Your Tax Dollars Hard At Work......
Supporting The Military Industrial Complex.
The plane that won't die ... or fly
By Miriam Pemberton
Calling the V-22 Osprey a Rube Goldberg contraption does some disservice to the American cartoonist who died in 1970. US Vice President Dick Cheney tried to kill the V-22 in the early 1990s, when he was defense secretary. But it lives on today, and the US Marine Corps announced on April 13 that in September the plane will begin flying its first combat missions in Iraq. A combination helicopter-plane with bells and whistles galore might have appealed to Rube, but he wouldn't have unveiled it in public until he'd made it work.
The V-22, by contrast, was grounded by malfunctioning flight-control systems as recently as a month ago. The latest engine fire occurred in December; no one died (this time) because the plane had already landed.
The saga of unreadiness goes back through this plane's 25 years of development and US$20 billion worth of taxpayer funding.
It is supposed to transport troops around Iraq and go on rescue missions to retrieve them. But its design hampers its capacity for evasive maneuvering. And the guns originally designed for the front had to be moved to the back, partially blocking the doors and making it harder for troops to get on and off.
What keeps this thing alive (if not, reliably, capable of flight)? Certainly, there are the obvious suspects of enormous stables of dedicated lobbyists and jobs carefully dispersed in key congressional districts. Then, there's a federal budget process that keeps money flowing in the pipeline for weapons systems the US doesn't need, and fails to examine the big-picture question of what, overall, the US does need to make it safer.
The above is a damning column by an extraordinarily versed expert in the field.
Check out the bio tag.
Miriam Pemberton is a research fellow with Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies, and co-author, with Lawrence Korb of the Center for American Progress, of "A Unified Security Budget for the United States, FY 2008".
Sounds like this "A Unified Security Budget for the United States" is something that needs a bit more looking into.