I CONFESS! I HAVE A WEAKNESS FOR AVIATION
TRUE, IT’S A WEAPONS OF WAR—WHOSE SOLE PURPOSE IS TO BREAK THINGS AND KILL PEOPLE—BUT IT’S A TRULY BEAUTIFUL AIRCRAFT.
IT’S THE SAAB GRIPPEN, HOW CAN TINY SWEDEN AFFORD TO BUILD SUCH A SOPHISTICATED AIRCRAFT? YET THE SWEDES DO—AND BRAZIL AND ARGENTINA ARE ABOUT TO BUY A BUNCH.
The Grippen you see here is a two-seater version in Brazilian Air Force markings. It is less than half the cost of an F-35 and eminently capable of doing most of what we need operationally. It also has a much lower cost per flying hour.
Is the U.S. military concerned with cost? Largely, it would appear not.
So, given the extraordinary resources we expend upon military matters—vastly more than any other nation—do we win all our wars?
Largely, it would appear not. Instead, we have a disconcerting habit of winning the battles, losing the wars—and making the underlying situation a great deal worse.
Can we really say:
- Our invasion of Iraq was justified?
- We have left the Middle East better off?
Considerations of cost effectiveness apart—and if we had any sense at all, we should consider such things—despite its lower cost, and deadly purpose, the Gripen is a beautifully designed creation.
Sweden, as a whole, is worth a close look. They have evolved a way of life which most of us would envy—if only we knew about it.
Mostly, we don’t. Our media largely avoid international comparisons. Just as well. Whatever be the issue—whether it be healthcare, food quality, the environment, longevity,vacation time, or worker rights—we rarely come out well these days.
And we are continuing to lose ground.