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Friday, April 21, 2006

Priorities, please!?!

Here it is.

A Senate measure to fund the war in Iraq would chop money for troops' night vision equipment and new battle vehicles but add $230 million for a tilt-rotor aircraft that has already cost $18 billion and is still facing safety questions.

Does this really seem like a wise choice?

Critics maintain that it's still a curious choice to be funded in a bill whose defining purpose is to replace equipment worn out or destroyed in Iraq.

The Osprey, manufactured by Bell Helicopter, a subsidiary of Textron Inc., has been in development since the 1980s and has cost the government $18 billion so far. It has suffered numerous setbacks over the years, including two crashes in 2000 that killed 23 people.

* * *

Vice President Cheney, as secretary of defense in the first Bush administration, tried to kill the V-22, to no avail. The aircraft is popular with lawmakers, especially those from Pennsylvania and Texas, which host the manufacturing plants.

"They've hijacked the bill to spend money on their toys," said Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a budget watchdog group. "You have the V-22, which isn't even ready for fielding and it's getting money in the supplemental."

The V-22 is but one example of the Pentagon and lawmakers using the mammoth bill to skirt limits on the already rapidly growing defense budget.

I'm not trying to tell the Marines what's a good priority and what's not, but c'mon here. This isn't how I want my money spent! How 'bout you?

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At 4/21/2006 3:21 PM, Blogger David Schantz said...

The Osprey is a death trap, scrap it.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

At 4/21/2006 6:27 PM, Blogger historymike said...

The priorities for the Pentagon are always in this order:

1. Defense contractors
2. Personnel

This ordering does not vary with Dems or Repubs in power.

Eisenhower famously decried this incestuous setup in his "military-industrial complex" speech:


If anything, the situation has continued to deteriorate since Ike raised hell about it in 1961.

Of course, he couldn't say anything public until after he retired. By then he was powerless to do anything about it.

At 4/22/2006 12:15 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thank you, Mike! That was a great read. I'm almost tempted to blog about the contemporary lessons our contemporary politicians have obviously not learned from Eisenhower that they very much should have, but since I'm not a historian and really don't know much about this President I'm not in a position to be able to determine if they were just good words that he himself chose not to live by.

For instance, I didn't realize that President Dwight Eisenhower and the Ike that was President were one and the same.


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