Now that the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) balloon has been shot down over the Atlantic Ocean, there’s no need to worry any longer.
And ‘tis true that whatever the goal of the CCP balloon was, Americans know it’s been achieved.
So, in the immortal words of Mad magazine’s most iconic figure, Alfred E. Neuman, “What, Me Worry?” There’s no need for Americans to worry.
However, before we look at the actual ramifications of the balloon, let’s look back at some of the humor associated with this incident.
First, there were the limited comments that this was nothing more than a balloon left over from the Chinese New Year gone astray.
Secondly, someone out there (pun intended) made the comment that President Biden was seen driving his Corvette around town while listening to the 5th Dimension singing, “Up, Up and Away.”
That’s plausible, too, seeing as how the president always seems to be in another dimension when answering questions about issues that affect the security of our nation.
Then again, perhaps, the president had “Aquarius” on his mind.
It’s not difficult to envision the top down on the president’s convertible Corvette while reminiscing about “(Letting) the sunshine in,” which is also plausible.
But should Americans be alarmed and concerned?
Yes, they should. Especially when there’s so much plausibility and humor that it even makes Alfred E. Neuman worry, too.
And that, gentle readers, is not in the least bit funny.
So, let’s address the dangerous dilly-dallying and dithering of our administration beginning with the National Security Agency (NSA), which at the time the CCP balloon was first observed could have been called the national insecurity agency.
A short timeline tells us all we need to know.
According to an unnamed senior military official, “On Jan. 28, the balloon entered U.S. airspace north of the Aleutian Islands in Alaska.”
Then on Jan. 30, another unnamed senior military official said, “The balloon entered Canadian airspace over the Northwest Territories.”
Continuing with yet another unnamed senior military official, seemingly in over-abundance, said, “The balloon... reentered U.S. airspace over northern Idaho on Jan. 31.”
Then on Feb. 1, at 4:21 p.m., EST, the balloon was sighted over Reed Point, Mont.
And for obvious reasons, the balloon was then sighted over Malmstrom Air Force Base, where it seemed to slow down and stop for approximately two hours, which begs the question: if this was just a weather-data gathering balloon as reported by the Chinese government, how did it seem to slow down and stop in midair when the jet stream should have prevented this?
Of course, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure all this out, either.
In fact, our administration demanded (with a small d) answers from the Chinese government, but all they got in reply was rhetorical lying lip service.
Malmstrom Air Force Base is home to the 341st Operations Group that provides security and forces to launch, monitor and secure Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) along with missile alert facilities, where the balloon was no doubt recording data for the Chinese government while sending the information back simultaneously.
So much for our national security being compromised.
One might say our administration, along with the NSA were a day late and a dollar short.
Or, as previously mentioned, mesmerized in dangerous dilly-dallying and dithering.
One of the excuses for not shooting down the balloon over Montana, was attributed to falling debris and the dangers associated to the civilian population below.
It’s quite possible the dangers would have been minimal and limited, though.
Of course, any danger to Montana, along with the entire population of the U.S. had already been accomplished by the Chinese government. They got what they came for, and the balloon continued on its merry way as it was filmed and sighted over Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, and South Carolina, before its voyage ended just off the coast of South Carolina, when on Feb. 4, at 2:39 p.m., EST, and according to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, “(the balloon) was shot down over U.S. territorial waters by an F-22 assigned to U.S. Northern Command.”
And thus, the danger was over?
No, not really.
From Jan. 28, through Feb. 4, a period covering at least eight days, and more than 4,647 air miles, the NSA sat on their thumbs, when in reality they should have shot the balloon down when it was first spotted over the Aleutian Islands. It’s not as if they didn’t know what it was.
But now, we’ve been assured by those same NSA moguls that the U.S. will recover the debris — which is spread out over seven nautical miles and only 47 feet deep in the Atlantic Ocean — and will immediately inform us all as to what they have discovered.
No, they won’t because our own government doesn’t think Americans can handle the truth.
However, the American people already know the truth. The dry run by the Chinese government has been accomplished.
Now all we need to worry about is what?
Just more dangerous dilly-dallying and dithering by our government.
My, my, what a comfort that is.
Larry French lives in Butler. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and teaches composition and literature at East Tennessee State University. You may reach him at FRENCHL@etsu.edu.