Friday, July 07, 2006

The Friday Furo Questus

Questus Furore - An Exciting Fourth

The Fourth of July was a little more exciting than usual this year. In addition to celebrating the 230th anniversary of the USA's founding, a couple of events made news in their own right.

The first was the spectacular Independence Day launch of the space shuttle Discovery, on a mission to the International Space Station. (For you space geeks like me - okay, you probably already know this - the shuttle successfully docked with the station yesterday. You can get the latest on the mission over at

Unfortunately, later events knocked the shuttle to the bottom of the front page.

North Korea launched six ballistic missiles on Tuesday and a seventh on Wednesday. One of the Tuesday launches was North Korea's new Taepodong-2 missile, a new missile believed to be capable of hitting U.S. targets. Intelligence is certain those missiles can hit Alaska and Hawaii; the missiles may be able to hit West Coast cities as far south as Los Angeles.

Fortunately, the missile unexpectedly blew up 30 seconds after launch.

Then today came this piece of news:
N. Korea missile aimed at area off Hawaii - report
TOKYO (Reuters) - 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.

An alternative explanation might be that a missile could accidentally hit land if fired towards Alaska, the report said.

A separate report in the Mainichi Shimbun daily cited U.S. and Japanese government officials as saying a piece of the Taepodong-2 missile fell off immediately after take-off, strengthening the view that the launch was a failure.
There's some good news.

Now, I should caution that this is just a report; this hasn't been officially announced yet.

But if true, it shows the North Koreans are willing to step even closer to the brink than I thought.

And by the way - any of you still think missile defense is a bad idea?

Recommended Reading

Victor Davis Hanson, "The Subtexts of War."

Rich Lowry in Israel: "The End of Illusions."

Denis Boyles, "Failure of Intelligence."

Donald Sensing and Steven Den Beste, "The Wrong Size Glass." The problem with a lot of alternative energy ideas is that they think too small. These gentlemen explain why.

Remember the Battle of the Somme, July 1916. "When the barrage lifts."

Thought of the Week
"Every man who loves peace, every man who loves his country, every man who loves liberty ought to have it ever before his eyes that he may cherish in his heart a due attachment to the Union of America."
James Madison

Churchill Quote of the Week
"It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time."
Sir Winston Churchill


At 12:30 PM, Blogger Nathan said...

I'm not too worried about N.Korea right now...let's see...aim for Hawaii and hit the Sea of Japan. Hmmmm.


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