By kathrin winkler, World BEYOND War, April 7, 2022
Nova Scotia’s Maritime pride in her shipbuilding heritage has been called on to promote a new legacy for Lunenburg, according to CBC’s Brett Ruskin. The article entitled “Handcrafting history continues in Lunenburg as aerospace company builds parts for F-35 jet” implies that making jet parts in Lunenburg connects to the great Maritime tradition of shipbuilding.
Reporting cheerfully on his Lunenburg visit to the aerospace company Stelia, Ruskin speculated that the local, handcrafted parts will soon be showcased in RCAF fighter jets and “…made by local residents in Lunenburg, to help build one of the highest-performing vehicles of their generation” will once again make us part of history.
The suggestion that the the high performing vehicle – the Bluenose, so skilfully designed and built to speed with full sails on favourable winds could be compared to a squadron of 88 F35 fighter jets does not hold water. There is not a drop of recreational purpose or sustainability in the high tech killing machine – made to launch thermonuclear weapons while ensuring such massive, deady carbon emissions that climate targets fall away under NATO’s dictates. The comparison between the two is successful only as the ultimate example of media spin.
Evoking history to justify the anticipated purchase of the US Lockheed Martin jets is woefully lacking in detail. Cost and training could be a place to start. On the fishing vessels, traditional learning was done by experience and knowledge was passed down. Resourcefulness and courage was the crew’s hallmark. Captain Angus Walters learned on the job and as to money, well, it was too scarce to keep the Bluenose on these shores. Times have changed and when we consider the military budget line we see that it continues to climb, while climate emergency funds flatline in comparison.
With the ink ready to flow onto that $19 billion dollar procurement contract for 88 F35 fighter jets, money is flowing into the US arms industry. Over the lifespan of the jets the cost rises to at least $77 billion, but don’t count on it. We won’t know how many of the major F-35 flaws come with the deal, as it seems the Pentagon is not willing to share that information. The RCAF can’t recruit enough pilots willing to fly the bombers, and updating the jets calls for a completely revamped, multibillion dollar pilot training program.
Ships and jets – different history, different futures. Let’s not overlook the Lockheed Martin history. The Enola Gay, the B-29 bomber responsible for dropping the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945 was built at the G.L. Martin Company in Nebraska – which became Lockheed Martin. Do we really want to continue as part of this legacy?
The shims used to open and close the weapons bay doors in the F35 bombers are handcrafted in Lunenburg. When a RCAF F35 bomb targets and strikes civilians who will look up to the skies with pride celebrating the homegrown ingenuity that crafted the shims? Let’s hand craft diplomatic solutions and invoke the resourcefulness of conflict resolution and, yes, peacemaking as the tradition of this land.
This is the best OP Ed of 2022!