The last minute “panic attack” to to get the Air Force to locate not one, but two bases of F-35 fighter jets in Idaho brings to mind some the other ill fated government-funded Public Relations efforts we have seen over the years.
If the F-35 follows in the footsteps of most of the other projects we have seen, there is little chance of the thing even happening. The “buzz” is created by proponents of the fighter–whose future is troubled to say the least–seeking to show congress there is a wide support among the states. That “support” is really just simple greed and not based on any military knowledge or desire.
Here is what appears to us to be a well reasoned ANALYSIS. We think this PR campaign could easily be a battle over the F-22 versus the F-35. If Lockheed can go to congress and say, “Folks across the country are clamoring for the F-35,” congress will be hard pressed to deny funding for the plane–a feather in the Lockheed cap!
Oldtimers will recall the Idaho Commerce and Development spending many thousands to attract the GM Saturn Plant to Kellogg. The idea was to build cars in the Silver Valley to replace jobs lost to mining…mining that pollutted the area into one of the worst toxic waste sites in the nation. Never mind the lunacy of shipping materials to Idaho and cars out. GM went elsewhere and now they have dumped thousands of workers on local economies around the nation and don’t even make the Saturn anymore.
Then there was the “Super Conducting Super Collider” that was some sort of scientific experiment to split atoms or something that no one understood, but really wanted in their backyard. As we traveled around the nation it was pathetic to see the way every state with a few vacant acres of land declared themselves to be an “ideal location.” That whole deal never happened.
Of course we can’t forget the space ship launch pad that Lockheed was shopping around. They built a mock up transporter and got folks at Idaho Falls to declare the area to be a “perfect location” because of the elevation being a mile closer to the moon (space) than sea level. That project also failed to materialize, but the PR firsm made money all over the country creating presentations and local governments spent a ton of taxes touting their communities.
Now communities throughout the West are vieing for the F-35 fighter. How sad that local elected officials want the Dept. of Defense to base decisions on “jobs” and politics rather than sound strategic reasoning. Shouldn’t really be a surprise since we fight wars on the same basis.
The GUARDIAN’s concern about this PR campaign to get people to “support the effort” based on jobs and cash projected for the area is that it serves to divide the nation rather than “Provide for the Common Defense.” Idaho wants to beat Arizona out of the jobs, but California needs the economic stimulus more than Idaho etc. etc…
GROWTHOPHOBES should ask if there is really a benefit having 3,000 jobs if we need to build more fire stations, schools, roads, etc. We jumped on the housing boom and now find ourselves in a “foreclosure boom.” We built a sewer plant to help HP, gave tax breaks to Micron, cut deals for Tamarack to use public land and a lake, but are we really better off?
If the aircraft at Mt. Home are to be replaced, it makes sense to have the F-35 located there. It doesn’t make sense to have them in BOTH Boise and Mt. Home. Boise airport is looking at a third runway and a major expansion–they are even seeking (no surprise) a PR firm to “market Boise Airport.” Mixing commercial air traffic with military traffic is a conflict that could easily be avoided.
Just a thought. If the military side is consolidated with Mt. Home, perhaps we wouldn’t need to build a third Boise runway and all the infrastructure that goes with it. As former BSU coach Dan Hawkins said, “Better is better,” not necessarily more and bigger.
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