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Web Letter

The gentleman from Texas clarified the issues involved with this program. I guess the F-22 is designed to fix a World War II problem that no longer exists. The P-51 Mustang was designed to protect the long-range bombers of that era. They did successfully protect them, but, because of the weather, pinpoint bombing degenerated into area bombing, which did not reduce war production in Germany.

If a pre-emptive nuclear strike is contemplated, missiles would be the method of choice. You do not need bombers or their fighter escorts to commit mass murder involved in nuclear conflicts.

We need attack aircraft, which do work, for the current types of conflict in which we are engaged. The A-10 seems to work, but the Harriers might need some upgrading.

Pervis James Casey

Riverside, CA

Jul 27 2009 - 1:51pm

Web Letter

Thanks to Scheer, I had a useful source to draw from this week when Twittering back at GOP consultants in Texas.While they bemoan the loss of jobs relating to the "deep-sixing of the F-22," they seem either unwilling or unable to fathom the fact that a flawed business model will never succeed. If a high-profit product ceases to be of value, it's not our president's fault for not continuing to buy it.

It's not personal. It's just good business.

Rachel Farris

MeanRachel.com<br />Austin, TX

Jul 23 2009 - 1:19pm

Web Letter

Robert Scheer recognizes that cutting the F-22 is important, but wonders if it really signals fundamental change in defense and foreign policy.

Actually, it is the GOP "stimulus package" and will be ramped back up if the GOP takes back the House or Senate next year. Remember how Ronald Reagan and John Lehman recommissioned battleships with Congressional support. The F-22 is only undead. Reactionary conservatives and liberals, alike, could bring it back as a brain-eating zombie.

Hopefully, the core mission of the F-22 is dead, though. This plane is last in a line of "all-weather, long-range, escort" fighters that have been required since the 1920s-vintage "strategic bombing" theory was put into practice during the 1940s and mostly failed. That theory culminated in the design and production of the B-1 bomber for pre-emptive nuclear war.

This plane has three exotic capabilities that make it very expensive to build or operate: (1) passive sensors ("stealth"), (2) supersonic cruise (w/o afterburners), and (2) vectored thrust (pivoting nozzles). In the end, the cost of all three became the justification for civilian pork and military bloat, with no other justification at all.

The three capabilities cannot be used at the same time and coexist badly in one airframe. Moreover, the B-1 bomber this plane was supposed to escort has been out of production for years.

The US and others will continue building military aircraft. All three of the exotic technologies in this plane may yet find a place in much cheaper aircraft that can be built and used economically by the US or others.

But there will probably be no going back to the originally isolationist-pacifist vision of strategic bombing as a tidy bourgeois-socialist alternative to war. However, that will take some serious rethinking of The Nation's approach to military-patriotic and economic-technical affairs, as well.

John Robert Behrman

Houston, TX

Jul 22 2009 - 9:51am