The following letters are in response to MSD's September editorial column, titled “Choose A or B.” The column compared the cost of one F22 Raptor - $350 million - to the new “Cash for Appliances” program that will spend the same amount of money providing rebates for 1.5 million households to upgrade to more energy-efficient appliances.

Fight to win

It might be helpful if we taught a little more world history and a little less “social” studies in school. I'm referring to your comment that during WWII we went from aircraft production of 6,000 units per year to 96,000 units per year. It might also be of interest to today's youth that during WWII, roughly 48% of everything produced in this country went to the war effort and we averaged 330 Americans killed in action per day over three and a half years. We fought two wars on two different fronts and won them both during that time. That's when we fought wars to win them. Today when we fight a war, we have to be careful not to hurt anyone's feelings. So we are fighting a war in the Middle East that's about eight years old with no end in sight. I suspect we will soon be reading enemy combatants their Miranda rights, and providing legal counsel if they cannot afford one. This country has lost its perspective, but who cares when there are great deals to be had on new toasters.
Dennis, via e-mail

Choose C: Confront U.S. manufacturing losses

I choose “C” for the following reasons. We must first address the basic underlying problem in our nation, which is the loss of manufacturing. Almost everything we purchase is manufactured outside of the U.S. Those who choose to look can readily see the flow of wealth to China. Manufacturing produces jobs and generates wealth; wealth spurs research and development; and research and development advances technology. How many engineers and scientists are required to stock shelves or operate a cash register?

Choice “A” (the appliance rebate) does little more than provide a means for many people to purchase something they cannot afford at taxpayer expense, while also driving up the national debt. While I spent six years in the military as a Captain and worked in the aerospace industry for 15 years, I did not choose “B” (the F22 program) because this plane is not suited to our present wars. What's needed is an updated “Warthog” aircraft. Based on Boeing's sourcing for their new aircraft, it's conceivable that many of the F22's components will come from offshore.
Wade, via e-mail

Defense spending offers dismal return

I love it when people think outside of the box. Did you know that the United States spends more money on national defense than all other countries in the world combined? Just Google “national defense spending.” Yes, it keeps a lot of people employed, but the return on investment is utterly dismal.
Vince in Minnesota