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Scrap Stealth Fighters, and Help Our Children

August 04, 1991

I read with disgust and dismay that the Senate has decided to restart production of Stealth fighters ("Panel Votes to Restart Output of Stealth," July 11). At a unit cost of $42.6 million before development and ground equipment costs, the price tag on this first order alone will be well more than $1 billion.

I don't get it. The United States just demonstrated awesome air superiority in Iraq, with military analysts describing an array of aircraft, missiles and bombs that is light years ahead of any opposing force. With talk of B-2 bomber production also in the air, it seems to me that this nation's leadership is drunk on the testosterone rush of war.

On the same day, The Times ran an editorial lamenting the tragically common occurrence of innocent children being killed in gang shootings. The editorial ended with a call to action. Well here it is.

As a former inner-city VISTA volunteer, I can tell you that desperation is at the heart of gang violence. That desperation comes from a number of places, but it starts with having no education, no job and no future. One billion dollars could provide tutoring, a year of vocational training and job placement for about 150,000 Los Angeles youths.

Twenty-four unnecessary war toys or freedom and dignity for our children? That's the simple choice we have to make. The only question is, what are we willing to do to make it happen?

STEPHEN CHERNISKE

Santa Barbara

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