John Nichols | September 17, 2019
“Let’s review some headlines from the past several years regarding Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, shall we?”
Wisconsin has a rich tradition of objecting to the absurd excesses of the military-industrial complex. It goes back a century to when former Sen. Robert M. La Follette warned his constituents to be wary of “gentlemen interested in war as a business.” Former Sen. William Proxmire became famous for identifying excessive and irresponsible Pentagon spending with his Golden Fleece awards. Former Sen. Gaylord Nelson led Senate battles against unnecessary weapons systems. And former Sen. Russ Feingold worked with McCain to identify and address abuses by military contractors — including, notably, Lockheed Martin.
Objecting to the waste, fraud and abuse that is perpetuated by the military-industrial complex that former President Dwight Eisenhower identified is a Wisconsin tradition. La Follette laid the marker down long ago, declaring that we should always guard against “the tide of sentiment that, under the guise of patriotism, is actually based on commercial greed.”
The F-35 project is an example of commercial greed at its most indefensible. It has no place in Madison or anywhere else in Wisconsin.