San Diego Veterans Want To Ground Miramar Air Show
The Miramar Air Show is the largest military air show in the United States and draws hundreds of thousands of people every year. It's been an annual event for more than 50 years but now there is a whisper of controversy in the air. Is a showcase for the skills of our pilots in the superior performance of our military hard way? Or is it propaganda designed to perpetuate and promote war? Synagro Veterans for Peace has started a campaign, the Miramar Air Show just don't go. It's now a pretty hot topic of conversation in some parts of San Diego. I'd like to welcome our guests today which are Dave Patterson, he is the past president of San Diego Veterans for Peace and a former Air Force staff Sergeant. Thank you for being here. Today for inviting me. We also have first Lieutenant Gabriel Adibe who was the deputy director of public affairs at MCAS Miramar. Thank you for joining us. Today for having me. Let me start with you, Dave, since you started this discussion. When you think about the things that promote war there is so much in our culture. There are video games that are developing more and more sophisticated war scenarios. When did you feel that Miramar Air Show with an appropriate place to start this discussion? We've been looking at the Miramar Air Show for number of years. At Veterans for Peace. What we have seen it seems like an escalation in the violence. For example, it went from a standard airshow, the kind I used to go to, to now they have big tactical assault with close helicopters landing. More recently they have contractors in the front row watching or being entertained by the military who are risking their lives. The whole thing seems so very wrong. What would you say to those arguments, Gabriel, is something that's been going on for a long time. Is this something which is glorifying the military at the expense, perhaps, of more peaceful activities? First of, I would say the opportunity for the community to come out and see what we are doing on the air station, this is once a year. We get this opportunity to allow the folks onto the air station. To say this promotes war or anything like that -- our aircraft -- we are showing the folks at the air show what we're capable of doing. And how we are employing our Marines and sailors. You wrote in an editorial that the airshow also showcases one of the greatest duties place in our servicemen and women and that is the call to support humanitarian aid efforts. How exactly does the airshow showcase humanitarian efforts? When you see the aircraft like the ND 22, the C-130s that fly over -- many of his aircraft are capable of delivering food supplies and creating medical evacuation aircraft to provide aid to those on the ground. The UT did a poll and 80% of the responders out of almost 5000 people said that the Miramar Air Show should not be ended. Date, aren't you up against all odds in his campaign where the military has so much support? We are. But we are thrilled by 21%. We thought it could be worse. That's why we are giving it five years. We're trying to convince people to think about what exactly is going on there. of promoting war? Or are we doing some kind of fun backyard event? Once the people go there or think about it, we're hoping they will join us and decided not to go. This is a five-year campaign. How much money are you planning on spending? We don't need yet Is a going to go nationwide are you looking to go bigger? Are you starting in San Diego? Why San Diego? San Diego is a place where we can have success here then our fellow chapters around the world could have similar success, we think. Gabriel, what about the contract, the issues that day brought a. The Mick millions of dollars on this equipment and they incorporate cabins of front. Isn't this a thinly disguised sales event for them? I can't necessarily speak for the contractors and the advantages they have or what they are getting from the airshow. What I can say is that having the airshow gives people the opportunity to see us. To get to see the men and women in uniform that put their lives at risk day in and day out protecting this country. But at the same time we are offering an opportunity for folks to interact with them. How do you see this as improving community relations between the military and San Diego residents? Have many people come to me and say, I saw the aircraft flying overhead the other day. This is an opportunity for them to get up close to the people that fly those aircraft. Get close to the people that maintain it which are often young people, in their 20s. They get to hear their stories. Do you think this is an important recruitment tool? I think that anybody who loves planes and loves of being around that -- their desires are met when they arrived to the airshow. It's a great tool for people to understand what we do. Dave, adrenaline high. I think a lot of people love the excitement of the Miramar Air Show. To have a suggestion for something we could substitute for the airshow that would give people that high they are looking for? It is a high. I spent time in the military working on fighter planes. It is quite thrilling but that's an emotional high. It's not an intellectual high where we consider what exactly we are doing. We're asking people to go to the beach or do something fun with her family. Don't take them to a place that highlights weapons that are designed to disrupt people's lives. That's not really the thing I would promote as a family value. Howdy respond to the charge that you're being unpatriotic by pursuing this argument? I will post what are my friends at Veterans for Peace and he said I serve my country and I think it's wrong. Have you had much in the way of support from people who are supporting you and you are coming out against you that you know of right now? You know, it's funny, we are getting emails from people that are saying, you are going to take away my job. Well, really that's how this whole thing works. We create all these jobs. Built all these weapons and people employed by the Miramar Air Show and somehow it's some kind of patriotic thing or unpatriotic to ask them to ask people not to go or try to cut our defense budget. Really it's the opposite. The problem is that we have so many people and so many congressmen and so many corporations invested in this warmaking machine that everybody is afraid to step out and say, this is wrong. And that's what we're doing. Real, this is going had this year. We would be remiss not to ask you what can people expect to see when they show up this year. When Zaquan to start? It starts September 23 and goes to the 25th. People can expect to see the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. As mentioned before, the Marine air ground attacks force demonstration that we have. We also have civilian performers as well. Sean Tucker and his Oracle challenge. Shockwave jet truck which is an amazing truck that can go 300 miles an hour. Gentlemen, thank you for joining us. That is Dave Patterson past president for sending a Veterans for Peace. Thank you for being with us. And first Lieutenant Gabriel Adibe from your more. Thank you for your time.
The Miramar Air Show is the largest military air show in the U.S., drawing up to 500,000 people a year. But now there's a whisper of controversy in the air: is it a showcase for the amazing skill of our pilots and the superior performance of our military hardware? Or is it propaganda designed to perpetuate and promote war?
San Diego Veterans for Peace has started a campaign, "No MAS", hoping to shut down the air show in five years by convincing people to stop attending.
"The air show is designed to appeal to our senses, not our intellect, and when we participate we get an adrenaline high and exciting memories to take home," former Veterans For Peace president Dave Patterson wrote in a San Diego Union-Tribune op-ed in August. "We also take home the potential burden of our military people and civilians being injured or killed just to provide us those thrills. We also forget that the very nature of war is about death and destruction, not fun and games."
But First Lt. Gabriel Adibe, deputy director for public affairs for Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, said they are committed to carrying on the show, countering that the annual event is vital to maintaining community relationships.
"Only once a year does Miramar open its guarded gates to the public, allowing American and international patrons a view behind the curtain," Adibe wrote in a separate op-ed. "So during those three days, Miramar personnel take the time to permit a rare opportunity to discover the mystery of what lies beyond."
Patterson and Adibe join KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday to continue the debate over the Miramar Air Show.