• Other side of F-35 debate
    November 26,2013

    Other side of F-35 debate

    A recent commentary on F-35s missed.

    At a South Burlington City Council meeting in April 2010, Adj. Gen. Dubie stated something to the effect that if the F-35 does come to Vermont, we will lose jobs, as the maintenance will be done elsewhere.

    In a hard-hitting interview in Business Week magazine that fall, Defense Secretary Gates did in fact question the need for the F-35 and the out-of-control costs. He was quoted as saying, “Why do we need 30 times the number of jets as China?”

    One need look no further than the military-industrial complex and Lockheed Martin. The commentary writer is right in that we are sacrificing our society on the altar of militarism. In 2011 the city of Valparaiso, Fla., which sits just off the edge of Eglin Air Force Base, sued the U.S. Air Force over basing the F-35 there — and won.

    The number of F-35s was cut in half, and sorties were reduced and moved north to Duke airfield, away from the city. The Air Force also paid the city’s legal fees. It was determined that the environmental impact statement grossly underestimated the negative health effects on the city. What has been noticeably absent from the pro-F-35 folks is any mention of law. And that is the National Environmental Policy Act that sets the guidelines for basing jets. The Air Force has drastically deviated from final selection criteria in this case, and it should raise alarm bells. The law states, NEPA shall be used to protect the health and welfare of communities and citizens, who may be adversely affected by an action (i.e., a bed-down of F-35 jets). It is not top secret.

    Mark Dickinson

    South Burlington

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