Salon.com Books | "Body of Secrets" by James Bamford All this makes the China incident even more confusing. I don't understand why, in a world where intelligence satellites can eavesdrop on anything anywhere, where ground stations in Japan and South Korea have China well covered and where massive intercept programs like Echelon vacuum up almost all foreign telecommunications, we need to launch aggressive and provocative spy missions against countries like China. I can't think of another midair collision that didn't end up in two crashed planes; it's a miracle that the American EP-3 survived. If the 24 Americans had died as a result of this incident, how would Congress have reacted? Would we have believed China's claims that it was an accident, not an attack? Would we have so easily turned our warships around after the Chinese government refused our offers to assist in recovering the wreckage? How much more aggressive would the rhetoric have been on both sides? I don't mean to imply that the U.S. deliberately set out to cause an international incident, but it seems to me that it was ignoring some pretty obvious risks for some pretty dubious rewards
I agree completely with this author's assessment of our actions in China.