posted at 11:27 am Mon Oct 22nd, 2012 by (WherezIt_Staff)
Unlike Bernie Sanders, I have always supported a strong national defense. Why, then, do I oppose the installation of a new fighter jet, the F-35, at Burlington Airport?
Simply stated, it is because I believe it would not be in the best interest of the nation or Vermont.
The Associated Press recently quoted Senator Sanders as saying, ''If the F-35 ends up not being located here, it will end up at a National Guard base in Florida or South Carolina. I would rather it be here.'' Clearly, Sanders recognizes that the issue is not national defense of the northeast, but whether to locate the National Guard's F-35 base in Burlington or in Florida or South Carolina. That is a choice worth examining carefully.
Burlington and its surrounding area is the most densely populated section of Vermont. It is the most likely area to attract the economic growth our state needs in order to expand the tax base that is so vital to Vermont's fiscal health. Would the introduction of the F-35 be consistent with those facts? The US Air Force's Draft Environmental Impact Statement itself indicates it is an inappropriate basing for this area. Aside from any considerations of civilian safety, there is the fact that F-35 produces much more noise than the F-16 currently flown by the National Guard. Senator Sanders acknowledges that problem, then tries to minimize it by claiming that measures would be taken to curb the noise. Understandably, many in the community are not reassured. Furthermore, one must question whether the means of noise abatement would not adversely restrict the base's usefulness in training operations.
Some argue that rejection of the F-35 could have disruptive effects for the area's economy. But the F-16s now at the base will, in all likelihood, continue as the mainstay at least for the next decade. Over that period, the Air Force should see the wisdom in moving missions to the Burlington facility that can capitalize on our area's unique advantages both in our geography and the skills of the men and women serving in our National Guard.
Senator Sanders's argument for siting the F-35 in Burlington really has nothing to do with national security; instead, it boils down to the right to boast that he has once again delivered to constituents what is known in Washington as political "pork". Bernie's devotion to the pork barrel in the cause of his reelection illustrates the major difference between his candidacy and mine. Runaway budgets that produce unsustainable national debt have created the principal threat to our future. Sanders and Leahy's position on the F-35, despite both claiming to want to cut defense spending, is an example of what has caused this problem. Washington politicians try to bring back as many Federal dollars into their state as possible - even if it's not spent wisely. It's especially hypocritical that Sanders wants to cut $1 Trillion from the Defense Budget over ten years, but wants to spend ten times more than necessary to put the new fighter jet in his district. Economists of all political stripes agree on this present danger. If we do not act decisively and immediately, we will have to deal with monetary collapse and social upheaval on a scale reminiscent of Germany's disaster after the First World War. Unlike Bernie Sanders, I will vote to cut spending and bring our federal government under control. The national debt, that swelling mortgage on the next generation which will inevitably result in a foreclosure on America's survival and leadership, must be reduced. Now.
If Vermont's citizens wish to vote for someone who makes hauling pork back from Washington his priority -- even if, as in this case, it is buried in the Pentagon budget among non-crucial items -- they should vote for Bernie Sanders. Alternatively, if they want a representative who recognizes the peril confronting the very future of our society -- indeed, in every sense, our national security -- then, I submit, they should vote for me. A few days ago, a newspaper headline read "Ahmadinejad Predicts Impending Downfall of US Due to $16 Trillion In Debt." Unfortunately, the Iranian president is alert to the consequences of a debt that surpasses the ability of an economy to meet its interest obligations -- European countries like Greece and Spain amply demonstrate the lesson. Please vote to prevent that catastrophe here.
Montpelier, VT 05602 (Set as Local)