Do they come with free white flags or do we have to make them ourselves?
Well that's the sentiment from some Congressmen after hearing that the Air Force awarded a big defense contract to Northrup which is owned by EADS AKA Airbus manufacturers. The decision is a pretty big deal because most were sure that Boeing would get it (in fact they had the contract before but because the person making the deal with Boeing was also trying to get a position at Boeing at the time it was nullified and the bidding reopened).
The decision is sound in and of itself as the tanker (the planes are air tankers for refueling) is bigger and can carry a greater payload and fly farther than Boeing's proposal (while being more expensive though), but never let logic get in the way of lobbyists and good ol' fashioned nationalism.
Signs posted throughout the building read "R.I.P. U.S.-built tanker 1930-2008" and "We will get a new tanker made in France?"
"I just don't think the government should have allowed this to happen," he said. Hetland echoed the sentiments of other Boeing workers who said they were worried about national security, sending good American jobs overseas and the local economy in Snohomish County.
ed: Some parts will actually be built in Alabama and it is expected to bring 7,000 new jobs to the state.
"I'm offended," said Cummins. "I'm offended because these are our tax dollars."
Tom Wroblewski, district president of the Machinists union, said "American taxpayers should be outraged."
He said that building the tankers should have been "a sacred bond" between American workers and the armed forces.
"The win went to the wrong side," he said.
But as I said this is something that is going to be brought before Congress by politicians 'outraged' that them there foreigners are getting the contract.
Wichita's Rep. Tiahrt said, "I am deeply troubled by the Air Force's decision to award the KC-X tanker to a French company that has never built a tanker in its history.
"We should have an American tanker built by an American company with American workers. I cannot believe we would create French jobs in place of Kansas jobs."
And of course, for response from Washington's Democratic Senators (it's a joint statement):
Washington Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, both Democrats, along with six other lawmakers from the state said in a joint statement: "We are outraged that this decision taps European Airbus and its foreign workers to provide a tanker to our American military.
Anyway all the red tape and such are predicted to hold up the agreement for a year while lobbyists and flag-wavers try to stop it.
Now I'm all for protecting American jobs but I'm also for the best design being built for 'our boys in the military'. And it's not just America that will get these planes the UK, Australia, hell even Saudi Arabia chose this design over Boeing's.
But when is the fear of foreigners going to stop? I know the people directly and indirectly tied to Boeing are gonna get upset but does it have to get to the point where it's going to waste time in Congress over? Is there some national security risk I'm not seeing here? And hell why can other countries accept defense contracts from American businesses but not the other way around? Doesn't that kind of hypocrisy make us look petty and paranoid?
It just weirds me out that they had to throw nationalism in the mix against this deal. I expect better than this from my country even if that leads to constant disappointment.
Of course I'm not in anyway an expert of the aerospace industry so if someone who knows more or even works in it says I'm completely wrong on the subject there's a good chance he's right. I just think it's odd that this is all that big of a deal.