The end of the U.S.-China standoff

By on April 19, 2001

The end to the U.S.- China standoff proves how much can happen in a short amount of time and how it goes by so fast that you may miss it. The highly publicized hostage situation ended on April 14, when the 24 Navy crew members were brought back to the Navial base at Whidbey Island in Washington.
The event was captured on millions of rolls of film and broadcast on several television stations. One thing was missing however. The president! Where was he?
When it was clear that the crew members were going to be released George W. Bush made a statement about how happy he was about their return and how he did not admit defeat. It was so fake it was gag-worthy.
Bush seemed so proud of himself for saying he was “very sorry” about the disappearance of Chinese pilot Wang Wei and for the U.S. plane entering Chinese airspace without clearance. He should have done that the day the plane crashed and saved those 24 people from a harrowing experience.
It wasn’t completely our fault that the planes crashed, but the U.S. was not completely innocent. We should know better than to enter airspace without permission. And it is just unethical to immediately refuse regrets for the Chinese casualty.
China was equally to blame for the incident. Why were those planes flying so close to ours? They have since called off the search for Wei and presumed him dead. They are now declaring him the “Protector of the Sea and Sky.” That is a pretty big title for a guy who was so irresponsible for flying so close to another aircraft.
The situation was not handled appropriately by either country. The Chinese had no reason to hold the American survivors hostage and Bush didn’t help the matter much by trying to remain stoic in the face of controversy. He just looked like an idiot who didn’t care about his crew members.
After returning to the U.S., the Navy crew members told the media that they were not treated badly. They had few food rations, but they were served their requested Coca Cola. The media seemed shocked by this. What did they think they Chinese were going to do? Torture them?
Despite the controversy and mistakes, the crew members are safely back in the U.S. where they should be. Praises were many for the U.S. plane’s pilot, Lt. Shane Osborn who landed the plane despite extensive damage caused by Wei’s plane. Good for him.
Osborn is the real hero in this mess, not some president who doesn’t even have the decency to show up at the ceremony or some Chinese pilot who is being heralded for being a poorly trained daredevil.


About Kristen Daley