Israel and America have teamed up to become the world’s first laser-guided democracies. Squadrons of F-20 and F-35 fighter jets dropped ‘bombs of democracy’ on Afghanistan. Soon after, democracy hit Iraq. And now, at the expense of American taxpayers, Israel wants in on the action.
One month ago, Israel’s Defense Ministry inked the purchase of twenty American F-35 fighter jets valued at $2.75 billion. Although the price is well within range of Israel’s military expenditures, senior officials felt the deal was too expensive. Doing what any big brother would do, America chose to pick up the tab – all $2.75 billion of it.
Providing the Israeli Air Force with twenty free F-35 jets might seem like a kind gesture on America’s part but it definitely gives cause for worry. During these crushing economic times, entire communities struggle to feed their children or keep a roof over their heads. But in an effort to forcefully democratize the Middle East [before the oil reserves run empty and America’s interest fades, perhaps?], our government feels justified in dishing out billions of dollars in the form of extremely volatile weaponry.
So what will these jets be used for? Ehud Barak says the F-35s will “help strengthen Israel’s national security” and he isn’t lying. The world is well aware of what strengthening Israel’s national security entails. Look at Gaza in 2009. Let’s ignore the statistics and focus on the purpose of Operation Cast Lead, which was to crumble Gaza’s infrastructure for the sake of Israel’s national security. Look at the West Bank since 2000. Israel continues to cap the number of Palestinians allowed to worship at the Dome of the Rock every holy Friday for the sake of national security. Or you can look at Palestine since 1948. Israel’s national security entails denying Palestinians any right to personal, national, or international security. A squadron of F-35s will only make it easier for Israel to continue doing what it already does.
And it’s even easier for Israel to get away with it because, after all, the Israeli military isn’t killing in vain – they’re bringing democracy to the region even if it costs a few lives here and there.
So what could the jets be used for? They shouldn’t have even been assembled. Instead, the money – paid for by your annual taxes – should’ve been used towards developing poor neighborhoods, improving elementary schools across the United States, or at least covering damages post-BP oil spill. Better yet, here is what $2.75 billion dollars can do:
Build 45,833 elementary schools in Haiti
Build 63 small hospitals in the Congo
Feed 502,283 African orphans every day for an entire year
Sponsor 41,874 students through private medical schools
Build 13,810 single-family homes in the United States
Provide full health coverage for all uterine cancer patients in the United States
But the world’s international security isn’t as important as Israel’s national security. Israel’s fourth strongest army in the world can defend itself with or without twenty new toys but the people of the slums in Vietnam, of flood-ridden Pakistan, or of the American ghettos in your backyard can’t.
Has it become that much more important to use fancy jets to shoot democracy at people than to elevate humanity with the most fundamental of necessities like food, water, and medicine? Are we that much more concerned with the health of our mechanical war-machines than with the health of our neighbors? Is it that acceptable to throw money and military aid to another nation when people within America’s borders struggle to get by? It seems so. This is the true cost of a laser-guided democracy.