North Korea Fires Missiles

After weeks of provocation, North Korea finally test-fired its Taepodong-2 long-range missile and at least two Scud missiles at approximately the same time the U.S. space shuttle Discovery took off from Cape Canaveral. Fortunately, the long-range missile failed just seconds after launch. Via Breitbart/AP:

North Korea launched a long-range missile Wednesday that may be capable of reaching the United States but it failed after 35 or 40 seconds, two State Department officials said.

The missile was one of at least three that were fired. The two others were short-range missiles. All landed in the Sea of Japan, said the Japanese government, which was unable to confirm that they included a long-range missile.

The officials in Washington, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the long-range missile was the Taepodong-2, North Korea’s most advanced missile with a range of up to 9,320 miles.

The White House has responded by calling the launch “provocative” while U.N. Ambassador John Bolton said that the U.S. was “urgently consulting with members of the Security Council.”

As I see it, Kim Jong Il was trying to make a bold statement by test-firing the Taepodong-2 long-range missile on the same day that Discovery launched (not to mention our Independence Day). And, as luck would have it, that missile fizzled and now Kim Jong Il’s planned act of triumphant international defiance is nothing but an international embarrassment for North Korea. Serves that little tyrant right.

UPDATE: Allah has a play-by-play and this neat graphic from the BBC which shows the range of North Korea’s various missiles.

UPDATE (James Joyner 7/5): They just fired a 7th missile.

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Greg Tinti
About Greg Tinti
Greg started the blog The Political Pit Bull in August 2005. He was OTB's Breaking News Editor from June through August 2006 before deciding to return to his own blog. His blogging career eventually ended altogether. He has a B.A. in Anthropology from The George Washington University,


  1. Herb says:

    Was it a real failure or did we take it out ?

  2. anjin-san says:

    Eventually they will suceed. Crack a history book and take a look at our own space program. Real WMD are developed and Bush does nothing…

  3. McGehee says:

    Eventually they will suceed.

    I do hope your cheering when that happens won’t wake the neighbors.

  4. anjin-san says:


    I guess your mistaking my concern about the intentions of our enemies and the desire to make national security assessments based on reality instead of the faith-based type made by the Bush admin can be attributed to a lack of intelligence on your part.

    How very fascist of you to question the patriotism of all who disagree with you, especially on the 4th of July,

    And just for your information, asswipe, I have an uncle who fought at Chosin Reservoir and watched a lot of good men die in Korea. Some men fight wars, and others just cheer for them on blogs…

  5. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Anjin, What do you call mustard and sarin gas? By the way, if you kept up to date on material found in Iraq as opposed to forming an opinion and sticking to it, in spite of evidence to the contrary, those mobile labs could not have produced the amount of hydrogen gas necessary for weather balloons. You guys think if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes true. If Clinton had not made the deal he did with N. Korea, helped by the fine American Jimmy Carter, We would not have this problem with North Korea. Why is it that after 8 years of do nothing foreign policy, everything now is Bush’s fault? And you want to be the party to lead the country. Quit it.

  6. anjin-san says:


    Still reading your “Bush the Conqueror” comic books I see.

    The President’s father pulled Saddam’s fangs. That’s reality. Deal with it.

    As for Bush’s “do something” policy, you can see how North Korea fears us. They chose the 4th of July to make a missile launch Bush warned them against all year…

  7. Herb says:

    Hey guys, you’re wasting your time trying to talk to AS (Another Sore loser). His hate for Bush is dominating his every thought and action. He wants all of America to band together and support guys like Gore and Kerry who are the champions of the “Cut and Run” crowd. They would choose to see each and every American die by beheading rather than fight those fanatics and killers that want to destroy America, AS included. It’s to bad that AS does not have the mental capacity to understand and know which side his bread is buttered on. Notice how he resorts to foul names with those who disagree with him, but, he’s a hard core democrat you know. Oh Well!

  8. Mark says:

    They would choose to see each and every American die by beheading rather than fight those fanatics and killers that want to destroy America

    If you really believe this, do you think the US is headed for civil war? I am seriously curious where you think this kind of talk will lead.

  9. Tom Chapman says:

    The regime in North Korea could not survive without the food, oil, and material support it receives from China. Why can’t we threaten to disrupt Chinese imports into the U.S. if they don’t cut this madman off at the knees? The Chinese need our dollars much more than we need the cheap goods they send here, which wouldn’t be quite so cheap if we quadrupled the import fees on everything arriving from the People’s Republic. If China threatened to withdraw support from him then L’il Kim would likely become very reasonable. He may be crazy, but he’s not suicidal.

  10. anjin-san says:

    Actually Herb, Democrats love our country, we just hate the neo-con vision for it, in which America is sort of like the Soviet Union, with corporations…

  11. Bithead says:

    Look, let’s be honest, here. Their ‘long range’ missile failed before it made it to the range of the scuds they fired later. So, even assuming that Kim had intended something more dangerous, he doesn’t have the ability.

    As to intent, the timing of the launches (Within minutes of the Space Shuttle Launch) speaks to Kim’s true intent; Banging the drum for a better negotating position for funding, (See also, United States-based largess) so as to retain his failed leadership, at our expense. The reaction of various world governments…(feigned outrage when they’ve known for years this guy’s abilitys don’t macth his intentions) … are only aiding his cause.

    So, I’m not getting excited about this one.

  12. What I find most interesting is how seemingly everyone wants to read the tea leaves to figure out what North Korea is up to. It reminds me of the heady days of the Kremlinolgists, who somehow managed to miss the utter collapse of the Soviet Union.

    It really is much easier to observe the facts, and make a diagnosis, i.e., Kim Jong Il is a seriously dangerous nut and it will only be a matter of time before he will manage to get a few million people killed unless the “international community” grows some balls and gets serious about deposing him.

    President Bush’s comments about the Axis of Evil some ever more true as time marches on.