Jim Fossel, in his July 19 column “BIW could disappear from Maine’s landscape,” implies that the U.S. Navy provides work for Bath Iron Works. That, in turn, provides jobs for Maine people. I contend that it is more accurate to say that BIW and its workers provide war ships for the Navy. Those ships are designed to perform one task only. That task being to destroy property and human lives.

It’s time we adopted a new paradigm for BIW. Instead of producing weapons of mass destruction, BIW could be dedicated to building wind towers, solar panels, public transportation and other products that benefit mankind rather than destroy it. They don’t call the bulk of their product destroyers for nothing.

Studies have been conducted by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst showing that if BIW started building the above-mentioned products, just as many, if not more, good-paying jobs would be created and the American people would receive those things that would truly make their lives better. Instead of degrading our environment further (the military is the world’s most prolific polluter), BIW could be making those products that relieve the strain on our failing environment.

As for protecting the American people; the U.S. is extremely stingy when it comes to spending on COVID-19 elimination, which has already killed nearly 50 times more people than the 9/11 attack. And it’s not yet over by a long shot.

Even building merchant ships would do a lot more good than WMD. I was a member of the outside machinist union (S-6) 20 years ago. When I asked why Bath wasn’t building merchant ships, I was flatly told there’s not enough profit in merchant vessels. That told me that the whole Bath thing wasn’t about protecting anyone. It was about making profit.

Peter P. Sirois

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