June 18th, 2009
03:49 PM ET
9 years ago

Gates: U.S. ready if North Korea sends missile toward Hawaii

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday the United States could defend itself against a missile should the North Koreans launch one toward Hawaii.

Japanese media reported Thursday that the North Koreans are preparing to make such a launch.

Gates said U.S. officials are watching the situation carefully.

"We do have some concerns if they were to launch a missile" toward Hawaii, he told reporters.

But 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.

Filed under: North Korea • Robert Gates
soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. Jon

    President Obama's foregin policy of being "deeply concerned" continues...God help us.

    June 18, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Shoot a rocket right up their ass Gates. Right into the heart Poyauang or whatever it's called.

    June 18, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  3. JK Ashburn, VA

    I have no doubt the US military has the capability of shooting down a North Korean missile. But, the launch order has to come from the commander in chief. Obama has already demonstrated how he handles foreign threats.... by expressing "grave concerns."

    The One is unlikely to tell anyone to do something that isn't written on his teleprompter. Mr. Indecisive is all talk and no action and our enemies have already figured that out which is why they are pushing the envelope a little further each week.

    So, folks in Hawaii, you may still be our first line of defense as you were in World War II. May God be with you.

    June 18, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  4. geecee

    I have no doubt we can defend ourselves if North Korea should attack any American territory. I hope those North Korean soldiers can fight as well as they can march cause they'll need to. As crazy as Kim Jong Il is, I don't think he believes we will actually sit back and let him fire a missile at one of our states. If he does, then he is certifiably crazy. They don't have anyone on their side at this point. Even Russia and China don't think they are wrapped too tight. We'll just wipe them out and won't have to be bothered with those pests any more. The poor North Koreans may welcome that, better than starving to death like they are now.

    June 18, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  5. Fair is Fair

    Let's hope they do a better job than Jimmy did in the hostage rescue debacle.

    June 18, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  6. Gary Rauchenecker

    Wait! Am I understanding correctly, that a foreign country is planning to attack U.S. soil?

    What then?

    June 18, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  7. dreamer

    Shoot it down and send a message that america will protect it;s ally's and to NC any missile's aimed at or over our friends is intallerable let em whine later to the U.N.

    June 18, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  8. jimmy combs

    Well, ya know, if we didn't have a coward in the White House today, we would have already smacked Korea in the face. Sometimes, diplomacy simply is NOT the answer...spanking is.

    June 18, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  9. Raynell

    The way in which the media covers stories on missile testing conducted by other nations would have you thinking that everyone should run for the hills.
    If America didn't have they nuclear threat, would anyone listen to her?

    June 18, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  10. Robin

    But it will take a few days for Barack to "ponder" the situation and write a wonderful speech.

    June 18, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  11. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    N. Korea

    Ask the people of Hiroshima and Nawasaki how we get down.

    June 18, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  12. Jill

    should it become necessary to protect the American territory," Gates said.

    I hope it was just an unfortunate choice of words, but Hawaii stopped being a TERRITORY in 1959. Perhaps someone on Secretary Gates' staff could mention to him that it's a STATE,

    June 18, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  13. Ralph

    Uh...dreamer; Hawaii is not one of our "friends" or allies"...it is part of the U.S.

    June 18, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  14. Grungecat

    I'm about as far left as they come, but I agree with previous comments. If North Korea sends a missle, presumably with a nuclear weapon attached, lets send a couple Tsar Bombas their way and see how they handle it.

    June 18, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  15. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    There will be hell to pay if North Korea fires anything toward US territory. There will be something fired back.

    June 18, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  16. Dawn in Pa

    The United States has more Nukes then what they do, they are itching to get us back, the big bad United States, if we can destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we can take them out... with a couple of Nukes.

    June 18, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  17. Jimmy the Greek

    North Korea firing missile towards Hawaii....

    QUICK .. CNN ... run a picture of Obama and his girls. Let's not talk about national security and the LACK THEREOF – let's ooo and aaaww over Obama.

    June 18, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  18. Mike

    Some of you ridicule Obama's "deeply concerned" stance ...

    For one thing it's better than Bush's warmongering. How quickly you ignore Iraq & Pakistan. Ready to add a 3rd front so quickly are you?

    Secondly, to be practical, North Korea is sabre-rattling. They're tempting the West into a response much like a child will cause disruption to get attention. They've already said any UN sanctions are "a declaration of war" and will be answered militarily. What have they done? That's right nothing. NK is all talk and no action at this point so let's not overreact. Sorry Cheney, no more business for Haliburton today

    June 18, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  19. fella from Chicago

    Don't all you left-wing libs wish Senator McCain was your Commander-in-Chief right about now? Sure you do, your comfy level would be just a little bit higher now. Sorry Hawaii, after you've been nuked I'm sure Obama will express grave concern over the North Koreans intentions.

    June 18, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  20. Sick of whinners

    @ JK Ashburn, Va

    what an idiot your are. Just because Pres Obama don't just jump into wars like GWB does that does not mean he is not a man of action, not to mention intellengence. It's morons like you that think we need to be at war with everyone, stupid we are the superior country and everybody know that, we don't have to pledge war to prove our superiority. Your remarks are typical of warmonger but I bet your sorry butt hasn't served one day in the armed forces.

    June 18, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  21. ray ray

    I imagine Obama is rather hoping the North Korean missile hits it's intended target....

    .... Hawaii's State Office of Records... where they keep birth certificate documents.

    June 18, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  22. ChickenHawk

    Obama is weak for being willing to talk to foreign countries. We should return to the Bush Doctrine of preemptively attacking countries who are no threat to us. We should nuke North Korea now. The clearly have WMD as has been expressed by Lynn Cheney recently. Down with the communists.

    June 18, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  23. Armando Ortiz

    I'm not sure why this is even a concern. North Korea couldn't successfully launch a water rocket, let alone a real one.

    If North Korea successfully does it and gets within 4350 miles of Hawaii, I'll be amazed.

    June 18, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  24. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    @ JK Ashburn, VA

    All talk and no action huh? I guess that rescued Captain freed from the pirates just walked on water and hopped on a U.S. Navy warship.

    June 18, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  25. Ken

    Hey Jon. God is helping us. He started by rooting out the stupidity and failure from the presidency this past Nov.....the very stupidity and failure YOU rightwing lemmings voted for TWICE! And I'll know that He is continuing to help when he loads you in the cannon as amunition when we shoot down any NK rockets!

    I step on bugs every evening on my way to the parking lot as I leave work.....and I'm left to wonder that if, by doing so, I might not be destroying the upper echelons of rightwing intelligence.

    June 18, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
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