GOLDFARB AT HIS MOST GOLDFARB-ESQUE…. Given Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) work on eliminating unnecessary F-22 funding, I sort of expected the Weekly Standard‘s Michael Goldfarb, a former McCain aide, to support the majority today.
If there is any consolation to be had here it comes from the fact that there will be a time when this administration’s weakness on defense, and the subservience of their enablers in Congress, will reemerge as a national political issue. And at that time, some Republican will run an add [sic] that shows the trillions this government has wasted on pet projects and social experiments and contrast that with the determination that same government showed in killing a crucial weapons system — because they decided there isn’t enough money left for our military to have the very best equipment money can buy.
America is less safe now than it was an hour ago.
OK, let’s get into this a bit. On the latter point, it’s worth remembering that the F-22 is a bit of a mess. For every hour it spends in the air, it requires more than 30 hours of maintenance. One of its key problems is — I’m not kidding — “vulnerability to rain.” After years of effort, the plane, in operational flight tests, has met only seven of its 22 “key requirements.” It features a radar-absorbing canopy that tends to imprison pilots for hours. It was designed to address Cold War-era national security needs, and has flown a grand total of zero missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Even if we exclude President Obama from the equation, the excess F-22 spending was opposed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates (a Bush/Cheney appointee), the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (a Bush/Cheney appointee), the current Air Force Secretary and Chief of Staff, and the leading Democrat and Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. The Senate vote today had 15 GOP members, including some very conservative lawmakers, joining with the majority.
Now, Goldfarb seems to think the F-22 vote will have an effect on the F-35 project. That may or may not be true. But to argue that the F-22 vote means “America is less safe now than it was an hour ago” is silly.
But it’s Goldfarb’s first point that I find especially insulting. The “consolation” of a common-sense vote in the Senate on planes that don’t work and aren’t needed is that, someday, Goldfarb thinks there will be a political price to pay for Obama’s “weakness.”
This falls into a tired and offensive pattern among far-right voices — laying down markers now so they can blame Obama if/when there’s another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. This has been happening pretty consistently for months, and it continues to be ridiculous.
As Jason Zengerle noted when this rhetoric started, “You almost get the sense [these conservatives] are hoping for an attack so that they can blame Obama when it happens.”