This letter followed a meeting, whose premise is detailed in a previous post, with MO-3 Congressman Carnahan’s District Director Jim McHugh. I’m not certain that we made any earth-shaking changes with this meeting, but I think it was a very effective meeting that can be the foundation from which we have more fruitful conversations.
–Thank you for taking the time to meet with us last week. I think there is a consensus from within the group that we’d like to continue this dialogue with yourself and members of the legislative staff in DC.
You specifically asked me to remind you of the suggestion, that, if the congressman makes a trip to one of our war zones, that he request to be protected by soldiers, not blackwater or other non-military, personnel. And we’d like to know about the Congressman’s role in the committee that is planning to dig-up information about war-zone profiteers.
Looking at some of my notes, there were a few points/questions I wanted to make following our conversation. Please take them as they are, forward them on to policy folks, and/or respond at your discretion. There are some instances of pronoun mix-ups (i.e. saying “you” when it might be someone else entirely doing that work), but this is directed to you and the entire Carnahan staff (including the Congressman) as based on our conversation.
-1- The C-17’s use as a humanitarian vehicle. Again, we’re aware that this is a technologically amazing airplane, but the military has said it has enough and by asking the military to take on humanitarian missions is outside of the role the US military should be playing in the world. Humanitarian aid should go through the State Department. I’m in the process of writing a longer description of the importance of distinguishing between the roles of the State and Defense Departments and promise to get you a draft upon completion.
-2- The F/A(E/A)-18 Superhornet/Growler vs the F-35 JSF. Again, the superhornet is a remarkable plane and, of course, it’s made here in St Louis. I don’t want to make it seem like I or anyone else who was there the other day is excited about spending any money on any new jet-fighters, I think we come from the perspective that if your only tool is a hammer things start to look an awful lot like nails. BUT, if the DoD and US Government are intent on spending billions of dollars on planes, let’s at least do it somewhat responsibly. The very simple point that I would like to make is that if the Congressman and his peers are going to lobby for the Boeing Superhornets as alternatives to the Lockheed JSFs, make sure the money comes out of the proposed funds for the JSF. Do not tack it onto any war supplemental. If the genuine argument is that one plane is better and more affordable than the other, put your money where your mouth is and stop spending so much the more wasteful piece of equipment in order to fund the less wasteful piece of equipment.
-3- Boeing going green. You mentioned Boeing’s smart-grid technology. If Boeing doesn’t bring those Green jobs to St Louis, what good does it do us? and what will the future of Boeing in St Louis look like? I know that Boeing pulls a lot of weight around here, but they pull a lot of weight everywhere – we’re not especially special. Without these wars, some of the people at the St Charles plant will be laid off [this is a depressing reality]. The C-17 and F-18 lines have limited (10 years would be optimistic) life-spans. What happens after these wars and after we run out of foreign orders for these planes? We want those green jobs here. If Boeing doesn’t present a plan to diversify their St Louis work, you should stop spending your time talking to them and start making plans for the constituents they are making plans to fire in the next several years.
Thanks again for your time and service to the region. How should we proceed with having follow-up conversations with you and other staffers?
Until next time,
Peace Economy Project Director