Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard on the false missile warning: “This was unacceptable that this happened but it really highlights the stark reality the people of Hawaii are facing“ https://t.co/hxB1waykHe
— CNN (@CNN) January 14, 2018
On Saturday, Hawaiians woke up to a terrifying phone alert, which turned out to be a false alarm, that read, “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” This led to 38 minutes of mass hysteria before officials gave the all-clear. Hawaii Governor David Ige then told CNN that an employee “pushed the wrong button,” and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) has followed up on State of the Union, where she told Jake Tapper that it was an understatement to use the word “traumatic” to describe what Hawaiians experienced, for the alert prompted panicked residents to send frantic “last goodbyes” to loved ones.
Gabbard also called the error “unacceptable,” but she believes that the mistake “really highlights the stark reality the people of Hawaii are facing.” Indeed, the state has resurrected Cold-War era nuclear siren tests due to increased tensions in the Korean Peninsula and the barbs regularly exchanged by President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Yet Gabbard believes that this false alarm could spur positive action, and she calls upon Trump to personally negotiate with Kim Jong-un:
“We’ve got to get to the underlying issue here of why are the people of Hawaii and this country facing a nuclear threat coming from North Korea today, and what is this President doing urgently to eliminate that threat? … I’ve been calling on President Trump to directly negotiate with North Korea, to sit across the table from Kim Jong Un.”
Gabbard also believes that these discussions would be best if they “happen without preconditions” because it’s extremely unlikely that North Korea would halt its nuclear program. Indeed, Gabbard believes that North Korea truly believes that the U.S. plans to overthrow the current leadership, so they will hang on to the nukes, just as they’ve done for decades:
So that exists as a result, again, of our decades-long regime change world policies around the world, that North Korea is now in a position where Kim Jong-un is saying, no way, I’m not going to give up these nuclear weapons. Because he doesn’t see that credible message coming from the United States that we don’t — we’re not interested in overthrowing your government. We’re interested in removing this nuclear threat from our country in the world.
The congresswoman strongly advises that the talks should happen first, so that the U.S. and North Korea can “work out the differences,” and “we can build a pathway towards denuclearization.” Given the recent diplomatic breakthrough between South Korea and North Korea, Gabbard isn’t making an impossible wish, although it’s still a long shot.
UPDATE: NBC News reports an FCC statement on the false warning: “It appears that the government of Hawaii did not have reasonable safeguards or process controls in place to prevent the transmission of a false alert.”