Fortunately for us mere mortals, one of the passengers on the business jet was a professional writer, Joe Sharkey, who has written his account for the New York Times. Even though the New York Times shamefully reversed its position on the legality and morality of regime change in Iraq the moment George Bush said he wanted it, the paper still has a good story or two. This one is a must read.
With the window shade drawn, I was relaxing in my leather seat aboard a $25 million corporate jet that was flying 37,000 feet above the vast Amazon rainforest. The 7 of us on board the 13-passenger jet were keeping to ourselves.
Without warning, I felt a terrific jolt and heard a loud bang, followed by an eerie silence, save for the hum of the engines.
And then the three words I will never forget. “We’ve been hit,” said Henry Yandle, a fellow passenger standing in the aisle near the cockpit of the Embraer Legacy 600 jet.
“Hit? By what?” I wondered. I lifted the shade. The sky was clear; the sun low in the sky. The rainforest went on forever. But there, at the end of the wing, was a jagged ridge, perhaps a foot high, where the five-foot-tall winglet was supposed to be.
The passports of the two U.S. pilots of the small jet have been confiscated and they're being kept in Brazil. A Brazillian doctor examined everyone from the business jet, then took photos, saying the pictures were to show they were not tortured.
I think it's time to remind ourselves that Brazil is a far-left country that only recently became a demoracy. They've had numerous military dictatorships over the decades, suffer nearly 20% unemployment, have a wholly corrupt government, and harbor resentment of America's success (this describes all South American countries).
A Brazilian who lives in my neighborhood is adamantly against Bush and the Iraq War (nearly all Brazilians are). He said Bush never asked Iraqis if they wanted democracy. I didn't have much respone for that, given the stupidity of the statement. All of the exiles who escaped Saddam's Iraq pleaded for democracy, all the polls taken after Saddam was deposed say nearly all Iraqis want democracy, and a 70 percent turnout in their first ever free demoratic election makes their feelings fairly clear. Bush didn't ask Iraqis if they would prefer self-government to living under a genocidal dictator? Reasoning with the third world would be like Rome reasoning with the Visigoths.
This could turn out bad for our pilots.
AP story here.