sea to monitor the last DPRK missile test?

Bloody hell.

As for the initial report in Yomiuri Shimbun, the Vice Minister of Defense refused to comment on it yesterday.

Later - CNN has just kicked the fear quotient a level higher:

Gates: U.S. ready against N. Korea strike

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the United States could defend itself in the event of a North Korean missile launch toward Hawaii, and that U.S. officials were monitoring the situation carefully.

According to Japanese media Thursday, North Koreans are preparing to make such a launch.

With missile interceptors and radar equipment in the region, "we are in a good position should it become necessary to protect the American territory," Gates said...


David said...

As has the US PBS. Perhaps the WHO will declare it pandemic.

Anonymous said...

What's this? Actually following story sources and comparing reports from different media outlets? Nonsense! Now all hands on deck, we've got missiles incoming!