Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Snafu in the Skies Over New York City

New York City dwellers went into shock today. I don’t think they will recover quickly, either.

Everyone from Mayor Bloomberg to construction workers was treated to the sudden and mysterious spectacle of a Boeing 747 circling the Statue of Liberty while being trailed by an F-16 fighter jet.

9/11 Redux, anyone?

People fled from buildings and began running down the same streets they’d taken in September 2001. One man described his experience:

“I work in 30 Hudson, which is the largest building in NJ and is right on the water facing the Statue of Liberty. I ran out of the building after a stampede of people began running out of the building as they saw the jumbo jet being followed by two fighter planes veer sharply towards our building and climb right over it. By the time I got outside, it was coming around for its THIRD pass, and I watched it level off below building height over the water and then once again veer sharply towards the building. Several hundred of us began to run away fearing for our lives before it climbed steeply and flew over our building…

Terrorists? Not this time.

Today was snafu time. Stupidity from the top down and resonating through the various levels of bureaucracy until two pilots on a mission to collect some scenic photo ops ended up scaring the bejeezus out of New York City.

Dumb, dumb, dumb:

The White House apologized late Monday after the U.S. military - without public warning - buzzed New York City with one of the presidential planes trailed by an F-16 fighter jet.

Flying in as low as 1,000 feet to 1,500 feet above New York City and taking photographs along the way, the planes circled the Statue of Liberty and flew over Manhattan, Staten Island, and New Jersey - then vanished.


“I approved a mission over New York,” Louis Caldera, director of the White House military office, said in a hastily-prepared statement. “I apologize and take responsibility for any distress that flight caused.”

Caldera, however, insisted that “federal authorities took the proper steps to notify state and local authorities in New York and New Jersey.”

Now why does that sound like a weasel-worded non-apology?? Because not even the mayor was told about this snipe hunt for scenic vistas from Air Force One. Not that there were any passengers, mind you.

Mayor Bloomberg put it this way:
- - - - - - - - -
“First thing is I’m annoyed - furious is a better word - that I wasn’t told,” he said. “Why the Defense Department wanted to do a photo op right around the site of the World Trade Center catastrophe defies imagination. Poor judgment would be a nice ways to phrase.”

Bloomberg said federal officials notified the NYPD and another city official, whom he declined to identify, of the flight plan.

“Had I known about it I would have called them right away and asked them not to,” he said. “The good news is it was nothing more than an ill considered, badly conceived, insensitive photo op - with the taxpayers’ money.”

The bad news is that everyone involved appears to be stuck on expensively stupid.

There were lots of last minute prayers as people prepared to die:

Air force jet, New York City “I was crying and praying to God to forgive me my sins because I thought I was going to get killed,” said Kathleen Filandro, who fled from One New York Plaza when she spotted the planes. “We have that big space in the sky where the towers once stood. You can’t just do things like this down here.”

“I didn’t know what was going on,” said Eunice Davis, 41, of Brooklyn, who was evacuated from the New York Mercantile Exchange. “Some planes were circling the building. I was afraid. I was here when the World Trade Center went down.”

“We thought we were under attack again,” added a shaken Wall Street worker, who declined to give his name.

NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said the department was told of the “aerial photo mission” last Thursday but ordered to stay quiet about it. But they did alert 911 operators at 7 a.m. to tell callers it was an authorized military mission.

It sounds as though it might be a good idea to load the President and his Teleprompters into Air Force One for a flight to New York so he can personally apologize. As Harry Truman famously remarked, “the buck stops here” (at the President’s desk). If he has real political discernment (as opposed to clever campaigning), Mr. Obama will get on the plane, get off in New York, and say “I’m sorry”. Just those two words, without excuses or blaming. Oh, and he could promise them it won’t happen again on his watch.

Anyone want to bet how long it will take him to apologize? This is the man who claimed never to have heard anything about the three hundred or so tea parties around the country. So no doubt he will swear ignorance about this snafu.

Since the bust of Churchill is gone from the Oval Office I have a suggestion for its replacement: a brass replica of those three little monkeys, “Hear No Evil, See No Evil, and Speak No Evil”.

Never mind. He only needs the first two monkeys. Obama has delegated TOTUS for the third monkey’s job.

News reports used in this post:

New York Daily News
Wall Street Journal
New York Post


Zenster said...

Louis Caldera should have a medal pinned on his chest, just seconds before having his useless bureaucratic @ss booted out of office.

Few people could have done America a better favor than to remind all of them we are just a few box cutters away from another 9-11.

The fact that such a travesty was scheduled with foreknowledge by Presidential authority goes to show just how completely out of touch this administration is with the common people and the Global War on Terrorism.

The only upside to this entire event is that there are now tens of thousands of people who are suddenly one helluva lot more receptive about listening to more information on Islamic terorism.

Were it not so cruel, I'd have flyovers like this every six months until the popular vote began to swing towards deporting all Muslim aliens in America. But that's just me ...

heroyalwhyness said...

quoting Dymphna: ". . .various levels of bureaucracy until two pilots on a mission to collect some scenic photo ops. . ." What kind of project precipitates the need for such 'scenic photo-ops' utilizing executive props (Air Force One, F-16, various levels of government bureaucratic approvals) during a national financial crisis? Inquiring minds want to know.

Ilíon said...

I think this to-the-bone stupidity just may work out to the good of the nation --

Now that the "liberals" have their hands on the levers of power, they seem unable to restrain themselves from being themselves (and, being good little dilute leftists, they can't imagine their hands ever being removed from those levers).

IF the kiddies of the Obama-nation can, by their own constant and very public stupidity, cause the voters to say to themselves, "What in the hell were we thinking?" then this little attempt to make history and reality go away may turn out to have been worth it.

Proud Infidel said...

How much money was wasted on fuel for this unnecessary flight? And how utterly clueless do you have to be to not anticipate the reaction New Yorkers had to this flight in this post 9/11 world? The arrogance and hubris of this bad joke of an administration knows no bounds.

I'd like say the Obama administration is retarded, but that would be an insult to retarded people who would have never come up with this hairbrained scheme. I hope the GOP has the brains to use this flyover video in a campaign ad come 2010 and 2012.

Unknown said...

Why didn't someone just PHOTOSHOP it?

spackle said...

This is just so stupid on so many different levels I dont know where to begin. These people are so out of touch it is breathtaking. As someone who was living in NYC on 9/11 and still has many contacts there I can tell you that the fear from that day is still well ingrained in the back of most New Yorkers brains. Everytime they cross a bridge, take the subway or go through a tunnel they are nervous.

This may be a poor comparison. But can you imagine sending mock V2s over London in '47? Or how about sounding air raid alarms in Tel Aviv for the making of a movie? Crazy, crazy, crazy.

Unknown said...

Jesus Christ..Heaven knows how many idiotic, wasteful, frivolous and highhanded stunts are being pulled without anybody noticing..

And I agree with Illion: it may be this is a good thing. An airliner hunted by F-16's on a sunny morning in New York may remind people in their gut; where it actually matters, how irrelevant the public hullaballoo over the 'torture!' and 'human-rights-abuse!' from the west really is..
'Cause when it gets to the crunch nobody really cares, while in peace-time it is the blood of others being spilled by the polite decisions from innocents who sleep safely in their beds at night

laine said...

New Yorkers have given no indication at the ballot box in municipal, state or federal elections that they understand the message of 9/11 and who protected them from a repeat.

They have repeatedly bitten the hands that sought to prevent a similar tragedy. Their newspaper of record published CIA leaked secrets to help terrorists avoid capture. Their media and political representatives are among the lynch mob gunning for Bush administration officials for non-torture of terrorists for heavens sake!

So why the big panic by New Yorkers over another attack? With their drooling approval, their messiah Obama has weakened the United States in every conceivable way in the eyes of our enemies so it's only a matter of time until they strike again.

Why run from one's own handiwork? Live with the results (or die). At least New Yorkers have the comfort of knowing that they voted for the idiotic Dem politicians and policies that put us all at risk and better yet, with their dying breath they can reaffirm their secular fetish of (non?)racism: "I voted for a completely unqualified president because he looked black and I barred racial profiling of brown people so death is sweet".

Not so sweet for the rest of us who judge people by competence and malignant intention not skin color (i.e. whose survival instinct hasn't been extinguished by P.C.)

Ilíon said...

That's a good point, Laine. Though, at the same time, thre are at least many hundreds of thousands in NY who *do* get it and *didn't* vote for the Down-With-America party.

Afonso Henriques said...

Amazing!! XD

You have to get credit for the man who planed all this. It must have been like the following:
(two men, sitting on a small cafe)
man one: Last night, I got so upset in the restaurant that I started screaming to everybody and making bad faces. I than scared the whole restaurant when I raised the knife above my head and said I'd kill everybody in the room. Everybody run away... I'd like to see you do better than that.

man two: Big deal. I bet ten dollars I can scare the hell out all New York without screaming, bad faces, or weapons.

Damn, this is just one more cool story New Yorkers can tell their grandsons...

Thanyarat Doksone said...

Jon Stewart's take on photoshop people's terrified faces is award-winning!

See a site called Newsy.com for a wrap-up of the media slaying on the issue.