June 18th, 2009
03:49 PM ET
12 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. Bill

    Ahh, I am so glad we got "Change We Need." I feel so safe now.

    June 18, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. a little sad

    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.


    Short answer, no.

    McCain is not competent.

    June 18, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. WhoCares?

    "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."

    You mean China THEN spanking us? China can ruin us just by calling in all the debt we owe them.

    This isn't Red Dawn you fool.

    June 18, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  4. kbfairfax

    hey gregg45, he's not god appointed – he got voted in. Remember? And we've already had enough of what you probably voted for. And by the way, do you think N Korea started their program after the last election? Who was watching them before??

    June 18, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  5. Lowell

    I feel better knowing that Obama is in charge. If this happened on the GOP's 'god' watch, Bush would completely bungled everything, but what else do you expect from an incompetent who thinks he can walk on water?

    Just out of curiosity, why in the world did the GOP revere Bush as a god? The guy was destructive, forced his views/religion on everyone, lied to everyone - and the GOP thought he could walk on water.

    June 18, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  6. AMG

    the missle doesn't have the range to actually REACH hawaii, only to be aimed TOWARD hawaii and fall short. so NK won't be hitting anything in that state.

    June 18, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  7. Bob in Pa

    Hmm, would Obewan have the cahootzbas to return same ?

    Time to send in the backup J.C. he knows how to handle North Korea !

    June 18, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  8. CNN = Moveon.org

    @Too True For You

    It's amazing how you are so angry, you are willing to believe every lie that is told to you by the likes of the huffington post. You are the perfect example of how liberals are always angry and miserable. Poor sap. It is sad that you think our military can't handle North Korea too. You are truly a left liberal nut. But at least you are honest about being an idiot.

    June 18, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  9. Seriously . . .

    I just have to ask one more thing . . . why do conservative rednecks (likely in Nowhere, USA) talk constantly about feeling 'safe'. Do you really think North Korea is coming to get you in Knobnoster, MO? REALLY? Think about it.

    June 18, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. G

    If China, Japan, US and Russia banned together and blockaded this country it would fall apart in 6 months. Everyone is all talk and no action. The more times the UN allows countries to develop the nuclear weapon the more countries will do it. We are moving towards a world where 50 countries will have nukes and some unstable or terrorist supporting regime will cause a disaster.

    June 18, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  11. probama in paradise

    I live in Hawaii and I have absolute confidence in our Commander in Chief's ability to protect us. I'm quite a bit more at peace than if John McCain were in office!

    June 18, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  12. Charles

    Mike June 18th, 2009 4:10 pm ET

    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?

    I'll give you Iraq due to it being very different than this situation. But in Pakistan, all was well (compared to what it could have been) with Musharraf in power, who was a close ally with Bush and the U.S. It wasn't until he resigned that things went to hell there. You can say, "why wasn't Bin Laden caught?" But I'd rather have him and terrorist friends confined to one area along the border in Afghan./Pak. than running all over the Pakistan country.

    June 18, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  13. Dan

    GOP Philosophy:

    Attack ! Attack !! Attack !!!

    1. Attack Iran and North Korea, They are manufacturing Nukes.
    2. Attack Somalia they are Supporting Pirates.
    3. Attack Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan and Saudi Arabia because they have Al Quida Pockets.
    4. Attack Cuba and Valenzuela because they are Communist.

    Attack the Whole World, it will make America Safe.

    June 18, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  14. Charles

    This is all Clinton's fault by starting it, and Bush's fault by returning to it.

    N Korea was dead to rights until Clinton signed the deal with them and provided N Korea with "energy assistance" (see oil and nuclear material) and money for food (see weapons). After the deal, N Korea began their missle development program.

    Bush would have slowed it a little bit by continuing his early policy of having them on the terrorist list, but he removed them and payments began again late in Bush's presidency.

    When will we learn that we cannot give this country anything. We'll find out how close we are with China and Russia when this thing plays out...

    June 18, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  15. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    If a missle is launched at Hawaii, don't worry! Obama will consider the situation and recommend some "vigorous debate".

    June 18, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. SeaBri

    Let them lauch it. That would be a "Real" reason to go to war. If the leader of NK is so big headed that he thinks he can lauch a missle and then not be immeadiately wiped of the map with a few American Bombs, he is a bigger idiot than I thought. Serioulsly he is like a playground bully that as soon as you puch back he goes home crying.

    June 18, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  17. LouieG

    I hope that the military will just evaporate North Korea if they attack any American property. The world needs to know what we can and will do if any of our people murdered. Period.

    June 18, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  18. Marcus, Great Lakes IL

    At least THIS President is not going to let the "memo" pass un-noticed.

    June 18, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  19. geecee

    Sure, Obama haters. You think he's weak because he wants to talk peace with both our enemies and allies. You want him to be a bellicose bully who stirs up trouble everywhere, even though we can't put our money (soldiers) where our mouth is and we're going broke supporting the Iraq War? The man is doing a fine job diplomatically. Some countries are just crazy and you cannot pre-emptively strike them like we did with Iraq – you see how that turned out. But, then again, like some other poster said, I hope they do attack us so we can say, "told you so" about Obama. Sure, keep listening to that dick, Cheney. You would actually want an attack on the U.S.A. to prove a point? Fine patriots you are!!

    June 18, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  20. Paul from Phoenix

    To Dan:

    Um, if North Korea send a missle towards Hawaii, what do you think we should do? Wait for them to hit us?

    June 18, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  21. Obama Supporter

    The fact that Obama has already launched many missiles into Pakistan, and ordered bullets put into the pirates heads, gives me great assurance that we would not hesitate to react as required, should NK shoot a missile at Hawaii.

    June 18, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  22. Cindy

    Now, why would they be aiming their missile at a US state? Would that not be an act of provocation? And holding 2 American journalists, presumably for bargaining chips... is that not another provocation?

    Kim Jong Il... what's he trying to prove? That he's a badder ass than Fidel Castro, or Mohammer Quadaffi? It never works. It's a losers game.

    Iran's about to implode on itself for playing that game. North Korea will too.

    June 18, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  23. phoenix86

    We are prepared. Obama has already drafted our surrender documents and the White House is bringing in Korean speakers to man the phones.

    June 18, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    @ ray ray, who said "…. Hawaii's State Office of Records… where they keep birth certificate documents."

    Who told you you could take off your bib and helmet and play on the computer?

    June 18, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  25. Pam Eugene Oregon

    Fella in Chicago
    I thank God that McCain is not our President, especially now! He would have us at war with everyone. I am sure President Obama will respond when necessary.

    June 18, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
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