What the hell were they thinking?
Oh, right ... that's sort of the problem. Someone was clearly not thinking when they decided to fly the substitute Air Force One at low altitude among buildings in downtown Manhattan.
For the purpose of getting new photos of Air Force One with national landmarks like the Statue of Liberty.
Now, answer me this. Be honest now. When was the last time you actually saw such a photo? I mean, have you ever seen a photo of Air Force One flying by Lady Liberty's torch? Or the Empire State Building? I'm betting that the first such photos you, like me, ever saw of such a scenario were the heart-attacking inducing images that we saw on our computer screens and newspapers of this atrocity (Assuming you, like me, are one of those dinosaurs who actually prefer a newsprinted newspaper these days).
I mean, this is just sheer bullshit on so many levels.
We're hanging on by a thread here in the worst goddamn economic crisis of our time, one that my kids and grandkids will be paying for until ... well, forever. And we need a photo op of Air Force One among the New York landmarks? Are you freakin' KIDDING me? I read something today (not from an official source, probably a comment on a newsposting or something) that claimed this little photo op cost $2 million dollars. Two million dollars! This may or may not be true, but you can believe it wasn't free. Someone had to pay for this. Take a guess who that was? You and me, baby. You and me.
The problem is, the real people aren't going to pay diddly-squat for this complete and utter stupidity. Louis E. Caldera, the director of the White House Military Office who approved this insanity, might have officially apologized, and Obama might have called this a mistake, but you or I would have had our behinds drop kicked to the curb. We live in a world where an employee with over 30 years of service and an exemplary work history can be fired for taking a pair of reading glasses to complete his job, like Bob from Acme was. But yet everyone who was involved in this flyover is, presumably, going to work tomorrow and, presumably, making a shitload more money than Bob from Acme.
And another point: didn't we just have an incident where a jetliner plunged into the Hudson because of a bird strike? Didn't we just read reports that such incidents are much more common than you would have ever imagined? What if there was such an incident during this flyover photo op? What if the pilot had a heart attack and crashed into a building?
Would it have still been called a mistake?
Would the price have been worth it?
Finally, I'll tell you what I think this incident truly illustrates in a picture-perfect way. I think it tells us that a few people in our government have clearly forgotten 9/11. Not the everyday Jane and Joe who goes to work in New York's financial services district and elsewhere. No, by the reactions of people who fled office buildings yesterday, they sure haven't forgotten their colleagues jumping out of windows 60, 70, 80 stories in the air. They haven't forgotten the horror that was 9/11. )
Rather it's the people in charge of the White House Military Office who have forgotten what that day was like. They may deny it, but their actions of keeping this from the public so blatantly shows that they have forgotten what September 11, 2001 was like for this country. Call me melodramatic (hell, I've been called much worse) but that, my friends, will now keep me up at night - as it should you.
In the meantime, here's a message for Louis Caldera. Mosey on over to adobe.com and download yourself a free copy of Photoshop. With any luck, unemployment will give you lots of free time to learn how to use it the next time you find yourself in need of a few new photos of Air Force One appearing to fly into buildings in New York City on a picture-perfect gorgeous day with not a cloud in the sky.