Let Us NEVER Forget

There is no need to repeat the entire horrific event, yet these few images remind us that terrorism is real.

Today marks the first anniversary of the horrific events of September 11, 2001 since President G. W. Bush left office.  Say what you may, and I am no Bush fanboy, but America has been a safer place since that awful day.  I had planned to commemorate the anniversary by contrasting Obama’s speech today with his reaction in 2001.  However, a small bit of idiocy occurred today and, well, this blog is called An American Idiot.

In recent months we’ve seen more terror attacks from our own government than from hateful foreigners.  Recall the Air Force One-clone attack on New York?  Today, on the anniversary of the largest most dangerous terror attacks in world history, (yes – world,) you would think the government and the military would refrain from public exercises.

However, that was not the case.  In what the Washington Post called, “Keystone Kops on the Potomac,” the U.S. Coast Guard decided to hold exercises that involved simulated gunfire in the vicinity of the President.  This was truly a moment for one to wonder aloud, “what the heck were they thinking.”

Vice Admiral John Currier explains why there was nothing wrong with the decision to hold the training on 9/11

Of the all days to hold training exercises within sight of the public, September 11 is the worst possible day.  This is especially true when such training comes without a public announcement.  (I say this knowing that the Coast Guard holds training exercises on the Potomac about four times a week.)

Now in fairness to the Coast Guard, the furor was triggered by a reporter or other media staff.  Someone who apparently works for CNN overheard Coast Guard radio chatter related to the exercise.  Likely unfamiliar with military exercises and interpreting what they heard out of context, the listener concluded something “big” was going on – possibily another terror attack on the anniversary of the WTC attack.  CNN defends their decision to run with the story since there was visual corroboration in the form of rapidly moving Coast Guard vessels in the river.

CNN went on to state that not reporting the story would have been “irresponsible.”  I doubt irresponsible is the right word, however, we must remember that the news business is a very competitive business and not being first to report a breaking story is a cardinal sin.  So I don’t fault the news outlets for reporting the story.  The fault lies with the Coast Guard for not having the sense to remember what day is it.

I could fault the person who mistook the verbal words, “bang, bang, bang” for actual live gunfire.  However, Currier admitted someone could have said, “I’ve expended X number of rounds,” over the radio.  Certainly that would trigger the primal REPORT instinct of any reporter.

I know it would have triggered mine.  Think about it, you’re watching Coast Guard vessels dart about like something is going on – while the Presidential motorcade is crossing the river and you are hearing Coast Guard officers talking about a boat “breaching security” and describing rounds fired.  What else could you conclude?

White House Press Secretary Gibbs always finds a way to annoy me.  Today was no different.  In his snotty manner, he admonished the press, “before reporting things, checking would be good.” Like Gibbs would know even if there were a serious attack underway.  I seem to recall he knew nothing about the Air Force One-like plane flying over New York last spring.

My favorite quote from Vice Admiral Currier came when he said, “This is very instructive for us. We’re going to review our own protocols, our own procedures. . . . We may even ask some of you for advice on how we can preclude this type of thing from happening again.” I certainly hope so.  Oh, and you can start with this one, don’t plan exercises on September 11.

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