Good Riddance to the F-22

It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. While senators worry about how to pay for health care reform, threatening the best chance at achieving universal coverage in decades, forty of them nonetheless voted to keep the F-22 fighter plane in production yesterday. Hats off, and fiscal kudos to, the 58 senators who voted to stop production of the planes. And, to President Obama who threatened to veto the defense spending bill if it included money for more of the planes.

This was no swipe at the Pentagon by liberal Democrats. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, appointed by President George W. Bush and asked to stay on by President Obama, led the effort to kill the F-22. Why? Because it is not needed. The plane was designed for a Cold War confrontation with Soviet jets. But the Cold War is over, there is no more Soviet Unions and the F-22 was ill-suited for the counter-insurgency fighting the Pentagon has to undertake in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Lockheed-Martin, which makes the F-22, did not become a successful company by being stupid. The parts for the F-22 were made at different plants across the country so that they could build political support for the program. No congressman or senator wants to see jobs lost in his district, especially now when the economy is in the tank.

At a time when everyone is genuinely concerned about rising deficits and the need to find money for health care reform, building planes that the Pentagon does not want sure seems like the height of stupidity or hypocrisy, take your pick. Certainly, any of the 40 senators who voted to keep the F-22 in production (14 Democrats and 26 Republicans) should be barred from saying anything about "wasteful government spending" for at least a year.

I hope that the White House and the 58 senators who voted the correct way yesterday will keep examining the Pentagon budget. As we debate health care reform, it is good to remember that if President Bush had listened to Pope John Paul II and not gone to war in Iraq, we would have sufficient funds to reform the health care system. There are other weapons systems that are hold-overs from the Cold War that can and should be scrapped. Yes, the job loss is worrisome, especially because many of those who work on Pentagon projects are highly skilled engineers and mechanics, but how much better to put those men and women to working making better rail and subway systems, or rebuilding other basic infrastructure needs, or creating wind farms and other renewable energy projects. There are a lot of things to be done to improve America but building planes we don’t need is not one of them.

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8 years 10 months ago
Aerospace engineering is a very specialized field.  The real alternative to the F-22 is to put these folks to work on the space program.  Currently, the space program is in the same appropriation as HUD, which means that to fund more space you fund less housing.  If you located NASA in the DoD R&D and procurement budgets, you could cut defense and increase space and not damage the industrial base.
8 years 10 months ago
This is an overblown 'victory'.  There's another boondoggle on the way, the F-35.
Obama is still increasing the military budget and increasing the size of the Army.
Winters seems to be an apologist for bloody-handed liberals whose high ground is an appeal for more efficient conquest, hence the trimming of the F-22 is "not a swipe at the Pentagon by liberal Democrats."  Heavens no!
...and, "the F-22 was ill-suited for the counter-insurgency fighting the Pentagon has to undertake in Iraq and Afghanistan."  Don't blame Dick Cheney for trying to create secret death squads when "reasonable" attitudes like this are the status quo. 
The F-22 is an inefficient warmaking machine?
8 years 10 months ago
comment cut off at the end:
"The F-22 is an inefficient warmaking machine? Good, they should all be that way."
8 years 10 months ago
From a militaristic point of view, the F-35 is just what the warfighters need.  As long as we use them, we should give them what they need.  Sadly, we are not yet at the phase where we can get to peace by simply declaring it.  We must first work for justice - especially for the workers - both overseas and at home.  Until Caritas in Veritate is put into practice we will need the F-35.
8 years 10 months ago
Wars are unfortunate but manufacturing is not.  A country that does manufacturing is somewhat grounded.  Those that don't start growing silly people doing silly things like generating economic phantasms the likes of which we've seen in the last two decades.  A great deal of the manufacturing that hasn't gone overseas is that done for the military.  I hope we keep making SOMEthing.  Better a beautiful machine like an F-22 (sorry, it IS beautiful) than economic derivatives.  Or else make the alternative energy devices HERE and not in exploited labor countries.  But will it happen in that way?
8 years 10 months ago
Spot on!
Thank God there is still reason in the States.
8 years 10 months ago
Clearly, and sadly, many people (including some here) think that war is a jobs program.  They also hold the belief that ONLY war machines can be jobs programs.  Since the government ordered the F-22, and all other war machines, why can't that same government cancel that order and replace it with an order for something peaceful?  Instantly, many people decrying 'socialism' would swoop in and claim such a thing is anti-American.  But, of course, building unnecessary weapons platforms should be continued for the benefit of American manufacturing, as Stanley seems to think.
Michael's statement would be hilarious if only he weren't serious:  ''Until Caritas in Veritate is put into practice we will need the F-35.''  No time like the present, Michael.

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