Saving the F-22

Connecticut’s congressional delegation (along with others around the country) has been up in arms over the proposed cancellation of the F-22 program. Rep. John Larson (D-1st District), in whose district the Raptors are partially produced, has been defending the Raptor program since 1999, and teamed up with Sen. Dodd yesterday to promise workers that they were going to fight for the program to continue.

What’s happened is that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has proposed sweeping cuts in weapons programs, including the F-22. Under the proposed budget, only four more of the planes would be made between now and 2011–when the new F-35 program is scheduled to start. It’s been a controversial move, to be sure, because jobs in the military industry would be lost all over the country. Some members of Congress, like Sen. John McCain, have defended the move, but many others have been critical. After all, no one wants to tell his or her state/district that high-paying, skilled positions are going away.

Pratt & Whitney and Hamilton Sundstrand build major parts of the aircraft (which is powered by Pratt’s engines), and stand to lose up to 3,000 jobs before production of the F-35 comes on line. Hence, Dodd and Larson’s concern. In fact, New England would be one of the hardest hit areas should the F-22 cease production.

But I have to ask: is Gates right? Does the U.S. military really need this plane? The criticisms of the program that I’ve seen suggest that it’s a Cold War-era fighter, best suited to air-to-air combat, and that in the current world situation it’s outmoded. Also, there are currently 183 F-22’s in existence, with four more scheduled to be made, and a new jet scheduled to start rolling off the assembly line soon. In fact, Gates wants to move up production of the F-35, which would also be made with Pratt engines.

Again, I’m not a military expert. I bet a bunch of you are, however. What do you think?

[poll id=”16″]

You can read about the F-22’s specifications here, and read about the F-35 here.

Advertisements

49 responses to “Saving the F-22

  1. wtfdnucsailor

    The only reason I can see to keep building the F22 is to keep the skilled work force together until the F35 is ready for production. Once the work force is broken up, it is very difficult and very expensive to reassemble. Industry, Congress, and the Administration should determine the number of F22s to build to permit the team to stay together until F35 is ready for production. The Air Force and the Navy need an air combat arm with a ground support capability.

  2. OK, this doesn’t belong under this heading..

    The Danbury News-Times reports ‘U.S. Rep. Jim Himes said Thursday the Banks Committee of the Connecticut Legislature was wrong to issue subpoenas last month for Fairfield County residents who reportedly received some of the controversial $218 million in bonuses from AIG. ‘

    Guess he isn’t on the same page as Senator Duff, Rep. Barrie or Blumie.
    U.S. Rep. Jim Himes said Thursday the Banks Committee of the Connecticut Legislature was wrong to issue subpoenas last month for Fairfield County residents who reportedly received some of the controversial $218 million in bonuses from AIG.

    “I think that was wrong-headed,” Himes, a Greenwich resident who worked in the financial services industry for 12 years,

    Strong words against the boneheads in the General Assembly.

    Maybe I like Himes….

  3. How are we ever going to transfer to a peacetime workforce if our local economy depends on weapons of war?

  4. How are we ever going to transfer to a peacetime workforce if our local economy depends on weapons of war?

    Tell you what, Kenny. You bake up a supercool set of brownies and we’ll drop those on the Taliban, the Chinese, the North Koreans, the Somali pirates and Hugo Chavez.

    (Oh, wait. I forgot. You’re so totally cool with Chavez. Sorry, man.)

    Anyways, until you mellow out those other dudes, I’ll opt for the F-22.

    Then maybe we can talk about our peacetime work force.

    Like, totally.

  5. How are we ever going to transfer to a peacetime workforce if our local economy depends on weapons of war?

    Because war is as constant as the sunrise. There will always be a market for weapons.

  6. Your earmark is my necessity. That is the message of Dodd and Larson to the Democrat controlled congress and White House. This moment ought to be recalled the next time a heavy breathing journalist condemns earmarks. Quite off the point, Connecticut was known during the revolutionary war as “the provision state,” in addition to being “the constitution state.” We’ve always supplied war material to the armed forces of the nation, a matter of great, if whispered, pride. And that ought to be remembered the next time from heavy breathing journalist begins to inveigh against the usefulness of wars won.

    On to Afghanistan. It should be interesting to see how Dodd and Larson, senators from the provision state, come down on Obama’s war.

  7. But I have to ask: is Gates right? Does the U.S. military really need this plane? The criticisms of the program that I’ve seen suggest that it’s a Cold War-era fighter, best suited to air-to-air combat, and that in the current world situation it’s outmoded. Also, there are currently 183 F-22’s in existence, with four more scheduled to be made, and a new jet scheduled to start rolling off the assembly line soon. In fact, Gates wants to move up production of the F-35, which would also be made with Pratt engines.

    I asked someone who was in the military (but not the Air Force) about the F-22. The way he explained it was that when the US operates in a war, like Iraq or Afghanistan, we assume that we’ll have absolute total control of the air. Enemy forces don’t even bother assembling an Air Force because there is no way they can match us. So if the US doesn’t go for the F-22 and other advanced weapons systems, other countries might start building more competent Air Forces. They couldn’t beat us, but we might not have the total dominance we have today. That’ll have repurcussions on the ground. There hasn’t been a US casualty on the ground inflicted from the air since the Korean war or something like that.

    That said, I wonder if Larson et al give a damn about the strategic implications of the F-22 or if they are solely concerned about the jobs in their district.

  8. That said, I wonder if Larson et al give a damn about the strategic implications of the F-22 or if they are solely concerned about the jobs in their district.

    “Defending the nation” isn’t even on his radar.

    Nor can we expect anyone is such a safe district to do any heavy lifting.
    Ever.

    He will however, hit his marks, say his lines and wring his hands all in a very calculating way so as to protect his image which is far more important to him than anything else.

    Same for Dodd and the Smurf as well.

    They’ll all show up and put on a little show, then head back to DC and order a round of Guinness; or in Larson’s case, Guinness Stout.

  9. PrahaPartizan

    The real problem with the F-22 Rapture is that it will be obsolete by the time it really needs to be used. No crewed aircraft can defeat an armed un-crewed vehicle. Human physiology doesn’t permit it. Technology now permits us to build vehicles so tough, durable and flexible that they can always outmaneuver and outfight a crewed aircraft, with no risk of loss for the crew as a lagniappe.

    Keeping the manufacturing lines “warm” can be the only rational for continuing the F-22. Even then, such a program would require only perhaps 24 aircraft per year until the F-35 (which has its own issues) goes into full production. At best then, we might be looking at the need for another two years of production, with Lockheed eating the cost if they wind up delaying the F-35 program because they fail their contract obligations (as has been the case).

    The time has arrived to impose real discipline on the military expenditures we’re making. The defense contractors have been living in a fool’s paradise for the last eight years. We need adult supervision now.

  10. How are we ever going to transfer to a peacetime workforce if our local economy depends on weapons of war?

    Ken, there’s apparently a factory someplace that builds crazy power hungry despots.

    Take a look, there have virtually always been some around and just when we rid ourselves of one another shows up, almost like the head of the hydra.

    Forget the crazies from historical times, let’s just review the last 70 years or so.

    Hitler slides into power, methodically knocks off 3 million troublesome souls and on to the outright slaughter of 6 million Jews!

    We finally get rid of him only to later learn that when it came to mass murder Stalin made him look like a piker rolling up something around 27 million more!

    Meanwhile in China, the Japanese having already slaughtered more than Hitler and Stalin combined in the 1930’s (a fact they pretty much deny) and Mao shows up and takes absolute power in the same tried and true way by killing everyone that so much as looks like they *might* offer any resistance.

    Not to mention small time losers like Saddam, Fidel, Moe I’m-a-nut-job (Iran) , a whole series of violent loons in Afghanistan, or whatsface in Venezuela and how could we ever forget all the fun with Pappa Doc or Idi Amen?

    Do you seriously think there will be no more?

  11. Do you seriously think there will be no more?

    In the past 100 years, only 8 countries have not been occupied by a foreign power or had a violent overthrow of their government.

    US, Canada, Australia, NZ, UK, Sweden, Switzerland and South Africa.

  12. (Oh, wait. I forgot. You’re so totally cool with Chavez. Sorry, man.)

    I really resent the idea that all liberals are somehow in bed with Chzvez. Outside of wingnuts like Cindy Sheehan, most folks realize that he’s a nutty autocrat with some really scary ideas about government power. Please don’t lump the left in with his ilk.

  13. AndersonScooper

    Pesci–

    Wasn’t it the GOP 2008 Presidnetial nominee the guy who was all in a huff about earmarks?

    I kind of remember John McCain being on a very high horse, and attacking Obama viciously on the matter.

    Whoops, I forgot. History is as irrelevant as facts to you guys….

  14. Please don’t lump the left in with his ilk.

    Why not?
    He’s good enough for Joe Kennedy to promote on TV every chance he gets.

  15. Why not?
    He’s good enough for Joe Kennedy to promote on TV every chance he gets.

    And Joe Kennedy is the leader of the American left since when? He’s on their payroll. I’m just asking nicely.

  16. We all need to call our Representative and get this past…

    H.R. bill 450
    To require Congress to specify the source of authority under the United States Constitution for the enactment of laws, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.450:

  17. Most Federal bills already do that.

    Sort of…

    Almost every one will say something to the affect “by authority granted by the commerce clause…”

    But that bill sounds good. It won’t do anything though. Unless every section of every bill did it.

  18. GreatSantini

    I find it ironic that all these anti-military, anti-war, anti-Iraq Democratic icons such as Dodd and Larson are among the first to protect military related jobs for facilities/products that the military doesn’t want – such as the SubBase and the F-22.

  19. ACR

    Your argument rests on a series of false assumptions – mainly the one that totalitarian leaders rise up naturally, as if they were weeds in the human gene pool.

    Dictatorships arise because stronger countries interfere in weaker countries to create political situations advantageous to the strong country’s for-profit business interests which reside in the weak country. Others might utilize the language of colonizer/colonized to describe the situation.

    GMR’s list of countries that have not been invaded or occupied in the last century is remarkable in that it consists almost entirely of countries affiliated with the Anglo-American empire (except Sweden, a huge arms manufacturer and Switzerland, neutral by geography but not by banking interests – i.e. both benefit from war).

    But for fun, let’s look at your examples of despots, and the political and economic situations which fertilized their growth and blossoming into thorns and thistles in freedom’s garden, as it were.

    Hitler slides into power, methodically knocks off 3 million troublesome souls and on to the outright slaughter of 6 million Jews!

    Hitler’s rise resulted from a number of factors, ranging from support by American corporate and banking interests to intense poverty and anger in Germany originating with harsh punitive international sanctions after World War I.

    Not to mention small time losers like Saddam

    The Baath party enjoyed significant support from the United States government from its inception more than 40 years ago. Everyone has seen the picture of Rumsfeld shaking Saddam’s hand in 1983, right? In 1963, President Kennedy’s CIA backed a Baathist coup that planted the seeds for Saddam’s rise to power. American sanctions against Iraq in the 1990s allowed him to stay in power.

    Fidel, Moe I’m-a-nut-job (Iran)

    Both results of blowback from either excessive colonial oppression or CIA interference in national affairs, like the longtime occupation of Cuba after the Spanish-American war or the CIA’s overthrow of a democratically elected socialist government in Iran in 1954 (Mossadeq). And if you are going to talk foreign policy, give Ahmadinejad the respect of his name spelled properly. It might make your point more credible.

    a whole series of violent loons in Afghanistan, or whatsface in Venezuela and how could we ever forget all the fun with Pappa Doc or Idi Amen?

    Once again, all the results of blowback from American interventionist foreign policy. Afghanistan’s current political morass is pure blowback from our incitement of the Soviet invasion in 1979. We were feeding the Taliban anti-narcotics money as late as May 2001.

    The Monroe Doctrine’s interventionism in the Western Hemisphere has led to a rash of revolts against American interests. Chavez is the worst example of the backlash. U.S.-engineered coup attempts against his democratically elected regime have fomented his transformation into autocrat.

    Pappa Doc in Haiti? American dominance of Haiti, and its string of coups in the Western Hemisphere poorest nation does not bolster your argument that dictators arise naturally. They are created by colonialist powers in order to divide and conquer the populations of the host nations, in order to parasitically extract as much wealth from the occupied country as possible for as long a time as possible.

    Looking at Idi Amin Dada’s self-granted title, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular, explains his rise. Uganda was a British colonial possession. Rather than leave a democracy in place, the Brits left an impoverished military state. Idi Amin was an officer in the British colonial troops.

    If perhaps Anglo-American multinational corporations ceased to profit from dictatorships, we wouldn’t need to arm ourselves to protect ourselves from problems we helped create.

    Thus I think that it is entirely possible, though a longshot, to tranform our economy into peacetime production. Even though the odds are slim, we have to try.

    Peace,
    Ken Krayeske

  20. I’ve got a comment stuck in the spam filter – I double posted it, so you might want to cut one of them out…Thanks,KK

  21. At this point Ken, many of us are far more interested in how and why republics or near republics (Rome, pre-Napoleonic France, pre-fascist Germany and, some think, the good old USA) may devolve into dictatorships. Dictatorships arise when republics fail (See Gibbons). There are may causes for this other than external interference by powerful states. The Krayeske thesis does not explain why the United States, for many years the plaything of a powerful foreign power (England), did not become a dictatorship. Given your theory, it should have.

    The US is not a colonial power, and we are not a war economy quite yet: the political conditions are not propitious. To have a war economy, you need a warrior prince or a dictator — an Augustus Ceasar, a Napolean, a Ghengis Khan, a Mao, a Stalin. We ain’t there yet. George Bush fell far short of the mode, dissappointing tons of his more virulent opponants. There is hope for us; if, to borrow a pharase from Franklin, we can keep our Republic, there won’t be much to fear from this quarter. It sure is a struggle though.

  22. By the way, the Monroe doctrine was intended to prevent colonial powers from preying upon undeveloped countries in our sphere of influence. Think Cuba/Moscow. The communization of Cuba was the result of a failure of the United States to apply the Monroe doctrine to Fidel Castro’s backside. When you point to Idi Amin, you are pointing to a failure in British colonialism. He was about as British as the Mad Hatter. India was more of a success. So was the good old USA and Canada. When you say your prayers at night, you want to get down on your knee and thank God for the British empire, the most civilizing empire in the history of the world. To it you owe you life, your liberty and the pursuit of your happiness.

  23. Pesci–

    Wasn’t it the GOP 2008 Presidnetial nominee the guy who was all in a huff about earmarks?

    I kind of remember John McCain being on a very high horse, and attacking Obama viciously on the matter.

    Whoops, I forgot. History is as irrelevant as facts to you guys….

    AS,

    Glad you asked: http://donpesci.blogspot.com/2009/04/john-larsons-fleas.html

  24. If perhaps Anglo-American multinational corporations ceased to profit from dictatorships, we wouldn’t need to arm ourselves to protect ourselves from problems we helped create.

    And exactly how Ken did we profit from Japan’s invasion and mass slaughter of up to 40,000,000 Chinese in the `30’s; or Stalin’s reign of terror?

    Certainly had Kennedy not stolen the 1960 election Cuba would have been free for the past 40++ years (a fact you’ll most surely deny) for Nixon would have imposed the Monroe Doctrine in no uncertain terms.
    God only knows he would never have left CIA trained commandos alone on a beach.

  25. ACR writes:

    And exactly how Ken did we profit from Japan’s invasion and mass slaughter of up to 40,000,000 Chinese in the `30’s; or Stalin’s reign of terror?

    Maybe it was two million tons of scrap metal that we sold to the Japanese empire, which it turned into war machine that was eventually aimed at Pearl harbor.

    http://www.ohs.org/education/oregonhistory/historical_records/dspDocument.cfm?doc_ID=CB7C956A-CEB0-D5DA-884B4ABC852E60ED

    Nixon would have imposed the Monroe Doctrine in no uncertain terms.

    That’s the point – what gives the United States the right to impose its political will and views on any country? Nothing that I know of. That makes us imperial. It is laughable when Pesci says:

    The US is not a colonial power, and we are not a war economy quite yet.

    Um, Don, as far as colonial power goes, the U.S. has more than 1,000 military bases and installations worldwide, including in 156 countries. The U.S. has intervened in governments far and wide, from Italy to Chile to Japan and Germany to Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Bolivia, Mexico, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Egypt, Syria, the Congo, Turkey, I could go on and on.

    If violently removing a democratically elected government that is not friendly to our interests isn’t the hallmark of colonialism, I don’t quite know what is.

    And military spending – 51 percent of our domestic discretionary spending goes to war efforts – misnamed Department of Defense. I preferred the Department of War, and the Secretary of War, because it was at least a little more honest.

    As far as us being a dictatorship, Slate today had a story that Obama might be after more power than Bush’s executive branch sought to grab. For certain classes of people within the country, and for many populations outside our borders, the United States has long been a totalitarian state.

  26. Ken,

    It was not the application of the Monroe Doctrine in Cuba and Venezuela — to pick just two countries in your list – that produced Castro and Chavez; just the opposite, it was the non-application of the Monroe Doctrine that allowed both countries to be turned from quasi-democracies into dictatorships bordering on totalitarianism. The United States did NOT intervene seriously in Cuba after Castro invited the Soviet Union to serve as its colonial sponsor. Surely you’re not going to argue that Castro’s dictatorship, patterned after Lenin’s ideal state, inaugurated in Cuba a reign more democratic than the government he supplanted. Under Batista, loathsome as he was, there were enough positive freedoms in Cuba to allow Castro to overthrow the government. Castro has destroyed the freedom of the press in Cuba that you been at pains to uphold recently; he has imprisoned with out trial men who are much better than him; and no one has overthrown him in the last half century. We know that what began as a promising democracy – encouraged by the United States, which withdrew its support from Batista — ended in a totalitarian dictatorship. The same holds true with Chavez and Daniel Ortega, who lately ran and won in a free election as Nicaragua’s president largely owing to the failure of his former communist government, for which we have to thank the Contras and Ronald Reagan, who prevailed in that contest, despite opposition from Ortegas congressional pals like Chris Dodd. By the way, Danny fully intends to re-establish the Sandinista dictatorship along the lines presently pursued by Chavez – which illustrates the point I made above: that we should bend out energies towards discovering how democracies turn into dictatorships. Apparently, you just don’t give a damn about such things and have contented yourself with poking a finger in the eye of James Monroe. So be it. You know what Ken, if the Monroe doctrine were successfully pursued Latin America, Cuba today would be more like Enfield Connecticut and less like an Ida Amin conclave. There are some people among us who think that freedom for Cubans is just not worth the bother. You fall among that number. I don’t. Neither did Monroe.

  27. Freedom for Cubans is worth the bother – but to say that America should provide it for them reeks of imperial arrogance. The Monroe Doctrine was a statement of empire: Europe, keep your hands off the Western Hemisphere because its ours.

    And to say that all parts of the world should enjoy the standard of living like a suburb in the richest state in the union is to force your idea of utopia on another country, and we shouldn’t do that. How about we just end the embargo and allow the free spread of ideas, goods and people back into Cuba? If free trade is so powerful a promoter of democracy (which is supposedly the argument behind gloablization, NAFTA, WTO, etc), why do we deny it to Cuba?

    To say that Cuba was free under a dictator like Batista is to say that Reagan liberated the hundreds of thousands who died in his anti-communist wars in Central America. Batista took over in a coup in 1933, was elected in the 1940s, and then he took over in a coup again in 1951. He was no friend of the masses, and Havana certainly didn’t look like Enfield then. America was fine with the dictator Batista who oppressed and tortured, so long as he allowed did so with our interests at heart.

    Robert Parry, the AP reporter who broke Iran-Contra, just described the results of Reagan’s policy in just a few countries south of the border:
    “The death toll was staggering – an estimated 70,000 or more political killings in El Salvador, possibly 20,000 slain from the Reagan-organized contra war in Nicaragua, about 200 political “disappearances” in Honduras and some 100,000 people eliminated during a resurgence of political violence in Guatemala. Many victims suffered rape and torture before their deaths.”

    200,000 people freed from the surly bonds of this mortal coil, all in the name of protecting from communism? More like in the name of protecting the interests of Dole and United Fruit and capitalism’s last stand.

    I don’t know if you saw the Rasmussen Reports poll the other day, but according to Democracy Now!, “more Americans are looking more favorably on the idea of socialism, while support for capitalism declines. According to Rasmussen Reports, just 53 percent of Americans believe capitalism is the best political-economic system. Twenty percent say they prefer the idea of ‘socialism.’ A Rasmussen poll in December found 70 percent support the idea of a free market economy. The differing results could indicate many Americans don’t associate the state-reliant US financial system with one adhering to “free markets.”

    This, then, is the confused state of political discourse in these United States.

  28. Comment stuck in moderation cue…

  29. No one said Cuba was free under Batista. We know what liberty is because our founding documents tell us what it is. And, by the grace of God, we’ve been living in liberty since the American Revolution. By any measure of liberty you choose to accept – freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom to protest government intrusions, freedom of the press etc. – Cuba was freer under Batista than it was and is under Castro. Nicaragua was and is freer after the Sandinistas were routed. I seem to recall that the Sandinistas were doing quite a bit of killing on their own, and in an attempt to apply Stalinist solutions to their problems, they relocated Indian tribes throughout the country. Everyone who owned a kiosk in Nicaragua became a kulak under the Ortega brothers. The same will happen eventually under Chavez, unless he is checked. The first thing that happens after you nationalize the oil industry is a shortage of oil. We’ve been here; we’ve done this. Albert Camus, a writer in France who had the courage when others did not to speak out publicly against the Stalinist state, says that the chief mark of a totalitarian state is the elimination of the possibility of revolt. By that measure, Cuba has been a totalitarian state since Castro took over. It obviously was not so before Castro’s communist takeover, otherwise Castro’s revolt would not have succeeded. The people who think socialism of a kind practiced in Cuba and more recently in Venezuela is superior to capitalism really should have a talk with a Pole who is over 50 or a Russian or a Cuban or a Tibetan. European socialism is a horse of a different color. But if you really want to find out if socialized medicine is better that free market medicine, my suggestion would be to repatriate to Canada. Or if you want to save yourself a trip, just ask anyone what the average waiting time for a serious operation is north of the border.

  30. If free trade is so powerful a promoter of democracy (which is supposedly the argument behind gloablization, NAFTA, WTO, etc), why do we deny it to Cuba?

    http://www.reuters.com/article/lifestyleMolt/idUSTRE53B1EG20090412?feedType=RSS&feedName=lifestyleMolt&rpc=22&sp=true

  31. “As far as us being a dictatorship, Slate today had a story that Obama might be after more power than Bush’s executive branch sought to grab. For certain classes of people within the country, and for many populations outside our borders, the United States has long been a totalitarian state.”

    He almost certainly will be a more powerful chief executive than Bush, because there is no effective opposition to his measures. Democrats control both the White House and Congress. But we are not a totalitarian state. You do not know what totalitarianism is, what colonialism is, or what “is” is.

  32. No one said Cuba was free under Batista. We know what liberty is because our founding documents tell us what it is. And, by the grace of God, we’ve been living in liberty since the American Revolution.

    Except that in recent years, we can be locked up indefinitely without any due process.

    He almost certainly will be a more powerful chief executive than Bush, because there is no effective opposition to his measures. Democrats control both the White House and Congress. But we are not a totalitarian state. You do not know what totalitarianism is, what colonialism is, or what “is” is.

    Obama certainly hasn’t brought any obvious improvements to the legal situation from the Bush years. Though I disagree about your claim re: opposition — people like me are still complaining about it, and now, some conservatives are too — which may be enough to turn the ship back around. Nice to have some of you aware of the dangers of limitless executive power, late or not.

    Too bad most of the conservatives making noise are more upset about a small increase in the top marginal tax rate than the shredding of the Constitution, but maybe columnists like yourself can help bring your flock around.

  33. “Except that in recent years, we can be locked up indefinitely without any due process.”

    Not any more — except in Cuba and Venezuela, further proof that we are not a totalitarian nation.

    “Nice to have some of you aware of the dangers of limitless executive power, late or not.”

    Ah, so! Where were you when Bush, aided by Congress, was creating government sponsored monopolies like AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? I was on the lines, banging away. I’ve written columns protesting this, not that I expect you to have paid attention.

    As to executive powers during wars, as a general proposition these powers are enhanced when the military has been called into active service. That’s how you win wars.

    I don’t expect Obama to protest the arrangement, now that he has decided to commit more troops to Afghanistan, though you might have an opposing friend in Sen. Chris Dodd, who a) said the Persian Gulf War would be a quagmire (It wasn’t) and b) voted in favor of Bush II’s intervention in Iraq before he c) began to agitate against it.

    That is why I am curious to see his reaction to Obama committal of more troops in Afghanistan, which may be – and you can quote me on this – a quagmire with mountains. Of course, Dodd is busy lately keeping up with all the campaign financing fuss, recently earning himself a full page spread in the right leaning Washington Times:

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/mar/30/aig-chiefs-pressed-to-donate-to-dodd/

    Nice to know that some conservatives are keeping up with the liberals. It will give you something to rejoice over after Easter.

  34. Don

    Based on the link to article you posted – which explains that Congress may vote to loosen travel restrictions on Cuba – I gather that you agree the soft power of trade and cultural exchange works.

    Unfortunately, the problem starts when we start to use hard military power in order to bolster our trade opportunities. Ever read Gen. Smedley Butler?

    That’s what this entire discussion is about. If a foreign policy based on educational exchange, construction of civilian infrastructure and elimination of poverty is the most effective way to win friends and stop violent conflict, why do we continue to supply the world with arms?

    When I hear Jim Amann on Where We Live this morning celebrating the efforts of Democratic congressmen aiming to keep the F-22 produced in Connecticut, and not discussing transferring wartime production to peacetime production, like having those UTC machinists build mass transit train cars or ferries or buses, I understand that the problem is not one of conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat.

    It is one of economic survival. If to feed our people, we need to make machines that kill other people who live far away, then dadgummit, that’s what our leaders will support.

    At Easter time, I rejoice the fact that I am alive, that I am not one of the 637 people on the Pakistani/Afghani border who has had their life taken without due process by American drones.

    I won’t bore you, Don, by accounting for every class of person worldwide whose rights to life, liberty and property has been denied them without due process during America’s last quarter century, the time that history will hold us accountable for.

    America is a great thing if you have won the genetic lottery. Otherwise, YBF. It’s the otherwise I’m concerned about.

    Peace,
    KK

  35. Based on the link to article you posted – which explains that Congress may vote to loosen travel restrictions on Cuba – I gather that you agree the soft power of trade and cultural exchange works.

    It may work – or not — depending on the dictator. And that ought to be the chief point. Mentioning Cuba or Venezuela without attributing to Castro or Chavez the primary responsibility for the nature of their revolutions is a little bit like discussing the Elizabethan age without mentioning Shakespeare. Cuba is what Cuba is because Castro is what Castro is. It simply is not true that either are reactionaries. Masterful ideologues, they both imagined a future for their countries and, at least in the case of Castro, successfully imposed their vision on the future, using the United States mostly as a foil to justify their criminal acts. For me, Castro’s rise to power is a remembered event; that is not the case with you, who are much younger and perhaps more susceptible to revisionist thinkers such as the ones you have quoted in your remarks.

    The soft power of trade is a double edged sword. Having invested so heavily in trade with China, we are, I think you may agree, somewhat at their mercy. We are living on money borrowed from China, and not a day goes by that some economist somewhere reminds us of our growing interdependence. But interdependence is still dependence.

    Dependence of this kind makes a country less at liberty – and I am concerned almost exclusively with liberty. It is well to remember that Cuba and the United States had cordial trade relations before Castro; he abrogated all of them, seizing a good amount of American property without recompense. And what was done once, may be done twice. Neither of the Castro brothers, after all, have renounced the revolution; and in the communist vision, property belongs to any state strong enough to seize it.

    So… if Americans want to trade with these snakes, let’em. But I don’t want to bail them out. I’ve come down with a serious case of bailoutphobia.

    Good thing about the pirates, no?

  36. Breibart news is reporting that Obama has “directed his administration Monday to allow unlimited travel and money transfers by Cuban Americans to family in Cuba, and to take other steps to ease U.S. restrictions on the island, a senior administration official told The Associated Press.”

  37. Revisionist thinkers, Don?

    I quoted Amy Goodman’s straight news report on a poll, Robert Parry on Reagan in the 1980s (which is what he covered), and I mentioned Marine Corps Gen. Smedley Butler, perhaps the most decorated veteran in American history, who died in 1940.

  38. A revisionist historian is one who reassembles what he regards as the facts in order to overthrow commonly accepted accounts. I do not think Parry would object to the designation. He started his e-zine The Consortium expressly for that purpose.

    Here is a report from Salon, not an unfriendly witness, on Parry’s treatment of his reports on the October Surprise:

    “Despite The Consortium’s reliance on anonymous sources and on the testimony of allegedly dubious witnesses — such as former Israeli intelligence officer Ari Ben-Menashe (discredited, according to Parry, thanks to a US-Israel disinformation campaign) — you can’t help being impressed by the documents Parry cites and by his calm, carefully skeptical approach. He claims to have no agenda but the truth.

    “‘It is not the job of a journalist to accept the word of the government,” he says. “I was taught to look at things independently, and I’ve tried to do that.’

    “So is Parry on to something? Opinions differ.

    “John Barry, a Newsweek reporter who headed up a major project that concluded there was no truth to the October Surprise, calls Parry ‘a very good reporter,’ but believes the story was his undoing. Steven Emerson, who debunked the October Surprise in The New Republic and the American Journalism Review, adds that ‘Parry’s continued obsession with these delusions is a personal tragedy.'”

  39. Generally I am on speaking terms with Quakers, pacifists and conscientious objectors. I rather like Butler, but I think you will admit he was a very odd sort of pacifist.

    Roosevelt effectively ended bellicose American intervention on Latin America with his Good Neighbor policy, mentioned here: http://donpesci.blogspot.com/2009/04/yanks-are-coming.html

    You’d probably like the calypsos.

    Castro is a pig.

  40. I really resent the idea that all liberals are somehow in bed with Chzvez. Outside of wingnuts like Cindy Sheehan, most folks realize that he’s a nutty autocrat with some really scary ideas about government power. Please don’t lump the left in with his ilk.

    Don’t forget Joseph P. Kennedy II (aka 1-800-Joe-4-Oil) he’s a liberal scion and is always going on about his “good friends in Venezuela” and I don’t think he’s talking about the oppressed people if you get my drift.

  41. Why not?
    He’s good enough for Joe Kennedy to promote on TV every chance he gets.

    Didn’t see your comment before I posted – good to see I’m not the only one that’s ticked off by those commercials.

  42. Dictatorships arise because stronger countries interfere in weaker countries to create political situations advantageous to the strong country’s for-profit business interests which reside in the weak country. Others might utilize the language of colonizer/colonized to describe the situation.

    Hello dependency theory you’ve brought me right back to my “International Political Economy” course sophomore year at GW!

    I still have the same misgivings about this particular interpretation of history that I had back then. And not just because it’s a viewpoint all the Marxists appear to have jumped on post-cold war.

  43. The Monroe Doctrine’s interventionism in the Western Hemisphere has led to a rash of revolts against American interests. Chavez is the worst example of the backlash. U.S.-engineered coup attempts against his democratically elected regime have fomented his transformation into autocrat.

    Do you have any citations to back up the allegation that the US has attempted to overthrow Chavez? I know he has made the claim for years but I have not to date seen anything verified or backed up. My understanding is that it’s mostly been viewed as Chavez trying to shore up domestic support for his regime by positioning himself as a defender of Venezuela against “American imperialism.”

    He’s run his country into the ground and undermined a once vibrant democracy while building a cult of personality trying to portray himself as a revolutionary leader. It’s sad.

  44. And military spending – 51 percent of our domestic discretionary spending goes to war efforts…

    What percentage of total US Government spending is that 51% of domestic discretionary spending?

    Also, I believe it is disingenuous to claim that the entirety of the Defense Appropriations bill in a given year represents funding “war efforts.” Just to throw out one example, the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) had its start with funding from the Defense Appropriations bills in the mid 1980’s. Even today there is still a substantial amount of DOD funding for the program.

    For the sake of full disclosure I will point out that I only know this because my former employer Rep. C.W. Bill Young (FL-10) was responsible for spearheading the effort to establish the program.

  45. Adam J. Schmidt writes:

    What percentage of total US Government spending is that 51% of domestic discretionary spending?

    As with all budget questions, the number is elusive. The federal government claims that it is a mere 20 percent of the overall budget, with medicare and medicaid and social security tying up about 54 percent of the overall budget, according to
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2009/index.html

    The War Resisters League actually claims the military spending approaches 54 percent of overall expenditures for 2009. My 51 percent was a war resisters number from 2008.
    http://www.warresisters.org/pages/piechart.htm

    The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which has a board of directors spanning the ideological spectrum, from Hill and Knowlton pr hack Frank Mankiewicz to children’s advocate Marian Wright Edelman, has suggested that military spending in 2008 accounted for almost 30 percent of the overall budget. This would represent a 7.5 percent increase from 2001.
    http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=125

    So if you don’t believe the war resisters, and if you don’t believe the White House, the CBPP seems to fall somewhere in the middle, closer to the low end. Even still, $500 billion annually on war is obnoxious, and an affront to human decency.

    Peace,
    Ken K.

  46. So if you don’t believe the war resisters, and if you don’t believe the White House, the CBPP seems to fall somewhere in the middle, closer to the low end. Even still, $500 billion annually on war is obnoxious, and an affront to human decency.

    So now you’re an authority on (a) how much a Hall of Fame basketball coach is worth, and (b) what level of defense spending is obnoxious and/or humanely decent?

  47. So if you don’t believe the war resisters, and if you don’t believe the White House, the CBPP seems to fall somewhere in the middle, closer to the low end. Even still, $500 billion annually on war is obnoxious, and an affront to human decency.

    We clearly disagree on these issues, but I appreciate the citations. I agree that the true numbers are a bit elusive due to a budget process in Washington that is far from transparent. It can get frustrating, particularly when comparing the Federal budget year to year.

    Stumbled across this chart outlining discretionary spending as a percentage of GDP from 1962 through 2007 – it breaks down defense vs. non-defense discretionary spending. Shows that our defense spending has actually declined since its post WWII high. Which is in keeping with the growing economy over that time period and the post cold war “peace dividend” that led us to tragically ignore rising threats through the 1990’s.

  48. Jack Dobb wrote:

    So now you’re an authority on (a) how much a Hall of Fame basketball coach is worth, and (b) what level of defense spending is obnoxious and/or humanely decent?

    You forgot (c) where to find the best curly fries and beer on a Tuesday night. (Kenney’s/Red Rock on Capital Ave. in Hartford.)

  49. You forgot (c) where to find the best curly fries and beer on a Tuesday night. (Kenney’s/Red Rock on Capital Ave. in Hartford.)

    (c) ranks as your best post ever. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s