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View Diary: Misplaced priorities damage America's progress (5 comments)

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  •  Great diary. The F-35 program is the epitome of (0+ / 0-)

    everything that is wrong about the MIC and the many indirect social costs society bears for maintaining it.  From a recent article by Andrew Cockburn at Harper's:

    The F-35 encapsulates in one airframe the full flowering of bloat, corruption, and decay attendant to the defense system. Costing a staggering $191 million (and rising), according to defense analyst Winslow Wheeler, each plane is more sluggish as a fighter than the F-16 and flies too high and too fast to adequately perform its other assigned role, replacing the A-10 ground-support plane. It is also dangerously unsafe. Thanks to a poorly designed fire-suppression system, for example, the F-35 cannot fly within twenty-five miles of a thunderstorm for fear of lightning. This has led to the cancellation of four out of every ten of test flights scheduled for the plane at the Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The F-35 also cannot safely dump fuel in case of an emergency and uses flammable fluids to power the engine hydraulics and cool the electronics, while the electrical system runs at an unnecessarily high 270 volts, vastly exacerbating the risk of fire. Pierre Sprey, who co-designed the F-16, and created the A-10 and optimized its safety features, draws a vivid analogy. “It’s as if Detroit suddenly put out a car with lighter fluid in the radiator and gasoline in the hydraulic brake lines,” he told me. “That’s how unsafe this plane is. Plopping down a fighter this full of bugs and this untested in the middle of a populated area is just nuts.”
    .......
    Carle [spokesman for Senator Patrick Leahy] told me that 2020 will mark a “full decade after [initial] flight testing,” which sounds reassuring, except that the plane won’t begin operational tests to assess its overall suitability until 2018. The report on these tests will not appear until 2020. The air force has, however, produced a legally mandated environmental-impact statement. Among other revelations, the document asserts that “F-35 basing (in Burlington) will disproportionately affect low income and immigrant communities.” In a version updated to account for the latest census figures released on May 31, the air force admitted that the F-35, even without using afterburners, would — once every waking hour, on average, 260 days a year — subject the homes of more than 7,700 people to sound levels unfit for residential areas. Since there are no plans to finance another homeowner buyout, those who find life unbearable will be forced to sell for the best price they can get. Conveniently, this will allow Vermont’s commercial real-estate community to buy into the planned expansion of Burlington’s airport on the cheap.
    The F-35 is a plane without a mission and nothing but a waste of our money.  What is it going to take for the American people to wake up and demand that our government reallocates our scarce resources to activities that will actually add value to society instead of spending our hard-earned wealth on boondoggles that are nothing but parasites on us all?

    Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

    by lehman scott on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 09:26:34 AM PDT

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