Wasn't it an act of war when China downed our surveillance plane in 2001?

Remember when Bush was new in office, and the Chinese jet damaged our surveillance plane in midflight? Then our aircraft was “escorted” down into Chinese airspace and forced to land on a Chinese island and then commandeered.

Wasn’t this an act of war? Being that at the time it was assaulted by Chinese jets, our aircraft was over international waters. Why didn’t Bush send over a few cruise missiles to destroy it while it was over on that Chinese tarmac?

Aaaah, diplomacy - that fickle art.

It all depends on how far you want to carry it. It could be an act of war if you want to press the issue, and risk going to a full-blown theater wide war, which would probably drag the Koreas and Japan into it; Or, it could be an unfortunate collision in international airspace where both sides were toe to toe but neither one threw a punch.

Simple answer? Um, no. Because the crew was probably considered expendable should something exactly like this occur.

“300 million Chinese came screamin’ across the border…”
“I thought there were a billion Chinese.”
“Yep, there was…”

[sub] Name the movie for 5 TripCo. Points![/sub]

It wasn’t forced down on the Chinese island; rather it made an abrupt emergency landing. The collision was likely a mistake in the case of the Chinese pilot, but in the US pilot’s opinion, they needed to set down RIGHT NOW, and the Chinese airbase was their only option. Sure, he might have been able to make it to a US airbase, but it’s better not to second-guess the guy actually in the situation.

As for an excuse to war, sure. You can use anything as an excuse to declare war. You don’t need a reason at all, really. You only need a way to justify it to congress and the public.

As for destroying it… our people were in Chinese custody. If that plane had mysteriously “blown up,” I doubt those people would have returned to the US for a long time. At that point, Bush might have initated a rescue operation in the form of a strike team into Chinese territory, but that would really be justification for war. Not that either side wants war, of course. The Chinese know we could wipe the floor with them, and the US wants business opportunities in China.

-Psi Cop

You don’t think they might have sent something back?

All accounts I read stated that it was forced down to the Chinese Island.

I always thought the US was out of line for spying on them in the first place. I mean I know all countries do it; its just that we sort of got caught with our hand in the cookie jar.

Its kind of like masturbation. If you’re going to do it… for crying out loud ; don’t get caught!

That plane was over international territory. It was not a spy plane, it was a surveillance plane.

And as far as spying goes, China has plenty of spies in the US. Just ask Wen Ho Lee.

The collision was an accident, although it was an accident caused by a reckless Chinese fighter pilot. And the nearest U.S. base is Kadena Air Base in Japan. From where they were, it’d be over three hours away. This gave the pilot three options: Bail out, Ditch, or make an emergency landing in China. For a pilot who has control of the aircraft and thinks the aircraft will stay in one piece long enough, the best choice was to head for China. There other two options almost guarantee a certain amount of deaths and casualties. So, no one forced him to land there. There was no real act of war.

There was a lot of speculation in my community as to why Bush didn’t take out the aircraft after it was downed. I think a large piece to that puzzle was that he had to find out whether or not the classified info was zeroized or otherwise disposed of. If it was, then there wasn’t much harm in letting China have a good look at the plane. By the time he found out that answer, it was probably too late to launch a couple TLAMs had he wanted to, as diplomatic negotiations had already begun.

SHAKES, there’s not a thing in the world wrong with what we were doing.

Hermann, my guess is the media spun it that way because from their point of view, the pilot had no other option. He was in essence “forced down” due to bad luck and bad circumstances. Not because the other F-8 pilot was threatening them. But adding that last bit may make you change the channel, whereas the other way makes for a more dramatic story.

It’s not international territory, it was in the economic sea zone of the PRC.

You’re a joke. Lee was unlawfully detained for months. Eventually the FBI dropped most of the charges, including the spying ones. In the end the judge apologised to Lee for what the US had done to him. You can’t even pick a good example.

By “take out the aircraft,” do you mean firing missiles at a Chinese airfield? Why is that even an option? And out of curiosity, what exactly is “your community”?

Yeah, I agree with you on Lee, but surveillence flights certainly are acceptable. IIRC, a surveillenve plane from the USSR made an emergency landing in the United States in the mid-eighties and we respected the soveirgnty of the plane.

We didn’t get caught with our hand in the cookie jar, we made open maves towards it and got clocked by a quarterback on the way in because that quarterback’s a moron who cannot walk.

We have footage of Chineese fighter-planes buzzing recklessly our surveillence flights before, and the flights are certainly no secret. And an economic sea zone is a world of difference from soveirgn waters.

Yes, by “take out” I mean via cruise missiles. This would be a tough decision because it’d wind up killing a handful or two of Chinese, who would no doubt paint us as the aggressor committing acts of war.

“My community” is the VQ community, which are the guys that fly the EP-3E aircraft. I’ve personally flown in that same chunk of sky many times.

And Urban Ranger, just because a country claims an economic zone or a fishing zone or any other zone beyond the internationally recognized 12 miles, doesn’t mean that anyone in the world is bound to recognize it. That 50 mile buffer is a joke, and it’s certainly in our best interest to make sure the Chinese understand that we’ll give them 12 miles and no more. They’d like nothing more than to spread out over most of that ocean into the Spratleys and beyond.

Actually no.

The pilot should have followed standing orders, flew low and slow enough for the crew to bail out, followed by the pilot, while the plane flew on autopilot before self-destructing from the onboard explosives.

That the pilot didn’t do this should have resulted in a court-martial. That the pilot wasn’t it probably was his mission to get caught.

So says a few friends in intelligence circles.

There were no such standing orders. I doubt there are now, even after this debacle.

Actually, a little altitude is good for bailing out.

Onboard explosives? Self destruct? Are you serious?

Utter bs.

Again, bullshit. This is a really bad conspiracy theory. Imaginative, though.

[sub]I mean, really. Self destruct?[/sub]

Well, I see that flyboy99 has already done all the refutation for me, but I’ll add a few points. First of all, the mission of the pilot is not to recklessly endanger his crew. It wasn’t a wartime situation. You’re doing exactly what I said you shouldn’t in the first place – assuming you know more about the situation than the pilot. You’re talking about a member of the US military who has trained and flown for years. I think he’s in a far better position to know what to do in any given situation than you are.

On the autopilot… yeah right. I’m certain it was trashed after that collision. And even if it wasn’t, I doubt its programming includes “keep flying the plane after midair collision.” You can’t model something like that for a computer.

The “self destruct” in that plane was known as axes and hammers. Something that the crew employed, according to the news reports. We just don’t know how much they could finish.

The pilot getting court martialed? Bah. A medal is more deserved than a court martial. He saved his crew, and we got the plane back mostly intact. Only the military really has any idea of how much data the Chinese got from that plane. It may have been a lot, but it may have been next to nothing.

-Psi Cop

Yes, but if we’d gone to war with them, where would we have gotten our NIKES?

Heh, don’t fret, we could have still got them from Indonesia. :smiley:

Surely it would have been more of an act of war to send cruise missiles over to blow something up on Chinese territory? I suspect China would have responded in some way to save face.

I don’t want to hijack the thread, but I’m curious… what kind of intelligence could the plane have been gathering miles out over the ocean? Could it see into China from there, or monitor radio or something?

Somebody cited earlier that a soviet aircraft had to make an emergency landing in American space once. On this note, was the plane forced down? Or did we actually hit that plane with one of our fighter aircraft? Lastly, the plane in question aside from being a surveillance aircraft, was it of superior design than anything that we had at the time? Could we learn anything about the Soviet Union by examining the plane?

Maybe I am making my point the hard way, but I think we can afford to respect the soverignity(sp) of the planes and ships of other countries simply because we will not gain anything for violating their soverignity. I would also like to know what became of the crew of the aircraft, like did they defect to the US when they had the opportunity to do so?

The Chinese, on the other hand, have everything to gain by violating the soverignity of the United States. The aircraft is mechanically superior to anything that the chinese have, nevermind the technical superiority of its cargo. China is growing in many ways, but examination of that aircraft would have only helped China.

On to the op, the reckless chinese pilot was to blame for this incident. His mishandling of the situation caused all of this to happen. It was, however, an accident and not an act of war.

Some other people have mentioned self-destruct charges. I do not think that surveillance aircraft have them. They are dangerous things to just mount on an aircraft and let them stay there in the event of an accident. When they get old, for example, they tend to get very unstable, and there is just too much opportunity for them to be a nuisance than a benefit to the aircraft.

And lastly someone else mentioned that we were spying on china. I am willing to admit that there is a grey area between surveillance and spying, but what were were doing, in this case was the former, and not the latter. Furthermore, chinese military aircraft do observe the actions of other countries, as does every other country in the world. We can take steps to minimize what they see about us, but we cannot stop them from looking. The same rule applies to us.

I am kind-of impressed by the level of professionalism in which the matter was resolved. And sometimes I do salute the efforts of the military intelligence divisions.

[Café Society]

Memorable Quotes from
Red Dawn

Jed Eckert: Well who is on our side?
**The Colonel: ** Six hundred million screamin’ Chinamen.
**Matt Eckert: ** I thought there was a billion screamin’ Chinamen.
**The Colonel: ** There was.

Where do I cash in my TripCo points?
[/Café Society]