Monday, April 27, 2009

White House Scares the ¢ ®@p Out of New Yorkers

When the President of the United States wants a photo op, he has the Air Force as his toy and the New York City skyline as his playground. Who cares if it scares the living daylight out of New Yorkers?

According to the New York Post, New Yorkers were shocked to see a jumbo jet being chased by a fleet of F 16's in a maneuver that was planned in advance. Unfortunately for New York City residents, not even Mayor Bloomberg was made privy in advance to the harrowing stunt. he New York Post reported as follows.

"A jumbo jet being chased by a F-16 fighter jets buzzed Lower Manhattan this morning, panicking New Yorkers, many of whom were forced to evacuate their office buildings.

It was not a terrorist attack, however, but a photo opportunity for Air Force One, sources told the Post.

President Obama was in Washington at the time, but the low-flying 747 circling the Statue of Liberty was one of the planes used as Air Force One, sources said."

Although law enforcement was notified in advance, neither Mayor Bloomberg nor the news media was notified of the planned flight over the city, in which planes flew low over the Verrazano Bridge and buzzed the left ear of the Statue of Liberty. The flight over the city was so low that thousands of office workers flooded the street when their buildings were evacuated. Many who had vivid memories of 9/11 were especially frightened by the low flying planes.

Mayor Bloomberg was reportedly livid at the disrespect show him and to millions of New Yorkers. Even if had been necessary to keep the flight exercises secret, the Mayor could at the right time have informed citizens that there was no cause for alarm.

Mayor Bloomberg was quoted by the New York Post as follows.

"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."

According to the Department of Defense , the Presidential Airlift Group was conducting photo exercises. What value such exercises might have had in terms of military preparedness was not made clear. Hopefully in the future there will be better preparation of the public and its elected officials in advance of any exercises that might be necessary. The fright and anxiety of average New Yorkers should be given weight in plans of this sort. The aloofness of the Department of Defense from the concerns of average New Yorkers does not put them in a very positive light. A bit more consideration next time would be nice.

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