Enough people have asked me what I think North Korea is doing by firing off an ICBM-wannabe toward Hawaii and 6 Scud-like missiles, so here is my answer:
Think of Kim Jong-Il as a tough little street thug. When his neighbors give him things, he thinks they are giving him gifts because they are afraid of him. When he wants something, he knows that the best way to get what he wants is to make his victim nervous. Now the richest guy in his neighborhood is not showing him the respect he thinks he deserve. So he pulls out a knife and waves it about in broad daylight. That's what he was doing when he ordered those missiles fired.
To him, diplomacy just means it's time for the other guy to hand over the wallet. That's respect. But let's not forget that he is a street thug. He is not afraid of fighting nor getting hurt. Even worse, he is not afraid to go beyond waving his knife. Yes, I think he will drop a missile loaded with conventional bomb on US soil if he is cornered and is able. More likely, he'll drop a couple on Japan with his medium range missiles. What can US do if he does that? US can't respond to a conventional attack with a nuke. That leaves air or ground attack.
Ground attack on NK won't be easy like Iraq or Afganistan. Expected casualty will be in tens of thousands within first few weeks and keep rising as the fight transitions into guerrilla warfare at a scale never seen before. Also, ground attack requires support from South Korea but I don't think that'll happen unless NK bombs Seoul. Air attack can and will hurt NK but that's the kind of hurt Kim Jong-Il and his father has been preparing for the past 50 years, digging tunnels and reinforced bunkers.
Anyway, this is what I think about why Kim Jong-Il ordered those missiles fired.