Jeffrey LewisThe Onion Strikes Again

The Onion on China’s ASAT test:

Americans Demand Military Response After Chinese Shoot Down DirecTV Satellite

January 29, 2007 | Issue 43•05

WASHINGTON, DC—A citizens’ group presented a petition signed by nearly 75 million Americans to key members of Congress Monday, demanding the United States take immediate military action against China after the Communist nation shot down a DirecTV satellite last week. “This is a blatant attack on the American way of life,” said the group’s founder Abe Saloom. “Some of us lost a DirecTV signal that day, but all of us lost the freedom to feel secure in our DirecTV connections for the future.” The statement urged the American military to move swiftly, asserting that many Americans do not know “how they would go on” without the NFL Sunday Ticket package.


  1. China Hand (History)

    For those interested, I’ve done a follow-up post on the bombing of China’s Belgrade embassy in 1999 and how this has apparently influenced China’s current strategic posture vis a vis the US (and our satellites). The F117 wreckage in the basement legend gets the full treatment. I also present what is perhaps the most detailed publicly available story of the shootdown, which involves, among other things, vacuum tubes and a large cake.

  2. Rob H (History)

    Wouldn’t this have been funnier if it was about citizens petitioning China to shoot down DirecTV, or whatever Howard Stern is on…

    …or Fox News now that I come to think about it.

  3. Gregory Kulacki (History)

    China Hand – China’s interest in ASAT technology precedes most of the supposed triggers suggested by American analysts. Open source publications date China’s interest to as early as 1971. Other Chinese articles in the later 1970’s make many of the same arguments about the importance, and vulnerabilities, of military satellites that we see in contemporary USAF publications. While the Gulf War and the campaign in the former Yugoslavia were observed closely by Chinese analysts, I find the suggestion that these observations “influenced China’s current strategic posture vis a vis the US (and our satellites)” highly questionable.

  4. Mark Gubrud

    Gregory – I too doubt that Chinese strategic thinking was much influenced by the Belgrade embassy bombing, other than that it pissed them off more than most Americans want to know. But surely you don’t want to join the ranks of those who argue that other nations build weapons for their own reasons and it has nothing to do with anything the US does.

    To say the Chinese have been interested in ASAT and space warfare since the 1970s is simply to acknowledge that they, too, can see the technical possibilities and that they were not oblivious to what the US and USSR were doing then, nor are they oblivious to what we are doing now.

    The fact that China has repeatedly endorsed the kind of arms control that would have banned their ASAT test strongly suggests that positive US responses to these Chinese initiatives could have prevented the test.

  5. A (History)

    Chinese satellite meteor shower, perhaps?…