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Burlington Friends Statement on F-35

In Response To
Mayor Weinberger

Author Anne Liske
Comment Submitted on 2012/06/11 at 7:42 pm

To: Mr. Nicholas Germanos, HQ ACC/A7PS, 129 Andrews St., Suite 332, Langley AFB, VA 23665-2769.

A statement by Burlington, Vermont Friends Meeting concerning the F-35 aircraft proposed to be stationed at the Burlington International Airport.

As members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) we join with other Vermonters in opposing the stationing of a fleet of F-35s at Burlington International Airport (BIA).

As Quakers, we aspire to be good stewards of the world’s resources. The proposed roll out of 2443 of these gigantic military machines is a flagrant waste of resources. Rare metals such as zirconium and titanium are essential in its construction, yet scientists estimate that peak production of these metals is already past. The predictable metal scarcity that is looming will affect our entire industrial civilization. We support a path toward managed austerity of the world’s resources. This path does not include the shockingly wasteful F-35.

As Quakers, we are historically opposed to war. This multirole fighter is being developed to perform ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense missions with stealth capability. The construction of these killing machines is part of an aggressive military posture that will undermine the peaceful reconciliation of conflict. They are not built to defend Vermonters.

As Quakers, we value frugality: Yet the US government is projecting to spend an estimated $397 billion for development and procurement of these aircraft, of which 18 or 24 are proposed to be stationed at BIA. The lifecycle (50 year) cost for one plane is estimated to be $618 million. Faced with these outrageous figures, we can’t help but recall the statement by former president Dwight D. Eisenhower: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed….” Given our country’s current economic situation, we consider the construction of these weapons to be morally and economically destructive to our wellbeing.

In addition, we mourn the human skills, the brilliant minds of engineers, mechanics, and software designers wasted on building this weapon of destruction, when those engineers and mechanics and designers are urgently needed to develop alternative energy sources, find a solution to desertification, desalinate water, reverse global warming and help resolve the multitude of problems our fragile and precious planet is facing.

As Quakers, we sit in silence in our meetings for worship. Our Burlington meeting is near the flight path for airplanes landing and taking off at Burlington International Airport. We dread the possible future roar of the F-35 into our worship and community space.

In conclusion, we join with many Vermonters to protest this militarization of our community. We consider it an assault on our values as a state.
Anne Liske, Clerk, Burlington Friends Meeting
173 North Prospect St., Burlington VT 05401
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