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Hard feelings over tanker contract

May 29, 2008

Re "The best tanker won," Opinion, May 23

Ronald D. Sugar's attempt to justify the awarding of an Air Force contract to French-based EADS and its minority partner, Northrop Grumman, omitted the reasons for bipartisan outrage over the decision.

It's not just that the U.S. chose the EADS team, which has little experience in building tankers; it's that it also chose a foreign-built tanker that will cost $30 billion more over the life of the fleet, will be able to land at fewer bases because of size, will outsource tens of thousands of jobs and that scored lower on several criteria than the American-made Boeing tanker.

The U.S. trade representative has charged that EADS receives tens of billions in illegal subsidies. EADS executives are also under criminal investigation for insider trading.

Sugar's effort to sugar-coat should leave a bad taste in our mouths.

Paul Shearon

Washington

The writer is secretary treasurer of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers.

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