Dear Editor: John Nichols recent column praising Rep. Mark Pocan as an “anti-war” congressman completely ignores Pocan’s support for the Pentagon’s plan to bed a squadron of F-35 jets at Truax Field.
The F-35 is the largest and “costliest weapons program in human history,” according to Time. It is a bully plane, designed to bomb countries with weak air protection. Equipped with the B61-12 guided nuclear bomb — what war planners call a “usable” nuclear weapon — this is exactly the type of plane that first-strike Pentagon hawks would love to deploy in a war against Iran.
The Air Force has admitted that the crash rate for the first F-35s will be 3.6 times higher than the F-16s they are set to replace. Thirty-five percent of its weight is combustible and produces carcinogenic fumes when alight, including the innovative stealth coating. Can you imagine if one of these jets crashed into MATC? The F-16 that crashed into a California warehouse with 500 rounds of live ammo and injured 13 civilians shows how real the danger is.
There is a meaningful distinction between just being against war and working for peace. True peace advocates aren’t just against impending war, we work against the growth of the military industrial complex that has dominated U.S. politics since Dwight D. Eisenhower called it out by name. There is still time for Rep. Mark Pocan and Sen. Tammy Baldwin to tell the Pentagon that Madison is no place for weapons of mass destruction.
I urge Rep. Pocan and Sen. Baldwin to oppose the $1 trillion F-35 project, to say no to basing any nuclear-capable jets in Madison, to reject funding requests to expand and renovate Truax field to make way for a nuclear arsenal, and to compel the Air National Guard to cleanup decades worth of PFAS water pollution before making any plans for the future.
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