Miramar Air Show Sends the Wrong Message

by on August 19, 2016 · 2 comments

in American Empire, Culture, History, Military, Organizing, Peace Movement, Politics, San Diego

Editor: The following piece by Dave Patterson ran in the Op-Ed pages of the San Diego Union-Tribune, August 18, 2016.  

By Dave Patterson

Given our quagmire in the Middle East it’s high time that we gave some thought to how our politicians and military contractors promote war as the answer to our problems. In San Diego the promotion of war is anchored in the annual Miramar Air Show.

According to the air show Web page, it’s the largest in the world, with as many as 500,000 people attending. What they don’t tell us is that the air show is designed to appeal to our senses, not our intellect, and when we participate we get an adrenaline high and exciting memories to take home. We also take home the potential burden of our military people and civilians being injured or killed just to provide us those thrills. We also forget that the very nature of war is about death and destruction, not fun and games.

On June 2, a Navy Blue Angels pilot was killed and an Air Force Thunderbirds plane destroyed. The loss of life and aircraft underscores the question: Why do we put our highly trained military people at risk to entertain the population and promote war at venues like the Miramar Air Show? Since budget sequestration in 2013, the military contractors have stepped in to make sure the show goes on. This is an important event to them because they make huge profits when the public doesn’t question the cost or amount of weaponry that is purchased. They want us to feel good about how the military technology works, not the consequences of its use.

At the Miramar Air Show, the military contractors occupy front-row “corporate” cabanas paid for with profits from selling military technology and weapons to the U.S. government. The contractors wine and dine military brass and politicians while being entertained by military people performing deathdefying aerial maneuvers. The public can sample the good life as well if you are willing to shell out anywhere up to $220 per person for the Devil Dog or Semper Fi chalets. Otherwise, we can pay to sit in grandstands or pay nothing for the overflow parking lot, in the heat with the military families, while their loved ones perform dangerous acts that should be limited to training only. Must we wait for a horrific accident to stop these shows?

Many of us worry that the impact on small children will last a lifetime. The children can grow up thinking that military action is a solution to our problems, and not to be questioned. Clearly, the wars that we have been engaged in since World War II have been folly, costing dearly in lives and treasure. We need our youth thinking out of the box if we hope that they will get us out of this cycle of endless war.

The economics of making war are on full display at The Miramar Air Show where we can get a look at what $500 billion or $600 billion buys. We leave the show thinking that making war is good for our economy, but the reality is very different. It’s different because making war kills people and destroys infrastructure. The people on the other end of our weapons often end up in refugee camps where their children have no schools or health care.

We Americans don’t consider the cost of rebuilding and educating those whom we make war against, and the cost to civil society when fascist and religious extremists become the only educators available to those children. We aren’t thinking about how the billions spent could instead rebuild our infrastructure and feed and educate our own youth. The war promoters say that our economy is dependent on making war. If true, we need to change our economy away from making war and that starts by the ending of the Miramar Air Show.

Thus, the San Diego Veterans For Peace, SDVFP, has embarked on a 5-year plan to steer public opinion away from embracing of the Miramar Air Show and instead to reject it. We expect the politicians and war contractors to declare our effort as folly or anti-American. They won’t give up on the Miramar Air Show easily, so we are asking the public to think about what really is happening there and choose to not attend. The Miramar Air Show — just don’t go.

Patterson is past president of San Diego Veterans For Peace (www.sdvfp.org).  We leave the show thinking that making war is good for our economy, but the reality is very different. Making war kills people.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

unwashedwallmartThong August 19, 2016 at 3:30 pm

I’m on board. I’ve never attended one of the air shows.


unwashedwallmartThong August 21, 2016 at 3:34 pm

I’m w/ Thong. I’m not sure they would even let us through the gate anyway; long ago we once were on the “no fly” list here in ‘merika.


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