"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Monday, May 16, 2005
This time, it's all about sauerkraut-related program activities:
A parcel of sauerkraut passing through chemical-sensitive mail-scanning equipment in the new base post office here Friday triggered a “suspicious package” alert, forcing officials to call off the post office’s grand opening ceremony.
They also evacuated the Osan Shopping Mall, which adjoins the post office.
The incident occurred at 11:25 a.m., five minutes before the ceremony, at which 51st Fighter Wing commander Brig. Gen. Maury Forsyth was to make remarks.
Officials did not immediately determine whether it was the sauerkraut or something in its packaging that affected the ion-scan equipment, used to screen out hazardous materials.
Now, there are two ways of looking at this story. The first is well articulated by Needlenose (whence I got the link), who notes that the Osan Air Base is
"the most forward deployed permanently-based wing in the Air force," a mere 48 miles from the North Korean border. If the North Korean government tries anything funny with nuclear or chemical weapons, the people stationed at Osan will be among the first to know about it.
Thus, Needlenose suggests, such false-positives may be somewhat problematic.
The second way of looking at this story is my way: As one who finds sauerkraut so disgusting as to be positively toxic, I can't say with confidence that the equipment at Osan actually malfunctioned.