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Wasteful Weapons and the Politicians Who Love Them

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Posted on Jun 24, 2008
Fueling Stealth
AP photo / Mark Farmer

Over the Bering Sea in 2006, a B-2A stealth bomber from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri takes on fuel from an Air Force KC-10A tanker from McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey.

By Robert Scheer

Remember Curtis LeMay, the Air Force general played to chilling effect by Sterling Hayden in the 1964 movie “Dr. Strangelove”? If you’re too young for that reference, you probably don’t recall when the concept of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) dominated our military posture toward our Soviet enemy. I bring this up because the midair refueling tanker that the MAD warrior LeMay commissioned suddenly has become a controversy in the presidential campaign.

MAD was based on a triad of air, land and sea forces that would punish a Soviet first strike, ending all semblance of life on the one-sixth of the planet that composed the old Soviet Union. Toward that end, we needed not only thousands of land-based weapons but thousands of other weapons on ships and on airplanes. It was LeMay’s insistence that nuclear-armed bombers be in the air 24/7 that gave rise to the midair refueling tankers that were in the news this past week. Controversy arose when the Government Accountability Office questioned an Air Force decision to award the contract for a new generation of those “gas stations in the sky” to one defense contractor instead of its rival.

The news was presented in a Wall Street Journal front-page story focusing on the profit potential rather than the military significance of the tanker. So, too, the account that led the New York Times business section, which detailed the good news in Boeing’s revived chances to secure the refueling tanker contract. This deal would initially cost $35 billion, but, as the Times pointed out, “The tanker contract, which could eventually grow to $100 billion to build a fleet of 179 refueling planes, is one of the most lucrative ever awarded by the Pentagon.”

Neither newspaper indicated why we needed $100 billion in tankers, other than in a revealing photo in the Times showing one of the airplanes refueling a B-2 bomber, which brings us back to Gen. LeMay and his MAD doctrine. The B-2 was designed to be the modern bomber in the triad confronting the Soviets. Its very expensive stealth cover would be able to penetrate a sophisticated Soviet radar system—which was never built. That also assumes that the B-2’s stealthy cover would stop deteriorating in the rain, as it was wont to do, but the test for this technology never occurred because of the untimely fall of the Soviet menace.

Despite having lost its purpose, production of the B-2 continued for a while as a jobs and profit program supported by key legislators from both parties, as has been the case with the tanker designed to fuel the planes. Woe to the legislator who dares take on any weapons program, and that is why John McCain has become the subject of criticism from the Democrats.

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In one of his better performances as a senator, McCain distinguished himself by challenging a swindle that would have rewarded the Boeing company with a contract worth $100 billion for leasing Boeing aircraft that were converted to refueling tankers from a model that was not selling in a depressed market. Thanks to McCain’s insistence on a criminal investigation, the chief financial officer of Boeing and the top procurement officer in the Air Force wing of the Pentagon were sent to serve time in federal prison. The contract was canceled, and a new contract was awarded to Northrop Grumman and a European partner.

The Democratic National Committee now has criticized McCain for having opposed the Boeing deal, charging that McCain had “sent American jobs abroad.” The DNC’s attack on McCain speaks volumes to the bipartisan gut-checking in favor of military waste that has led us to squander trillions of taxpayer dollars since 9/11.

McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers responded to the scurrilous attack from the DNC, saying:

“Let’s get this straight: John McCain led the charge to uncover the biggest boondoggle in Pentagon history, saved the taxpayers over $6 billion, helped send corrupt execs and government officials to jail, and the Democrats say he’s the bad guy? It’s absurd. Apparently to Barack Obama and the Democrats, corruption is OK, so long as it helps them politically. That’s not change we can believe in.”

Now, of course, McCain has done his bit to waste egregious amounts of taxpayer money by cheerleading for an Iraq war that has already burdened us with trillions in future debt, but that hardly exonerated the Democrats in once again attempting to one-up the Republicans in throwing money at defense contractors.

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.



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By cyrena, June 28, 2008 at 8:15 pm Link to this comment

•  “..Open shop(or Right to Work Laws) laws interfere with freedom to contract.”

No kidding. Ya think?

“…I regard openshop laws as an interference in private law…”

There’s no such thing as private law Paracelsus. It’s only ‘private’ in that the corporations hold person status, and can do as they please, because the law (and the people) have done nothing to prevent it.

Right to work laws have nothing to do with workers. Right to work law means that the corporation, (acting as a person) has a ‘right’ to hire anybody they want (without getting permission from anybody) and to fire anybody they want, (without providing an explanation to anybody) and to pay what they want or not pay what they don’t want.

This is why corporate plantations headquarter themselves in states with “Right to Work” set ups. In simple terms, “Right to Work” means the right the right for the corporation to enslave and/or rape, and the right of the worker to prostitute themselves.

So, if you want this to be ‘brought up’ it has to be at the State level. That’s been the hot topic in Colorado in recent months. And, if one is planning to be a ‘worker’ anywhere, (rather than a prostitute) than one should avoid states with “Right to Work” set-ups that make such things ‘legal’. That would include most of the South and the Southeast, and a large portion of the Midwest and the Southwest. Texas is the biggest Right to Work corporate plantation in the Union. There’s a reason for that.

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By Louise, June 28, 2008 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

Scheers article highlights a problem we all have. Sorting out the bad from the good, or visa-versa.

~~~

“The DNC’s attack on McCain speaks volumes to the bipartisan gut-checking in favor of military waste that has led us to squander trillions of taxpayer dollars since 9/11.”

~~~

Cant argue with squander and waste since 9/11, but we cant lump everything into one basket. I suggest you all scroll down to:
By agentWeez, June 25 at 8:01 am #
(Unregistered commenter):
And read his informative comment.

Glad Scheer reported the two who went to prison. Sad he chose to skip from their corruption to the current tanker story without bothering to fill in details in the middle, when there is so much in the middle.

Speaking of corruption, what is the real reason Northrop Grumman wanted the tanker deal? Seems pretty simple to me. They control all manufacture of the American sea born war machine. How nice for them if they could control the war machine in the air as well. War profiteering. Why settle for half when you can have it all?

I’m dissapointed Scheer skipped over the latest info on why the GAO decided there was reason for believing there were a “number of significant errors” [is that a nice way of saying favoritism?] made by the Pentagon in the aerial refueling tanker deal.

The only way Northrop Grumman could approach the Pentagon with a bid was to find a plane manufacturer. They had to leave the nation to do so. And the Pentagon that’s supposed to represent the best interests of the people who count on a strong military to defend the nation, [and pay their friggin bill] chose to award that bid to a foreign manufacturer. But, since quite a few of them hold duel citizenship and may be as inclined to pledge allegiance to a foreign nation state as to the United States, that should be no surprise.

As far as cost goes, had the Pentagon not got sidetracked on the “leasing” and focused on the “building new” the contract would have been for 20 billion. Now it is stated as 35, but estimated at 40 and by the time they award it, probably will be 100 billion. Especially given our shrinking dollar. And credit for that belongs to the RNC, GOP, republican congress and president.

I have no problem calling the dems short-shifters, because that certainly is how they look today, but lets not blame them for the mess created by a republican dominated government and Pentagon.

We need to recognize as long as we have a military flying planes in the sky, a fuel tanker is a good idea. I’m not any more keen on illegal aggression than the next guy, but since we have kids who chose to join the military, I think they should be provided with what they need to do the job they have signed on to do. 

So until the nation is mature enough to throw out every war and money loving political hypocrite that sucks off us, and our military, and restore some semblance of sanity to what was once thought to be a government by for and of the people, we better keep those planes flying.

Actually, we cant afford not to. In our eagerness to display our conceit, not to mention excess leisure, brutality, and stupidity, we have managed to make far more enemies than friends. Thanks in no small measure to a man named Bush.

George W. Bush. The perfect president for a nation of people with excess leisure, too much brutality and a whole lot of stupidity. And the perfect opportunity for an evil man like Cheney to gain control. And make no mistake ... he is in control.

“The first step in a fascist movement is the combination under an energetic leader of a number of men who possess more than the average share of leisure, brutality, and stupidity. The next step is to fascinate fools and muzzle the intelligent, by emotional excitement on the one hand and terrorism on the other.”
Bertrand Russell, 1940

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By Paracelsus, June 28, 2008 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment

Northrup-Airbus will build the tanker in Mobile, AL which shifts the production from unionized Seattle to union-busting Mobile.  This was calculated in the award to Northrup-Airbus.

I regard openshop laws as an interference in private law. When a firm and a union contract for certain terms it is interference by the state to force the union to accept non-contract employess into employment. Exclusive contracts are not unusual in business as they provide stability to a business relationship, but to use government as a way to skirt contract law in this regard is bad faith on part of the lobbying employer. What if buyer’s regret became enforceable for other exclusive contracts? It would be chaos. I do not know why somebody has not brought up this aspect of law in labor relations. Open shop(or Right to Work Laws) laws interfere with freedom to contract.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 28, 2008 at 11:24 am Link to this comment

Sodium, June 27 at 4:28 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

Inherit The Wind June 26

Welcome to the World of Sanes.Great progress,ITW.
******************************

My views on this have been unchanging for many, many years.  The obvious solution has ALWAYS been a negotiated 2 state solution that only PARTIALLY satisfies both sides, but guarantees peace, followed by completely open trade between them.

There’s nothing to welcome me to—I haven’t changed my position because I haven’t seen an argument to merit changing it.  Israel has a right to exist, but not on the terms that the nutty religious fanatics and “What-a-Yahoo” types want—and most Israelis don’t want.

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By samosamo, June 28, 2008 at 10:31 am Link to this comment

How else can the elites spread all that money around to the few that get it? With a complicit military congressional industrial complex living off of our tax dollars there will be no end to new fangled ways of ‘defending’ our country and being in the hands of fools it will most probably drive this country into the ground. So I look at this as just another type of money laundrying scheme used by our elected persons and the military to move money around. I certainly don’t feel safer with all these high tech ‘toys’ which have a tendency not to work. So don’t look for prudence or oversight from congress, they want their piece of the pie.
And damn ain’t it sad to have to tell your children that to make it in the elite world they will need to invent more ways to kill people, not that the human population could use a correction but I would rather see that done by less destructive ways and with more intelligent means, but that will make you a bleeding heart liberal in the eyes of the conservatives who cannot live without a major hand in the arms industry.
So is it any wonder that we have lost almost all of our manufacturing base to other countries thereby costing jobs in our country but have retained the arms and munitions industry which is our major export industry which really is setting the US up for a big jolt somewhere down the line. Just think of the Saudis deciding to trade oil in euros instead of dollars. And all of this is precisely why I look at our economy as a false economy.

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By Blackspeare, June 28, 2008 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

I don’t know how this thread degraded into an Israeli/Palestinian issue, but let me add my two cents…

There is the possibility that an Armageddon is shaping up in the American Jewish community between the liberals and the neocons. The liberal Jewish intelligentsia knows that the best way to support the real interests of Israel is by getting diplomatically and economically tough with Iran without bombing them the neocon way (at least until everything else has been tried).  It is very likely an attack on Iran would result in giving John Q. Public $15 gas at the pump and bankrupting him on heating oil, and turning “the silent majority” of Americans into rabid anti-Israel voters. Obama and the liberal Jewish heads in Congress who support him are as committed to the safety of Israel as any neocon. They’re just much savvier than the suicidal neocons about the complex necessities of protecting Israel militarily there and politically here. The neocons and their perceived puppet Bush, with their hawkish allies in Israel, have pushed Israel and America to the brink. If cooler American Jewish heads don’t prevail, the neocons will pull the temple down on Israel and American Jews along with it! This is by far the most critical moment in the history of Israel since the 6-Day War because of the very real threat that Iran will be able, within the near future, to construct a nuclear weapon and also because a precipitous bombing to forestall that potential now threatens to destroy political support for Israel in America, and leave Israel absolutely friendless in a world increasingly hostile to its survival.

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By cyrena, June 27, 2008 at 11:53 pm Link to this comment

“No one here will believe this but is actually not far from what I have said here many times.”

Inherit…

I believe you. I’ve heard you say it before. I believed you then.

I have a major concern of course, about the 2-state solution, which I’ve always favored myself. It’s kind of like the War on Iraq. From the very beginning, when I knew that nothing we said or did would prevent it, I just kept bemoaning the fact that bush wouldn’t leave, no matter how many folks begged him to do it, and pointed out how for every day that we were there, that much more destruction and death would occur, making it less and less possible that the country could ever be salvaged. It’s like Tom Hayden says…FIRST…STOP THE DESTRUCTION! Kind of like the physicians oath. FIRST…DO NO HARM!

Anyway, I was in the West Bank and a few other places in the area back in 2000. So, what..just about 8 years ago. Even then, I had that horrible feeling with wondering how there ever could become a 2-state solution, (which has always seemed the preferable goal, based on what Israel and the Palestinians have claimed..at least most of them), WITHOUT doing even more DESTRUCTION!

I say that because of the infrastructure that is so thoroughly entrenched there now. So when you say that the settlements should be halted, of course I agree. But it’s not a whole lot different than me saying for the past 6 years, that the US presence in Iraq should be halted, just to stop the destruction.

Anyway, seeing that very permanent infrastructure that Israel has developed basically EVERYWHERE there now, it’s just so difficult to visualize how a 2-state solution could ever happen. I’m not saying it’s impossible, because I don’t like to give up any hope. I just don’t know how it can be managed without another huge relocation of a whole bunch of people.

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By Sodium, June 27, 2008 at 5:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Inherit The Wind June 26

Welcome to the World of Sanes.Great progress,ITW.

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By kath cantarella, June 27, 2008 at 1:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Good old Johnno. As long as you go to war with honest contractors, that’s the main thing.

He’s a bizarre man, i can’t figure him out. There’s a screwy sense of honour there, emphasis on the word ‘screwy’.

The dems need a kick in the arse for this one.

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By amunaor, June 26, 2008 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment

RE: By cann4ing, June 26 at 8:23 am

This is the other voice, consistently squelched, the Jews against Zionism.

The following video is a bit dated now, but still relevant-
Ahmadinejad Meeting With Anti-Zionist Jews:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xA1DbBAcOQ

Yes, the U.S. war industry and the empiricist high flyers need a terrorist under each and every unturned stone. How else could their minions justify their continued existance with an outpost in every corner of the world, from which to extort and exploit the resources of all others?

What a racket it is!

Peace, Best Wishes and Hope

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By cann4ing, June 26, 2008 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

ITW, if you haven’t already done so, you might want to check out the J Street Project, an organization formed by progressive Jewish Americans to counter the undue influence of the neocons at AIPAC.  Recently, J Street purchased a full page ad calling out the corporate media for failing to adequately cover the recent Egyptian brokered ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 26, 2008 at 9:07 am Link to this comment

BobZ, June 25 at 8:09 pm #

The Israeli right wing contingent may precipitate an attack on Iran as a pretext to throw the election to McCain. Obama may insist on an a more level playing field for the Palestinians in their quest for their own homeland. This scares the crap out of the extremists in Israel who don’t want a peaceful solution to the Palestinian homeland issue. They may also be fearful we will cut of the lucrative annual payments we provide Israel, money they don’t even need, since they are among the more wealthy nations in the world. There just may yet be an October surprise. What is really scary is that we let John Bolton go around the world preaching his neocon rhetoric. He is another one who stabbed Colin Powell in the back. What a creep!

No one here will believe this but is actually not far from what I have said here many times.  I have no liking or love for the nutty right wing, always preferring the rational middle and soundly negotiated two-state solution.  I think all new settlements should be stopped and most should be removed.

Religious fanatics should not be allowed to dictate policy. Not in Israel, not in Iran, not in Saudi Arabia, not in the USA.

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By marco_san, June 26, 2008 at 8:30 am Link to this comment

Iran is not a nuclear threat to Israel, would never be; there is more going on here. As I understand it, Iran would not nuke Israel as it would be akin to nuking the palestinians since they live is such close proximity, not to mention Egypt and other Middle East countries that would be affected by fallout. There is a blatant denial of logic in much about the US/Israeli partnership in general. Few things in US foreign policy have done more to warrant disrespect and anger for the US internationally - talk about a national security nightmare.

The United States’ common citizen/consumer has a pathology of denial - or simply ignorance of reality in many regards that is more frightening than any weapon - of course just my opinion again, washing out to sea…

- A security wall along the Mexican Border
- A Mars exploratory mission
- Submarines, Germ-WF and Stealth fighters (combatting box-cutters)
- Empire building and warmongering

What do they have in common except (among other pointless things) that they will today, like yesterday and tomorrow, be diverting funds from the greater needs of billions of truly suffering starving men, women and children across the planet - and also consider that millions of Americans - of all ages - themselves are being deprived of basic healthcare, education and caring for their natural environmental?

- The useless programs listed above are increasingly financed by loans from China…currently approaching two trillion dollars.

Read the news this week with this in mind and consider how all these politicians spend money they have to borrow…for programs that are largely the antithesis of civilization.

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By ernieson, June 26, 2008 at 5:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Weaponry exists: 1. For profits for corporations
2. To be used to justify its existence
3. For defensive purposes as opposed to be used for unprovoked offensive purposes.
Somehow the use of weapons has gone astray.

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By Bill, June 26, 2008 at 4:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Northrup-Airbus will build the tanker in Mobile, AL which shifts the production from unionized Seattle to union-busting Mobile.  This was calculated in the award to Northrup-Airbus.

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By cann4ing, June 25, 2008 at 10:25 pm Link to this comment

Actually, BobZ, the real concern should be whether the recent Israeli “exercise” is a precursor to an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities as part of a Bush regime plan that is intended to incite an Iranian retaliation against Israel.  Bush’s claim that Iran was seeking to enrich uranium for use in nuclear weapons was debunked by his own NIE as well as the IAEA.  But if he can get Iran to strike back in response to an Israeli attack, Bush would go Congress demanding authorization to use force to protect Israel, and, given the track record of the gutless “Democratic leadership,” he would probably get it.

This type of maneuver is not unprecedented for Bush.  As revealed by the Manning memo, when Bush grew concerned that the inspectors were never going to find any Iraqi WMD, he suggested to Tony Blair that they fly a U-2 over Iran bearing UN markings in the hopes Saddam would shoot it down and give us an excuse to go to war.

If the Bush regime carried this plan to fruition, we could anticipate a retaliation from Iran—perhaps a terrorist strike on U.S. soil.  With Vincent Bugliosi, whom I just spoke to, running around the country making clear that the grounds exist to prosecute the Bushies for murder, such a terrorist strike could, under an existing executive order, be cited as a basis for declaring marshall law and postponing the election. 

Far fetch?  I would hope so, but some former insiders don’t think the scenario is beyond the realm of a reasonable possibility.

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By BobZ, June 25, 2008 at 9:09 pm Link to this comment

The Israeli right wing contingent may precipitate an attack on Iran as a pretext to throw the election to McCain. Obama may insist on an a more level playing field for the Palestinians in their quest for their own homeland. This scares the crap out of the extremists in Israel who don’t want a peaceful solution to the Palestinian homeland issue. They may also be fearful we will cut of the lucrative annual payments we provide Israel, money they don’t even need, since they are among the more wealthy nations in the world. There just may yet be an October surprise. What is really scary is that we let John Bolton go around the world preaching his neocon rhetoric. He is another one who stabbed Colin Powell in the back. What a creep!

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By Double U, June 25, 2008 at 6:31 pm Link to this comment

Cyrena, thanks for the thoughts and links.  This is important stuff, but I’m still rubbing morning out of my eyes.

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By cyrena, June 25, 2008 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment

I’ve sort of ‘mentioned’ this several times already. The only difference was that my statistics were covering ALL of the money since 9/11, that the US taxpayers have forked over to Pakistan, and in particular…Georgie’s good buddy, Musharraf, his dictator colleague in the Allied Club of Tyrants, Dictators, Fascists that the US calls it’s ‘allies’ in the ‘war on terror’.
Per my earlier calculations, the sum was more like $22 billion since 9/11 but that covered the more than just these ‘reimbursements’ that are calculated at $5.6 billion.
Now I don’t know that any of this has to do with the ‘weapons’ that the politicians love, but it’s definitely our money being sent to Pakistan, by the Pentagon.

$2 Billion in US Aid to Pakistan Questioned
Wednesday 25 June 2008

by: Greg Miller, The Los Angeles Times


Overall, the US has paid more than $5 billion to reimburse the country for counter-terrorism expenses, a GAO report says.

~“Washington - The United States has paid more than $5 billion to reimburse Pakistan for counter-terrorism expenses that have often been exaggerated, if not fabricated, according to a government audit released Tuesday that blasts the Pentagon for poor management of the program.

The report concluded that the Pentagon could not properly account for as much as $2 billion in payments to Pakistan over a three-year period from 2004 to 2007.

  Auditors uncovered an array of questionable costs, including $45 million for roads and bunkers that may never have been built; $200 million for the operation of air defense systems even though Al Qaeda has no known aircraft; and overcharges for meals and vehicles used by Pakistani troops.

  Overall, the report by the Government Accountability Office concluded that the Defense Department had routinely covered costs without verifying that they “were valid, actually incurred, or correctly calculated.”

  The Pentagon has paid about $5.6 billion to Pakistan in counter-terrorism reimbursement funds in the nearly seven years since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, by far the largest sum paid as part of the program to a counter-terrorism ally.

  The audit acknowledges that the Pentagon has recently taken steps to improve its scrutiny of the expense reports submitted by Pakistan.

  “Up until that point in time we would say that there was not sufficient oversight,” said Charles Michael Johnson Jr., director of counter-terrorism issues at the GAO and the principal author of the report. Even now, Johnson said, “we still point out concerns and areas where we think there should be further enhancements” of the Pentagon’s oversight of the program.”~

The rest of the piece is at the link


http://www.truthout.org/article/2-billion-us-aid-pakistan-questioned?print

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By Double U, June 25, 2008 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment

inh. wind…
What is wrong with participatory reporting?  You added relevant information, grudgingly, and that’s the idea.  Diaper-service has been suspended.  The billions of pieces of points that can be made and connected are ours.  This particular article is what it is.  It obviously got you thinking.  What’s wrong with you chiming in?  Why so dependent?  The point is—Robert Scheer has offered up the results of his research.  To bitch that he left this or that out, or that he confused this fictional character’s inspiration with that one’s is to completely sit exposed in one’s habits of media-dependence.
Thank you for the points, but the attitude is unnecessary, at least to me.

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By PatrickHenry, June 25, 2008 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

At 2 billion apiece they fly off the shelves.

Subs, Tankers, ABM systems used to threaten other countries, and we can’t get a decent CTF plant built in this country.

Recently, I talked to a trucker from West Virginia who stated diesel was $4.98/gal. 

When will we learn what “National Security” really is.

http://www.ultracleanfuels.com/

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By Inherit The Wind, June 25, 2008 at 2:36 pm Link to this comment

Scheer has followed the path of Pierre Salinger and Arnaud de Borchgrave, both once-respected journalists who destroyed their reputations—Salinger with Pan Am Flight 800 “rocket attack” and de Borchgrave selling out to the Moonies at the Washington Times.

Scheer LOUDLY forgets to mention that Northrup-Grumman is virtually TOTALLY plugged into the WH and the GOP and RECEIVED A NO-BID CONTRACT!  Boeing is plugged into the DNC, so there you go. In a Republican-dominated administration and Congress, GOP companies get no-bid contracts—just like Halliburton, Blackwater and Diebold.  One level of corruption was replaced by an even bigger one.

Notice also that Scheer doesn’t mention who NG’s partner is.  Why not? What’s the big f’ing secret? It’s AirBus—the company working hard to beat out US aircraft companies with big, ugly, uncomfortable, but cheap planes.  Is there going to be a big strategic shift in purchasing critical milit systems from off-shore companies?

This has been Scheer’s modus operandi.  Tell half the story. The Russians have a saying: Half a loaf of bread is half a loaf, but half of the truth is a lie.

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By Double U, June 25, 2008 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment

Ed, they ran so far away….

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By cann4ing, June 25, 2008 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment

Jim Hightower said it best:

“The military budget is a massive wealth transfer program from ordinary taxpayers to major corporations, and it has proven easy over the years to wrap this transfer in red, white and blue and have a major portion of the American people burst out in a rousing chorus of the national anthem and applaud their own mugging.”

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By Ed Harges, June 25, 2008 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment

I’m all for hating the military industrial complex, but does anyone else find it a little strange that there is nothing on the Truthdig main page today about Iran?

The word “Iran” is literally absent.

And this at a time when we have the following fresh and EXTREMELY URGENT news items:

• from CBS:

headline: “Israel Prodding U.S. To Attack Iran”

U.S. officials say it comes just as the Israelis are mounting a full court press to get the Bush administration to strike Iran’s nuclear complex.

CBS consultant Michael Oren says Israel doesn’t want to wait for a new administration.[/I]

• from the Telegraph:

headline: “Israel ‘will attack Iran’ before new US president sworn in, John Bolton predicts”

Put that together with the fact that 96 House Democrats and 111 Republicans are cosponsoring a new resolution against Iran that demands in effect a naval blockade against Iran, which is an act of war. The resolution also amounts to another open-ended “use-of-force” resolution giving Bush permission to go to war against Iran, just like the 2002 resolution that Hillary voted for that let Bush go to war against Iraq.

What the hell is truthdig.com doing ignoring this? This is an absolute hair-on-fire emergency. It should be all over the front page of Truthdig, every single day, until and unless this danger passes.

This is why, if I had to do without either Truthdig.com or Antiwar.com, Truthdig would be the one to go. Truthdig just misses the point sometimes.

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By SteveL, June 25, 2008 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment

If the lowly honey bee continues to decline, people might have to figure out how to eat one of these airplanes.  Bet it won’t taste well.  At the end of the day there is some balance in the universe.

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By Double U, June 25, 2008 at 1:07 pm Link to this comment

Ruffalo,
Yes, you are an expert on fiction and parody.  Congratulations, but Scheer simply smokes you when it comes to the real world. Look it up using references besides your memories of glory and Parody.com.
“Old soldiers never die, they just smell like that.”

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By Ruffalo, June 25, 2008 at 10:58 am Link to this comment

Double U, your statement beginning with “Common assumptions in film-fandom,” sounds exactly like Scheer. You have never met a fact that you wouldn’t lie about. You have no argument so you fall back on fallacious generalities to prove a point that cannot be proven.

Since “sources differ, but the majority claim that Scott’s character was based on LeMay,” I’m sure you can find one that would say that says that Ripper’s character was based upon LeMay. Again, Scheer doesn’t count. I’m in no hurry. Take your time.

I’m sure your statement “Scheer’s work has been respected, outside fascist circles, for over 40 years,” is correct. After all, Scheer is a one-note Johnny who feels that war is never justified. I listen to Scheer on “Left, Right and Center” and find that no matter what question he is asked, he will bring the subject back to his war du jour rant. If he can’t find a segue, he will refuse to join the conversation.

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By BobZ, June 25, 2008 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. ” - Dwight D. Eisenhower

Ike was our last good Republican president and ranked in the top ten overall by historians, but he would be considered a liberal today. He thought war was appalling, and warned against the military-industrial complex. He would be very disturbed by the rise of neoconservative thinking in this country that has driven us into unnecessary and expensive wars. The current Defense Department budget is 665 billion annually, over ten times greater than the next largest country China with a military budget of 65 billion. This type of spending on the military at the expense of our rotting infrastructure at home, lack of affordable health care, increasing deficits, cutbacks in education and social services, and other safety nets, is frankly appalling. We are headed down the same path that bankrupted Great Britain and France, and turned them into second class powers.  I’m not sure we have any political leader with the guts to stand up to excessive military spending without being called soft on terrorism or worse. Robert Scheer is one of the few writers to question the mindless military appropriations game.  Hopefully Obama if he gains the presidency can start to re-prioritize where we are spending our tax money.

Having just gotten out of the Air Force and being a member of “Strategic Air Command”, when LeMay was Air Force Chief of Staff, he was portrayed very well by George C. Scott, not Sterling Hayden. LeMay was a four star. Jack D. Ripper was a one star. Dr. Strangelove came out around the time of the Cuban missile crisis so it was a very popular movie at the time, perhaps Kubrick’s best. LeMay was considered to be a little wacky by JFK, who didn’t trust him. After the Bay of Pigs, Kennedy lost a lot of faith in both military and CIA. LeMay would feel right at home today with the neocons.

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By Double U, June 25, 2008 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

Ruffelo, sources differ, but the majority claim that Scott’s character was based on LeMay.  Common assumptions in film-fandom, however, say that Gen. Turgidson and Gen. Ripper are a composite of LeMay, while Seller’s Dr. S. is based on Henry Kissinger, and Mr. Merkin Muffley is based on Adlai Stevenson.

Oh, and Scheer’s work has been respected, outside fascist circles, for over 40 years.

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By agentWeez, June 25, 2008 at 9:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The B2 has nothing to do with this program other than that the B2 is one of the dozens of aircraft models the United states fields which can be refueled in mid-air. 

Keeping bombers airborne for Strategic Air Command is just one small function of our tanker fleet.  The real reason we have tankers is because tankers can extend the range of a combat aircraft indefinitely.  Tankers mean that the only limits to the time a combat aircraft spends in the air are the pilot’s limitations as a human being.

Almost every model of aircraft in the US military can be refueled in-air by our tankers.  The reason they’re supposed to be replacing the tanker fleet is due to age.  Many of these planes have logged thousands of airframe hours and are reaching the end of their service lives. 

Look, the refueling fleet is a lynchpin of US logistics.  This isn’t a new nuclear sub with no enemies left to hunt.  Until we no longer need to be able to deploy combat aircraft anywhere in the world within a matter of hours we will continue to need a refueling fleet and it has absolutely NOTHING to do with the B2. 

By the way the range of a B2 is roughly 6000 miles.  Aerial refueling brings that combat range to 10000 miles.  Considering that the US bases B2s out of the US Diego Garcia and Guam the B2s completely cover every landmass on earth with one refueling carrying a payload of over 20 tons.  Now, the B52 can do much of that work but regardless of just how stealthy the b2 is its radar cross section is still magnitudes of order smaller than that of the B52.

If you’re going to dig for truth please start by digging a little deeper than “I saw a picture in the ny times this must be the reason they want more money.”  No offense to you or your site, I was just reading this article on The Nation and couldn’t respond to it there.

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By chris, June 25, 2008 at 9:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Reply to marco_san:

It wasn’t a B2 that was shot down but a F-117 stealth fighter.

Chris

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By Domitype, June 25, 2008 at 8:21 am Link to this comment

Please don’t get distracted by which actor played a role in “Dr. Strangelove!” Tom Loeffler and two other major McCain campaign advisors were lobbyists for Northrop/European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. (EADS) - the company that did get the (pending) contract.

However, your general points on wasteful military contracts are well taken.

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By Ruffalo, June 25, 2008 at 8:12 am Link to this comment

Double U,

Surely you don’t wish to be seen as being as lazy as Scheer. Not only did I do my research, I was in the United States Air Force when this movie was made and released. I saw the movie several times. I loved it.

But, to answer your stupidity, I’ll cite just one source that agrees with me. Wikipedia states, “George C. Scott as General Buck Turgidson, loosely based on Air Force General Curtis LeMay, the strategic bombing expert and former head of SAC. Sterling Hayden as General Jack D. Ripper, who is paranoid and an ultra-patriot. His name is a reference to Jack the Ripper.”

I anxiously await seeing a source citation from you indicating that this is incorrect. Oh, and using Scheer is not a credible source…for anything!

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By felicity, June 25, 2008 at 7:35 am Link to this comment

Don’t forget that members of Congress have around $150 million privately invested in major US military contractors - it’s probably a miracle that there are as few ‘boondoggles’ as there are.

(Crazy) Lieberman’s been arguing that we need a $2.5 billion submarine to fight terrorists.  That’s a lot of ‘boat’ to fight a dinghy, Mr. Lieberman - not to mention that our Coast Guard has yet to report seeing terrorists in dinghies lurking off the New England coast.

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By Arabian Thoroughbred, June 25, 2008 at 7:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If this article serves a purpose, it should alert us to the danger that the industrial-military complex poses to the people of America and world peace.

The military-industrial complex = merchants of death!

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By Double U, June 25, 2008 at 7:05 am Link to this comment

Ruffalo, YOU are the lazy one.  Sterling Hayden’s character in Dr. Strangelove, Gen. Ripper, is loosely based on the military monster Curtis LeMay.  You’re just chewing sour grapes because Robert Scheer sees right through sissy-bully heroes.

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By Ruffalo, June 25, 2008 at 6:05 am Link to this comment

This article is typical of Robert Scheer’s reporting. The very first sentence in this article is false. George C. Scott played General “Buck” Turgidson, a character loosely based upon General Curtis E. LeMay. You cannot believe anything Scheer reports. He is lazy. He does no research. What you get from Scheer are the pitiful ravings of an old “hippie.” Sad…

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By Mary, June 25, 2008 at 5:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As long as the American public allows this stuff to continue to happen with little or no protest, these outrages will continue.  Of course, even if we were to show any signs of concern, there will be no media reaction.  I’m still surprized by the lack of interest by most Americans. The issues that interest most are so not relevent.  I guess when we realize how much damage our lack of interest has caused, it will be too late.  Hey America, do you feel safe now….....

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skulz fontaine's avatar

By skulz fontaine, June 25, 2008 at 5:12 am Link to this comment

Let’s get this straight. Brian Rogers says, “let’s get this straight:McCain led the charge to uncover the biggest boondoggle in Pentagon history…corrupt execs…government officials in jail…” and blah blah blah. Status quo baby and that’s the way ‘we the people’s’ Congress has worked for quite some time. By the by, the single “biggest boondoggle” in Pentagon history would have to be Dov Zakheim and the missing $2.3 trillion dollars! Dov Zakheim as the “comptroller” for the Pentagon. That Dov Zakheim. Heck, if one is to bamboozle our glorious government/Congress do it large. $2.3 trillion dollars is large in the very least! So, no harm no foul. If the boondoggle won’t fit, you must acquit! Or some glaring banality like that there. Congress uses our wondrous American dollar to wipe themselves with and that is the “bottom’s” line. Corrupt fool number one is blaming corrupt fool number two while the “foolish” victim in all this, stands idly by and says nothing. That “foolish” victim would be ‘we the people’. Accountability seems “on topic.” Well, and some good old fashioned tar and feathers. To get back on “topic”, Curtis LeMay was insane. Wait a minute, most of American government is insane. That’s to include the sorry offerings we’re faced with as candidates for America’s highest office. Yup, pretty much across the board we are faced with insanity of a global scale.

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By JMCSwan, June 25, 2008 at 5:07 am Link to this comment

“I wish my sister was Katei Lea”

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By marco_san, June 24, 2008 at 11:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The democrats are tooth and nail NOT going to lose this election - so who knows what they are willing to do. Not that it may change the clientilistic democratic scenario much - but who knows, the stealth may be more surprising in Obama (if he deals the cards differently after election) than it is the vulgarly expensive killing machine/plane.

Speaking of which, the B-2 as far as I know was disrobed semi-officially as stealth technology when the chinese assisted the serbs downing a b2 a month before the US hit their embassy (old maps Clinton claimed…) - where said pieces of the B-2 ‘stealth-skin’ were being kept after the serbs rewarded their eastern friends. See radio waves were written about in numerous papers of Europe and Canada for a year before ‘this incident’ - news reports that Russian and Chinese researchers had found the B-2 could be seen with radio waves - worth hitting the embassy for? Bit off topic, sorry -

...Go Nader!!

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