Editor’s note: Earlier this month, the Huffington Post published a “commentary” on the F-35 by four left-leaning defense analysts. Clearly, none of these men are fans of the joint strike fighter. Unfortunately, their commentary focused mostly on sliming James Jay Carafano—one of the nation’s leading national security experts—and insinuating that his employer, The Heritage Foundation, is a shill for Lockheed-Martin. Their charges are as bogus as they are shrill. Dr. Carafano wrote a measured response to this piece, which the Huffington Post has thus far not seen fit to print. It is produced below.
I’ve never been a fan of shrill personal attacks. Especially when they’re riddled with falsehoods. And especially when they’re aimed at me!
Thus, I was less than thrilled to see The Huffington Post run just such a piece. As the four authors set about misrepresenting the organization I work for and our position on fundamental defense issues, they indulge in name-calling and character assassination, labeling me “shallow,” “wrong,” “oblivious” and “pump[ing] out baloney to please his funders.” And all because of a 600 word op-ed I wrote deploring the administration’s efforts to defund the Pentagon.
The authors expend more than three times as many words to bemoan my alleged “pervasive disregard for facts,” yet a close reading reveals a curious thing: at no point do they cite even a single factual error in my commentary. Instead, their beef is with what I did not say. And, it turns out, what I failed to include in my commentary were their opinions and viewpoints! Sorry guys, but when I have a 600 word limit, I’m going to use all those words to present my views, not yours.
Curiously, though the Gang of Four censures me for allegedly disregarding facts, their screed readily distorts fact. Consider, for example, their reference to Heritage’s alleged “defense industry funders” and the charge that we are “pushing the agenda of Lockheed-Martin, manufacturer of the F-22 and F-35, and major contributor to Heritage.” The implication is that Heritage is a tool of the defense industry. In fact, Heritage is the most broadly supported think tank in the world, with over 700,000 contributors. Total corporate contributions account for less than 5% of our operating revenues; contributions from those in the defense industry account for less than 0.3%, and Lockheed-Martin provides a fraction of that. So much for being in anyone’s pocket!
Additionally, they close with this paragon of error: “Today, Heritage’s defense efforts are homilies supporting smaller forces, less people in uniform, and more dollars to buy fewer weapons of increasing ineffectiveness.” For the record, Heritage continues to lead the charge against efforts to reduce the size of our armed services. We advocate reform of Pentagon spending practices so that we might devote wasted resources to better training, greater preparedness, and development of next-generation weapons needed to assure “peace through strength” for the foreseeable future.
Incredibly, the authors conclude their hit piece with an offer to “engage in a public debate.” Really, gentlemen? After publicly misrepresenting my views. insulting my intelligence and questioning my character? I should think not. Just keep on “engaging” your straw men.
James Jay Carafano is director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.