Inexcusable to buy Russian helicopters
Thank you for the article on the Pentagon’s decision to buy medium-lift helicopters for Afghan defense forces from Russia instead of using a U.S. manufacturer (Dec. 8 Eagle). The article cited all the many reasons why the Boeing CH-47 Chinook would be the far better choice for the Afghans than the Mi-17 or NATO-named Hip.
I am a former Chinook pilot and once served in the Army as the chief of flight test on the Chinooks. This aircraft has consistently proved that it is, by far, the best and most reliable medium-lift helicopter in the world, and has been since the 1950s. Most recently, this aircraft has been the mainstay of all U.S. operations in Afghanistan. It has been in constant demand from other nations too numerous to cite here.
The Hip, by contrast, has had a horrific operational and maintenance record throughout its history and specifically during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, where the performance of the helicopter fleet cost the Soviets the war.
The decision to use a costlier and less capable aircraft over a proven one with the potential of adding jobs to our economy is inexcusable. As brought out in the article, the administration has deliberately falsified documentation and lied to Congress once again.
I would like to weigh in on a Kansas issue, even though I am a Montana elected official.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is shamefully working on a new piece of red tape. Kansas voters will now be subject to two different standards for registration – one for state elections and one for federal elections.
Why would Kobach do such a thing, when the conservative philosophy supposedly favors getting rid of bureaucratic hurdles, not adding them? The answer, as most people know by now, is that he is trying to rig the vote count so that fewer Democratic votes are cast in state elections.
Many people, especially poor voters and young voters, cannot readily access their birth certificates and don’t have a passport (only 5 percent of Americans have passports). These voters tend to be more likely Democrats than Republicans. Thus, by creating a hassle for them that results in their being turned away at the polls, Kobach thinks that he can get more Republicans elected.
Kobach apparently does not understand that his job as secretary of state is to make things easier for voters. Instead, he is trying to engineer election results by creating miserable bureaucratic hurdles for voters. It deprives people of basic rights, and it hurts the democratic process.
Secretary of state
ACA or Obamacare?
I believe that within a very few years, no Republicans – well, maybe a few – will refer to the Affordable Care Act as Obamacare. Given their stated priority of the want and need for President Obama to fail, they will no longer want to associate him with such beneficial legislation.
The ACA will come to be seen as such a vital benefit to so many millions that most Americans will just be thankful that it is there doing what it does. The recent Congressional Budget Office study indicating that the ACA will save billions in total health care costs will be overshadowed by the benefits to individual families getting quality health care they can pay for, and even to those who could not keep the insurance they’ve had because it did not meet the standards of the plans available to them via the ACA.