Politics & Policy

Who Needs Weapons?

It's good we didn't listen to Kerry back in '84.

“We are continuing a defense buildup that is consuming our resources with weapons systems that we don’t need and can’t use.”–John Kerry in 1984 on the Reagan defense build-up.

What are some of these weapons systems that John Kerry said “we don’t need and can’t use?” The list might surprise you. It includes many of the most important weapons in our arsenal and weapons that have performed brilliantly in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Among the systems John Kerry said he wanted to cancel were the B-1 bomber, the Apache helicopter, the Patriot anti-missile system, the Aegis cruiser, the AV-8B Harrier jump jet, the F-15, the F-14 A and D models, the Phoenix air-to-air missile, and the Sparrow air-to-air missile. And those Tomahawk cruise missiles that have become the standoff weapon of choice? Kerry wanted to cut the program in half.

That’s what makes the recent charge by John Kerry that troops have had to buy their own body armor so hypocritical. Because if John Kerry had had his way, our troops would have had to buy their own tanks, their own fighter jets, their own missiles, their own helicopters, their own warships, their own…you get the idea. (For the record, according to the Pentagon, all troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have body armor.)

His attack also ignores the fact that funding for additional body armor was contained in the $87 billion bill funding operations in Iraq and Afghanistan that John Kerry voted against (after he voted for it, of course).

Imagine what today’s military would look like without the Apache helicopter; without the B-1 bomber; and without the F-15 or the F-14. Remember the thrill we all had during the first Gulf War each time a Patriot missile shot down one of Saddam’s Scuds? If the country had listened to John Kerry in 1984, all of Saddam’s Scuds would have gotten through.

Just a little while ago, critics were wrongly suggesting that Iraq is another Vietnam. While we may not be fighting another Vietnam, John Kerry would have us fighting in Iraq with the same weapons.

The Honorable J. D. Hayworth is a Republican congressman from Arizona.

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