Beautiful Guam didn’t sink last week. But there were so many U.S.
military aircraft at Andersen Air Force Base that the Pacific islanders
and military folks stationed there thought the island just might go down
like the Titanic.
No, this giant Air Force armada wasn’t there for contingency purposes
because of all the anti-American rhetoric blasting out of communist
China. Nor to move U.S. combat troops to South Korea to reinforce our
garrison in that land of never-ending conflict.
Their mission was solely to support Bill Clinton’s diplomatic and
goodwill trip to southern Asia.
An Air Force officer stationed on Guam says, “I saw more C-5A and
C-17 aircraft here than I’ve ever seen in one place in my entire 15-year
The air fleet at Guam is but a portion of the total aircraft tasked
to support the president and his humongous entourage of security and
communications people and the various strap handlers who made up the
most bloated traveling circus an American commander in chief has ever
had. On this safari to the Taj Mahal and points east, even Clinton has
The officer says, “This boondoggle will cost the Air Force alone over
$50 million and limit its ability to execute its regular operational
missions. There are 354 scheduled airlift sorties to support this White
House mission — enough to transport two Army divisions with all their
stuff anywhere on planet Earth.”
When Clinton travels, he moves with a cast of thousands. A lifetime
government employee who’s never signed a payroll check except on the
back, he clearly likes to do things big if he isn’t personally picking
up the tab. A conservative estimate is that his globe-trotting
recklessness in the past eight years has cost the taxpayers pretty close
to a cool billion bucks and along the way ripped the guts out of the Air
Force air-transport fleet to boot.
Since Desert Storm, the fleet has flown its wings off on military
operations all over the world in support of the Pentagon’s nonstop
Robo-Globo-Cop and Meals On Wheels lunacy. The air fleet is badly
strained, and many veteran flyboys and girls say it’s broken from trying
to do too much with too little for too long.
Most of the aircraft are old and worn. The magnificent crews who fly
and maintain these old dogs are equally burned out.
But as long as American citizens don’t scream bloody murder, members
of Congress — who, by the way, very much enjoy Air Force VIP aircraft
carting them around the world on their many junkets — certainly won’t
do their due diligence.
Hopefully, the Air Force brass will rebel and ask Secretary of
Defense William Cohen, who has a penchant for zipping around in plush
military jets himself, to tell “Traveling Bill” to knock it off. Whoever
sounds off first, citizens or brass, it’s time we got rid of the flying
spectacle that’s stealing dollars from spare parts, taking funds away
from war training and wasting bucks that could be used to get
low-rankers off food stamps.
Bill’s other half, Hillary Rodham Clinton, has the Air Force travel
bug as well. For months, Hill’s been whipping back and forth from
Washington, D.C., to New York state one to five times a week via Air
Force VIP Gulfstream jet. Aircraft-running expenses for one round trip
is $5,096, not including costs for air and maintenance crews, a
reinforced squad of Secret Service troops and an Air Force security
sergeant with a bomb-sniffing dog.
For sure, the first lady’s entitled to use military aircraft. But her
travel these days seems mainly about working the system to get Candidate
Clinton and supporters to New York for her shot at the U.S. Senate.
Several Air Force generals are having a hard time biting their
tongues over her blatant abuse of military air assets and the attendant
waste of tax dollars. My spies tell me it might not be long before a
general roars, “Enough already. Take the Delta Shuttle for your
political stuff and let the 89th Airlift Wing do its assigned job.”
Congress needs to have a hard look at the high-flying Clintons and
ground them before the people clip the wings of both the lawmakers and
the Clintons in November.