In response to the challenge put forth in the editorial (“F-35 decision must be open process,” June 2): “Vermonters must understand and care about how Washington spends our dollars,” I would add the future of our fragile democracy depends on an informed citizenry. Anything less is an abdication of our civic responsibility.
On May 30 at least 300 Vermonters packed the Unitarian Universalist sanctuary at the top of Church Street to listen to a forum on “The F-35: A Citizen’s Hearing.”
They cared enough to better understand the environmental and economic consequences of a pending decision to base the F-35 at Burlington International Airport.
At a cost of $1.4 trillion, this fighter is the most expensive war machine in the history of our military industrial complex.
Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben and Jerry’s, was one of five forum speakers. He said the Pentagon’s promotion of the F-35, considering the ballooning cost of this weapons system at a time of growing federal debt, represents an attitude that is bankrupting our country.
It’s deeply troubling when you hear people say there’s nothing we can do regarding whether or not the F-35 will be based at the Burlington airport. As someone who still believes in the democratic process, Ben Cohen expressed the hope of many of us in attendance at the Citizens’ Hearing when he said, “I really believe we can do it.”
RODDY O’NEIL CLEARY