Okay, I am going to show my age. There was an episode in the 1966-67 season of the comedy F-Troop when Hekawi Chief Wild Eagle is sitting with his sidekick Crazy Cat when Crazy Cat looks up into the sky and says, "Chief, I have a riddle for you. What has big round shape, carries man and dog and flies?" The chief answers he doesn't know but when he looks up into the sky, he exclaims, "IT IS BALLOOOOOON!" For more than fifty years, I have remembered that stupid episode and have often looked up in the sky, seen balloons and said the exact same thing; often to the strange looks from people passing by.
But as stupid as that episode was, it pales in comparison to the foolish look on the face of our well-worn president who so ineptly looked up into the sky and almost seemed to say, "It is Chinese spy balloon. Oh well, nothing to see here." I know in my last Robservation, I pretty much slammed our president and others on the classified information scandal. And yes, since then, they have found even more documents. At some point, hopefully people in our government will act and do the right thing about this. But enough of that. This episode of Robservations brings an equally disturbing chapter in the story about our Commander-in-Chief.
After the debacle that was the Afghanistan withdrawal, I really did not think President Biden could do any worse. He has proven me wrong so many times now, I do not know where to start. All I can say about Afghanistan is that if they had asked me to plan the evacuation and said build a team and make it happen, I would have taken 5 or 6 guys I worked with at Maxwell AFB in the campaign planning class I taught, and we would have done a successful evac. Absolutely no doubt about it. How they messed it up so badly, who only knows. I think if people actually tried to screw it up intentionally, they could not have done a better job. This is the truth.
Flash forward to February 2023, we have a Chinese spy balloon flying over the continental United States for over 5 days and our fearless, Ray-Ban wearing president gets on television loudly bragging that he "took it down." And by the way, as he so proudly boasts, he makes no apology about it. For one thing, he should not apologize about shooting down an enemy object in our airspace but more importantly, we all must realize that he took this action only after the balloon had completed its spy mission. Every single American should be disgusted at the milk toast response by this administration. We had ample opportunities to shoot this monstrosity down over land but instead let it fly over several sensitive military sites across the entire continental United States and sending who knows what data back to China.
In case there are some out there who do not quite understand the importance of this, let me make it simple to understand. The President of the United States allowed the Communist Chinese military to fly a spy craft over our country and WE DID NOT DO A FRIGGEN THING!! There, simple enough. "Hey, Rob. Like the president said, we did shoot it down." Yeah, but again, only after it completed its mission. Do you not get it? Imagine that after the Enola Gay dropped its bomb on Hiroshima and Japanese air defenses only then shot it down. Uhhhhhhh? What would be the point. That would be absolutely no reason to cheer if you were the Japanese military. In many cases, people like to throw about the term "dereliction of duty." Well, I believe here is a clear case of it. Much like Afghanistan.
What I have compiled from several sources is the timeline of events for this Chinese balloon.
28 January: Balloon enters southern tip of Alaska near Aleutian Islands.
30 January: Balloon enters Canadian airspace.
31 January: Balloon reenters American airspace, crossing into northern Idaho.
1 February: Balloon flies over Malmstrom AFB and its nuclear missile silos. A Billings Montana resident captures the balloon on video. Biden actually says to shoot it down if it can be accomplished without undue risk to people on the ground. Chinese embassy in Washington is advised that we reserve the right to do whatever is necessary to protect American interests.
2 February: General information is finally released to the American public. Another balloon is spotted flying over Latin America.
3 February: Balloon flies over Kansas and Missouri including Whitman AFB, home of the USAF B-2 Bombers. China claims it is just a weather balloon that strayed off course due to winds. Chinese Foreign Minister spokesperson Mao Ning says that China has no intention of violating American airspace. (This reminds me of a scene from Beverly Hills Cop when Eddie Murphy is in the police station after being arrested. He says, "I'm the guy who got thrown out of the window." Officer Taggert says something like, "We have witnesses who said you stormed into the building, starting tearing up the place and jumped through the window." Murphy looks at Taggert and says, "And you believe that?")
4 February: Balloon spotted over Asheville and Charlotte, N.C. and then over South Carolina. At around 1440 EST, an Air Force F-22 shot the balloon down and it crashed into the Atlantic Ocean.
What we have here is yet another record of incompetence. The entire notion of not wanting to risk damage to people on the ground is ludicrous. I have spent many, many hours flying over the northern tier of our country and the Midwest and there are hundreds, if not thousands of square miles of beautiful nothingness to look at. Maybe a ranch or two here and there but nothing that would necessitate allowing a Chinese spy mission to be completed, unhindered and unobstructed. One report said that we were careful to not transmit sensitive data when it was flying overhead. Ohhhhh, pretty gutsy stuff there, Maverick. The moment this piece of airborne trash hit our airspace over Alaska, they should have shot it down. Questions? Our military knew it was there. We had been tracking it. But no, we let a foreign nation invade our airspace and we chose to do nothing. Nothing. "But, Rob. . ." Yeah, I know. We shot it down. But only after their mission was completed; whatever that mission may have been. Who knows? I don't? I don't care.
True to form, the Chinese have come out and said that we have likewise flown 10 balloons over China since 2022. Remember the Eddie Murphy line? Even if that is true, which I certainly do not believe, why did they not shoot them down? You mean to tell me the Chinese would willingly let an American spy balloon transit their airspace unhindered. That falls in the category of "Not Believable in the Least." Think of Francis Gary Powers and his U-2. In the world of espionage, most countries play the same dirty game. The difference is the Russians shot down the U-2, rightfully so. They did not willingly let it complete its mission. How many missiles were wasted through the years trying to shoot down SR-71s? We spy, they spy, everybody spies. But you don't willingly let the enemy complete their tasks. That my friends, is dereliction of duty.
So, tell me. What do you think would have happened if Reagan was president and we had men like Jimmy Doolittle, Curtis LeMay, Robin Olds or Billy Mitchell leading our military? I am sure almost everybody reading this Robservation knows exactly what would have happened. So, what is one key takeaway from this travesty? Not only China but the whole world now questions the testicular determination of American leadership. If we are willing to let this type of military incursion go by unpunished, what else are we willing to ignore? If we are not willing to shoot down a frappin' spy balloon over American sovereign territory, what do the Chinese think we will do when they invade Taiwan? Heck, it is possible this balloon was nothing more than a test to see our reactions to an obvious intrusion into our airspace. If that is the case, the Biden administration failed miserably; AGAIN! For what it is worth, I think it was a nefarious intrusion, and yes, the whole world watched the entire shameful debacle in real time. Time to brace ourselves for whatever is headed our way next. Whatever it is, I am sure the current group of leaders will fail in their task. The saddest part of this is their failures and incompetence hurts all of America. This is not a time to gloat.