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A Spoonful of Saccharine: Maddow Again Cheers America Getting Weaker

October 29, 2009


Rachel Maddow, not exactly a defense expert.

Last night, Rachel Maddow spent a good deal of her show crowing over the death of a “military boondoggle” – though really, when has a leftist like her ever labeled military spending as anything but a wasteful “boondoggle.” The program she refers to is the F-22 Raptor, what was supposed to be the backbone of America’s Air Force into the 21st century, but is now more of an afterthought. Maddow was, of course, delighted to see the death of the program, and trotted out a seemingly interminable series of dubious claims against the aircraft. But what she fails to understand is how this leaves a potentially serious gap in America’s defense plans.

President Obama, after many long months of pressure and threatening to veto the entire military’s budget if the program did not go away, finally got his wish and saw the program terminated after only 187 of the planes were built, out of what was originally supposed to be over 800 (though the number had been whittled down to around 400 before the program’s termination).


The F-22 Raptor, victim of politics.

The opponents of the program pointed to the F-35 Lightning II, another newer American fighter aircraft (though this one was jointly-built with many other countries, perhaps making it slightly more palatable to leftists), and questioned why America needed two new fighters for her Air Force. After all, the F-35 is cheaper and has many more variants, such as a carrier-capable plane and a STOVL (Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing) aircraft. The F-35 is cheaper on a per-aircraft basis (although the way military costs are assessed are based on the entire development life-cycle, and many of the F-35’s systems are borrowed from the F-22 development, so in reality the F-22 program paid for part of both aircraft.) Why, in that case, would anyone chose the F-22 over the F-35?


The F-35 Lightning II

The answer is shockingly simple: these planes do not do the same thing. The F-22 is primarily an air superiority fighter, meaning it is designed to intercept and destroy enemy aircraft. The F-35 is mostly a ground-attack and close-air support aircraft. The F-22 exist precisely so the F-35 and similar aircraft- the B-1B, the B-2, etc — can do their jobs without fear of being shot down by enemy aircraft. In addition, the F-22 is a twin-engine aircraft, while the F-35 boasts only a single massive engine. Why is this important? Because in combat, engine damage is often the worst thing a pilot can suffer short of being shot down. Most recent jet fighters have been twin-engine aircraft precisely so they will have the additional reliability. If one engine is damaged, the plan can still make it home. In a single-engine aircraft, engine damage gives the pilot two options–bail out, and pray. There is a reason the F-22 is designed for air-to-air combat and the F-35 is not, and that reason is survivability.

Maddow insists that an aircraft like the F-22 is “designed to let us dogfight with the USSR” and is now outdated. She laughed off that there was any threat that the F-22 might ever be needed to fight. And indeed, the military leaders who ultimately chose to concede to the President’s wishes and put the kibosh on the F-22 program justified it by pointing to “delays” in next-generation Russian and Chinese fighter aircraft. The F-22 was certainly the first “fifth generation” fighter into the air.

We then concur that canceling the F-22 was the smart thing to do — if you want to fight the last war, and advance technologically only in response to unfriendly nations gaining an advantage. America’s air supremacy—and indeed, her unchallenged position as a military superpower exists precisely because America has stayed ahead of the competition. Competition that, unlike America with the F-22, has shown no compunction against selling advanced military technologies to unfriendly and rogue regimes. The invasion of Iraq went so swiftly because America’s soldiers did not need to fear attacks from the sky. Now imagine the next war, when America is equipped with only an aging fighter fleet, against an enemy possibly equipped with next-generation Russian and Chinese planes–such as the new Sukhoi fighter or which plan emerges from the Chinese J-XX program – -of superior technology and performance. Not a pretty picture.

So while Maddow may cheer America weakening her defenses yet again, we have to ask which is worse: to have a weapon you don’t need to fire, or to not have a weapon that you do?

  1. In the know permalink
    October 29, 2009 1:06 pm

    Would anyone expect a liberal to understand tactical planning? They believe we only have enemies because of conservatives. Liberal governments use their militaries against their own people, not against a foreign threat. Logically ground attack fighters make more sense. They will need them to bomb the suburbs and farm country that conservative “rebels” (to use comrade Grayson’s terminology) inhabit.

  2. October 29, 2009 1:12 pm

    Maddcow disease strikes once again! I love it when a MORON talking airhead in MGMSM starts talking about military projects and the cost thereof. Complete and udder lies is all you’ll ever hear from the pie hole of Radical Maddcow regarding our military!

    • politicalmoxie permalink
      October 30, 2009 9:39 am

      @ Tommy Barrios

      Along with your comment let me add, it’s quite simple, the woman is delusional.

  3. macko permalink
    October 29, 2009 1:35 pm

    Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

    in the case of madcow I wonder if the only reason we have her is … I just got the sacchrine line.

    • October 29, 2009 2:10 pm

      I need it, but they won’t let me have it;-)

  4. jondo permalink
    October 29, 2009 2:15 pm

    We need 800 . They can only fly one day per month. What a joke. Tell me ” who the enemy is?” China? they’ll probably end up making them for us. idiots

  5. David Forsmark permalink
    October 29, 2009 2:15 pm

    Generals used to be criticized for planning for the “last war,” now liberals DEMAND that be the policy.

  6. Dave permalink
    October 29, 2009 8:45 pm

    Good God you people are pathologically stupid.

    • October 30, 2009 8:47 am

      Note: An example of a prevaricating penile pathological pejorative slinger of obvious proportions and a pinhead!

      • politicalmoxie permalink
        October 30, 2009 11:17 am

        @ Tommy Barrios

        I’m writing your NOTE down…I know it will come in handy and I’ll give you credit when I use it!

    • October 30, 2009 11:47 am

      Dave makes for a good example as any of the mindless troll. He reminds me of the School Twit in elementary school who used to run around telling everyone that their shoe’s untied. The twit thought it was clever and funny and never realized that it was so beyond stupid, that it was boring.

      • politicalmoxie permalink
        October 30, 2009 1:13 pm

        @Tar and Feathers

        You know Dave, don’t you?

        • October 31, 2009 12:05 am

          A never-ending bane to my lunchtime duty on Safety Patrol.

          Everything I know about politics, I learned on the school playground.

  7. Kevroc permalink
    October 29, 2009 10:03 pm

    Cutting back on this type of project may not be a bad thing.

    Conventional war is not the type of war being waged at home.

    The war is on the minds of our youth.

    The war is on domestic policies.

    Crumbling from within.

    Let’s not focus on fighter jets, and maybe pay more attention to fighter textbooks.

  8. leslie easton permalink
    October 30, 2009 11:43 am

    i’m as good a republican as anyone, but i have to tell the truth about this:
    this came as a shock to me:
    maddow is one of the few liberals who is extremely pro-defense. she is the daughter of an air force captain, and STUDIES the military and how to make it stronger and more efficient.
    months ago i saw a clip of her show in which she was talking about the NEW military insurgent fighting field manual! she gave some of the insurrgency strategists at the pentagon serious credit for being brilliant, and doing “the incredibly hard intellectual work” needed to have an efficient, effective military outcome.
    (yeah, she SAID IT…i nearly fell over)
    she wasn’t being sarcastic, she really means it and has educated herself really well about military matters.
    i found all this very hard to believe!
    i saw her on tv in azn interview saying , “i’m a “pro-defense liberal” and i don’t see why those things seem so opposite each other. i don’t know why people are surprised when they hear me say that.”
    i saw the thing the other day about the raptors, and i’ll tell you. i thought she made sense. and lots of my air force buddies agree about the raptor.
    basically, she said she thought the theory of the raptor was “cool” but that once it got used it didn’t work. and then she explained why.
    i couldn’t believe my friggin’ ears…

    • politicalmoxie permalink
      October 31, 2009 2:31 pm

      @ leslie easton

      Because of your comment I went back and read the Birkel’s article. I adore their wit and look forward to their continuous roasting of Maddow.
      That said, I find Maddow’s on air persona obnoxious. She is, of course, doing an opinion show. I may not agree with what she says or believes, but I would be willing to listen if she would make her message more palatable. This goes for most of her on air co-workers at MSNBC also.
      No one in this political climate should be getting their news from one source. Let me add, no one should be dependent on anyone else for their political opinion. Many of us, myself included, have been too lazy for too long to THINK. November/2009 and the bizarre occurances since then has made this abundantly clear to me.

  9. Hunter permalink
    October 31, 2009 7:26 am

    The planes sucked and EVERYBODY knows it… so why is everyone heartbroken about it?
    Grow up

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