Sunday, July 10, 2011

Insights from the Field

by Thelma Jacqueline Straw

My Kind of Guy

The first time I saw Robert M. Gates was at a meeting by-invitation-only at the New York Athletic Club. He had just been appointed head of the C.I.A. and his troops at the Association of Former Intelligence Officers snagged him for an evening presentation at the tony Manhattan Club.

As we waited for his entrance I was mightily impressed by the closed ranks of the men in dark suits and black shoes that ringed the entire perimeter of the room. I felt my very thoughts could be read and carefully scrutinized. The wall-to-wall guards were as still as the stones at Stonehenge. I was scared to breathe.

The new DCI did not walk in. He rushed into the room. You were aware a very important person had come in the door.

I don't remember much of WHAT he said that night, but HOW he spoke made such an impression I now feel deep emotion at the thought of his leaving the life of public service at a time when we so sorely need men of his brand of integrity and impeccable stature.

An historian by training, Gates was the first Secretary of Defense to work for two presidents of different parties.

I find it now historically touching that his Pentagon office with sweeping views of the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and a Potomac River marina will soon be inhabited by another DCI I admire, Leon Paretta, also a faithful soldier for the homeland.

A native of Kansas, Bob Gates will not miss his heavy ubiquitous security entourage.

One of his first moves in his post Washington D.C. life to a calmer setting in Washington state will be to drive himself to Burger King!

With or without fries, Mr. Secretary???

Bob Gates, my kind of guy...

Under Attack?

Watched the famous golf game the other day down at Andrews Air Force Base.

Happiness all around. Long pants. Short pants. Shoes like teenagers wore in the Forties.

I grinned. Their families grinned. The world grinned.

Five hours long, the only focus an itty-bitty white ball, so tiny a puppy could push it in one of the teensy holes.

Maybe now they'd stop all the fussing and cussing. The Beltway would unparalyze. Jobs could flow. The " fractious, backbiting, finger-pointing, polarizing, partisan, kick-the-can-down-the-road brinkmanship" of Washington politics would cease.

Then, it s-l-o-w-l-y dawned on me: Out top three leaders were all standing on one small piece of green turf !!!

Ohmygod, WHAT IF?????

My POTUS, my Veep, and my Speaker . . . all so close on a minuscule piece of sod. One breath of the wrong wind could take them out quicker than you can read this sentence.

I know from Potential Disaster. I pour over those erudite tomes by my pals Vince and Tom and Brad.

And I keep an eye on those know-all pundits on CNN and MSNBC. Plus all 3 C-SPANS!

I know as much as Candy or Diane or Brian or Chuck!

I'm privy to all the esoterica that Bob Mueller 3, Leon CIA/DEF, Newt and Jay Leno know.

Did the Secret Service inspect every single ball? Somebody could insert a time-sensitive explosive in one of those toys! And if it rained somebody with an umbrella could shoot one of them with some of that ricin stuff.

Tom Clancy and Vince Flynn could tell you precisely how to do it.

And those fellas that help the bigwigs dress. Did they inspect all the pockets and drawer inseams?

Whew, I get nervous just thinking about what could have happened that nice Saturday down at Andrews golf course on that perfect grass.

Speaking of grass – didn't those bozos hear about how bean sprouts and cucumbers could gun you down? Think what poisoned GRASS could do???

I grab my Diet Coke and inhale a slug of caffeine.

Did the D.C. handlers realize the imminent dangers? Were the Secret Service only a heartbeat away – or were they taking a time-out to put new batteries in their ears or synchronize their Platinum Rolexes?

And that guy with the chain-cum-suitcase: Where was he on that piece of sod?

Was he wearing long or short pants?

Did he don golf gloves to better grab hold of his little powder keg?

Did the Andrews groundskeepers sniff every inch of that turf?

You can put one helluva punch in a pinch of explosives and hide it down in those teensy holes.

Ask the guys down at Quantico or over at Fort Detrick.

I got scared stiff. All those photo ops on TV. Every human on the planet could see MY guys were on their own.

And how about them Greys, snooping on us from their UFO cylinders in Outer Space???

Hey, don't get me started on THAT WHAT IF !!!

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