Guest Opinions

Proposed fighter jet not good for Boise, Idaho or the nation

Major Ethan Sabin taxis after landing a F-35A at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Mountain Home, Idaho. Six F-35A jets were at Mountain Home Air Force Base for testing and evaluation in 2016.
Major Ethan Sabin taxis after landing a F-35A at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Mountain Home, Idaho. Six F-35A jets were at Mountain Home Air Force Base for testing and evaluation in 2016.

The Idaho Peace Coalition shares the concerns expressed by many in regard to the F-35 fighter jet. We feel the F-35s aren’t good for Boise, Idaho or the nation.

There are a significant number of citizens and local groups with differing focuses on the myriad of issues that surround this project, from which Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter program contract was first signed on Nov. 16, 1996. Even though they have promised President Trump to trim the cost of the program by 3 percent, it is nothing when viewed from the 2001 initial estimates of $233 billion for the F-35, which has skyrocketed to near $400 billion. Primer think-tanks like the RAND corporation, American Enterprise Institute and the National Security Network have studied the F-35 program and have found that it has not and most likely cannot fulfill its mission in real-life combat. These institutes have a long history of supporting military action and military spending.

Residents of the area of impact worry about the noise level of the jet, which the EIS says is four times louder than maximum loudness of the F-16. The EIS also has analyzed the contrail exhaust and determined it is significantly higher in dangerous pollutants than other jets. Further, studies have shown that the job enticements don’t manifest as expected. And there are the studies showing that chronic aircraft noise negatively effects the cognitive ability and the stress levels of our children. Studies show that people who choose to sell their homes in these areas have a very difficult time doing so. All relevant concerns.

The Idaho Peace Coalition has another focus of concern. On an annual basis, nearly 50 percent (above sometimes, sometimes just below) of the nation’s discretionary funds are devoted to past, current and future wars. Studies show excessive waste in the Department of Defense. We believe those funds could be better spent on peaceful priorities. Not just federal tax dollars but local ones as well. The City Council is considering paying an out-of-state consulting firm up to $100,000 for ideas to make Boise attractive for the F-35 mission. We know there are items here in Boise that money could be better used for.

On local and national levels, rather than pay for more instruments of war, how about instead infrastructure projects, education needs and affordable housing? Or perhaps try eliminating the “pay to play” system for sports in schools or the skyrocketing cost to parents to get their kids into any extracurricular activities. Boise is a high-tech area. Continuing to invest in attracting those jobs would be more sustainable. Imagine Boise as a hub of manufacturing of solar panels and new solar technologies, for instance.

We encourage Boise’s mayor, the governor and the Boise City Council not to simply accept the views of the well-financed weapons manufacturers lobbyists and think out of the box.

Nino Carpenter is a native Idahoan, retired businessman and a founding member of the Idaho Peace Coalition.

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