Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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Fasten Your Steatbelts
by Lee

If you want to see true delusional behavior, you can’t beat this.

Sen. James M. Inhofe says terrorists’ attempt to shoot down the C-130 military transport plane carrying him and other lawmakers in Iraq demonstrated the progress of the U.S. military campaign.

“Al Qaeda’s unsuccessful attempt to shoot down this C-130 aircraft was a futile effort to influence its losing fight in Iraq, and served to underscore the reality that terrorism is still a threat and that there is still work to be done,” the Oklahoma Republican said. “The crew’s impeccable training and flawless performance ensured the safety of the aircraft and all personnel on board.”

Mr. Inhofe was aboard the aircraft with Republican Sens. Richard C. Shelby of Alabama and Mel Martinez of Florida and Rep. Robert E. “Bud” Cramer, Alabama Democrat, departing Baghdad en route to Amman, Jordan when they came under fire.

The crew of the aircraft dispensed flares to defeat any potential heat-seeking missile threat and no one was harmed, Mr. Inhofe said.

A few points, if I may.  First, almost five years later, and terrorist elements are still trying to shoot down military aircraft.  This is progress?  To me it’s a clear indication of what a total failure this operation has been.  It’s like when Condi went over there a few months back, and there were press photos of her at the bottom of the ramp of her plane wearing a bullet proof vest.  I was like, you mean to tell me the country is so unsafe that they can’t even secure the airport?

Secondly, this is a plane specially designed to thwart attempts to shoot it down.  It shoots flares.  It does rapid take-offs and landings.  (Have you ever seen Air Force One take off?  It damn near goes vertical as soon as it leaves the ground.) Planes going in and out of hostile zones will do a spiral landing, where they will fly over the airport, then go down in a corkscrew pattern and land.  It makes it extremely difficult to shoot down the plane.

So, the fact that some terrorists attempted and failed to shoot down a military aircraft specifically designed not to be shot down, piloted by a crew who have undergone extensive training on how not to get shot down, is a sign of progress.  I’d hate so see what he thinks is a sign of failure.  When a civilian airliner can land there Inhofe can come talk to me about progress.

Posted by Lee on 08/31/07 at 11:16 AM (Discuss this in the forums)


Posted by Akula on 08/31/07 at 12:22 PM from United States

I’m pretty certain civilian airliners do land there.

And I would say the airport is safe from armed insurgents storming the place. The flak jacket is more to protect against shrapnel from mortars and rockets, with insurgents have used to terrible effect in the past.

Finally, the procedures for high angle landings and take offs don’t do much to make the actual shoot down harder. They do make it so the aircraft doesn’t overfly more potentially hostile ground. But even then, all you’d potentially need to do is get a stinger or an SA-13 within a mile of the airport to have a pretty good chance of shooting it down… or at least scoring a hit. A single shoulder fired SAM probably wont bring down a large, multi-turbine transport. As I understand, these attempts are becoming less frequent, which does that US and Iraqi forces have a better handle on the area surrounding the airport.

All that said, Inhoffe still sounds like an idiot. I don’t think he considered anything I just mentioned… he’s saying it just because.

Posted by on 08/31/07 at 12:33 PM from United States

To every story, spin, spin, spin…

Posted by Lee on 08/31/07 at 12:50 PM from United States

I’m pretty certain civilian airliners do land there.

You’re right, they do.  I meant it more in the sense that when United or British Airways or some other carrier can reliably operate passenger service.  I’m sure there’s some Arabic airline that operates service there (maybe from Jordan or Emirates) or some ragtag outfit, but it’s not like flying into Baghdad is as safe as flying into Riyadh.

Posted by on 08/31/07 at 12:55 PM from United States

Maybe if the female passengers wore headscarves the terrorists would be impressed and not try to shoot down the airplanes.

Posted by on 08/31/07 at 01:19 PM from United States

Very well put, once again, Lee.

Posted by Akula on 08/31/07 at 03:23 PM from United States

I do know the big air cargo companies go in and out. DHL especially.

Posted by mikeguas on 08/31/07 at 08:19 PM from United States

I hear they’ve also hired a new spokesman to report on further progress. Who knew?  Picture

Posted by on 09/02/07 at 04:44 AM from Germany

I don’t know the good senator, nor do I care much about him, but before getting aggravated about the word “progress”, it might be worth checking whether he actually used it or whether it’s the author’s intepretation. Because, if you just look at the quoted sentence, it ain’t that dramatic after all, and the only thing even remotely resembling “progress” is the bit about the “losing war”.

Posted by on 09/02/07 at 08:10 AM from United States

Back in ‘99, a friend of mine called me and said Inhofe just “deadsticked” a landing at a small muni airport a few miles from my home. It seems he was flying a small single-prop aircraft, when the entire prop assembly just fell off the plane. I heard he did a pretty good job getting it down in one piece. I think it was last year he busted up a experimental kit plane on landing, at another muni airport close to me.
Now he’s getting RPG rounds fired at a plane he’s on?

I think future flyers might want to check flight manifests for the name Inhofe.

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