Eisenhower’s Worst Nightmare
Tuesday, March 04, 2008 at 7:44 am
Were Eisenhower alive, he’d no doubt be appalled at how thoroughly five-decades worth of policymakers have ignored his famous warning regarding the rise of the military industrial complex. But at least under the traditional blueprint of that economic strategy, the Defense Department cash is returned to our own economy in the form of contracts to U.S. companies.
Someone tell that to Robert Gates.
The Air Force on Friday announced that a $1.5 billion contract to build four KC-45A fuel tankers would go in part to Airbus, a subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company. The move reportedly startled Wall Street analysts, who had expected Boeing to snatch the contract. The move also startled Boeing, whose 160,738 employees need to keep busy somehow.
Sensing that the military industrial complex is supposed to work differently, congressional lawmakers from both parties began their condemnations immediately. Three days later, their indignation continues to bubble.
In a statement issued Monday, Sen. Sam Brownback, Sen. Pat Roberts and Rep. Todd Tiahrt — all Kansas Republicans — all but demanded that the DoD Scrap its Airbus decision and reward the contract to Boeing.
This afternoon, we conveyed to the Air Force our shock and disappointment of the recent Tanker bid being awarded to Airbus as opposed to a reliable and experienced U.S. company. We have just met with the Air Force and we remain unconvinced that the Airbus team will provide a better aircraft than the men and women of Boeing.
Further down the page, the true reason for the lawmakers’ ire was revealed:
The right decision could have brought up to 1,000 jobs to the Wichita area.
Democrats have joined the fray as well. A March 3 statement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal.) suggests that there may even be national security dangers in granting the contract to (gasp!) the Europeans. A little later, though, Pelosi returns to the same theme of financial security for America’s contractors. Threatening a congressional examination of DoD’s decision, the Speaker poses the question:
Was sufficient consideration given to the impact of the contract award on jobs in America and on our technological base?
And Eisenhower spins in his grave…
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