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Letters to the editor: Raptors, schools and guns

May. 9, 2013 - 01:08PM   |  
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SELL RAPTORS TO ALLIES

Recently, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel directed his top generals to re-evaluate the Defense Department’s strategy for achieving national objectives in light of anticipated budget decreases.

Considering America has essentially admitted it cannot maintain a balance of power in the Asia-Pacific region on its own, and that the primary fighter we plan to sell to our strategic partners in the region — Australia and Japan — is fraught with development and performance issues, should we not consider some other options?

One option would be to sell the F-22 to other countries. But Congress passed the Obey Amendment in 1998, which prohibits the U.S. from selling Raptors to other countries to protect our nation’s military secrets.

By selling the F-22 to foreign powers like Australia and Japan, we would inject large amounts of capital into the defense industry — capital that can be used to develop the next generation of air power.

The last F-22s to come off the production line cost around $120 million a copy, roughly equivalent to the F-35 now, and the F-22 carries more air-to-air missiles than the F-35. Thus, our foreign strategic partners would get more bang for their buck for a fighter that is already proven and not in ­development.

Furthermore, in selling the F-22 to Australia and Japan, we will help to offset the growing power of China, which is rapidly developing its own stealth fighter fleet.

In short, the F-22 is a more capable aircraft, and while it presents a threat to the F-35 program, it should be proliferated in order to have a strategic impact.

Maj. David R. Wright / New Orleans, La.

CUT OUT OVERSEAS SCHOOLS

With the passage of sequestration of defense spending [“Budget cuts hit home,” March 25], isn’t it time to look at the cost of maintaining the thousands of military dependents and their children, which includes housing, schools, teachers who are stationed overseas?

Master Sgt. Wayne Doering (ret.) / Clarendon, Texas

SMALL SAVINGS ADD UP

I was disappointed the Air Force’s and Navy’s aerial demonstration teams [“No-go for Air Shows,” April 1], had been grounded due to the Defense Department’s budget woes.

I was disheartened when the projected savings of $38 million annually was characterized as “relatively small.”

Ben Franklin once said: “Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.”

Conversely, “little” savings, replicated across the whole DoD team, can go a long way to build one.

Col. Bill Malec (ret.) / O’Fallon, Ill.

CARTOON NOT FUNNY

Apparently the cartoonist [“AirForceToons” April 29], has not been reading up and listening to the Air Force and its need to be more aware of sexual harassment.

The cartoon refers to “T&A” when it meant “tuition assistance.” This just perpetuates an attitude the Air Force is trying to erase.

I think an apology is in order.

Master Sgt. Stephen A. Perreault (ret.) / Westover Air Force Base, Mass.

GUN REGISTRATION IS WRONG

The Air Force Times had an article on public ownership of firearms [“Strong voices on firearms,” March 25], in which Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno stated he favors a ban on “assault weapons.”

Recent history reveals what the results of weapon registration are: Stalin’s Russia used gun registration lists to confiscate guns from his enemies from 1929 to 1953. Around 20 million people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Germany’s Adolph Hitler used gun registration lists to disarm his enemies, and from 1939 to 1945, around 13 million Jews and others unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.

Turkey registered guns, and from 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

The same exterminations happened with China (20 million people from 1948-52); Guatemala (100,000 Mayan Indians from 1964-81); Uganda, (300,000 Christians and others from 1971-79); and Cambodia (1 million people from 1975-77).

The Second Amendment was not for hunting, but to guarantee people would have the tools necessary to defend their freedoms.

The sole reason for gun registration is to locate them so they can be confiscated.

Kirby F. Crosby / Tomahawk, Wis.

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