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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 23, 2009 at 4:00 PM

F-22 canceled: Should Washington senators have voted to continue program?

Washington senators vote foolishly on military spending

The vote by Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell to spend $1.75 billion to buy seven more F-22 fighter jets [“Senate roll call: Washington state’s senators vote no,” seattletimes.com, Politics & Government, July 21] was a disappointing reminder of how badly hooked they are on the drug of pork-barrel military spending.

Fortunately, the majority of their colleagues did not agree with them, and the Senate cut the proposed F-22 funding from the defense budget. While there were jobs at stake, there are ways to create jobs that do not involve wasteful spending.

Currently we are spending at a rate of around 25 percent of the gross domestic product while we raise less than 20 percent of it in taxes. This is unsustainable — increases in taxes and spending cuts are inevitable.

The severity of the cuts and the tax increases will depend on whether or not responsible legislators take advantage of good opportunities to cut spending and cutting the F-22 was one of them. It is a shame Murray and Cantwell did not see that.

I hope in the future we can count on them to look out for the financial well-being of this country instead of defense contractors’ interests.

— Lee Daneker, Seattle

Murray and Cantwell giving in to pork-barrel politics

As a longtime Democrat and supporter of Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, it pains me to see them cave in to the lowest form of pork-barrel politics they have long claimed to be above.

By voting for nearly $2 billion in funding for just seven new F-22 fighters, planes the secretary of defense and the president have long claimed we don’t need and can’t use, they have fed directly into the opposition, who continue to charge — this time justifiably — that Democrats can’t find a spending program they won’t support.

We didn’t elect our senators to bring home the bacon; we elected them to make smart decisions that increase our national security, and their votes did neither. The opportunity cost of continuing the F-22A program is enormous.

Undoubtedly, they or someone will claim they had to vote this way to support jobs at home. This is a lie.

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, a state that also directly benefits from the F-22 program, voted with his conscience to kill the useless and costly program. Why can’t we expect the same from our senators?

I would like to see Cantwell and Murray re-elected but not if they continue making misguided votes like this one.

— John Lederer, Seattle

Despite F-22 cut, still too much spent on military

Since I’m opposed to wasteful military spending, I’m happy the Senate voted to save $1.75 billion in the coming military authorization bill by stopping the F-22 fighter program [“Senate votes to kill fighter-jet program,” News, July 22].

But looking at the bigger picture, I’m not happy with the $679.8 billion still left in the bill, more than double what it was when George W. Bush took office. And it doesn’t count the roughly $50 billion in the intelligence budget, the $15 billion to protect and upgrade nuclear weapons or the billions spent by Homeland Security. Shouldn’t all these be called defense programs, too?

It seems we’re spending almost $1 trillion a year on defense and then wondering why we can’t keep our schools open, have real health care and give our wounded veterans the care they deserve.

We can redirect our spending and not a single defense worker has to lose their job. We can shift from making jet engine turbines to wind turbines, from cruise missiles to solar panels.

I’d be glad to see my taxes go toward retooling and retraining for sustainable energy needs, for peace instead of war.

— Bill Distler, Bellingham

Comments | More in aviation, military, Politics

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