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. Al-NY,NY

    jimmy combs... 4:02 pm ET 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.

    Hey big talker! You think Duhbya would have done anything different?? What is wrong with you? Are we gonna bomb them without provocation? Oh yeah, GW already did that by invading Iraq and look where we are now. Are you in the military Jimmy boy? If not, sign up big mouth. Back up your words with action unlike Chicken Hawk Cheney

    June 18, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. Dennis, Millbrae, CA

    Those three Somalian pirates with ventilation holes through their heads learned (at least for a fraction of a second) that when President Obama says he is "deeply concerned" he won't take if further. If North Korea does fire a missile heading over Japan and anywhere in the direction of Hawaii, or Alaska for that matter, then we need to test our anti-missile defense capability and shoot it down, then follow up with a strike on NK's nuclear facilities. With their evolving nuclear capabiltiy and means to deliver a bomb, and with a certifiable nutcase sitting there with his finger on the red button, North Korea is the biggest international threat to the world.

    June 18, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  3. S Callahan

    Forget the deeply concerned....this is inticement and must be addressed accordingly.....I think the stroke left some brain injury..yet he was given back some life yet he learned nothing in his recovery. God roars!

    June 18, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  4. Floridian

    @ Robin

    "it would take obama a few days to ponder the situation and write a speech"

    You are a complete idiot. You have no clue as to how a situation like this works so you use your tiny brain and come up with sarcastic remarks like this. You better be glad we have a President who does not jump into fighting other countries just because they don't look at the whole picture like GW did. What do you want to suit and go fight for our country? I didn't think so. shut up

    June 18, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  5. LW In Texas

    The presidents cool head will keep this from becoming and issue, but if they should shot a rocket at our county, then by God they will pay the price. Obama has the nerve to do it and we would have the right.

    June 18, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  6. Gimme a Break

    Conservatives are plainly ridiculous. (look in the mirror, Jimmy Combs) If war mongering Bush did not 'slap Korea in the face' in 8 years, what the hell makes you think McCain would have. Get a Grip. We only slap people with oil. If McCain were in the white house he would have invaded Iran this week. Thank god we have Obama.

    June 18, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  7. Dawn in Pa

    jimmy combs June 18th, 2009 4:02 pm ET

    So your response is to start another war, two that Obama did not start. The Bush administration conned the United States people into going into Iraq... Someone should mentioned that South Korea is below them? Stop thinking like a Warmonger, wars are costly, and I believe that paying for two wars and deregualing the banking industry is what put us in this predicament.
    I understand one thing, it is really scary, yeah, but my witchy feelings are this in out life time we will see a Nuclear war, that will wipe out everyone.... This is sad but true...

    June 18, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  8. Annie *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

    You people who advocate "nuking" North Korea don't have a brain. This is actually kind of a scary scenario. I personally don't think the nimrods running North Korea would be so stupid as to fire a missile at Hawai'i, but then again, they're a little off the edge, so who knows what's going on in their strange minds. But I would bet every dollar I've got that if they did fire a missile at Hawai'i that the U.S. would fire every reactive missile we've got to bring down the North Korean one... my concern is "would our wonderfully over-rated Star Wars system actually work"?
    Man, like Hawai'i isn't suffering enough from the absolute total lack of tourism right now. Now they've got this to contend with. Pits.

    June 18, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  9. LW In Texas

    all of you Obama bashers make me sick. you need to get over it.

    June 18, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  10. Sick -n- Tired

    I'd like to thank the GOP for getting us into 2 useless wars which in turn helped put this countries economy in the tank! So now, not only can we not afford to defend against this kind of thing or do anything to prevent it! But, we also don't have the military strength because they're currently fighting 2 stupid oil wars! It seem's that while you've all been chasing oil profits in the Middle East the North Koreans have been sitting there biding their time and building their military and nuclear arsenal just waiting for something like this to happen! And you idiots think Obamas policies will embolden our enemies? Here, have another helping of sheep food you morons! Oh and thanks again for keeping us so safe!

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

    I really worry about some of the people on here. There is no suggestion – none!!!! – that the North Korean launch will be anywhere near Hawaii. Yet, almost everyone who has posted thus far, having forgotten the ass-whuppin' that the US suffered in Vietnam and Iraq as well as the holocaust inflicted on the innocent people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, are gung ho for war.

    I think you should do more readin' and less Fox News-watchin'.

    June 18, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  12. Cleaning up after W

    I see there are a few pathetic cowboys on here (JK Ashburn, jimmy combs, and Robin to name a few). You've truly got your Fox blinders on if you think that Obama will just sit back and "ponder the situation". He'll handle it the same way he did with the Somali pirate situation. Trust in our military and tell them to do what they have to do to keep our citizens safe. Grow up, you repukes.

    June 18, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  13. C

    N. Korea is bluffing!!! And for those who doubt Obama's metal.. ask the Samali pirates how they are doing!

    June 18, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  14. Fair is Fair

    Hmmmm... lots of libs talking lots of smack in here. Warmongering libs... who'd have thought?

    Here's what you do. Tell China – in no uncertain terms – that unless they do something about Kim Jung Chia-Pet, we revoke most-favored nation trading status with them.

    Problem over in record time.

    June 18, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. Common Sense 09

    Gates is doing the right thing as well as President Obama....he's letting his selected leaders do their jobs as any leader would doin a situation like this! There's actually nothing to worry about because we're much stronger than they are anyway.

    June 18, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  16. New Era

    If a missile comes towards us from North Korea just blow their reactor off the face of the map.

    We may finally get to shut that nuclear reactor down once and for all.

    June 18, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  17. GOP or RIP?

    fella from Chicago June 18th, 2009 4:11 pm ET

    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
    Really, because being in a third war right not would actually make me feel less safe.

    June 18, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  18. Pat, CA

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


    WOW! It is SO reassuring that you have "some concerns." Just unbelievable. I don't ask that you nuke 'em (yet), Gates, but come on - that's the best you can come up with?

    June 18, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  19. John K.

    We need to band together as a country and put politics aside when another country threatens us. We will defend the US at all costs and we shall never ask for forgiveness for defending our homeland. If a country such as NK wants to fight, you have come to the right place baby!

    June 18, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  20. gregg45

    well at least my 3rd stepmother is there,, dang

    June 18, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  21. Too True For You

    No problem. Anchor Rush, Hannity, and Beck off the coast of Korea and all the hysteria, hot air and spinning will throw any missles off course.

    And jimmy combs, if your guy hadn't made the colossal blunder of manufacturing that Axis of Evil garbage and then engaged in his amateur excuse for foreign policy in his usual dumb-butt way, we wouldn't have this issue. Let's see, call out a couple of belligerent countries run by nut jobs, engage in a war without cause that weakens the military so we won't be able to mount an effective response, and Duh! Look what you get!


    June 18, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. Brian0901

    If this would have happened when GWB was president he would have bombed China instead.

    June 18, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  23. gregg45

    maybe god the obama,, can stop all this,,, raise his god appointed hand,, and say part............... i cant wait until you people get what you voted for,,

    June 18, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  24. Seriously . . .

    Gregg 45 . . . that sentence was . . . special.

    June 18, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  25. WhoCares?

    Best thing that could happen (if we can shoot it down) is for N. Korea to launch that missle.

    Then we finally can go in there and make it a desert.

    June 18, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
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