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QRQ 30
06-17-2004, 13:12
This morning the commander of NORAD stated that if he had acted as soon as he got word of the situation from the FAA he could have shot down the planes. OK!

WHAT IF the USAF had shot down four airliners with a loss of about 1000 lives, not to speak of any collateral damage on the ground. WHAT IF they had done this before the aircraft could complete their mission. Based upon different reactions to the president's actions, do you really suppose that the american population would have accepted such action without proof of the aircraft's mission? I think not.

Damned if you do and damned if you don't!

Kyobanim
06-17-2004, 13:15
I don't think there really is a good answer to that morning, other than it not happening at all or maybe doing the same thing the pax on the plane that went down in PA did.

You're right, damned if you do, damned if you don't

Team Sergeant
06-17-2004, 13:16
I had thought the same thing a few days after the attack. I agree with you, Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

NousDefionsDoc
06-17-2004, 16:55
Can you imagine having to make that decision before what happened on 9-11?

Maple Flag
06-17-2004, 18:42
I'm not sure if the decision would have been more difficult before 9-11 when there was no precedent attack of this sort to support a shoot down (relatively easy to decide "don't shoot", and you're sure to get judged harshly if you shoot down an airliner without precedent), or now when there is a precendent attack to force a shoot down as a real consideration.

Ultimately, in both cases, strong leaders will make the best decision based on the information they have, and worry about public reaction after the most people possible have been saved.

The Reaper
06-17-2004, 18:53
Well, with the passengers today knowing what fate awaits them, hopefully some competent armed Federal Agents on board, and a reinforced cockpit door with armed pilots, that decision will never have to be made again.

The last aircraft which will be taken with edged weapons (hopefully) went down in a Pennsylvania field.

I believe that given a few minutes with the aircraft over non-critical areas, and an interceptor with cannons, as well as missiles, you might be able to inflict sufficient damage on the aircraft engines and control surfaces to force a controlled emergency landing short of the target area. Beats being blown out of the sky.

Tough choice, nonetheless, but we have had pilots and crewmen ready to unleash nuclear Armageddon on the world and initiate Mutually Assured Destruction for the past 58 years, so our reliability program must be pretty good.

Just my .02, YMMV.

TR

NousDefionsDoc
06-17-2004, 20:00
The last aircraft which will be taken with edged weapons (hopefully) went down in a Pennsylvania field.

I have a knife (seems like such a small word) that could take out the Battlestar Galactica.

Denny
06-18-2004, 03:48
Excuse me if my thoughts are a bit retarded. It is 0430 right now. I was just thinking it would be a lot easier if they had non-lethal ways of bringing the planes down. I know that most terrorists knowing they were going into a forced landing would problably crash the plane anyway, but it could save lives. A couple ideas i have come to mind, but i would rather wait and see if i am being retarded or not lol.

QRQ 30
06-18-2004, 04:03
I need to re-state my question. It's not about the solution but about the reaction of the public. Let's go pre-1/11. What do you suppose the reaction of the world would have been if the military were to shoot down four fully loaded airliners with the explaination that they had information the planes were to be used as missiles? Keep in mind that, yesterday tapes were released with Atta and the pilot on another plane merely saying that they had hi-jacked the aircraft and everyone would be safe if they stayed in their seats and kept quiet.?

Personally, I don't think the public would have accepted the explaination and things would have become ugly. That could have done more to topple the Bush administration., than crashing the planes into targets.

CommoGeek
06-18-2004, 07:35
Originally posted by QRQ 30
I need to re-state my question. It's not about the solution but about the reaction of the public. Let's go pre-1/11. What do you suppose the reaction of the world would have been if the military were to shoot down four fully loaded airliners with the explaination that they had information the planes were to be used as missiles? Keep in mind that, yesterday tapes were released with Atta and the pilot on another plane merely saying that they had hi-jacked the aircraft and everyone would be safe if they stayed in their seats and kept quiet.?

Personally, I don't think the public would have accepted the explaination and things would have become ugly. That could have done more to topple the Bush administration., than crashing the planes into targets.

I agree. The American public wouldn't trust that the decision was correct because pre- 9/11 very few could fathom that someone would do this to us, the US. Terrorism only happens "over there", right?

The Reaper
06-18-2004, 07:56
Originally posted by NousDefionsDoc
I have a knife (seems like such a small word) that could take out the Battlestar Galactica.

That may well be, my brother, but if someone takes a light saber out with evil intent on a plane I am on, I plan to be victorious or dead before we hit the ground. I choose to die on my feet, rather than on my knees. Hopefully, my fellow passengers will support me. You may be good, but desperate numbers have a quality all its own.

Denny, that was what I was referring to. Damage the plane too badly to keep flying, best of some bad alternatives, at that point.

TR

Roycroft201
06-18-2004, 12:26
Thoughts that come to mind, regarding public reaction "if" the airliners could/would have been brought down and the true horror of 9/11 never occured:

Every time we look at a newspaper, turn on the TV, get the latest updates on-line .....we are seeing criticism of actions being used in the war on terror. The media has created, for the sake of getting a 'scoop', a mentality on so many occasions that 'we' are the bad guys - whether it is dealing with detainees, unintentional/unavoidable civilian casualties, hidden agendas ( oil), and on and on. The mindset of the public is nowhere near what it was during WW II and supporting our country's actions during a time of war. While we are currently at war, the vast majority can't seem to get their minds wrapped around that fact, because war is now being waged in a much different more 'unconventional' manner. But it is war, nonetheless.

I wish each newspaper, TV newscast, et al were required to have a picture of the crumbling WTC superimposed on a corner of the screen. Would that help jog the memories of those doing the criticizing? Would it help the viewing/reading public remember what brought us to this point in time ? Sadly, I am not sure.

How soon they all seem to forget.


Roycroft201

DanUCSB
06-19-2004, 23:26
I'm pretty certain (as well as you can be in speculation, albeit very logical speculation) that it would have played out like this, had they been able/willing/ordered to shoot them down:

The order is given, and our fighter jocks are good. All four planes taken down well enough, with complete loss of life. Ie, no one to speak from the scene in the forthcoming Congressional hearings. People would go absolutely apeshit about it... think of what happened with KAL 007, or with Vincennes and Flight 655. Multiply that by four (for the number of airliners), and then by infinity (because they were full of Americans), and you have a lowball on the public outcry.

I think it would be safe to say that it would be the biggest outcry against a sitting president in history. If we can impeach over a blowjob, it's a sure thing. We have enough laws on the books that it's certain there's one somewhere that could be construed to make the president's actions declared illegal. So, the president's out, and villified as the worst CinC in history. There's no mention of where those airliners were about to crash into, because the press is having a field day, and no one can prove it anyway (al Qaeda, seeing the reaction, would -deny- that they were hijacking them as weapons, because the public outcry over the shoot-down would suit their interests just fine). The military gets a bad name as warmongers, and everyone hates the government even more.

Far-fetched? I don't think so. Seeing how the press (and consequently, public opinion) treats a couple prisoners with underwear on their heads? A disaster. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Now, all that said, I don't think it would have been a bad course of action. I'd rather sacrifice the career of an innocent president than the lives of 3000 people. I'm just pointing out, though, that if we -had- shot down the planes, the resulting shit-storm would have been huge.

Solid
06-20-2004, 04:28
I think much of the public's likely outcry had to do with what seemed to most people like a bizarre operational concept. Had it been a bus with a bomb on it that was taken out by a tank, or an bomb-ship sailing into harbour, I think they would have understood. But to the US public, and I think most civilians, terrorism involving planes is a hostage situation, not an unconventional missile.

Because of this, I think (as do most others) that the US public would have refused to fully understand the situation, and probably think that the government had over-reacted, perhaps on 'poor intelligence'. I think Dan's comment about AQ denying all culpability would be close to the truth, and perhaps this kind of operation would be tried again in the future.

JMO,

Solid

brownapple
06-20-2004, 07:33
To point out how unprepared we were for this use of aircraft as weapons, remember that just about everyone assumed the first crash was an accident. If only one had crashed (say the Pentagon) and the others been shot down, the accident routine would still have held and the shoot downs would have been vilified.