Sleazy Military Contractors Are Crying Foul Over Drones -- They Stand to Lose Billions
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And don’t even believe that it’ll stop at $500 billion. Some Federal accountants are already figuring that the real cost of this rotten plane will top a trillion dollars.
But you know what’s weird? It’s impossible to get “fiscal conservatives” angry about this stuff. I’ve tried, at my office. Every time I hear some poor sucker at work complaining about how he had to stand in line behind some “fat welfare-type buying steak with my tax dollars,” I want to tell him, “Well, you know you much one F-35 fighter is gonna cost? 200 million dollars. You can buy a lot of steaks — you could buy half of Argentina — for that kind of money. And it’s a dog of a plane, that’s the worst, it doesn’t even work.”
But I don’t bother telling them that at work any more, because it just doesn’t register with them. The average office slave can understand a $20 food stamp and wrap their hate around that, but when you say “$200 million times 2000” his brain just shorts out. Besides, this is supposedly about “defense,” and to the average sucker, that’s sacred ground. You can’t tell them it’s not about defense, that America would be much safer, and richer, without a fleet of gold-plated lemons like the F-35. I’ve tried, and what happens is they get this annoyed little frown. They just don’t get off on it the way they do hatin’ on that fat lady with the four kids and the food stamps.
Truth is, the Defense Department stopped being about defense a long, long time ago. Nobody even knows who we’re supposed to be defending ourselves from with this ultra-high tech (bad tech, too) fighter aircraft. Nobody wants to play “Dogfight in the Skies” with us any more. That’s why there wasn’t a dry eye in the Pentagon when the USSR went bust: “Who’s gonna play Red Team in our simulations now?”
Wars like the ones we fight in the real here and now, like the one against the Taliban, don’t offer a lot of scope for Top Gun dreamers. But nobody in the USAF wants to face that fact. They love Corvettes with wings. Always have. To them, drones are like buying a fleet of Toyota Corollas: They may get you where you want to go, but where’s the fun, man?
Even manned aircraft that actually have some use run into resistance from the USAF. The only really useful ground attack plane we have is the A-10, and the USAF hated that plane when it was being pushed through development. It was slow, it was ugly — seriously, that was one of their objections, the way the “Warthog” looked — it wasn’t sexy at all, wouldn’t make for good calendar photos for the fighter pilot brohs.
But drones are even worse than the A-10, because they don’t even need pilots. That not only puts fighter-wing officers out of a job (and fighter jocks are the core of the USAF brass), it ruins their profit margins. Don’t go thinking higher-ups in the USAF have to live on their salaries. They make the big bucks by playing the system, rotating from DoD jobs to private contractors or lobbying companies, or “consulting” about how to fix the overpriced, gold-plated weapons they signed on to buy when they were officially working for the gummint ... Then they go back to a DoD job and start the whole circle of graft all over again. It’s a wonderful little Disneyland ride — you could call it “Kickbackland,” with a chorus of international kiddies singing, “It’s a lucrative scam after all, it’s a lucrative, lucrative scam!” and wads of money hanging off the fake audio-animatronic trees to be grabbed as you float by.