Elsie Tu

America's blunders making the whole world nervous

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 May, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 May, 2001, 12:00am

I am in full agreement with the views expressed by Elsie Tu on the US spy-plane saga (letter headlined 'Simply questioning credibility of account', South China Morning Post, April 25) and found the comments by Denis Bate in his letter headlined 'Elsie no expert' (Post, April 30) totally out of order.

In the case of the US spy plane, sadly there were no experts involved.

When I was in the RAF, we had Nimrod aircraft that were used on similar missions collecting information on non-allies. In case of problems, our instructions were to ditch the aircraft in the sea wherever possible.

Also, the planes were fitted with a self-destruct lever that incinerated all sensitive material. If a British pilot safely landed his spy plane with all his sensitive equipment intact in the very country he was spying on, he would be afraid to go home. The last thing he would expect would be a hero's welcome.

What I find amazing in this case was the fact that there were three American warships below the aircraft in the South China Sea that could have reached the plane before the Chinese.

Of course, as they were American ships, there is a strong chance that the spy crew might not have been located in time, but when you are serving in the military, that goes with the job. I disagree with Mr Bate that Mrs Tu was just wanting to have a go at anything Western. I don't think that is true. I feel she was just expressing her views on American incompetence, which is making the whole world nervous.

In the past few months, an American nuclear submarine with atomic weapons on board capable of killing millions of people surfaced under a Japanese fishing boat killing some onboard. An American air strike carried out a fatal attack on its own men. A plane flying over Peru was mistakenly shot down by the Peruvian air force because of information supplied by a US government tracking aircraft. A missionary and her daughter were killed.

Sadly, the list of mistakes goes on and on. And now, against everybody's advice, President George W. Bush has decided to ignore requests from Europe and Russia and press ahead with the most ambitious missile-defence scheme imaginable.

Eventually, as a result of this scheme, early-warning satellites and fast-response missiles will be scattered throughout space above our heads. But I suppose we have no need to worry, despite the fact that so far all tests have failed. After all, the fire buttons will be in the safe hands of American 'experts'.


Clear Water Bay