Aerostats: A Stratospheric Gulf of Tonkin?

By Scott Spangler on February 20th, 2023

The recent political and military focus on aerostats—balloons—and the resulting cyclone of incomplete communication of verifiable concrete details, the confusion resulting from people demonstrating that they possess no knowledge or understanding of what they are talking about, and premeditated disinformation that supports their individual agendas brings to mind the Gulf of Tonkin Incident.

For the forgetful or those for whom history is a tedious exercise that impedes their current plans, in 1964 the administration of Lydon B. Johnson manufactured a single incident into a situation that “justified” further American participation in its next long-term conflict. It seems now that the USS Maddox, a destroyer conducting covert signals intelligence in the Gulf, did share the Gulf with three North Vietnamese patrol boats, but the government created the subsequent attacks to support its decision to get the military more involved.

The situation with the Chinese reconnaissance balloon seems eerily familiar. Other than taking the government’s word for it, there has been no verifiable display of concrete proof that the balloon was actually Chinese, and that it we dedicated to collecting intelligence of the areas it floated over. Call me a cynical skeptic, I won’t believe what the government says—and the media reports—until the balloon’s are open for public display and inspection, like the Russians did with the remains of Francis Gary Power’s U-2 in 1960.

Like the manufactured subsequent “attacks” in the Gulf of Tonkin, the government has ordered the downing of two other aerostats. They have suspended the search for the resulting wreckage, and the only telling “proof” so far released was some audio of some poor F-16 pilot who said he couldn’t go slow enough to get a good look at the target.

Duh. It is an aerostat. As anyone whose enjoyed a flight in a hot air balloon, even inf the breeze is blowing at triple-digit jet stream speeds, there is no slipstream because it floats with the wind. Wind speed matters most on takeoff and landing because it tells you how quickly the breeze will drag you across the terrain. Because an aerostat goes where the wind blows, that’s why the Department of Homeland Security tethers its radar surveillance balloons to Mother Earth.

Early reports by reputable media outlets like the New York Times repeated the claims of unidentified by knowledgeable sources that the Chinese could control the flightpath of their balloon. There’s been no proof of the systems that might make this possible. Now, it seems, copy editor and fact checkers are starting to calm the political hysteria of guiding public opinion through being afraid of something. Which, unfortunately, always seems to be the point of these manufactured situations.

The only thing the government—any government—truly achieves through such shenanigans is that the people they are trying to control through fear take their distrust of the government to a higher level (and yet, we continue to reelect them, which says equally as much about our society). Logic suggests that in such situations, people would demand, and the powers involved would calmly convey the situation and share the evidence openly in the light of day. And when they don’t, that says something in that evidence contradicts the ultimate goal of their premeditated agenda. Scott Spangler, Editor


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One Response to “Aerostats: A Stratospheric Gulf of Tonkin?”

  1. Airdoc Says:

    Scott, excellent piece. Your analogy to the gulf of Tonkin debacle is perfectly accurate and how the populace continues to reelect the same. We both understand that as long as the current people are in power we’ll never know the truth.
    Vicious circle.
    I Enjoy all your work. Thank you.

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