We have failed to invest.
That phrase should haunt elected and appointed officials in state and federal governments — especially those who made decisions based on political ideology rather than common sense and the needs of the electorate.
The latest utterance of this phrase came from James E. Hall, a former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. As Colorado fights an extraordinary wildfire west of Fort Collins, the national census of airtankers available to drop fire retardant stands at nine aircraft, down from 44 planes a decade ago. These nine tankers, report Jack Healy and Matt Wald of The New York Times, are “ancient planes … hobbled by accidents and mechanical problems, leading to growing safety concerns and calls for a major overhaul.”
Replacement of task-specific aircraft would run to at least $30 million each — a fleet of 100 firefighting aircraft would cost $3 billion. And they are surely and sorely needed.
We have failed to invest. Continue reading
When it comes to foreign policy, most progressives agree that intervention in another state’s internal affairs is ill-advised. With regards to Syria, Foreign Policy in Focus columnist Stephen Zunes summed this argument up well back in March.
Empirical studies have repeatedly demonstrated that international military interventions in cases of severe repression actually exacerbate violence in the short term and can only reduce violence in the longer term if the intervention is impartial or neutral. Other studies demonstrate that foreign military interventions actually increase the duration of civil wars, making the conflicts longer and bloodier, and the regional consequences more serious, than if there were no intervention. In addition, military intervention would likely trigger a “gloves off” mentality that would dramatically escalate the violence on both sides. Continue reading