Are we getting carried away?

Are we maybe getting carried away? When it comes to our president visiting another country?

An official in the Indian government said last week that President Obama’s trip to India will cost us about $200 million per day. The White House says those figures are wrong. Of course, the White House said the same about the figures for a few other big programs. And we know what happened to them.

What is not wrong is that 3000 people are going along for the ride. More are coming along for the cruise. Something like 34 U.S. warships will sail around the area while the President is there. And 30-some big planes. And helicopters. And big jets armed with advanced communication and security systems. And over 40 cars. Many or most of them shipped in. The American contingent has booked over 800 hotel rooms that we know of.

I suppose the bottom of the list includes a partridge in a pear tree.



Other American presidents have travelled with huge and expensive mobs. Lately the mobs have been growing. At least that is what the politicians want us to believe. The politicians who want to make President Obama look bad. He is a natural target. Because he has been known to act a little regal. Remember the Roman amphitheater he had constructed for his proclamations in Europe before he was elected.

He also makes a big target because we are broke. When you are broke you see all the expenses in a different light. “What? This dog food costs three bucks a can?”- sort of thing.

There ought to be some way we can have our guy visit their guy for less money. Why not have these leaders and a dozen aides apiece fly to some tiny Caribbean island. Or to one of those itsy bitsy rocks in Micronesia. Terrorists are never going to target them. First, they won’t be able to find them. Second, anybody shows up there with so much as suede shoes and the word whips around the island like lightning.

Meanwhile, the hotel rooms are cheaper. And we wouldn’t need many. My guess is that one gunboat with radar would handle all the security. We could leave the fleet of armored limos in Washington.

I am serious. If a dozen guys and the two leaders cannot deal with the important issues over a few days, I would eat my hat.

How about the thousands of other birds that would miss out on the trip? Let them use phones and internet to connect with whoever they were going to talk to in India.

If we don’t want to use an island, we could always use one of our aircraft carriers. Those ships are as big as islands anyway. They can accommodate a swag of officials from both countries. Without a single limo. They have some of the best communications systems in the world. And they don’t cost tens or hundreds of millions of dollars a day to operate. As for security, what terrorist or whacko assassin wants to take on a ship the size of Rhode Island?

As for wanting the Indian people to feel they have been honored with a visit by American royalty?  Send in a couple of finalists from American Idol. Or some movie star. They will thrill the locals. Last I knew, none of them travelled with 34 ships, 30 planes and 40 cars. Or a partridge in a pear tree. Most of their entourages are fairly small. Even when you add in the guys who carry the drugs.

From Tom ... as in Morgan.                  

For more columns, for Tom’s radio shows and new TV show (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

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