- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Stolen American jobs

By awarding a $40 billion aerial-refueling tanker contract to the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. (EADS)/Airbus) (“Air Force contract under fire,” Nation, Thursday), the Air Force flew tens of thousands of American jobs across the high seas to a company the United States has accused in a World Trade Organization lawsuit of accepting $100 billion in illegal subsidies that have contributed to the loss of tens of thousands of aerospace jobs.

Amazingly, the U.S. Air Force said that it did not take into account the devastating job impact of outsourcing 44,000 tanker jobs to Europe. Of course, technically, it is not required to do so.

However, procurement laws shouldn’t allow the Defense Department to ignore the fact that the Airbus 330 — the French-based airframe chosen by the department — receives billions in illegal European subsidies that enable EADS to undercut American airframe manufacturers.

These ham-handed actions by defense officials are tailor-made for a Keystone Kops-style political cartoon. We build the best aerospace industry in the world.

The Europeans try to steal market share by dumping billions of subsidies into French-based EADS. Our U.S. trade representative fights these trade subsidies. Now defense rewards the wrongdoers with the most important defense contract in decades.

At best, the department must be asleep at the switch. Its senior officials should join the French Legionnaires.

RICH MICHALSKI

General vice president

International Association of

Machinists and Aerospace Workers

Upper Marlboro, Md.

Sing a song

Thanks to Dick Armey (“Airing on free use,” Commentary, Friday) for defending intellectual property in broadcast radio as a matter of justice to the creators.

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