Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Tanker Deal

Okay, I know I'm going to catch heck for this, but here goes.

I'm going to speak my mind about this whole fuel tanker deal. I know Boeing is *sort of* the home team here, so yeah, it is a big deal to Wichita, but was it the correct decision for the Air Force to choose the Airbus / Northrup Grumman design over "ours"? Before anyone answers, I would say there's almost no way to know for sure. None of us has read the technical proposals or financial contracts. This huge negative reaction is entirely emotional. All we know is Boeing is good for Wichita and it didn't work out so something criminal must have gone on and Tiahrt/Roberts/Brownback need to see who could possibly have screwed this up.

In the big picture here, I would argue that what matters most is that the armed forces get a tanker that's the right technical solution and they get the best price for it. The US Government is not a jobs program via military contracts. The end product matters the most when the rubber meets the road and the tanker is in service. It's not like we're buying a MIG from the Russians or Chinese here either. France is a NATO ally and Northrup Grumman is an American company. What might be a bummer for Wichita may well be a boon to Northrup Grumman's hometown and the US military. And before you poop on the French realize that they just elected a government that's intent on patching up US relations. In other words, a majority of the voting French public rejected Jacques Chirac's actions and actually have a pro-US stance on several matters.

Tiahrt/Roberts/Brownback will continue to hunt down a bogey man for this but the fact is they are local politicians concerned about protecting their home district. This is the kind of thing that gets them reelected. If they were from another district we wouldn't be hearing from them, most likely. Don't fool yourself. Of course I'll continue to vote for these guys for other reasons but the point of this post is to encourage us all not to get wrapped up in this for purely emotional reasons.


Kim from Kansas said...

Thanks for a different persepective.

Melanie-Pearl said...

i remember the massive groupthink that went on out at Boeing. it was one of the sickest forms of entitlement.

cody never became a part of it...he just shut his mouth. he never joined the union, either. i think those guys actually respected him even though they teased him.

there is something to be said for those who don't go along with the crowd. who are we to know the innerworkings of a deal like this?

i, too, appreciate your perspective.

chill24 said...

here, here! we have a pilot that flies the tankers in our house church...i agree they need to go for the best not just the most popular for the community!

Todd said...

I could have misinformation, but even if the military had opted for Boeing, something like 40% of the plane would have been manufactured outside of the US, right?

Jason R said...

I think I understand what you're saying Todd, but don't agree that's a bad thing. This goes back to my govt-is-not-a-jobs-program point.

As long as we get the best product for the best price and we're not buying from China or Russia or some place like that then it's for the better.

Todd said...

I don't think it's a bad thing either, just making the point that people are up in arms that we would have a tanker made by a "foreign" company (who, ironically, would build the majority of the plane in the US) when Boeing was going to outsource 40% of the plane anyway. Not exactly an "All-American" product.

Jason R said...

Okay, maybe I didn't understand where you were coming from :]. Good point.