||[Sep. 30th, 2010|09:04 pm]
In the normal run of things the testimony of a retired military man is accorded some weight. A retired military man is assumed to be reliable, tested in the fire, not given to flights of girlish fantasy. If he's also a little stuffy and strait-laced that only enhances his credibility as a witness.|
But what if the retired military man tells you he's had an encounter with a UFO?
Seven retired military men went before the cameras the day before yesterday to talk about how- to their knowledge- the USA's nuclear facilities were buzzed- and in some cases briefly put out of action- by UFOs. The media handled the story nervously, tittered a little, then dropped it. This article is typical. It starts with a joke- as if to say, "Hell, we're all men of the world; we know this is crazy "- before moving onto the meat of the matter- and the meat of the matter is fascinating. Actually fascinating is an understatement. If it's true (big if) it's the news story of this and every other millennium.
Scroll though the comments and you'll find it's the majority opinion that the witnesses must be gaga, loopy, or out to make a quick buck.
Remember who the witnesses are. Retired military men, men of reputation, men of honour. Conservative (probably) alpha males. If they were talking about almost anything else we'd believe them.
A close friend of my father's, now deceased, flew reconnaissance aircraft in Vietnam and retired a full colonel in the 101st Airborne. He said that in Vietnam they called UFOs "foo fighters" and when he first arrived in-country, and heard other pilots talking about them, he assumed they were just having fun at the expense of the newcomer. Then he had his first close encounter and realized that it was no joke at all. Don told us that he didn't know what they were, but it was no technology he recognized or believed possible at the time.
As an aside, Don also thought Apocalypse Now! was the most accurate portrayal of the war in Vietnam ever made. Since he had been on special detachment to the CIA, like Capt Willard sent to assassinate Col Kurtz, I thought that rather high praise. His favorite scene was the chopper strike, with Col Kilgore and Wagner playing over the loudspeakers. Every detail was correct except the music, but he thought that was a great idea.
The evidence for UFOs is copious- and a lot of it comes from people as credible as your father's friend.
That's interesting about Apocalypse Now. I've always thought it was rather over-blown. Perhaps I should watch it again.
Col Hill, my father's friend, was a very credible witness. When I knew him, he was a commercial pilot and flight instructor. He was certified to fly single and multi-engine planes, but had allowed his jet-engine certification to lapse, due to the expense of flight time.
And he also had that "weird glow" about him, like Col Kilgore in the movie. Whether he was standing on a paddy wall, directing fire with bullets whizzing past him, or taking off in icy conditions with insanely low visibility, he just knew wasn't going to take a hit. In the end, he dropped dead on his own sidewalk, one morning, of a massive coronary.
Apocalypse Now! was overblown. So was the war it portrayed. The only thing Col Hill found ridiculous was the idea that someone could organize the Montagnards into a personal army. He was sent into the mountains to do just that and said it simply could not be done. They were still hunter-gatherers, to some extent, and were not interested and their interest could not be bribed or bought, despite his best efforts. The idea that a US Army officer could go rogue, however, Col Hill thought entirely plausible, because he'd seen it happen.
The USAF used to keep a 'blue book' of UFO encounters. When word of it eventually leaked out, they stopped keeping it- or so we thought.
No, they buried it.
I once had a bumper sticker taped inside my car window that said, "UFOs exist- the Air Force isn't real". My commander asked me to remove it.
Humour-fail on the part of your commander.