As ThinkProgress previously noted, defense contractors are lobbying the Obama administration to purchase and build more expensive F-22 fighter jets, a weapons system that hasn’t been utilized at all in either the Iraq or Afghanistan wars. Last night on CNBC, CAP’s Larry Korb debated neoconservative pundit Frank Gaffney about the utility of purchasing more F-22s. Gaffney argued that cutting the program would lead to “diminished military capability, emboldening enemies, and alienating our friends.” CNBC’s Donny Deutsch agreed, offering this nonsensical commentary:
You know, basically defense spending only went up 4 percent in Obama’s budget. Historically, it’s been going up 9 percent. So that tells me it’s a small piece of the pie. A lot of guys concerned we don’t have these 22s and 35s, we are less safe. That’s all I gotta hear. […]
I’m a hawk. The day that we are not on top of the game. To me, it creates jobs. The fact — just keep spending, we gotta get safe. This is an ugly, ugly world today. If I hear a lot of military guys concerned about this, that’s all I gotta hear.
The right wing is attempting to spin Obama’s defense budget increase as “defense cuts.” The Obama administration is correctly weighing whether to put the F-22 on the chopping block; it is a “relic of a bygone era” that has limited utility against current and emerging threats. As Korb noted on CNBC, “We’re not talking about getting rid of the thing. We already got 187 of them.” “What we’re talking about is priorities,” he added.