April 6, 2001

Editorial

Spy Plane Caper Classic Keystone Cops

The U.S. Navy's spy-plane pratfalls near China's coastal waters are at best humorous. At its worse, dangerous to our nation's health. Could this kind of caper have been approved by the Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet and, by extension, the Pentagon? The mere thought of sending a slow-lumbering prop-driven spy plane near China without any fighter plane protection or naval gun ship protection in this day and age is frightening. Spy planes are an anachronism of the cold war, which are no longer suited or adequate in today's defense systems. Is the Pacific Command structure so removed from the 21st century that it jeopardizes the world by sending a prop-driven land plane over thousands of miles of ocean water to SPY on a country that we already spy on with satellites 24 hours day 365 days of the year?

What could the Navy's EP-3E reconnaissance plane possibly learn by being 12 miles off the coast of China that we don't already know by use of our highly sophisticated ships? These guided missle ships can pin point targets of opportunity from thousands of miles away down to the exact block, street and even to a specific room in a building. What can we possibly learn by eves dropping on their phone and E-mail circuits that we don't already know from our complete electronic surveillance by satellites? Nothing moves in the air, on the sea, or on land in and around China that is even remotely considered hostile, without it not being copied and printed out in the Pentagon war rooms and the White House.

The Spy-plane caper occurred possibly because of sheer incompetence or stupidity on the part of the naval brass and therefore they should all be fired from their jobs or... it was intended to prick the skin of the Chinese Tiger and see what it's reaction would be. In other words, we put a chip on the Chinese shoulder and dare him to knock it off... He did! Is China ready to go into hostile action against the U.S. over this incident? We think not. They're not ready... YET.

The Think Tanks in Washington have probably already figured out that China will eventually be challenging the U.S. for world supremacy. The question is when. Hence the war of nerves has begun. Will the Chinese bite or wait for the balance of power to shift before they accept the challenge?

It's always best to hit a nation when it is at its weakest... a position that China is in now. There are signs that the U.S. perhaps has begun its decline as a world power. The major power players for world supremacy can afford to wait. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

President George W. Bush will be tested during his tenure. Can he lead the nation to continued greatness or will he be found lacking? That is the question to ponder.

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