Pointless hardware. Photo by Kevin Weber
In the first of several planned, what-the ever-loving-Christ-were-they-thinking moves, the U.S. military performed exceedingly expensive, nauseatingly pointless flyovers over COVID-embattled New York City Tuesday in what was billed as "a touching display of American resolve." Impeached President Trump announced the brilliant "Operation America Strong" last week, claiming it was "the idea of our great military men and women...who wanted to show support to the American medical workers, who just like military members in a time of war are fiercely running forward the fight (sic)." The half-hour flyovers by the shiny hardware of our endless wars - specifically, Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels - were conducted over New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia in their first run; they're also scheduled for Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Baltimore and over a dozen more cities. New Yorkers were "overwhelmingly uninspired" by the unexpected presence of military-scale jets roaring over a still-9/11 traumatized city: "Oh yeah...planes loudly flying over NYC is an anxiety-free sound that everyone here enjoys." And, "For those of you who were with us on 9/11 and still suffer from PTSD...let us make new memories for you in this great city with, uh, the same sights and sounds as uh, well. Hmm..."
As those on the ground ignored social distancing rules to gape at the show - "My God...the virus...it has planes now!" - many cited the heedless cost at a time of dire need. The military argued flyovers will incur no additional cost because pilots have to practice anyway, but facts owe: Each $20-million plane costs about $8,000 to fly for an hour, a six-plane flyover at the 2011 Super Bowl cost about $450,000, each plane burns over 1,200 gallons of fuel an hour. Most grievously, estimates of the total cost of this chest-thumping vanity project run to over $1.32 million - enough to buy dozens of much-needed ventilators at $20,000 a pop at New York hospitals that are now "petri dishes," with scores of healthcare workers working long shifts, sometimes sick, for less than a living wage, without masks and other protective equipment. Given that grim reality - never mind widespread hunger and unemployment - the obscene waste incensed: "Here it is. The sum total of the Trump administration's effort to help first responders. Forget the PPE shortages. Forget the complete absence of a plan on testing...Indeed, forget the death toll. Look at the shiny airplanes." And: "The #flyover went right over the hospital in our neighborhood that's using duct tape on ventilators if you're wondering how thrilled we are about this pointless display." Meanwhile, on Wednesday, with over a million cases and 60,000 deaths, Jared Kushner declared the U.S. response "a great success story." Really, just fuck these sociopaths. Let them eat planes.