Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Today's point-counterpoint...

The point-counterpoint readers have seen today is something I'm going to comment about for two reasons.

The first is that we face a serious issue. One just has to look at an article on the front page of today's USA TODAY and see it. Our war planes - and the support planes that help our troops fight - are getting old, we took about a decade off for a "peace dividend" and we are now seeing the price in airplanes with cracked wings and a reduced defense industry. This has to be fixed, and it isn't going to be cheap. Mitt Romney's plan to spend 4% of GDP on defense may not be enough. It may have to be closer to 5%. That's how bad it is. We have seen nearly 100 C-130Es that were flying combat support missions in Vietnam grounded due to cracks in their wings. The KC-135Es have been around for 42 years. The CSAR birds are also getting kind of old, and they have their own shortcomings. In the case of an aging USAF fleet, I'm reminded of the old saying, "Pick Two: Fast, Right, or Cheap." In this case, we need the solutions fast and right, so the cheap part is gonna have to be overlooked. I'm even willing to overlook corners being cut - largely because I think the much bigger fish that needs to be fried has to be dealt with first. Obviously, my co-blogger disagrees, which brings me to the second point.

This second point is bigger, and worth keeping in mind on other issues besides this one. There are multiple sides to every issue, and more often than not, each side has a point. All too often, issues like immigration have led to fights among Republicans, neither of which is willing to see the other side's points at all. There is guilt on both sides, but one in particular has taken the attitudes of Soviet-era commissars to anything that doesn't fit with their world view.

My co-blogger and I have disagreed on defense matters before (I was not a fan of the cancellation of the RAH-66 Comanche and I also believe that we should be reactivating the Iowa-class battleships - he disagrees). But we're both looking to get the same thing done - we both want the problem solved.

The same goes for those who disagree on other issues, like immigration. The fact that I favor an approach to the issue similar to President Bush's does not make me a squish on immigration. The fact that I would prefer to see us avoid embryonic stem-cell research doesn't make me opposed to science - or finding cures to diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and other ailments.

It's easy to solve problems when you recognize there are many ways to look at them.

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