Cornyn wants to prepare for the Indian threat

CORNYN WANTS TO PREPARE FOR THE INDIAN THREAT…. Senators have had to get pretty creative lately to defend spending more money on a fighter jet that doesn’t work and that the Pentagon doesn’t want. Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-Texas) argument, however, might be my favorite.

“[The F-22 is] important to our national security because we’re not just fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Cornyn says. “We’re fighting — we have graver threats and greater threats than that: From a rising India, with increased exercise of their military power; Russia; Iran, that’s threatening to build a nuclear weapon; with North Korea, shooting intercontinental ballistic missiles, capable of hitting American soil.” [emphasis added]

Wait, Cornyn thinks we should spend tax dollars on a fighter jet the Pentagon and the Air Force don’t want because we should be worried about a “rising India”? Perhaps someone can take Cornyn aside and explain that that India is a close U.S. ally. If we need unnecessary fighter jets to prepare ourselves for a military conflict with India, the United States is in a much more precarious position that I realized.

Cornyn added that the F-22 is “one of our most innovative, strategic fighter planes.” If by “innovative” and “strategic” Cornyn means, “planes that don’t function properly,” he’s absolutely right.

The whole argument is just so foolish. Sure, there are possible international security threats on the horizon, but the debate isn’t about whether to slash defense spending or do away with all fighter jets. We’re talking about money for new jets that don’t work and which 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.

If Cornyn said, “Look, the excess spending will help some jobs in Texas,” I could respect that. It would at least be honest. But Cornyn’s problem is he has to manufacture an excuse to justify wasteful spending, and he hasn’t thought the argument through.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.