The F-22 Question

I’ve seen a lot of hand-wringing over the F-22 today from politicians all over the state following the Senate vote to strip it’s funding. For instance, here’s Chris Dodd:

“I believe it is our duty and responsibility to protect the thousands of workers in Connecticut and across the country from losing their jobs and to ensure that our country maintains the ability to continue building the finest and most sophisticated fighter jets in the world.
 
“We may not have prevailed in this round, but we are not out — not by a long shot. And I will not give up this fight.”

And here’s Rob Simmons, who took the opportunity to lash out at Dodd:

“When the Bush administration proposed closing the Groton submarine base, I helped lead the successful fight to save it. In failing to convince President Obama and his fellow senators to save the F-22, Senator Dodd proved an ineffective advocate both for the defense of our nation and for the thousands of workers in Connecticut whose jobs are now in dire jeopardy. Instead of hobnobbing with lobbyists at a fancy resort over the weekend, perhaps his time would have been better spent working on behalf of his constituents to preserve this vital program.”

Here’s my question (and I’ve asked it before): do we really need to keep making this plane?

The Secretary of Defense has said that there’s no military reason to keep making these planes. The president said:

“I reject the notion that we have to waste billions of taxpayer dollars on outdated and unnecessary defense projects to keep this nation secure. […] This would have been an inexcusable waste of money.”

I hate to say it, but the president is right.

I know, I know, I live here and I don’t like the thought of unemployed workers at Pratt, either. But the president made the right call, especially considering that the F-35 program is scheduled to start up in 2011. The F-35 will also be using Pratt engines. The only good reason I heard for saving this program is keeping the assembly lines together for the F-35, and that’s just not enough.

There were strong reasons for keeping the Groton Sub Base open, which were laid out in detail by Simmons and the group tasked with saving the base. If there are similarly strong reasons to keep making F-22s, I’d love to hear them.

Advertisements

37 responses to “The F-22 Question

  1. As someone with a family member in Afghanistan I would like to know why the hell we aren’t using the F-22 over there. Seriously.

  2. I don’t know. We have 180-something of them. Maybe because it’s primarily intended to be an air-to-air fighter?

  3. AndersonScooper

    The future is in drones, and other robotic defense weapons.

    And it’s a scary future if one doesn’t necessarily trust the State, and Realpolitik.

    Western philosophy is falling way too far behind scientific reality.

  4. Will_Vernon

    I never really understood the politicking that goes on about defense weapons, equipment, etc., in this state in particular. If it were up to me, I’d cut the defense budget in half right at the start, but if we take a more moderate approach, it really isn’t fair at the national level to make these types of decisions in a constituent-focused way.

    I know, Chris Dodd (and John Larson, Joe Courtney, Lieberman, etc.) will continue to express their outrage over cuts that affect their district, but let’s be honest here: do we, as citizens, want military decisions to be made based on which rep has the most clout in DC? For me, I’ll overlook the job and revenue losses at Pratt or the sub base in favor or a sound national defense policy.

  5. There are two options here, and each makes Dodd look like an ineffective goon. The first is that this plane is vitally necessary to the nation’s defense. If that’s the case, then Dodd (and Lieberman, Larson, et al.) woefully failed to convince the President of this fact, and now he’s trying to play a pathetic game of tough-guy catch-up with silly lines like “I will not give up this fight!” So much for the benefits of having Democrats control everything.

    The second is that this plane isn’t really that important, and that vital defense monies should go toward the development of the F-35, or drones, or some other defense program. If that’s the case, then Dodd again is wrong again for wasting precious resources just to gain favor with his constituents.

    Either way, Dodd comes out of this looking worse than he did yesterday, and that’s pretty impressive, when you think about it.

  6. Dodd sees defense programs through the prism of “jobs created.”

    Defense programs need to be evaluated based upon military effectiveness. But Dodd has always been a panderer, rather than a statesman. This is just more of the same.

  7. The F-22 is the most advanced fighter in the world. The F-22 can fly higher, faster and has more advanced weaponry than any competitor. We don’t sell them to anyone else but our Air Force. We sell the F-35 to other countries including some that we probably shouldn’t be. The F-35 has one engine, the F-22 has two. An F-22 could easily take down an F-35.

    Yes Chris, we do really need to keep making this “plane.” The president is dead wrong and he is pathetic, reckless and dangerous.

    This country’s defense industry has the best design, engineering and manufacturing in the world which is why we’re the strongest country in the world which keeps us safe. Yes, the industry provides “high-tech” jobs for millions of people keeping our economy strong.

    Defense spending is a far better investment of tax dollars than pissing it away on many of the other things you liberals wrongfully think should be priorities over defense spending.

  8. Yankee Doodle

    The Dodd-bashing, led by Simmons, is a little much.

    “When the Bush administration proposed closing the Groton submarine base, I helped lead the successful fight to save it.”

    I guess Mr. Simmons forgot that Sen. Dodd was fighting right along side him throughout the whole BRAC process, as well as Sen. Lieberman and the rest of the Connecticut delegation, Governor Rell and a number of folks in DC, CT and parts in between.

    That’s no knock on Simmons – its was a successful TEAM effort, as he often said himself at the time – but it was also a completely different process. He’s comparing apples to oranges. The then-Bush Administration’s BRAC recommendations were forwarded to a nonpartisan, independnet panel staffed by a team of experts that, along with “Team Connecticut,” unraveled the very flawed proposal to close the base.

    You dont really get that same opportunity with budget decisions – its an inherently political process, like it or not, not only in Congress but also with the administration. With the F-22 vote, there was an intense lobbying effort by the administration to protect their decision to end the program, regardless of whatever arguments were made for saving it – which is also the same reason we leave the base closing decisions to an outside panel.

    “In failing to convince President Obama and his fellow senators to save the F-22, Senator Dodd proved an ineffective advocate both for the defense of our nation and for the thousands of workers in Connecticut whose jobs are now in dire jeopardy.”

    Would Simmons say the same of Sen. Joe Lieberman, whom he all-but-endorsed for Senate in 2006? Lieberman voted with Dodd on F-22, and voted for the funding in committee, but it doesn’t seem that he made the same effort to rally support for the plane on the Senate floor as Dodd. Did Lieberman also fail the “thousands of workers in Connecticut whose jobs are now in dire jeopardy?”

    Or how about Sen. John McCain – does Simmons believe that the man he endorsed for President in 2008 and the lead cosponsor of the amendment to kill the F-22 is an “ineffective advocate…for the defense of our nation?”

    Instead of hobnobbing with lobbyists at a fancy resort over the weekend, perhaps his time would have been better spent working on behalf of his constituents to preserve this vital program.”

    The same article in The Hill trashing Dodd for attending the event over the weekend, which Health linked to on the front page, also reported that an estimated 30 Senators were expected to attend as well. All things considered, and setting side the reflexive and gratuitous shot at Dodd, a gathering of 30 of your colleagues the weekend before this major vote might just arguably seem like a decent place for him to be “working on behalf of his constituents,” no?

  9. The F-22 is the most advanced fighter in the world.

    Only a couple hunded miles per-hour slower than the fastest plane ever – the SR-71

    Faster than a speeding bullet!
    The F-22 flies literally faster than the muzzle velocity of most rifles and virtually all pistols.

  10. Hank Morgan

    The same article in The Hill trashing Dodd for attending the event over the weekend, which Health linked to on the front page, also reported that an estimated 30 Senators were expected to attend as well. All things considered, and setting side the reflexive and gratuitous shot at Dodd, a gathering of 30 of your colleagues the weekend before this major vote might just arguably seem like a decent place for him to be “working on behalf of his constituents,” no?

    Why is it the “in” thing around here to misspell the names of people you disagree with? “Health” in the above-quoted post, “Vancy” in the comment on the Vance post… what gives?

  11. Obama never supported any Military spending and this new found article expresses that point…

    http://www.politico.com/static/PPM116_obamaessay.html

    Obama’s words….

    “These groups, visualizing the possibilities of destruction and grasping the tendencies of distorted national priorities, are throwing their weight into shifting America off the dead end track,”

    Generally, the narrow focus of the Freeze movement as well as academic discussions of first versus second strike capabilities, suit the military-industrial interests, as they continue adding to their billion dollar erector sets. When Peter Tosh sings that “everybody’s asking for peace, but nobody’s asking for justice,” one is forced to wonder whether disarmament or arms control issues, severed from economic and political issues, might be another instance of focusing on the symptoms of a problems instead of the disease itself.”

    –Barack Obama, 1983, Sundial-Columbia university Magazine

  12. So often we develop weapons for todays fight and we lose sight of what threats tomorrow might bring. Our nation’s air fleet is aging with our F-15s and F-16s closing in 30 years of service. We need to develop and deploy the very best for our men and women who serve in harms way for our protection and that is what the F-22 is. So we may not need it in Iraq or Afghanistan but the next war we fight will be different. The fact our delegation with the seniority that they have could not not save this program begs me to ask the question do they not have the ability or in the end did they just not care?

  13. As someone with a family member in Afghanistan I would like to know why the hell we aren’t using the F-22 over there. Seriously.

    I thought the warlords were a lot more about machetes and Soviet era rifles. Do they have an air force that needs to be taken down?

  14. I thought the warlords were a lot more about machetes and Soviet era rifles. Do they have an air force that needs to be taken down?

    Machetes and rifles? I take it that you have never served overseas and seen the danger presented by a man with a “soviet era rifle”. The F-22 has a ground attack capability that can be used in Afghanistan in direct support of our ground troops.

  15. Machetes and rifles? I take it that you have never served overseas and seen the danger presented by a man with a “soviet era rifle”. The F-22 has a ground attack capability that can be used in Afghanistan in direct support of our ground troops.

    I can simultaneously hold both an understanding that a Soviet-era rifle could kill my ass AND an understanding that an F-22 is the wrong tool to combat the people using them. Its air-to-ground capabilities appear to be weak, and, if I’m reading it correctly, that capability was tested for the very first time last month.

    And, just as a minor bonus, it appears that my very amateur assessment is backed up by our military commanders, who have not seen fit to employ the F-22 in the variety of missions since the F-22 became operational in late 2005.

  16. More than 30 air campaign studies over the past 15 years have confirmed a minimum requirement for 260 Raptors. Although the F-22A is the world’s sole fifth-generation fighter, numerous studies have concluded that its quality can be stretched only so far to make up for a lack of quantity.A shortfall would also prevent the Air Force from filling out the service’s 10 Air Expeditionary Forces (AEFs), undermining AEF stability by requiring them to rotate F-22s.

    It always seems that we get tunnel vision and focus only upon the fight at hand and not what future fights may hold.

  17. I thought the warlords were a lot more about machetes and Soviet era rifles. Do they have an air force that needs to be taken down?

    This is what we can already do over there with planes that are not invisible to radar.

    While we may not need the F-22 in the mid-east; placing a few dozen of them in and near So. Korea might have a “calming influence” on the North.

    The U.S. must maintain a more modern and better equipped military than anyone or everyone else on the planet.
    The only alternative we have towards world peace is surrender.

    There’s nothing wrong with the U.S. that another few dozen submarines and 50 aircraft carriers wouldn’t solve.

  18. The Dodd-bashing, led by Simmons, is a little much.

    Who did you have in mind then?

    Heck everyone’s doing it.

    Dodd bashing’s all the rage these days; if it was the 50’s or 60’s there would be a top 40 song and new dance by now too.

    “Put your hand in the guy beside you’s pocket –
    hey don’t knock it!
    do the Dodd Bash!
    Now stash that cash where no one will find it –
    if you get caught you can just deny it –
    do the Dodd Bash!
    Never mind that Dodd’s a crook –
    Hey why look?
    do the Dodd Bash
    Never let facts get in your way –
    Chris Dodd’s out makin’ hay!
    do the Dodd Bash
    We know Dodd’s actions might make you mad –
    but what did you expect? He’s a crook just like his dad!
    do the Dodd Bash

    Chorus
    Do the Dodd…do the Dodd
    Give Chris the nod – do the Dodd

    We know Chris Dodd’s a dirty rat
    why should we care? He’s a Democrat!
    do the Dodd Bash!
    Ya know Chris Dodd’s no Eagle Scout –
    that goes without saying, without a doubt
    do the Dodd Bash
    Even when Dodd was known to take a nip
    it didn’t matter `cause his ratings didn’t dip
    do the Dodd Bash
    If a Republican gets caught drunk we make `em take a bus
    but not Chris Dodd, after all he’s one of us!
    do the Dodd Bash

    Chorus

  19. The F-22 is not now, and has never been, a necessity for American defense. It is not even a necessity for American offense, or for maintenance of the American empire overseas. But the F-22 is critical to the continuation of Lockheed’s gravy train on the backs of millions of increasingly burdened taxpayers in the 50 states.

  20. Hey – Where are all the anti-tax bloggers and the Tea Part crowd??

    Isn’t this THEIR issue?

    Elected officials want to spend billions of THEIR hard-earned federal tax dollars on programs that our own military says are not necessary!

    The silence is SO darn LOUD!

  21. The silence is SO darn LOUD!

    This isn’t your first un-funny post on this topic, but I don’t see what you’re getting at. The F-22 would not be as big of an issue if it wasn’t for the non-stimulating “stimulus” package: you know, the one that Americans were told was an absolute necessity in order to avoid 8% unemployment, but actually led us to twice that:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124753066246235811.html

    I’ve never been to a “tea party,” so I can’t speak for those who have. However, what’s inconsistent about wanting to spend precious tax dollars on the best fighter jets in the world, and not on purchasing shares of bloated automobile manufacturers?

  22. I’ve never been to a “tea party,” so I can’t speak for those who have. However, what’s inconsistent about wanting to spend precious tax dollars on the best fighter jets in the world, and not on purchasing shares of bloated automobile manufacturers?

    I’m just thinking the money could be better spent on Acorn and other Obama supporting community organizer groups.

  23. Jack/Puf,

    I never mentioned auto bailouts or Acorn or Obama (and I never will again!) so you must have me confused with “James D.” (note period after “D”) – that’s someone else entirely. It never fails to amaze me how many responses here are of the “throw in everything and the kitchen sink” sort, bringing up straw men/women never mentioned in the original comment. Is this new style of “debate” perhaps another sign of global warming? Swine flu? Y3K?

    “What’s inconsistent about wanting to spend precious tax dollars on the best fighter jets in the world?”

    > The military (they’re the professionals, you know) don’t want them.

    > We never use them.

    Instead of wasting it, the money could be used to, say, stop middle class families from losing their homes, or rebuild New Orleans. You know, all the stuff that Jesus would probably use it for. (That’s what said, anyway, when he briefed all of us “demi-gods.”)

    Crap! Was I un-funny again? Crap, crap, crap!

  24. James, I have no clue what the military needs or doesn’t need. I’ll leave that debate to people who are far more knowledgeable than I.

    What I can say is, this country spends money on a whole range of things that we can do without. This issue here is, economically this is going to hurt us and at the worst possible time.

    I would think having all Democrats in Congress and Obama getting elected by wide margins in our state would have given us a little better treatment from the administration in charge.

    While thousands of people in our state drive around with Obama/Biden bumper stickers somebody should tell them how CT just got screwed economically. YES WE DID!

  25. Crap! Was I un-funny again? Crap, crap, crap!

    James, you threw the only kitchen sink here.

    You said, “wow, those tea partiers are quiet!” as if tea parties had anything to do with Dodd’s failures on the F-22. I said, essentially, that it would make sense for tea partiers to be silent if they prefer spending money on fighter jets and not on things like union jobs (GE, Chrysler) or Obama’s campaign committee (ACORN). Further, I qualified my comment by saying that I’m not a tea partier. What’s your point?

  26. Jack,

    My point is just the obvious, odious, selfish hypocrisy of those who gripe to all heaven anytime they smell an opportunity to trash government’s use of their tax dollars – UNLESS a particular taxpayer-funded mega-boondoggle (which is how our US military experts – just not all arm-chair bloggers – have described more F-22’s) fits into some other irrational element of their specious political ideology.

    That’s all.

    Nothing more.

    Now I’m SURE I’ve changed your mind!

    Care for a cup of tea, Jack?

    Earl grey. Hot.

  27. Yankee Doodle

    Why is it the “in” thing around here to misspell the names of people you disagree with? “Health” in the above-quoted post, “Vancy” in the comment on the Vance post… what gives?

    Nothing gives. Honest-to-god typo. They do happen, from time to time, without any offense intended.

  28. Why is it the “in” thing around here to misspell the names of people you disagree with? “Health” in the above-quoted post, “Vancy” in the comment on the Vance post… what gives?

    Stank,

    Maybe it’s dyslexia or just plain confusion. Some people come up with some pretty strange screen names that are almost impossible to understand and pronounce, let alone spell the exact way the person wants them to be spelled.

    You shouldn’t be so insensitive to people’s handicaps and shortcomings, shame on you!

  29. This debate is absurd. Facts is, the Secretary of Defense and the military decided that they dont need or want the F-22. They are the ones responsible for making that decision based upon their knowledge of what is needed now and in the future. Its not Obama’s fault, its not any congressman or Senator’s fault. Simply, the military said dont buy it, we dont want or need it. End of discussion.

  30. Oh.

    This debate is absurd. Facts is, the Secretary of Defense and the military decided that they dont need or want the F-22. They are the ones responsible for making that decision based upon their knowledge of what is needed now and in the future. Its not Obama’s fault, its not any congressman or Senator’s fault. Simply, the military said dont buy it, we dont want or need it. End of discussion.

    adb67,

    I couldn’t disagree with you more. A new study from the Catoritage Institute projects that, with the technological advances achieved by China, North Korea, and other potentially hostile nations, the US could see THREE TIMES the number of high-altitude combat aircraft “dogfights” over the next two decades as we experienced with the USSR during the entire Cold War.

    So that’s: 3 x 0 =

    Oh.

  31. So that’s: 3 x 0 =

    If you think that we engaged in 0 dogfights with the USSR during the Cold War, then you’ve reached a new level of hopeless naivete.

    Thus, you probably think that we need to buy Michigan-based automobile companies in order to “save” the American auto industry (when Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio automobile companies are doing just fine), that raising taxes will lower health care costs, that the “stimulus” bill will “stimulate” anything other than ACORN, and that Santa Claus delivers gifts every December 25.

  32. This debate is absurd. Facts is, the Secretary of Defense and the military decided that they dont need or want the F-22. They are the ones responsible for making that decision based upon their knowledge of what is needed now and in the future. Its not Obama’s fault, its not any congressman or Senator’s fault. Simply, the military said dont buy it, we dont want or need it. End of discussion.

    What’s your stance on “don’t ask, don’t tell”? By your logic, since the military said “don’t allow gays, we don’t want or need gays,” is it “end of discussion”?

  33. Jack,

    Boy – do YOU have ACORN and the auto industry on the brain. As a teenager, were you trapped in a rogue and violent acorn downpour while necking in the back seat of your cherry-red Mustang? PTSD is no Jack, joke. You must be reliving that horrific experience every time you sit down to blog (it shows, guy, it shows).

    And did I somehow sleep through the great air battles of the Cold War? How many Reds did Lindy shoot down? Are we talking actual history here – or just something Rush mentioned when he thought the mike was off? I know we ran covert missions back over the USSR. But it was a ground-launched missile that took down Bono Powers in his U2. There may be “rumors” of other off-the-record Soviet shoot downs of our spy planes – but that’s hardly enough to base an adult argument on.

    I like Ike. He knew it as a general and warned us as a President. Let’s all sing together now:

    “This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience … In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist”

    Are you guarding, Jack??

  34. And did I somehow sleep through the great air battles of the Cold War? How many Reds did Lindy shoot down? Are we talking actual history here – or just something Rush mentioned when he thought the mike was off? I know we ran covert missions back over the USSR. But it was a ground-launched missile that took down Bono Powers in his U2. There may be “rumors” of other off-the-record Soviet shoot downs of our spy planes – but that’s hardly enough to base an adult argument on.

    You’re an odd duck, and in your own way, you’re arguing against Dodd, Lieberman and Larson, which is kind of nice.

  35. James D // Jul 22, 2009 at 9:57 pm ·

    Jack,

    My point is just the obvious, odious, selfish hypocrisy of those who gripe to all heaven anytime they smell an opportunity to trash government’s use of their tax dollars – UNLESS a particular taxpayer-funded mega-boondoggle (which is how our US military experts – just not all arm-chair bloggers – have described more F-22’s) fits into some other irrational element of their specious political ideology.

    That’s all.

    Nothing more.

    Now I’m SURE I’ve changed your mind!

    Care for a cup of tea, Jack?

    Earl grey. Hot.

    “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

    [I’m not sure WHY… Was I immoderate? But here it is again.]

  36. My comment is awaiting moderation.

  37. My comment is done awaiting and has left the building.

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