Monday, February 11, 2008

FUNDING WEAPONS AGAINST THE LAST CENTURY'S ENEMIES

Muscular Defense Plan Buoys Contractors Proposed Budget Would Benefit Area Companies
By Dana Hedgpeth Washington Post Staff Writer Monday, February 11, 2008; D01
A run of healthy profits for defense contractors that has lasted nearly a decade will continue for at least another year, analysts and company executives said after the Bush administration last week submitted its new defense budget.
The $515.4 billion defense spending proposal for fiscal 2009 is 7.5 percent higher than the current year's and promises to fund some of the armed forces' largest and most costly weapons programs. It includes $104.2 billion for weapons procurement and nearly $80 billion for research and development, testing and evaluation.
. . . The Army's Future Combat Systems, a program that will use a wireless network to connect battlefield equipment overseen by SAIC and Boeing, would get $3.56 billion. And the White House asked for more than $21 billion for space and missile-defense initiatives, areas where Boeing, Lockheed and Northrop have strong roles. .
The demand for armored vehicles continues to benefit General Dynamics, which makes the Stryker and a version of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, or MRAP. The Stryker program got $1.2 billion and upgrades of the company's Abrams tank was funded at $727 million, though no funding was allocated for MRAPs, which are being built by several contractors.
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$515 billion in preparatory spending to defend against an enemy that has to hitch a ride on commercial airliners to attack us. Half a trillion bucks for heavy equipment and not a dime for hiring Arab speakers. Good thinking, Elmer. And how are the rest of the Fudds?
We're 'funding some of the armed forces' largest and most costly weapons programs' against Muslim jihadists who scrounge their weaponry from whatever sources are available. With duct-tape and stolen artillery shells, they bleed us down to abandoning the field of battle, dragging our 100 billion dollar tails behind us.
What general, admiral or defense appropriations committee came up with that next great plan for defeat at extreme and inappropriate expense?
But extreme and inappropriate expense is what Americans are good at. We spend twice as much per child on primary and secondary education in this country as any of our 'developed nation' competitors and yet rank 24th out of 30 in effectiveness.
We spend the most on health care to get the crappiest care back and even then, 45 million are totally uninsured because we are frightened to death of anything 'socialized.' Stuff that down your sick kid's throat, even though high taxes and elegant social programs made Sweden, Norway and Denmark the best places in the world to live.
But we have chosen to bring in a $200 million fighter to go after who-knows-who, living in who-knows-where in order to 'fight them there so we don't have to fight them here.' Not only have we dialed up the budget at the expense of building something actually worthwhile, but the Air Force has ordered 1,750 of these 'must have' airplanes.
Our national infrastructure needs an immediate $1.5 trillion in repairs, so that steam pipes don't blow up in New York, streets in Chicago don't cave in from broken water mains and bridges in Minneapolis can be repaired before they fall into the Mississippi. Lockheed Martin and its fellow military contractors could probably re-tool themselves in order to do some of that work. They might even build a national rail system.
We Americans are being flim-flammed by Eisenhower's dreaded military-industrial complex. Who knew better than Ike? He told us 60 years ago this was coming.
We've been sold a package of dog-shit and told it's necessary dog-shit and that in the long run our national security depends upon dog-shit.
It just no longer works to blame the dog. It's not guns or butter, it's infrastructure and schools and transportation and health care and edging away from oil dependency-- or dog shit.