Chron editorial board reverses position on Elllington

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Today, the Chronicle editorial board laments that it’s likely Ellington Field will lose its fighter jets:

Houston is the nation’s fourth-largest city and home to one of the world’s greatest industrial complexes. Houston warrants a robust defense against airborne terrorist attackers. Unfortunately, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the Base Closing and Realignment Commission disagree.

Unless President Bush cares more about defending the largest and most strategic metropolitan area in Texas than his defense secretary, Ellington Field will lose the 147th Texas Air National Guard fighter wing and its 17 aging F-16s.

That’s right, idealists. The Secretary of Defense doesn’t care if “airborne terrorist attackers” wipe out Houston. He’s indifferent. You’ve exposed him. (Yes, that was heavy sarcasm in case it didn’t come across).

And the editor of the editorial page has the audacity to lecture bloggers on elegance, wit, and insight? Laughable.

And it’s even more laughable because the idealists were singing a completely different tune just a few weeks ago:

The only city with all nine types of terrorist targets identified by the FBI, Houston deserves its share of homeland defenses. However, the F-16 fighters of the Texas Air National Guard stationed at Ellington Field would seem to have limited utility in deterring or attacking today’s terrorists.

Well, which is it, idealists?

Is the Secretary of Defense derelict in not recognizing the importance of the F-16s for defending Houston from terrorists (as you suggest today), or are the F-16s of limited utility in the war on terror (as you wrote in July)?

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Kevin Whited
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