Foolish and weak

The Senate voted to kill the F-22 fighter jet this morning, both ending the program and putting thousands of people out of work:

The final vote is 58 to 40. With that victory the Obama White House has eliminated the last major threat to the largest and most expensive defense program in history, the F-35, and guaranteed the elimination of thousands of jobs throughout the country. If there is any consolation to be had here it comes from the fact that there will be a time when this administration’s weakness on defense, and the subservience of their enablers in Congress, will reemerge as a national political issue. And at that time, some Republican will run an add that shows the trillions this government has wasted on pet projects and social experiments and contrast that with the determination that same government showed in killing a crucial weapons system — because they decided there isn’t enough money left for our military to have the very best equipment money can buy.

Senator John McCain lead the charge to weaken our military.

Can I have my vote from last November back? Angry

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5 Responses to Foolish and weak

  1. Pollhater says:

    Really? Seven fewer air superiority fighters make us weaker? The 1.75 Billion dollars those seven planes would cost isn’t coming out of the Defense budget: they’re spending it on other material. The overall Defense budget is going up, not down. The PENTAGON doesn’t want the planes. Senators view this purely as pork. Here’s a classic quote from Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia, one of the states that contributes parts to the planes):

    Chambliss added that “there are a lot of people who think we ought to just step in line, salute the Pentagon and move ahead with what the Pentagon says.” That, he said, is not the role of Congress.

    Yes, the Georgia Senator thinks he understand the Defense needs of the country better than the professional warfighters in the Pentagon. You bet. It has nothing to do with the F-22 plant in his state.

    The defense contractors who set up the F-22 program were smart: components of the plane are built in almost every state in the US, making it pork that can appeal to almost everyone. The real miracle is that that many Senators were able to push past the porkage and vote to spend the money where it is needed.

    There have been weapon systems I’ve been sad to see go (imagine me wiping away a manly tear at the closure of the Crusader program). But if the Pentagon doesn’t want ‘em, we shouldn’t force them on them for pork reasons.

    • Phineas Fahrquar says:

      Seven was the number arrived at in a last-ditch effort to keep the program operational with the hopes the government would either back it at a later date, or that it would allow significant foreign sales. The Air Force had been asking for, IIRC, roughly 225-300 to replace an F-15 fleet that’s aging into a danger zone.

      And it’s some at the Pentagon who don’t want the planes: this isn’t Crusader all over again. Those numbers I listed above were from an Air Force report about how many F-22s they’d need to meet their assigned missions.

      The problem with F-22 vs. F-35 is a difference in the conception of the mission. F-22 is strictly an air-superiority fighter designed to take on the advanced planes of other powers: notably China, Russia, and those whom they sell to. US forces haven’t been strafed since the 1950s, which is no accident; our strategic doctrine has been based on command of the skies. And with a rising threat from China for dominance in the western Pacific, we need to ensure that air superiority continues.

      The F-35 does not meet that threat, being a ground-support fighter. In fact, its a textbook example of “fighting the last war:” our current fights are against weak rogue nations and terrorist organizations, so we don’t need planes that can take on other planes. Well, not until the day China challenges us and we find ourselves unable to control the air above Japan. (The JDF would have loved to buy these.)

      There’s a need for both, and the failure to fund both is a failure of strategic vision on the part of those in congress who voted to kill it and those in the Pentagon who backed them.

      This is really based more on the Administration’s needs to rob Peter to pay Paul for their giant pork-binge and health care programs than anything else.

  2. Pollhater says:

    “in a last-ditch effort to keep the program operational”

    One of the real banes of procurement is actually closing out a program. That kind of thinking kept projects alive years longer than they should have been. Ultimately the cost you’re looking at is what you’d lose from have to restart the program later (assuming you need it), vs. what you pay to keep it going.

    “The Air Force had been asking for, IIRC, roughly 225-300 to replace an F-15 fleet that’s aging into a danger zone.”

    So we’re unsafe because we’ll have 30 fewer F-22s? Again, that’s 7.5 billion dollars of your tax money the Pentagon today, right now, says they don’t want.

    “And it’s some at the Pentagon who don’t want the planes: this isn’t Crusader all over again.”

    I loved the Crusader. I still think it would have been more cost effective in Iraq and Iran than flying sorties, and you could have called in the strikes more quickly. The argument against it was that it was too big to get someplace quickly and it would be vulnerable (against other armor) on the battlefield. Sigh. Non-hovercraft Hammer’s Slammers artillery, I miss you.

    As far as the F-22 vs F-35 thing goes: quantity has a quality all its own. They both carry the same missile load-outs. Yes, the F-22 flies better, but can you name the last war where dogfights actually mattered? Most modern air combat is being decided before they can even see the other plane.

    If the F-22 is all that, I can totally understand why they don’t want to sell it to other countries.

    The other thing to bear in mind is the burgeoning UCAV program. They’ve been working on it for awhile and an unmanned aircraft is going to beat the performance of manned aircraft, just because it is more maneuverable without the meat. The US Military also LURVS hardware that they can use without risking lives on our side. Most of the USAF guys I’ve talked to say that’s the real future of air superiority. The ones who didn’t were pilots ;-)

    “There’s a need for both, and the failure to fund both is a failure of strategic vision on the part of those in congress who voted to kill it and those in the Pentagon who backed them.”

    Again, based on talking to USAF planning folks, the future is UCAV.

    “This is really based more on the Administration’s needs to rob Peter to pay Paul for their giant pork-binge and health care programs than anything else.”

    Except again, it isn’t. The DoD budget went up, not down. Cutting these jets just means the DoD can spend the money on something else. Billions and Billions on something else, if you look at the future costs of just keeping the program going and going. Also, if the F-22 is all that, do we really want to sell it to somebody else? Part of the argument FOR the F-22 originally was that we’d sold our other fighters to so many people we couldn’t be sure we had the top jets.

    The F-22 IS pork. Classic, delicious, 44-state covering pork.

    Your objections, if I may take moment to insult your views, are Republican talking points. The problem with them, as with many other Republican talking points lately, is that they’re not very well thought out.

    There was a guy on the Daily Show or Colbert who said that what really helped with our recovery from the Depression was WWII. However, he said the same economic impact could have been made if we just made the tanks and then rolled them off the assembly line into the ocean. That’s the pork/jobs thinking here. If you begin to need replacement F-22s, you can restart production, and we’ll be at war and money won’t be an issue. And if a war does start we won’t lose or win it because we have another 30 F-22s.

    I understand and am sympathetic to the idea that pretty much the only manufacturing jobs we can’t export anymore are defense work. But that doesn’t mean we should run those tanks off an assembly line into the ocean to make jobs.

  3. rwisher says:

    I have two points to voice:

    1. We always do this. We always end up having to scramble to update our inventory after a Democrat holds the Presidency. Reagan/Carter, Bush/Clinton are recent examples. Go back farther and you’ll see where Presidents (of both parties) decide they no longer wanted to either engage in foreign entanglements, or they wanted to use the cash for their own agenda.

    However, history has taught us regardless of what that president wanted something always got in the way. And, we ended up sending our troops into war with the last war’s weapons (Springfield ’03 in 1941 and the first generation of fighters that were shot out of the sky by our Japanese and German foe)

    2. Obama already plans to kneecap our military. Part of the push for universal healthcare is to cause so much money to be used up on that service that it will strip our ability to field an effective military or project our power across the world. I believe Obama and many of his supporters (Soros comes to mind) want nothing more than our nation to be a large copy of a small France or Germany.

    Make no mistake, even with his tone-death elitism and lack of serious real world experience, Obama does have goals, none of which deal with our well being as a nation.

  4. Pollhater says:

    1) The DoD budget under Obama is scheduled to go UP, not DOWN. I’d have to check to be sure, but if memory serves both Carter and Clinton sharply cut the Defense budget. Carter and Clinton were both downsizing post-war DoD budgets.

    2) The DoD budget under Obama is, again, scheduled to go UP.

    People who work in the defense industry thought the budget would go down. It didn’t. Maybe he has an agenda to cut the DoD budget and change us into France by instituting free healthcare. But so far he’s INCREASED the DoD budget AND is planning to spend more on healthcare by taxing “the rich.”

    Obama has already done (and said he plans to do) a bunch of stuff that is more than worth complaining about some kind of secret agenda he might do in the future.

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