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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Nix fighter jet, keep veterans’ benefits

- - Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The budget deal doesn't give anyone 100 percent of what they want (which is why it's called a compromise), but why single out veterans and make them give up their benefits so we can fix the budget ("This is no bargain," Comment & Analysis, Dec. 12)?

If leaders would instead cancel federal programs that we can't afford and aren't working, it could put the country on sounder financial footing and make sure we honor our national commitments to veterans. For example, the Pentagon spends twice as much annually on the Joint Strike Fighter as the proposed deal would save by cutting federal pensions, including those going to our military. The JSF program is more than seven years behind schedule and many billions of dollars over budget. It has struggled through one technical failure after another, culminating in a recent Pentagon report identifying hundreds of flaws that will likely cause even more delays and cost overruns. Worse yet, defense experts and even JSF test pilots have serious questions about the aircraft's ability to survive combat against today's fighter jets, not to mention tomorrow's.

The bravery and sacrifice of our nation's veterans are worth thousands of Joint Strike Fighters. Our federal budget should reflect that by fully funding veteran benefits.

THOMAS BANDZUL
Legislative counsel
Veterans and Military Families for Progress
Burke