The International House of Waffles
When you were young, you probably felt secure with the idea that the people in charge of the things that shaped your life, first your parents, then your employer, and always the government, its leaders and agencies, had everything under control, that there were systems and plans in place if not for every emergency, for most of them. But as time wore on, public emergencies revealed that few plans of any sort were ever in place, and whatever plans there were, were woefully inadequate, making for feelings of apprehension, danger, and vulnerability.
Depending on your age, the first inkling of vulnerability may have occurred on November 22, 1963, when headlines and television blared the assassination of President Kennedy. Rather than there already being a book of written – or unwritten – procedures for use in such eventuality (considering that in the 100 years preceding the Kennedy assassination, there had been no less than three actual and numerous attempted Presidential assassinations, such emergency plans seem indispensable). However, the Kennedy assassination revealed that there was no plan or procedure whatever in place or available, as everyone scurried about not knowing what to do, where to go, how Vice President Lyndon Johnson should be sworn in, who could swear him in, or when he should be sworn in. All was utter chaos. True, such an event, by its nature, is chaotic. Which is all the more reason that plans to have been drawn up in advance, with calm consideration of the emergency and the chaos that would be extant, to be on hand as a check-list of what to do when panic tears normalcy into chaotic shreds. The Lyndon Johnson swearing-in debacle was accompanied by the utter chaos of those involved in transporting the stricken President to hospital, guarding other officials, attempting to find the culprit, all in utter panic and confusion..
September 11, 2001 was another shocking event that exposed the vulnerable under-belly of general un-preparedness for emergencies. Forget terrorism and the fact that our intelligence agencies knew of potential, if not pending, terrorist plots; knew the dangerous foreign people were learning straight ahead flying, forget landings and take-offs; knew that planes could be used to crash into buildings and facilities; that some of those agencies refused to share the information, others chose to ignore it. Putting aside terrorism, 9/11 revealed clearly that there were no guidelines or procedures in place to deal with plain vanilla readily foreseeable catastrophic event in skyscrapers, like a humongous fire, or explosion, or a power outage that disables elevators, water pumps, electricity to the upper floors. How did the people purportedly in charge of The World Trade Center expect to get water up 101 floors, in the event of a fire which disabled the water pumps? Unquestionably, water can not go up 80, 90, or 100 stories without electric pumps during a worst case scenario. Can’t you, right this moment, think of a disabling event which would sever access to the upper floors, a fire, a transformer explosion, broken pipes causing a humongous flood. Well, so could the those people purportedly in charge of those buildings envision catastrophes. Yet, they did nothing to implement any contingency plan whatever to deal with such emergency.
How did those same powers-in-charge expect to rescue people from the top end of the Towers it there was a fire, explosion, or other event that made descent impossible? Helicopters – as some of the poor 9/11 victims hoped? Well, possibly. But was there such an evacuation plan in place? Not on your life. Not on the lives of the poor victims who had been lulled by the thought that the people in charge must know what they’re doing.
That conceit reminds one of the Titanic, the ship that was so unsinkable, worst case plans (lifeboats) were unnecessary? Utterly absurd to think a ship unsinkable, you say. Indeed! Those naval engineers thought safety was no a major issue for the passengers on the Titanic. Unfortunately, the ostriches in charge of modern skyscrapers everywhere are equally absurd in their failure to address reality.
Which brings us to more recent circumstance which proves beyond conjecture that no one has a clue or a forethought: the war in and the freeing of Iraq!
First of all, if the truth is ever told, there aren’t, weren’t, WMD in Iraq. Never were. Forget finding, even looking for WMD. We couldn’t even find the immense physical plants, factories, processing plants necessary to manufacture WMD in the amounts that our President and his clique specifically enumerated and avowed on television and in congress. Were the huge manufacturing plants and facilities buried in the ground, or whisked off to Iran and Afghanistan? Shall someone poking a shovel in the ground suddenly come upon acres of buildings and manufacturing facilities? More absurdity.
The President intimated at the time he stampeded the country into war that Saddam Hussein was in league with Al Queda. VP Cheney, famous in other circles as Darth Vader, still thinks so – which tells us where he’s at. President Bush countered in the face of reality, okay, so there’s no link – but bad guys are bad guys, right? And we’re good guys, right? So, everything’s okay, right? The war is over, said the President, all decked out in an ersatz flying suit. Yet more troops were killed after his statement than before. He’s struggling to hold an angry tiger by the tail, and simpering ‘What tiger’? So sayeth Alfred E. Newman
How about the ground troops necessary to secure the peace? Mr. Rumsfeld – who like Captain Ahab, gives the outward appearance of calm control at the helm – says there are enough troops on the ground. The honest generals say there are not nearly enough troops, that we’ll need a force of 300,000 to 500,000, that our troops shall have to extend their tours, that we need to call up more troops, that foreign nations will have to kick in to pull our chestnuts out of the fire.
The President formulates a plan. He’ll go to the U.N. and ask them to contribute money and troops – which , of course, directly acknowledges that we do not have enough troops. Some plan, asking foreign nations to join a sinking ship when those very nations refused to get on the boat in the first instance. To boot, there’s a proviso: we will only play with your ball (read troops and money) if we’re absolutely, positively, unilaterally in charge of the game. Hunh?
The economy of the U.S. is in a shambles, the Administrations tax cuts have turned billions in surplus to billions in deficit, and the President wants 87 billion more to save his war, his face, his presidency. Oh, maybe we won’t need to put our money. We’ll get other sucker nations, like France and Germany, to foot the bill. You think?
Is that really President of the United States or is it the President of the International House of Waffles formulating these plans?
The only reason to re-thresh all of the above is to bring us to consider this: is anybody in charge? Is anyone in control, here? Does anybody have a real plan? Does anybody even know what the problem is? Or is our nation in the hands of a President – in a tricked-out flying suit – who is playing house? The lack of answers, the denials in the face of facts, the deceptions already perpetrated, and continuing, make you feel that we’re very much at risk. Very much at risk? That wasn’t the way we thought it was. That isn’t the way it should be.