Most of the arguments made in support of the Pratt & Whitney plant, which will build parts for the horribly destructive F-35 fighter jet, are so transparent that it’s obvious there must be some other reason for building it. Luckily, we have a county commissioner candidate, Bill Branyon, who can see through them to the horrible crux of the matter.
There’s the “only 20% of the plant will be dedicated to making parts for war machines” argument. But that’s like subsidizing the Mafia and saying that since it has scrumptious restaurants and rollicking nightclubs, we should ignore the 20% of its business that’s murder, extortion and racketeering. Only the military industrial complex is worse than the Mafia because it kills millions in illogical and counterproductive wars.
Then there’s “the subsidies are not real money” argument. But it is real money, money that Buncombe County’s citizens would not otherwise have to pay in taxes. Money that we could be using to attract a factory that’s not a merchant of death.
Then there’s the argument that Buncombe County’s renouncing the F-35 parts plant will have no effect on America’s war policy. This is a nihilistic argument born of extreme cynicism about our country’s march toward more horrible wars, as well as a misunderstanding about how democracy works. The civil rights movement would never have gotten off the ground with that attitude.
Or how about “it’s a done deal” fallacy. But almost nothing is done that can’t be reversed. Our contract with Pratt & Whitney could be modified or broken. It may cost some money, but nowhere near the $100 million in subsidies our tax dollars are already paying for.
Then there’s the “weapons make America more safe” argument. The congressional Nye Committee in the 1930s concluded that the pursuit of profits by weapons manufacturers, what it called merchants of death, was in great part responsible for the U.S. entering World War I. That’s what is happening now. In addition, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and many other American wars since World War II have only made other countries hate America more. They have only made us much less safe. We need to get rid of the atrocity that is the P&W factory and prevent the county Board of Commissioners from recruiting more weapons factories to Buncombe County.
Vote Branyon for county commissioner, District 1.
— Cynthia Yancey, M.D.