Entry 294: …And the Plate of Cookies Cost $37,000

Welcome to another episode of “Haven’t They Got Anything Better to Do?”

In this edition, we visit the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in Colorado, where the military’s very latest technology is put to work to protect America and Canada from air attacks and Santa Claus.

Yes, come Christmas Eve, NORAD will once again be using its sophisticated tracking devices to keep tabs on Santa, just in case he has been bribed by Kim Jong-un to carry a santakimWMD disguised as a Big Hugs Elmo and stuff it down the chimney of the White House. This would explain Claus’s clandestine meeting with Dennis Rodman earlier this year.

Just kidding, of course. Santa is not under suspicion by the FBI, CIA or NSA, although B’nai Brith has a few questions we won’t get into here.

And I have one big question: Doesn’t NORAD have anything better to do?

noradKeep in mind that NORAD has been tracking Santa since 1955. Which means that, while American schools were holding Duck & Cover drills so that kids could survive a nuclear attack by hiding under their desks, the organization that was supposed to be preventing such an attack was busy watching a person who (SPOILER ALERT!) turns out to be fictional.

Now you probably think this is just a cute little PR thing…the military has a heart and all that. But that’s only because you don’t know the story about how this started. Before there was NORAD there was the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD), which pretty much did the same thing, but apparently for the whole continent, instead of just North America. And then, on Christmas Eve 1955…

“…a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement misprinted the telephone number for children to call Santa. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s operations “hotline.” The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born.”

So, while Khrushchev was aiming his missiles at us, our primary defense against those missiles was taking phone calls from little Timmy Jones, who evidently had no trouble getting through to the Director of Operations of CONAD.

And notice that the story above, which is from NORAD itself, doesn’t say that Shoup made up some stuff to tell the kids who called. He actually “had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa.” In other words, he turned to someone and said “Let’s not worry about the west coast tonight. Track Santa instead.”

And what exactly were the indications that a non-existent person with flying reindeer was making his way south from the North Pole? Little candy canes on the radar screen? Rudolph’s nose gliding across the coordinates?

It was the height of the friggin’ Cold War. Didn’t they have anything better to do?

I’m shocked we’re not all speaking Russian.

But even the actions of Colonel Shoup in exposing the entire continent to Communist invasion pales in comparison to what NORAD has done now. In recent years, it has added animated videos of Santa on his flight path. But this year, they’ve gone the extra mile. As reported by Fox News, which really doesn’t have anything better to do:

“In addition to Santa’s traditional sleigh and reindeer, NORAD has added an animated fighter plane escort to give a realistic feel to the popular program.”

What–the airborne sleigh with the fat guy isn’t realistic enough?

noradsantafighter12[1]Fox News, which is usually a big supporter of Santa Claus, quotes a navy captain as saying, “We wanted to let folks know that, hey, this is a NORAD video, and we’re the military and this is our mission.”

Boy, somebody must have really rewrote that mission statement!  I suppose that’s what happens when you allow elves in the military.

Well, okay. So NORAD isn’t only tracking Santa, they’re protecting him. You know, in case somebody wants to shoot down the guy with all the presents. In truth, the only entity that would be likely to take a shot at Santa as he flew overhead is NORAD itself. Because shooting down things that don’t belong in our airspace is their mission!

Child psychologists who have nothing better to do are up in arms about this. They believe it is an insidious plot to indoctrinate children into the military. One, Allen Kanner, is quoted as saying, “Children associate Santa with gifts and fun and everything else that is positive about Christmas. They are associating this with the military in children’s minds.” Another, Amy Hagopian, is quoted thusly: “If the military wants to keep its ranks stocked, it needs to appeal to children. The military knows it can’t appeal to adults to volunteer. It is like the ad industry.”

Well, first of all, let me point out that the military has been trying to appeal to children for captainyears. It even once had its own TV show for children, hosted by one of its officers.

And secondly, if we’re worried about children wanting to join the military when they grow up, I think we should thank NORAD for creating its cute animated fighter jet to distract the kiddies from playing Call of Duty.

We end this episode with a quote from a promotional video on the NORAD Tracks Santa website. On it, an intelligence officer says, “intel can confirm that Jack Frost and the Abominable Snowman will not be a threat.”

And do you know why that is? It’s because they have better things to do!

See you soon.

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