“Ward Asks Secretary of Defense James Mattis to make Hawaii the Line in the Sand for North Korean Missiles”
News Release from Office of Rep Gene Ward, July 19, 2017
Representative Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai) today sent a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis urging more protections for Hawaii against the missile threats from North Korea. (see attached)
Ward said he was writing the letter because “The aggressive behavior demonstrated by North Korea missile testing in the past 6 months is a clear and present danger to our nation, especially Alaska and Hawaii at this point in time. We in Hawaii are now living in the shadow of a rogue regime's intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBMs) that was tested on July 4th, (a date intended to insult our country), and indicates that we have underestimated North Korea’s capabilities for years. The two-stage ICBM tested on July 4th was not only a deadly threat, but also indicates rapid development that could quickly overmatch our limited missile defense technology. Presently, for example, we are at only 50% success rate of shooting down such missiles.
“The bottom line is that it is time to get tough with North Korea. I say this for two primary reasons:
“1) Dictator Kim Jong Un’s “reason for existence” and what keeps him in power and ‘respected’ in his country and in the international arena is his capacity to develop and deliver a nuclear weapon. Without a deliverable nuclear bomb he has nothing: no economy, no freedom, no respect based on fear, and a lot of starving people. He must go-nuclear to the shores of the United States to fulfil his ‘destiny’ and remain in power by keeping his militant promises.
“2) Secondly, if we wait a few more weeks or months for the next test to show that North Korean missiles can reach the West Coast or as far east as Chicago, we are put at a grave disadvantage, and must begin to play defense from that point on, especially if another test shows they can reach Washington, DC. In short, we could lose our offensive posture which appears to be our present advantage with a lot of options on the table.
“The difficulty is that once parity, or at least a capability, is reached to launch a missile capable of hitting the US Mainland, things then go MAD, and mutually assured destruction (even if it is only a single North Korean missile hit to one US city) means we will be put in a position to compromise and perhaps bargain and concede things to the dictator.
Ward concluded by urging Secretary Mattis to pursue stricter sanctions, put military pressure on Pyongyang, and above all take immediate action to protect the people of Hawaii such as the deployment of additional missile-defense technologies including but not limited to operationalizing Barking Sands on Kauai to be both a test range as well as defensive missile launch site.
(Rep. Gene Ward is the House Minority Leader Emeritus, Vietnam Veteran and former Peace Corps Volunteer who represents House District 17 – Hawaii Kai, Kalama Valley)