Friday, April 2, 2010

"Uh, we don't anticipate that"

I don't know how I missed it until now, and maybe you guys have already seen or heard about this, but I have to share a literally almost unbelievable story with you from the PACOM commander's testimony to the House Armed Services Committee earlier this week. The hijinks took place during a rather drawn-out series of questions from Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) about Guam's length and breadth and width, and then a zinger about the ability of Guam to apparently physically, literally support the presence of more U.S. personnel:

Addressing Adm. Robert Willard, who commands the Navy's Pacific Fleet [sic -- Willard was formerly at PacFleet, but now commands PACOM], Johnson made a tippy motion with his hands and said sternly, "My fear is that the whole island will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize."

Willard paused and said: "We don't anticipate that."

Like other islands, Guam is attached to the sea floor, which makes it extremely unlikely that it will tip over, even if there are lots and lots of people on it. Guam is 30 miles long and up to 9 miles wide in certain spots, with a population of 175,000 civilians. The military is proposing the addition of 8,000 U.S. servicemembers and their families.

Reached for comment, a spokesman for Johnson said the lawmaker had visited Guam, and his concern was that the influx of military personnel would overwhelm the island's infrastructure and ecosystem.

The spokesman's explanation makes little sense when you consider that Johnson led into the whole tip over and capsize thing by trying to pin down the island's precise dimensions. Apparently he thought Guam was just a rather large raft.

So, uh, yeah... we don't anticipate that.

Check out the video yourself. It boggles the mind. I honestly would have thought this was some sort of April Fools' thing if I hadn't seen it for myself.

11 comments:

  1. IS it an April Fool's Day thing? Like from the congressman?

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  2. A bunch of people voted that guy into office. And there is no law preventing them from voting again.

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  3. Oh ho ho I am laughing my head off - now why don't you write a blog post telling me why that can't actually happen --- I mean, any chance he wasn't intending on being interpreted quite so literally??

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  4. Oh come on, it was a metaphor. The congressman was just trying to suggest that there was an awful lot of military heading to that island. Relax...

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  5. Oh come on, it was a metaphor. The congressman was just trying to suggest that there was an awful lot of military heading to that island. Relax...

    Uh, no, really, it wasn't. Check out the video. Read the transcript.

    He wasn't joking.

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  6. I haven't watched the video, and don't know anything about the situation, but over at Chicago Boyz there was some speculation that he is ill (with hepatitis C) and that might be affecting his speech. Again, I don't know of the accuracy of any of that and haven't watched the above. I suspect I would find it too depressing for a variety of reasons.

    - Madhu

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  7. I found this link:

    The Lithonia Democrat's already-thin frame has shed 30 pounds in the past year. His speech is slower than ever, and he regularly gets lost in thought in the middle of a discussion. He is easily fatigued and often impatient and irritable.

    Monday, he revealed why.

    "In an exclusive interview with the AJC, Johnson disclosed he has been battling hepatitis C, an incurable, blood-borne liver disease, for more than a decade.

    He was officially declared free of the virus in January, but it has ravaged his liver, resulted in thyroid problems and other health issues, including depression, for which he's also being treated. To keep the disease in remission, Johnson is going through an experimental treatment that he said has been the worst part so far.

    "I am weaker than I ever have been," Johnson, 55, said in his Capitol Hill office."

    http://www.ajc.com/news/u-s-rep-hank-230506.html

    If that is the case, perhaps someone needs to help the man out - an health intervention? If he is not capable of doing his job, or if he needs help to do it, then his peers need to step in.

    - Madhu

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  8. If that is the case, perhaps someone needs to help the man out - an health intervention? If he is not capable of doing his job, or if he needs help to do it, then his peers need to step in.

    If this sort of thing happened, the list would start with the old, senile, and basically incapacitated, which is to say Robert Byrd. Unfortunately there's not any sort of recourse beyond "recall" by the voters, so far as I can tell.

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  9. But can't they help him in some way? Committee work that is not to onerous or something?

    You have good, point, I guess, it's just sad to see. As I stated, for a variety of reasons.

    - Madhu

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  10. Can some of the military vets give commentary on this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is9sxRfU-ik

    It is creating a SHIT STORM of controversy. Check the reddit front page. Everyone is screaming bloody murder. So could you guys give me your 2 cents?

    Essentially a bunch of people, mainly from reddit, are accusing the military of intentionally killing civilians that were unarmed (including reporters), then killing women and children, and then trying to cover it up.

    -Deus Ex

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