B-2s Are Needed
Editor: I was disappointed by your Oct. 16 editorial stating that there is no compelling rationale for continuing the B-2 bomber program. As concerned citizens, we may agree to disagree, but first let's have the facts straight.
The president, the Senate and the Department of Defense all support the B-2.
The B-2 will be vital for carrying out conventional missions against threats that may pose the gravest challenges in the years ahead. These threats will likely involve modern weaponry and come with little warning. The B-2 combines the stealth of the battle-proven F-117 with the range and payload of a heavy bomber. It is uniquely well-suited to a world where the direction of future threats will be difficult to predict.
The Air Force invested in stealth technology to give our pilots an edge by making our next generation of combat aircraft much harder to track and shoot down. The B-2's advantage is that enemy air-defense crews cannot keep the bomber on their scopes to successfully perform the intricate sequence of acquiring, tracking, firing and hitting. The B-2 was specifically designed to minimize all "signatures" -- infrared as well as radar.
When the full capabilities of the B-2 are considered, there is scant justification for touting the advantages of an infrared-search-and-track equipped fighter. At best, any fighter with known or envisaged capability will possess only a minimal and sporadic chance of successfully accomplishing each of the tasks -- acquire, track, fire, hit -- required to destroy the B-2. The B-2's combination of reduced signature, all-altitude capability and precision weapons is unprecedented.
The B-2 is the most survivable aircraft in the world -- period. With the B-2, our pilots can reach out and touch even the most heavily defended targets. Precision-guided conventional munitions delivered by the B-2 can destroy critical targets with confidence. We save time, dollars and lives. The B-2 also reduces the need for escort and support aircraft. We cannot carry out the missions as cheaply or as effectively with cruise missiles alone.
Stopping at 15 B-2s will not give us an effective force. Long flight times, routine maintenance and other factors mean that with 15 B-2s, only a few can fly each day. Such a small force would deny the nation the full potential of the B-2 and would prolong a Desert Storm-style air campaign, ultimately putting more American lives at risk. Producing 75 B-2s puts the cost of the program in line with planned reductions in the defense budget, and will ensure that we have enough B-2s to project significant force anywhere on the globe.
Finally, the B-2 guards the bedrock requirements of nuclear deterrence. As we move toward a smaller nuclear force overall and away from the more destabilizing systems, the B-2 will provide a significant hedge against potential dangers.
# Donald B. Rice. Washington.
The writer is secretary of the Air Force. Editor: As a public school teacher, I am tired of politicians who zero in on public employees and use them as their whipping boys.
Anne Arundel County Executive Robert Neall and others in government have no qualms at all about breaking the employee contracts, which have the force of law. Then these same people want to keep providing athletics and other activities which are required or mandated by law. Ethical? No. If students want to participate in sports, there are already tax-supported parks and recreation programs available.
Public employees are targeted because politicians see them as a quick-fix solution to a difficult problem. Legally, public employees are virtually helpless in fighting government. Public employee cutbacks easily generate tax savings. They also enable Mr. Neall and others like him to avoid the truly hard choices like explaining to parents and students why the schools can no longer afford the extra-curricular programs created during the better fiscal climate of the past.
Why not provide students with the ultimate economics lesson? Let them experience what everyone else has in these hard times. Maybe they will also learn another lesson -- in concern and caring about their society by sharing in part of its pain.
Ethical? You bet!
' Anthony F. Sarcone. Bel Air.
Editor: David Duke for governor of Louisiana.
The Clarence and Anita side show.
If America's current spiritual, mental, moral, political and economic sickness offered us any indication of the new world order toward which we are moving, then let us all pray that from the depths of failure and chaos there might spring forth excellence and a unity of purpose which might save us all from such soulwrenching realities as those dominating our current state of affairs.
( Jeffrey Cairo Smith. Baltimore.