For a half-hour, the Boeing 747 and F-16 jet circled the Statue of Liberty and the lower Manhattan skyline near the World Trade Center site. Offices evacuated. Dispatchers were inundated with calls. Witnesses thought the planes were flying dangerously low.
Mayor Bloomberg is pissed, as well he should be:
"Why the Defense Department wanted to do a photo op right around the site of the World Trade Center catastrophe defies the imagination," Bloomberg said. "Poor judgment would be a nice ways to phrase it. ... Had I known about it, I would have called them right away and asked them not to."
President Obama is said to be "furious" since he wasn't informed of this either; though we don't know of course if he did know about it, and Caldera, White House director of the military office, is taking the fall. Caldera says he takes complete responsibility:
"Last week, I approved a mission over New York. I take responsibility for that decision," Caldera said. "While federal authorities took the proper steps to notify state and local authorities in New York and New Jersey, it's clear that the mission created confusion and disruption. I apologize and take responsibility for any distress that flight caused."
Being conspiracy inclined, I wonder at this lame excuse of course and see purposeful intent here. This incident reminded me of what the military in Iowa recently planned in February: a fake invasion. Fortunately, they thought better of the idea. What they had planned to do:
The Guard had planned a four-day urban military operation in tiny Arcadia, Iowa, population 443, sending troops to take over the town and search door-to-door for a suspected weapons dealer.
"It will be important for us to gain the trust and confidence of the residents of Arcadia," Sgt. Mike Kots, readiness NCO for Alpha Company, told Carroll's Daily Times Herald. "We will need to identify individuals that are willing to assist us in training by allowing us to search their homes and vehicles and to participate in role-playing.
How implementing a mock invasion and demanding citizens play along would "gain trust and confidence" is an interesting thought.
There is a lot of double speak in this. In response to the fact the military has rethought this plan, Lt. Col. Greg Hapgood said:
And while Hapgood confirmed the Guard had been inundated with objections from citizens concerned about soldiers patrolling the streets of an American town, he said most came from people out of state and unfamiliar with the operation. Iowans, he explained, typically cooperate with the Guard. The change in plans was based on troop evaluation, he said, not public outcry
Probably the troops said something like "Hey, I'm not going out there and risk getting blown away by my fellow citizens; this could get ugly."
Notice too the operation has been "scaled back," which implies there will still be some sort of fake activity that will take place.