Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Military Affairs


Michael Klein has released the first picture of the last moments of the fighter that crashed last week in Hukou. The military has released the preliminary results of the investigation:

According to the preliminary investigation report released by Air Force Chief of Staff Major General Liu Chen-wu earlier in the day at the Legislative Yuan, the pilots of the F-5F are believed to have failed to pull up safely immediately after firing their guns and releasing bombs during a rehearsal for the Han Kuang 23 military exercises. The result was that the fighter stalled and crashed.

During the several crucial seconds after the stall, he said, the pilots chose not to eject in order to steer the fighter away from an industrial zone in Hsinchu County, sacrificing themselves in an attempt to save lives. The fighter ended up crashing into a nearby military base in Hukou.

As always, our Golden Retriever media here in Taiwan produced an eloquent array of fictions, some which are compiled in the thread at TaiwanMilitary.org. Despite the fancy images in the media, nothing fell off the plane. I have seen all of the shots Michael took, and they support the military's announcement that the plane stalled, failed to recover, and crashed. Until Michael releases all the shots, I will say no more. But the whole thing is simply one more lesson, if any were needed, in understanding that in the absence of information the local media will simply Make. Stuff. Up.

Speaking of things military, Caroline Gluck of the BBC turned in the story of people gathering in central Taiwan to watch the fighters practicing landing on the Sun Yat-sen Freeway as part of the recent military exercises here in Taiwan:
Some had brought their young children with them, a few had binoculars, many more had cameras and they were all eagerly looking towards a stretch of one of Taiwan's main freeways, connecting the north to the south of the island.

Soon, the large crowd numbering more than 1,000 would hear the ferocious roar of jets and witness six combat fighters land, refuel and re-arm, before taking off again from a 2.5km stretch of the freeway in Changhua, western Taiwan.

It is only the second time that such an exercise has been held since the Sun Yat-Sen freeway was completed in 1979 and the first involving three types of Air Force fighters.

"I got up at 3am to come here, I wanted to get a good spot," said 42-year-old Pan Xiao-Yi. She told me she had driven from the nearby city of Taichung, 40 minutes away.

"I want to see the fighter jets. They are huge - very powerful. I've seen some planes like this in films but never in real life."
Trivia: the freeway was actually completed in October of 1978, not in 1979. The Air Force landed Mirage aircraft on the freeway in 2004, the first time since it was built, but F-100s, F-104s, and other aircraft practiced landing on it back in the 1970s before it was opened for business.

My friend Michael had one compelling observation about the deaths of those pilots. "I can't tell you the cause of the accident," he said, "but I can tell you who is responsible: China."

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

My friend Michael had one compelling observation about the deaths of those pilots. "I can't tell you the cause of the accident," he said, "but I can tell you who is responsible: China."

Devastating logic. But I blame Cain. Or maybe the serpent. Better yet, why not blame Harry Truman? If he hadn't ordered the 7th Fleet in the Taiwan Strait in June 1950, none of this ever would have happened.

MJ Klein said...

as you know Michael, we live in that industrial zone. you have eaten, drank and sang with us in that industrial zone. we are all thankful that it's still intact. heroes indeed.

chihwei tsao said...

eventhough china is probably ultimately responsible for the crash, it's probably easier to blame the pan blue for not letting the military to replace these old fighters. however, in a sense, these pan blue is china anyway, so the logic isnt so bad, perhaps just need to explain a little.

Biomed Tim said...

"...But the whole thing is simply one more lesson, if any were needed, in understanding that in the absence of information the local media will simply Make. Stuff. Up..."

Michael and all other readers,

I've had a problem with the quality of the local Taiwanese media for a long time now, but I can't get my mind around it.

A part of me thinks it has a lot to do with the political psychology of the public and the nascent democracy. I'm tempted to assume that the Taiwanese public has yet to learn how to appreciate good, accurate, objective information. But I also think such is a very dangerous assumption to make because I'm basically calling Taiwanese people idiots...and in many ways I don't think they are.

Would you care to expound on the root cause for the poor quality of the media? How about solutions?

(if you've posted on this issue already, perhaps you can provide a link, thanks)

Anonymous said...

chihwei tsao:even though china is probably ultimately responsible for the crash...

This is absurd on its face. Did China shoot the plane down? Jam its controls?

Should any country blame its military training accidents on a conceivable future enemy? Do you realize how ridiculous this kind of argument is?

You may as well blame Wilbur and Orville Wright. This is Pan-Green logic at its most obtuse.

Michael Turton said...

You may as well blame Wilbur and Orville Wright. This is Pan-Green logic at its most obtuse.

LOL.

Anonymous said...

Hi Michael,

I like your blog, and agree with you most of the time, but it is drawing a long bow to endorse the view that this incident is China's making. While I'm no fan of China's beligerent attitude and actions towards Taiwan, a lot of countries (not only those facing bully neighbors) perform military exercises, and sometimes they go tragically wrong as in this case. It is not as if the Taiwanese military would be disbanded should the PRC suddenly embrace peace.

BTW. I've often wondered why you gravitate towards the phrase "Chicoms"? It is not as if anyone over there is particularly communist. Why not just say 'Chinese', or 'Chinese government' if you are being more specific? Invoking the ghost of Communist China brings to mind KMT propaganda of days old. Though times have, of course, changed of late!

But in general, keep up the good work, especially taking the boot to the western press coverage of Taiwan!

Michael Turton said...

Anon, thanks for the kind words, but I've never in my life used the phrase Chicoms.

Michael

Anonymous said...

The pilots may be "heroes", but the crash is being blamed on pilot error, so it's doubtful the families of the dead and horribly burned Singaporeans would think they were "heroic".

Anonymous said...

one anon to another: that is such a weird comment. i don't see chicom anywhere.

i can't speak for the logic of others, but i would say that the chinese pressure on the US and other countries to not sell Taiwan any modern weapons is a source of this accident. it is illogical for a country with a gdp (both per capita and overall) like Taiwan to being fielding old ass fighters like that.

now you're right, newer weapons (because yes, taiwan would have a military even if china wasn't threatening to blow the shit out of it every now and then) may cause accidents too. but come on, the reason taiwan still fields f5s DOES have to do with china and the pro-China pan-Blues.

here's my logic--if that shit-face Chiang Kai-shek didn't come to taiwan, taiwan would be independent and china would've just left it alone. taiwan was highly oppressed by the japanese, but the japanese were predictable, stable, and turned taiwan into one of the most modern places in all of asia during that era.

we can play these games all day--a taiwan that was hitting above .300 for fifty years doesn't necessarily mean that it would keep doing so. that taiwan is a stable democracy today is a large result of the blood, sweat, tears, and souls of many heroes in the dangwai movement. but it didn't have to work out this way--the daggers that the chinese kmt stuck into this island went sharp and deep.

the pan-blue logic is devasting. when chen shuibian is indicted, the justice dept are heroes. when pussy ma is indicted, the justice dept is a tool of the DPP (no no, i have confidence in the justice dept. as ma says, as long as they find me not guilty, i still have confidence they are fair).

i admit some greens have some bad logic (the two idiots that ran a false shooting simulation at ntu are examples of that). but the OPEN, SANCTIONED, OFFICIAL logic of blues is OFF THE FREAKING WALL!!

Chihwei said...

China is ultimately responsible because:
Why does Taiwan pilots have to fly with 30 years old fighter?
1.Can Taiwan not afford better and newer fighter?(Taiwan has the money)
2.Who won't let Taiwan purchasing better and newer fighters easily?(China)
3.Who won't let Taiwan purchasing better and newer fighters from the United States,which is about the only country in the world that would sell weapons to Taiwan?
(Pan Blue)

Now, why would Pan Blue not allowing Taiwan to upgrade weapons?
1. No point fighting China, it's too overpowering.
2. U.S. claims it will protect Taiwan if China invades anyway.
3. We will never let DPP government do anything good for Taiwan and get all the credits.

Based on these, it can be deduced that China is responsible for the crash.


This "accident" happened because the fighter is old! Not the polot is bad.
and it's old because Taiwan can't easily get better planes!
and Taiwan can't easily get better planes because China won't allow that!

Arty said...

If Taiwan is so great, why not spending some money on figurin out how to make every single parts of F5 airplane? Oh wait, Taiwan can't even make a car engine...I know Taiwan makes great computer mother boards and flat panel displays. Maybe it is time to spend some money on some heavy inducstry. Blaming China is not going to solve anything.

Michael Turton said...

It's funny how so many pro-Blue discussions turn into illogical hacks on Taiwan.

Michael

Arty said...

here's my logic--if that shit-face Chiang Kai-shek didn't come to taiwan, taiwan would be independent and china would've just left it alone. taiwan was highly oppressed by the japanese, but the japanese were predictable, stable, and turned taiwan into one of the most modern places in all of asia during that era.

Is this illogical? Would China just leave Taiwan alone if KMT didn't come to Taiwan? Did China leave Tibet, Xinjiang, and Hainan alone? Also, let's assume Taiwan were the most modern places in asia after WWII (I thought US bomb the hack out of her) and even today, why her industries can't build a car engine or a jet engine which was first built by Sir Frank Whittle in a barn in 30s. I call this illogical. Btw, China may not be modern but she should can make things from textiles to rockets.

channing said...

I personally don't think Taiwan would enjoy its current wealth and economic success if the ROC government didn't move there with Chinese national treasures and the support of deep US pockets to create a huge manufacturing economy that later evolved into a precision-industry economy.

If Taiwan had remained independent of the ROC, who would have governed it? Japan surrendered, and it was in shambles by the end of WWII, as was Taiwan's economy. Japan had no way of retaining Taiwan in any legal or physically possible manner.

Also, Mandarin tongue would not have been part of Taiwan and the island "nation" would have been quite a lot less able to launch all those factories in China for low-cost manufacturing. The low-cost manufacturing would probably have remained in Taiwan, and sweatshops are what China and SE Asia are struggling to regulate today.

Taiwan struggled to buy newer jets, but who scrimmaged with the old jets? Nobody told them to. Of course, history drew itself this way so that some of us could conjure up a reason to blame China for this accident, or to blame those who achieved aviation...who knows what the world would've been like if this and that didn't happen?

Michael Turton said...

Also, let's assume Taiwan were the most modern places in asia after WWII (I thought US bomb the hack out of her) and even today, why her industries can't build a car engine or a jet engine which was first built by Sir Frank Whittle in a barn in 30s. I call this illogical. Btw, China may not be modern but she should can make things from textiles to rockets.

Arty, you crack me up. Every time you make a complaint, it is uninformed. Do you know how many different types of automotive engines are built here? Not to mention engine parts, in which Taiwan is a world leader. And speaking of rockets, why don't you google Taiwan's missiles and see what is made here?

Here's what you do. Before you shoot off your mouth, why don't you try Google? Otherwise you're just going to be yet another proof that pan-Blues simply don't know shit about Taiwan. We went through this last time with the weapons deal, arty. You don't do your homework, and I am tired of correcting all your uninformed and frankly, childish, beliefs. I keep asking myself: why don't Blues know anything about Taiwan? And the answer I keep bumping up against is: because they hate it.

Also, quit comparing Taiwan to China. Taiwan and China are separate countries. It is nothing to me if Taiwan can't do something that China can do (why should Taiwan be able to do the same things that China can?). If you don't like something about Taiwan, work to change it. Stop being so negative about the island. It is a great place that many people love, and it is bigger and better than you appear to be able to imagine.

Michael

Chihwei said...

Taiwan struggled to buy newer jets, but who scrimmaged with the old jets? Nobody told them to.
So you are saying... just because you only have old weapons, don't use it or practice using it. If China does invade, just give up and surrender instead of die trying... classic pan blue logic :)

Arty said...

Do you know how many different types of automotive engines are built here? Not to mention engine parts, in which Taiwan is a world leader. And speaking of rockets, why don't you google Taiwan's missiles and see what is made here?

So which company makes engine in Taiwan, I am talking about an entire engine not produced by Nissan. As far as autoparts, the companies are closing one by one. My uncle was a VP of Taiwan Dana
corp, and my family is very close to Taiwan automobile industry. As far as I know, no company in Taiwan is capable of making a car engine by itself. Just show me a website from a Taiwan company that claim to make engine by itself. Btw, do you know if you want to sell autoparts to Taiwan automobile companies, you have to buy the over price steel from Taiwan Steel (is this the name now?), and guess where the money went (the price of the steel is currently close to the price of the part it produces; how the hack you make money on that). As for car production, Taiwan car production is controlled by engine allocation from foreign partners i.e. Nissan, no engines no cars.

Also, I try to google, show me Taiwan's missile propulsion is acutally made in Taiwan please. I can't find it. Or the IDF engine is actually made in Taiwan. I never said I am right, but I doubt they are made in Taiwan. Especially the companies that are selling those parts trying to lay low.

Arty said...

I keep asking myself: why don't Blues know anything about Taiwan? And the answer I keep bumping up against is: because they hate it.

That's like saying people who against the Iraq war is un-patriotic. I don't hate Taiwan, but at least I don't say I love it while holding US citizenship (maybe I am wrong about your citizenship status). My true love only belongs to my country, USA, I am only concerning about Taiwan and how it could affect US but never mount to hate.

But thanks at least I crack you up.

zhj said...

annonymous said:
"here's my logic--if that shit-face Chiang Kai-shek didn't come to taiwan, taiwan would be independent and china would've just left it alone."

You are absolutely wrong. If that shit-face didn't come to Taiwan, the entire issue of Taiwan would not exist at all! Taiwan would long have been part of the PRC. So the Chinese can blaim and curse that shit-face for dividing China, and independence supporters can blaim the shit-face for bringing China to Taiwan. What good did the shit-face do? To be frank, the shit-face didn't do any good for any party, therefore we should call him a shit-face, you are right about that.

Michael Turton said...

TURTON: Taiwan also is a world leader in engine parts manufacture
ARTY: But they are leaving!

See arty? No matter what I say, you just turn it into another hack on Taiwan. The real question is why you struggle so hard to hack on Taiwan.

Michael

Arty said...

See arty? No matter what I say, you just turn it into another hack on Taiwan. The real question is why you struggle so hard to hack on Taiwan.

Acutally, I didn't say they are leaving. I said they are closing; I think that's a very big differenc. China does not need autoparty manufacturing technology from Taiwan. It just roll out of a MG Rover 100% made in China owned by China. So which Taiwan company make car engines? I am pretty sure 裕隆 doesn't make one. Also, would you find it odd that if Taiwan can make new airplanes, why is F-5 still flying, an old F-5 that is? I am not hacking at Taiwan, I am just discussing her affair with you.

So you are saying... just because you only have old weapons, don't use it or practice using it.

Not if they are dangerous and kill your pilots with tons of flying hours. I don't see the TOPGUN pilots flying F-5 because they have it. I only see them flying F-18 all day long and once in a blue moon, I saw F-5 flying with F-18.

channing said...

So you are saying... just because you only have old weapons, don't use it or practice using it. If China does invade, just give up and surrender instead of die trying... classic pan blue logic :)

Let's ignore the fact that investigations concluded that pilot error caused the accident. Even if the plane was old and faulty, and did cause an accident, you use old equipment knowing the risks. Then an accident happens and the self-certified "Taiwan lovers" will blame it on China, and then Channing who disagrees is immediately labelled "Pan-blue" and a traitor to Tai Oan Lang.

Is that your "logic"? Feel free to correct me.

Michael Turton said...

Hey Channing,

A private team of experienced military types, including a mechanic who worked on 5371, has looked over the photos and listened to the testimony. They've reached a different conclusion. So stay tuned because things may get hairy here. LOL.

I think Michael K's observation that ultimately China is at fault has perhaps been too strongly read into by everyone, including me. Your input is very valuable, Channing, so if you don't mind, I'm not going to take any further comments to this thread, so we don't all get too bent out of shape.

Michael

Anonymous said...

Michael, sorry, I got it wrong about the 'chicoms' thing. I had just read a column by Johnny Neihu in the Taipei Times at the same time as browsing your blog and got my wires crossed. Unless you and Mr Neihu are one and the same, that is. But I think not. Again, my apologies.

Chihwei Tsao said...

Sorry Mr.Turton,
I know this thread is getting out of control, but I feel I should defend my point for the last time.
Even if the plane was old and faulty, and did cause an accident, you use old equipment knowing the risks. Then an accident happens and the self-certified "Taiwan lovers" will blame it on China, and then Channing who disagrees is immediately labelled "Pan-blue" and a traitor to Tai Oan Lang.

(1) I didn't label anyone Pan Blue, I simply pointed out that's a classic pan blue logic.(no point fighting, just surrender)
(2) OK the point is, the fighter is old, and I agree that it shouldn't even be in service, BUT my logic is that Taiwan is forced to fight with old weapons that bear high risk. Can Taiwan afford not to use these F5 fighter?
China has way more fighters than Taiwan has, so naturally Taiwan must use ALL it has to deter the first wave of invasion if it ever occurs.
This all go back to my logic: If you have a criminal neighbor that won't let you buy new guns, and all you have is a revolver, while he has a M16 rifle, sure there is risk that your revolver might malfunction when you use it, but does that mean you shouldn't maintain it and use it when your bad neighbor invades your house?
Should he only blame himself for only having a revolver? Who is really at fault here?

I think you don't realize how crucial fighters are to Taiwan's national security, and the only source of fighter Taiwan can get is America right now. Like you said, Taiwan can't really make its own F-16s.(not sure how many countries in the world could...)
That only shows how precious every jet-fighter Taiwan has is!
Who is not allowing Taiwan to upgrade these F-5s? Pan Blue parties! Why? This is not as important as other weapons that Taiwan needs.
However, Taiwan's latest purchase of new weapons from the US is still blocked by Pan Blue, since that major bill can't be passed, the relatively insignificant F-5 fighters can't be upgrade.(I think the plan is to upgrade them to certain model of F-16)

and we all know why pan blue is blocking that major purchase:
(1)why buy weapon when we have no chance winning.
(2)We can't let DPP accomplish anything that'll make them look good.

Anonymous said...

Not a word about the 3 Singaporean dead. Typical Taiwanese. What, are other nationalities too insignificant ?

Michael Turton said...

Didn't mention the destruction to the buildings either. Probably they hate buildings too.