Dubai Ports Redux? Conservatives Question Outsourcing Plane Production

Matt Lewis
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Posted: May 02, 2008 12:11 PM

A national defense story with the potential to arouse the same level of angst we saw during the Dubai Port’s scandal has gone largely unnoticed. 

The Defense Department’s has awarded a $35 billion contract to build America’s newest fleet of air tankers to the French owned European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS). 

While Boeing (who stands to lose billions), obviously objects to the deal, several conservative leaders and organizations are also expressing concern about the national security issues at play.   

While the Defense Department changed its own rules to accommodate this deal, the more salient issue is one of national security:  specifically, whether or not we should be outsourcing our national defense.  Many of the European countries controlling and subsidizing EADS were knee deep in the Oil for Food Scandal and working with the Iraqi regime.  Then there are also concerns about the strategic partnerships some of these nations like France have with Iran as well.  

Just as was the case with the Dubai story, conservative opinion is split.  Some conservatives argue outsourcing is a good thing that will save taxpayer dollars, and get the equipment in the hands of our soldiers more quickly.  A recent Wall Street Journal op-ed even portrayed the desire to build America’s airplanes in the U.S. as a liberal or “protectionist” argument. 

But several other leading conservatives, including Frank Gaffney, Phyllis Schlafley, and Paul Weyrich – just to name a few – have organized a lobbying campaign aimed at encouraging Members of Congress to provide oversight through the Congressional budget office to stop this deal from proceeding.   

This is a story I’ll be keeping an eye on …