North Korea will develop a plan by mid-August to launch four intermediate range missiles at the U.S. territory of Guam before presenting it to leader Kim Jong Un who will make a decision on whether to proceed, the North's state media said on Thursday.
So, a few things to note about Guam before everything goes to hell:
- It's been a US Territory since the Spanish-American War.
- Its value as a naval station and stopping point to the Philippines made it an invaluable island to U.S. interests in the Pacific up to the beginning of World War II.
- Japan invaded during the bombing of Pearl Harbor and held Guam until 1944. The islanders - Chamorros - had a rough occupation, but remained loyal to the United States until its liberation.
- The native population argued successfully for self-determination by the 1950s, getting their own civilian government and by 1952 received American citizenship rights as an unincorporated territory. They gained the right to elect their own Governor by 1968. In modern times there's been efforts at either full Statehood (like Hawaii) or remaining a territory, with most residents preferring the status quo.
- Guam hosts two major US military bases - one Naval, one Air Force - which deploy air surveillance and saber-rattling bomber flights over North Korea. Which is why North Korea wants to launch four missiles at Guam.
- North Korea currently doesn't have nuclear capability with their missiles, so it's likely going to be conventional warheads that can blow up city blocks or airfields depending on how bad their aim is. Still, it's not going to be happy fun times if/when that happens.
- The local Chamorros population may be currently putting up a brave front, but they're not going to be thrilled if those missiles start raining down on their coconut farms. They've got enough problems with the Brown Tree Snake and Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle already.
- Guam was one of those places Americans should visit as part of understanding the vast stretch of our national heritage and culture. And also helping out get rid of the Brown Tree Snakes. Call it a working vacation, people, just as long as you get there before the bombs fall.
Goodbye, Guam. We love ya.