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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Late night news

Frequently at night I put on the radio either the Glenn Beck Show on KTLK 100.3 or Rusty Humphries on AM1280 The Patriot. AM1280 at night is a sketchy listen sometimes down here in Savage. Last night, it was worth the static and background bounce.
I met Rusty at the Minnetonka Marriott for one of the Republican Presidential Debates when the Repubs still had 47 candidates in the running. Well spoken and a real conservative,Rusty is not a "I'm a conservative too. Watch me change" that I run into far too often in Republican circles. Anyhow, last night, he had on Colonel William "Goose" Changose (Air Force,ret.). Seems that Colonel Changose is one of the military "go to" guys that Rusty uses when he needs to flesh out a story or rumor concerning the military. The reason he called the Colonel was to find out what he knew about the about the, well, discrepancies between Hillary's recounting of her landing in Tuzla versus what the video keeps showing. Rusty recounted that the Colonel's reply was "Who told you to call me?" Rusty was a bit taken aback as the Colonel again is a go to. So Rusty asked "Well, why do you ask?" The Colonel's response "Because I was the pilot for Hillary on that C-17 that flew into Tuzla." Oh.
So, Rusty took the Colonel through Hillary's rendition of the Tuzla event.
The background: The reason a C-17 was used is because the other planes in the inventory that transport high level Administration officials (such as Air Force One, the usual 747, and others) are not capable of landing on the short runway at Tuzla. The C-17 has defensive capabilities that the other planes do not. The Secret Service was in charge of all aspects of the flight.
So, off we go.
The Colonel had flown into Tuzla at least twice before: Once with President Clinton and once with Secretary of Defense Perry (I believe is who he said. Reception, as I said was sketchy at times).
Yes, there was armor on the plane. Reason: the Secret Service.
Hillary was instructed to go to the cockpit as it heavily armored. Colonel Changose : The cockpit is armored as that's where the aircrew is. The cargo area isn't armored as, well, it's cargo. Hillary was in the cockpit to talk. Not for protection.
Colonel Changose found her to pleasant and conversant. Colonel Changose also found President Clinton very personable.
Hillary said that the passengers were ordered to sit on their flak jackets.
Colonel Changose replied that they were not. Colonel Changose was clear that he had never seen anyone sit on their flak jackets. He went on to say that whenever flak jackets are present, people are told to put them on, not sit on them. A comment was proffered that only in Apocalypse Now did people sat on flak jackets.
Hillary said there were evasive measures taken (corkscrewed in to Tuzla is the usual phrase).
Colonel Changose replied that as there are very high hills around the Tuzla airbase, he had to come in high and drop. But that was not evasive maneuvering, it was standard landing procedure.
Hillary said that she and the passengers were told to duck and run to the cars as there was active sniper fire.
Colonel Changose said there was nothing of the kind. He also had a pointed comment that reflected a thought I first had when I heard this story: if there were any sniper fire, the Secret Service would have redirected the flight away from Tuzla, immediately! No questions. Colonel Changose offered that no pilot wants to be flying the plane on which the First Lady is killed or wounded. No Secret Service agent would ever allow a landing into a hot zone. Even if Hillary screamed "We've got to get Sheryl Crowe and Sinbad to that USO performance-NOW!" the Secret Service would never have allowed it.
Hillary, wanting to showcase her deep international and diplomatic experience, commented that she was the first high level American official to visit the area after the Dayton Peace Accords.
Colonel Changose said that that was correct. That after President Clinton and SecDef Perry, Hillary was the first high level official to visit Bosnia after the Dayton Peace Accords.
Rusty laughed as I smiled at
Colonel Changose's dry sense of humor.
To be clear, Colonel Changose was direct. He didn't editorialize. He was an officer and gentleman in how he answered Rusty's questions. He didn't take any swipes at Hillary, though she was not his first choice for President.


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