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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/20/22

Canada's War Problem

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Why shouldn't Canada buy F-35s?

The F-35 is not a tool of peace or even of military defense. It is a stealth, offensive, nuclear-weapons-capable airplane designed for surprise attacks with the potential to intentionally or accidentally launch or escalate wars, including nuclear war. It is for attacking cities, not just other airplanes.

The F-35 is one of the weapons with the worst record of failing to perform as intended and requiring unbelievably expensive repairs. It crashes a lot, with horrible consequences to those living in the area. Whereas older jets were made of aluminum, the F-35 is made of military composite materials with a stealth coating that emits highly toxic chemicals, particles, and fibers when set on fire. The chemicals used to put out and to practice putting out the fires poison the local water.

Even when it doesn't crash, the F-35 produces noise that causes negative health impacts and cognitive impairment (brain damage) in children living near the bases where pilots train to fly it. It renders housing near airports unsuitable for residential use. Its emissions are a major environmental polluter.

Buying such an awful product in obedience to U.S. pressure makes Canada subservient to the war-mad U.S. government. The F-35 requires U.S. satellite communications, and U.S./Lockheed-Martin repairs, upgrades, and maintenance. Canada will fight the aggressive foreign wars that the U.S. wants it to, or no wars at all. Were the U.S. to briefly halt the supply of jet tires to Saudi Arabia, the war on Yemen would effectively be ended, but Saudi Arabia keeps buying weapons, even paying for a U.S. office of weapons salespeople permanently operating in Saudi Arabia to sell it more weapons. And the U.S. keeps the tires coming while talking about peace. Is that the relationship Canada wants?

The $19 billion to buy 88 F-35s jumps to $77 billion over a period of years just by adding in the cost of operating, maintaining, and eventually disposing of the monstrosities, but yet additional costs can be counted on.

Why shouldn't Canada buy any fighter jets?

The purpose of fighter jets (of whatever brand) is to drop bombs and kill people (and only secondarily to star in Hollywood recruitment movies). Canada's current stock of CF-18 fighter jets has spent the last few decades bombing Iraq (1991), Serbia (1999), Libya (2011), Syria and Iraq (2014-2016), and flying provocative flights along Russia's border (2014-2021). These operations have killed, injured, traumatized, rendered homeless, and made enemies of large numbers of people. None of these operations has benefitted those near it, those living in Canada, or humanity, or the Earth.

Tom Cruise said this 32 years ago in a world with 32 fewer years of normalized militarism: "OK, some people felt that Top Gun was a right-wing film to promote the Navy. And a lot of kids loved it. But I want the kids to know that that's not the way war is"that Top Gun was just an amusement park ride, a fun film with a PG-13 rating that was not supposed to be reality. That's why I didn't go on and make Top Gun II and III and IV and V. That would have been irresponsible."

The F-35 (much like any other fighter jet) burns 5,600 liters of fuel an hour and may die after 2,100 hours but is supposed to fly 8,000 hours which would mean burning 44,800,000 liters of jet fuel. Jet fuel is worse for the climate than what an automobile burns, but for what it's worth, in 2020, 1,081 liters of gasoline were sold in Canada per registered vehicle, meaning that you could take 41,443 vehicles off the road for a year or give back one F-35 with equal benefit to the Earth, or give back all 88 F-35s which would equal taking 3,646,993 vehicles off the roads of Canada for a year " which is over 10% of the vehicles registered in Canada.

For $11 billion a year you could provide the world with clean drinking water. For $30 billion a year you could end starvation on Earth. So, spending $19 billion on killing machines kills first and foremost by not spending it where it's needed. For $19 billion, Canada could also have 575 elementary schools or 380,000 solar panels, or many other valuable and useful things. And the economic impact is worse, because military spending (even if the money stayed in Canada rather than going to Maryland) drains an economy and reduces jobs rather than boosting an economy and adding jobs as other kinds of spending do.

Buying jets takes money away from addressing the crises of environmental collapse, nuclear disaster risk, disease pandemics, homelessness, and poverty, and puts that money into something that is no defense at all against any of these things or even against war. An F-35 can provoke terrorist bombings or missile attacks but not do anything to stop them.

Why shouldn't Canada buy any weapons?

Former Deputy Minister of National so-called Defence Charles Nixon has argued that Canada does not need any fighter jets because it doesn't face a credible threat and jets are not necessary to defend the country. This is true, but it's also true of Canada's U.S.-imitating bases in Jamaica, Senegal, Germany, and Kuwait, and it's also true of much of Canada's military even on its own terms.

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at and and works for the online (more...)
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