Patriots and Scoundrels

Samuel Johnson allegedly said that patriotism was the last refuge of a scoundrel. Since this utterance, quite a few scoundrels have repeated the statement to imply that every patriot was a scoundrel.

If we were to insert the adjective ‘false’ (the French faux might be better) before ‘patriot’ we might get a bit closer to the truth.

The ongoing squabble over the USAF tanker contract award provides a case in point. Among the hacks beating the political drums for Boeing are Democrat Representatives Jim McDermott and Rahm Emanuel. These are left-of- center Democrats who like defense spending only when it is pork for their district or part of a fabric of log-rolling. Their ideal procurement would involve a lot of money spent in their district for study and R&D but involve no delivery of deployable hardware.

The original Boeing offering was a costly lease arrangement for a modified commercial airframe that was a bit short of meeting the customer’s requirements. It met with the early displeasure of Senator McCain and an alternative offering with Northrop Grumman as the prime contractor proved to be a better deal for the taxpayers and the potential war fighters.

Now comes a faux patriotism and thinly-veiled xenophobia with a dash of protectionism.

We now see Francophobia being exploited to reverse a procurement in which proven components would be obtained from a European subcontractor that manufactures the Airbus. One might ask what percentage of the components of Boeing airliners are procured off-shore. Don’t expect an answer that is quick or correct. There is also a national security concern over the alleged export of critical technology. Yet any purely military elements of the aircraft will be assembled domestically. What is the problem?

One Comment

  1. The Honorable Jim McDermott is the fine gentleman who got away with breaking the law concerning the recording of an intercepted cell phone call, and in October of 2002 took a trip to Iraq to try to stop the impending invasion, a trip that was apparently paid for by Saddam Hussein — even though the three Usual Suspect Congressmen claim that they had no knowledge of the source of the funds being Iraq.

    Of course, it was Mr McDermott who told Vice President Cheney that Mr Cheney had to resign or be impeached! It seems to me that Mr Cheney is more honest than Mr McDermott!

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