U.S. Sen. John McCain, back in the day

Well, you know how it goes: here today, gone tomorrow…

Anyway, this just in from Israel: The United States is thinking about scrapping the F-35 multi-bazillion-dollar stealthy fighter-bomber-whatever aircraft so beloved of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Retrogressive Preservative government.

They’ll be crying tonight at 24 Sussex Drive, not to mention NDHQ, if the report in the Haaretz newspaper turns out to be true and the Flying Boondoggle is headed for a rough landing.

According to Haaretz, the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee “instructed the Pentagon to come up with alternatives to the jet fighter of the future, the F-35, with the project facing massive cost overruns.”

But this could turn out to be another example of Harper’s incredible run of good luck. If this keeps up and the F-35 goes plop like the flightless dodo bird it so marvellously resembles, Canadians may not have to choose between public health insurance and overpriced airplanes that don’t work.

Given the record of the Harper government and its allies in several provincial capitals, of course, such a choice would not bode well for the future of medicare.

However, if Haaretz is right, it may also turn out that the prime minister was too, at least when he said just before the election that the F-35 project is still within budget!

Regardless, Haaretz characterized the discussion at the House committee last week as “the most serious threat the F-35 has faced so far.”

There hasn’t been much talk about the possibility of the butt-ugly flying bathtub being grounded in the media, even south of the Medicine Line. A San Diego public radio station did quote Sen. John McCain — the former naval aviator who in 2008 was Sarah Palin’s presidential running mate — calling the F-35 program a “trainwreck” and “incredibly troubled.”

But since when did that kind of thing ever stand in the way of big spending on a largely useless aircraft with a shrinking range that is only balanced by its expanding cost?

So don’t pop any champagne corks just yet. The demise of the F-35 has been reported before and the project has continued to fly, after a fashion. Still, it’s nice to hear a little hopeful news out of the Middle East for a change.

This post also appears on David Climenhaga’s blog, Alberta Diary.

David J. Climenhaga

David J. Climenhaga

David Climenhaga is a journalist and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions with the Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald. He left journalism after the strike...