Were it not for this kind of collective abduction that we are all subjected to with “The Man” doing as he pleases over the institutions – and the public morality – the case of the Rafale fighter jets would be treated for what it is: a scandal, perhaps Lula administration’s largest one. It is not like that because I want to. That’s the way it is.
India has opened an international tender for the purchase – Warning! – of 126 fighters. Value the Indian Air Force is willing to pay: US$ 10 billion. Six models were in the first round of selection: the Americans F 18 and F 16, the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Russian MiG 35, the Swedish Gripen NG and the Rafale.
Only one fighter was dropped at the beginning of the dispute: the Rafale. Rationale: it did not meet the minimum technical performance required by the Indian Air Force.
As you know, the Rafale is the fighter Lula decided to buy going against the recommendation made by the Air Force, which is who knows about the field in Brazil. Lula, the Man with the Styrofoam head, is an expert on other matters.
Many might ask the question: “But is the scandal in the fact that the Indian Air Force rejected the Rafale Lula wants to buy?” No! I’ve told you where it is. The problem is that the current abduction is preventing us from seeing things quickly enough. I’ll get there soon. Before, some other considerations. Ah, yes: after reading this piece, you can get more details on the Indian tender in the Indian Defence site: http://www.india-defence.com/reports-4326. Moving on.
While the Rafale was in competition, Nicolas Sarkozy, the aircraft peddler and Carla Bruni’s husband, engaged in the very same lobby efforts he has been doing in Brazil. The difference is that in India the assessment is really technical.
Over there it’s not enough just to flatter the absolutist emperor, to shower him with bowing and scraping, to elect him “Man of the Year” in order to pocket a few billion. Since the tender’s start, note the Indian sites that dealt with the matter, the Rafale was considered the worst alternative among – attention! – SEVEN MODELS.
Did the so-called mainstream media, that the rabble petralha (a mix of the ruling party PT and Irmãos Metralha, the way Walt Disney’s Beagle Boys are known in Brazil) accuses of being “antigovernment” (you can roll with laughter), get interested in the subject? From what I found only the online Estadão published a Reuters write-up on April 16 of last year. The issue disappeared since.
As you know, the Brazilian Air Force also does not want the Rafale. Among the three fighters it evaluated, it preferred the Swedish Gripen NG. The F-18 came in second. The last one was the French plane. How has the government of the Le Monde’s Man of the Year reacted? It considered the possibility of punishing what it called the report’s leak. Who ever heard of the Air Force meddling with fighters?
Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, a giant of philosophy, even bigger inside than outside, got carried out in metaphysical speculations: “Sometimes the cheap comes out expensive.” Samuel Pinheiro Guimarães, the head of the government’s anti-American wing and Sealopra (Long-term Planning Secretariat), asked if we would buy a car just thinking about the price…
These people’s mediocrity is astounding, especially when they try to mimic Lula in his spurious philosophy and metaphors. What in the president aspires to be popular knowledge shows its real content in the mouth of the doctors: pure and simple coarseness.
And the scandal, beyond the fact that Lula announced the victor when the evaluation was in progress? Come on. Dassault, which makes the Rafales, offered to sell 126 fighter jets to India by US$ 10 billion. Average price of each plane: US$ 79,365,079.36. Brazil is willing to pay 10 billion reais for 36 planes – or US$ 5,681,818,181.
Dividing the dollar amount by the number of devices, one arrives at the unit cost: US$ 157,828,282.82. Each Rafale costs Brazil more than double what it would cost India. Attention: WE ARE TALKING THE SAME TYPE OF AIRCRAFT AND TENDERS HELD AT THE SAME TIME.
Now I understand what Mr. Samuel Pinheiro Guimarães means when he says we don’t buy a car only for the price. In this case, it seems you also buy to please the supplier, isn’t it? Who, who knows, if he has not the heart as hard as the Pharaoh’s, will give the buyer at least a key ring souvenir.
As for Amorim, what to think? Not even an antithesis made into a popular cliche resists this monument, soon reverted to a tautology: the expensive comes out expensive!
It is incredible that one of the most important deals of the Lula administration, with a semblance, history and numbers of a swindle is being done under the complicit silence of much of the press and, as expected, the opposition.
Reinaldo Azevedo is a columnist for the weekly magazine Veja and maintains a blog at this address: http://veja.abril.com.br/blog/reinaldo/