Could there have been any other outcome? Louis Caldera, the (now) former director of the White House Military Office has resigned, days after causing panic and outrage by conducting a low-altitude photo shoot of Air Force One over New York City.
Though officials said this was also a ‘training mission’ what could they have been thinking—in particular individuals affiliated with the Oval Office and military—who continue to work on the front lines every day in the ongoing fight against terrorism?
The video and photographic images are downright eerie; when viewing them, it is not hard to understand how residents in and around Manhattan, when suddenly faced with the reality of a large jumbo jet flying low over the Hudson, Statue of Liberty and surrounding skyscrapers flanked by a military jet could not harken back to terrible, life-shattering memories of 911. Police and emergency phone lines were flooded with calls from panicked individuals while equally scared occupants of commercial and residential buildings fled their respective homes and offices for safer ground.
To say nothing of the financial ramifications of such an event. At a time when the White House is preaching fiscal responsibility, they spend nearly $400,000 in tax payer dollars for new photographs? Why not take existing photos of Air Force One, find a good Mac computer and photoshop the plane into images of Americana? I know a number of talented creative professionals who would done a great job for a couple of grand. Instead, police and New Yorkers were caught totally by surprise if not terrified of what was occurring and then slapped further, with the rest of us, with a huge tab.
It will go down in history as one of the biggest governmental PR/Communications/common sense gaffes ever. And the icing on the cake: outgoing Caldera indicating that medication he had been taking may have been responsible for his lack of judgment in the incident. Note to his physician: time to cut the dosage. Military intelligence indeed.