HIGHTOWER: Need a Used Jet? Call Uncle Sam

Who has the second-largest air force in the world?The USA is number one, but would you guess that number two is Russia, China or Germany? Try Tuscon, Arizona.Out on the Arizona desert is a four-square mile compound on which sits an air superpower, with 139 patrol planes, 426 cargo planes, 562 helicopters, 570 training jets, 1,142 ground attack jets and 2,087 fighter jets. Let me put it another way: There is $27 Billion worth of aircraft sitting there.Whose planes are these? Ours. The Pentagon has more than 5,000 military aircraft mothballed on this patch of desert, which they refer to as the "Boneyard." But this is not a junkyard for dilapidated, flightless junkers. At least 75-percent of these flying machines can be re-activated, including F-15s and F-16s that the military used in the Gulf War and in Bosnia. "Our primary mission," says the director of the Boneyard, "is to store aircraft for times of need."So, if the government has a far bigger airforce mothballed in Tuscon than any of our theoretical enemies have in their entire military arsenals, why is the Pentagon shucking us taxpayers to build them a new $80 Billion toy, the F-22? Because, they say, the F-15s and 16s have fallen into the hands of many other nations so we need a new plane capable of fighting them.But wait, how did those countries get our planes? We sold them to them ... right out of the Boneyard. That's right, foreign dictators can come shopping in the Boneyard, just like it's a used car lot.This proliferation of our weaponry is STUPID. It takes money from us, gives it to the Pentagon's corporate contractors . . . and ends-up creating well-armed enemies for our sons and daughters to fight.Source:"Pentagon Used-Jet Sales Lot Helps Keep World Supplied" by James Brooke. New York Times

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