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The NoKo missile tests
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, July 05, 2006

My guess is there may be some dead rocket scientists in North Korea today.

Of all the scenarios we dreamed up here about shooting down the Taepodong-2 or not shooting it down, blowing it up on the pad or not blowing it up on the pad, etc., none envisioned it's failure on launch.

We acknowledged that were we, the US, were to attempt to shoot it down with our still unproven missile defense system and fail it would be deeply embarrassing to us.

But can you imagine how deeply embarrassing the failure of the Taepodong-2 is to Dear Leader, Kim Jong Il? And Kim doesn't deal lightly with embarrassment. This missile was to be an in-your-face demonstration of North Korea's enhanced military power and a huge bargaining chip in the on-going negotiations.

And, of course, we now get to diplomatically shake our fist at NoKo without ever having to pull a trigger or push a button:
The U.S. government was prepared to shoot down the Taepodong-2 if it appeared to be heading to U.S. or allied territory, using the new limited missile-defense system with interceptors deployed in Alaska and California.
Heh ... well, that's our story and we're sticking with it. Others have reacted as well. Japan:
"North Korea has gone ahead with the launch, despite international protest," Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said. "That is regrettable from the standpoint of Japan's security, the stability of international society and nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction."
South Korea, with Japan, protested the tests with Japan convincing the UN Security Council of the necessity of an emergency meeting scheduled for today. China's Foreign Ministry has refused comment but China was not particularly happy with North Korea's apparent intent to launch the Taepodong-2.

North Korea launched 7 missiles in all, of varying sizes and ranges, but clearly the most important and the one with the most prestige riding on it was the Taepodong-2. The fact that it ended up failing before complete first stage burn is a huge blow to their prestige, not to mention making the state of their technology suspect as well.

Of course NoKo put its best and most defiant spin on the failure:
"The missile launch is an issue that is entirely within our sovereignty. No one has the right to dispute it," Ri Pyong Dok, a researcher on Japanese affairs at the North's Foreign Ministry, said on footage aired by TBS. "On the missile launch, we are not bound by any agreement."
But clearly the failure of its long-range missile has to hurt and in a nation where "face" is everything, they've lost face badly. Which doesn't bode well for those who responsible.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Ah heck - we got it all wrong, they were celebrating our Independence day with us by using up their arsenal to show they’re peace loving and such.
As a sign of good faith, they set that missile to fail just after launch.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Still, thats not even the dumbest thing the N.Koreans have been up to.
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
Seriously, how is it illegal or subject to the UNSC purview if the DPRK fires off 7 or 70 missiles? Plus I doubt that there are too many dead scientist in the North. !st there aren’t that many so can you afford to shoot too many of them? Secondly, it takes about 20 launches to work out the bugs in a system, IIRC, Taepodong-2 hasn’t ahd NEAR that many has it? So a number of launch pad failures are to be expected. Certainly the US had its share of problems with Atlas and other ICBM’s, certainly Pershing-II had its moments in the sun as a failure-not that it was but that the test program had its inevitable problems which the MSM gleefully reported.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
If I may take a brief trip into the paranoid world of spy-movie intrigue — does the U.S. have the capability to destroy a missle 35 seconds after launch in a manner that can’t be detected? Or, is it feasible for Japan to sabotage North Korean missile tests?
Written By: Scout
URL: http://
does the U.S. have the capability to destroy a missle 35 seconds after launch in a manner that can’t be detected?
No, Not At All

Seriously, why is the media not mentioning the missile’s failure? MSNBC ( makes no mention of the launch being a failure, and goes on to critique how our missile system is a failure because it couldn’t have intercepted the missile.
The short flight time leaves in doubt whether any shootdown attempt would have worked.
No fooling. Let it get in range...
Written By: Ryan
URL: http://
It was a TEST launch. Even N Koreans surely know that all tests are not successful. All they have to do is look at our record. We recovered nicely after that embarrassing launch pad firework display by Vanguard in ’57(?), and the loss of more than one non-test launch, including two shuttle losses. They have a long way to go to lose as much face as we have lost. I think they can handle it.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I agree with Scout, I have strong suspicions that the US used the Ronald Reagan Memorial Giant Freakin’ Space Lasers on those silly rockets!
Written By: Stephen
URL: http://
They have a long way to go to lose as much face as we have lost. I think they can handle it.
It wasn’t just a test to Kim ... it was a statement and a threat. And it fell flat. Someone will pay for that.

Written By: McQ

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