Maybe Not More Butter, But Certainly Less Guns

A big deal is being made of the fact that the Senate voted to kill funding for the F-22.  And a big deal should be made of it.  With so many people pushing to end it, it would seem extremely assinine to continue funding it.  President Obama, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and even the Pentagon are against the F-22.  And yet it seems like a miracle that the Senate voted the way they did.

But I think it’s important to keep this in perspective.  First of all, the House’s version of the defense authorization bill (aka money for the military) includes $369 million for the production of 12 more F-22s.  So it could still end up in the final bill, but Obama has promised to veto the bill if it contains any money for the F-22.  How symbolically important would that be, that Obama’s first veto would be a defense authorization bill?

In addition, the Senate voted for $550 billion for the military as a whole.  And an additional $130 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  So when you look at the $369 million in the House version, it seems like chump change.  But that is certainly a lot of change.  But I think that more needs to made of the $550 billion that is going to the military in the first place.

Most of this money is nothing more than corporate welfare.  A few companies have contracts with the government to build weapons and equipment for the military, and they are the ones who benefit most from these billions.

For instance, the Pentagon wants to kill the F-22 because they want to use the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter because they think it is more versatile.  Guess who makes the F-22?  Lockheed Martin.  Now this will shock you… Guess who makes the F-35?  You guessed it: Lockheed Martin.  How fortunate for them, the bastards.

Now, it certainly makes sense to have the best equipment and vehicles when we go to war, but the question that seems to get ignored is whether we should be going to war at all.  If we didn’t feel the need to depose dictators (at least the ones we don’t like) or ensure our corporate cronies access to a country, we wouldn’t need so many weapons or so many soldiers.  And we wouldn’t have to spend so much damn money on new ways to find and kill poor brown people.

And if we spent more money on helping people instead of killing them, then maybe we wouldn’t have to defend ourselves from terrorists who “hate our freedom.”  How much medicine or food or houses or healthcare would $550 billion buy us?  And more importantly, how much good will?

It would all seem like a ridiculous game if it weren’t so deadly serious.

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2 Responses to “Maybe Not More Butter, But Certainly Less Guns”

  1. While I agree with you that our defense budget is often unwisely spent, your post doesn’t really explain why the F-22 is so bad. Those of us who are not following this particular item need a little primer on the topic. Take this as what it is: constructive criticism. But you write, “With so many people pushing to end it, it would seem extremely assinine to continue funding it.” Why is this the case? A stronger argument might include some specific facts about how badly this money is wasted. Is the F-22 an outmoded model? Are the components too expensive? Is there graft involved? I hope I’m not being too pedantic, but this writing shifts focus rather abruptly when you discuss the overall problem with military spending without connecting it to some specifics relating to the F-22. All that said, the last line is good.

  2. Agreed. I need to flesh out my arguments before I post them. Most of the time, I just write something and only go back over it to make sure the grammar and spelling are correct. I should look at the overall argument being made and ensure that it is coherent and explained well enough. I suppose my writing is still a work in progress.

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