Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Our Military Industrial Nightmare

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has done the unthinkable: he's had the gall to recommend cutting military programs that aren't needed and shifting money to ones that are. The horror.

Here's how Gates sums up his view:
"When programs are out of control, when they're six years late, when they're twice the cost that they were originally forecast, something has to be done. Something has to give," Gates said.
That makes sense, to normal people, but the same article provides a clear example of how messed up Washington thought is:

"There are certain policy decisions Congress has a say so in, and we are going to have a say," Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee who wants to buy up to 60 more of the F-22 fighter jets, said Tuesday.
That's 60 planes the Pentagon doesn't want, at $150 million a piece. Now, our Representative Scott Garrett and both Senators Menendez and Lautenberg have been guilty of getting money for programs the Pentagon doesn't want, but never to the tune of $9 billion dollars.

The problem is Congress as a whole ignores the Pentagon all the time. We need body armor, Congress gets us a new plane. What's going to make this fight even more bizarre than normal is the fact Gates's proposal isn't even cutting the budget. He's telling Congress we're changing what we're buying to what we need.

The early criticism just reinforces that Congress has been sucked into buying what they're told by lobbyists we need as opposed to the Pentagon. It's tragic that Congress will borrow whatever it takes to make their campaign donors happy.

It wasn't even 50 years ago that Eisenhower coined the phrase Military Industrial Complex. For those that forgot his prophetic warning, here it is: