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1969 EC-121 Shootdown Incident

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  • 1969 EC-121 Shootdown Incident

    Originally posted by Excerpt from Wikipedia item as follows:
    The 1969 EC-121 shootdown incident occurred on April 15, 1969 when a United States Navy Lockheed EC-121M Warning Star on a reconnaissance mission was shot down by North Korean MiG-17 aircraft over the Sea of Japan. The plane crashed 90 nautical miles (167 km) off the North Korean coast and all 31 Americans on board were killed.

    The Nixon administration chose not to retaliate against North Korea apart from staging a naval demonstration in the Sea of Japan a few days later. Instead it resumed the reconnaissance flights within a week to demonstrate that it would not be intimidated by the action while at the same time avoiding a confrontation.[1]
    When one considers the Gulf of Tonkin Incident/s in 1964, which resulted in no US casualties and only minor material damage, and how that led to direct US military intervention in South Vietnam, the 1969 EC-121 Shootdown Incident by North Korea was a far worse provocation. I have often wondered why the US did not retaliate against North Korea for this blatant act of war in international airspace. What can be said of this incident? It appears to me that this only to have encouraged the North Koreans in believing that they could attack US forces and interests with impunity.
    Mutare vel timere sperno

    Nec Aspera Terrent

  • #2
    The Gulf of Tonkin Incident never really happened. It was set up by the US government to give an excuse for sending more troops to S Viet Nam

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Kingtoad53 View Post
      When one considers the Gulf of Tonkin Incident/s in 1964, which resulted in no US casualties and only minor material damage, and how that led to direct US military intervention in South Vietnam, the 1969 EC-121 Shootdown Incident by North Korea was a far worse provocation. I have often wondered why the US did not retaliate against North Korea for this blatant act of war in international airspace. What can be said of this incident? It appears to me that this only to have encouraged the North Koreans in believing that they could attack US forces and interests with impunity.
      The US had no right to be spying there to begin with. In the Cold War era, international airspace didn't mean open to all, it meant controlled either by US interests or USSR interests. The US went to a USSR-friendly zone and it was their fault for doing so. You can't blame either side for attacking the other. And the Gulf of Tonkin incident was hardly an incident at all. It was a near-skirmish, but no combat happpened, and it's already been admitted it was set up and staged to give reason to invade Vietnam.

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      • #4
        The reason we didn't go after North Korea is because we were already entrenched in Vietnam and wanting a way out. The US population wouldn't stand for another war.

        And the Sea of Japan was hardly ever "Russian Territory".

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Ricthofen View Post
          The US had no right to be spying there to begin with. In the Cold War era, international airspace didn't mean open to all, it meant controlled either by US interests or USSR interests. The US went to a USSR-friendly zone and it was their fault for doing so. You can't blame either side for attacking the other. And the Gulf of Tonkin incident was hardly an incident at all. It was a near-skirmish, but no combat happpened, and it's already been admitted it was set up and staged to give reason to invade Vietnam.
          An interesting view. So you feel there was no international airspace during the cold war. Well we know for sure the Russian’s didn’t hesitate to shoot down of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 when it wandered into their airspace. However, I think you will find that there were a lot of Russian Tupolev Tu-95 Bear flights in international airspace with the same mission as the EC-121.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Ricthofen View Post
            ...international airspace didn't mean open to all...
            Yes it did--and does.
            Mutare vel timere sperno

            Nec Aspera Terrent

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Naffenea View Post
              The reason we didn't go after North Korea is because we were already entrenched in Vietnam and wanting a way out. The US population wouldn't stand for another war.

              And the Sea of Japan was hardly ever "Russian Territory".
              Given the division in American society caused by US involvement in the Vietnam War, that is understandable. And it is more than likely that incidents such as the seizure of the USS Pueblo in 1968 and the EC-121 shootdown in 1969 were perpetrated by the North Koreans precisely because the US was embroiled in Vietnam at those times.

              I wonder what American public opinion would have been if the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact had moved against Western Europe during the days of the "peace movement" in the late 1960s and early 70s and concurrent with continued US involvement in the Vietnam War. But that is a hypothetical for another place and another thread.
              Mutare vel timere sperno

              Nec Aspera Terrent

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              • #8
                Even if there hadn't been a war in Vietnam at the time, I couldn't see the US retaliating against North Korea for shooting down the spy plane. For some reason North Korea has been given a free pass to commit any act of aggression against the US and South Korea without any fear of blow back.

                Check out the following:
                The axe murder of two US officers in the demilitarized zone.
                The sinking of a South Korean warship in international waters.
                The shelling of South Korean civilians from North Korea.
                The attempted assassination of the South Korean president.
                The seizure of the USS Pueblo and crew.
                The detonation of a bomb in South Korea during a political rally.

                These are just the aggressions that I can think of off the top of my head. I'm sure there have been others. All of them committed with impunity, and no retaliation was ever undertaken.

                Now as to the deliberate shooting down of a spy plane, I can see where that could be a grey area. Sovereignty, I think, allows for the destruction of any aircraft that a nation may feel is a threat or contributes to a threat, cold war or hot. I mean, the reason the U-2 and SR-71 were developed was to outrun and to fly higher than Soviet and Chinese air defence missiles.

                Now Soviet spy aircraft used to overfly the Canadian arctic regularly during the cold war. All were intercepted and escorted out of our airspace. None were ever shot down. These stopped after the fall of 1989. They have now been resumed by the Russian government. They are still intercepted and escorted out with none being shot down. This all part of the great game, and no one has to die.

                Unless North Korea is involved.

                Cheers,
                Dan.
                So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will duly rise and make them miserable.

                Aldous Huxley: Ends and Means (1937)

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                • #9
                  Yes, there have been provocative incidents by the North Koreans outside of the period of US involvement in Vietnam. In the case of the 1976 axe murders of US military personnel in the DMZ, I believe Kissinger said that North Korean blood must be spilt. In the event, he had to be satisfied with "Operation Paul Bunyan". One would hope that these incidents were repaid to in kind, but they are not, or at least, apparently not.
                  Mutare vel timere sperno

                  Nec Aspera Terrent

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                  • #10
                    My opinion is that we were too tied up with Europe and Vietnam to chance a ramping up of he Korean War. Yes, we should have carpet-bombed every leadership target in North Korea for a full 48 hours. But we didn't want to risk it. The caution displayed after the ax murders can be summed up in two words: Vietnam Watergate. Some might prefer four words: Election Year - Candidate Carter.
                    dit: Lirelou

                    Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá ǵ!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ricthofen View Post
                      And the Gulf of Tonkin incident was hardly an incident at all. It was a near-skirmish, but no combat happpened, and it's already been admitted it was set up and staged to give reason to invade Vietnam.
                      No it was not staged which might be the case with peace and friendship Stasi agent Karl Kurras who shot and killed Benno Ohnesorg, and then the peace and friendship left retaliated by killing and terrozing innocent people in the hopes they would inspire a revolution and the people would rise up and take care of innocent people like they were.

                      http://www.spiegel.de/international/...-a-627342.html

                      There were 2 Gulf of Tonkin incidents. The second was an overraction of people on nerves thinking something was happening, when nothing happened. And the peace loving Communists in S. Vietnam weren't acting nicely and were using violence in S. Vietnam as well.

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