As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, July 17, 2009

Gates on the F-22

Remember, this is Robert Gates, who served under a Republican President both at the CIA and the Defense Department, arguing in the most explicit language I've seen from a public official against the dictates of the military-industrial complex:

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates made an impassioned case Thursday for terminating the F-22 program after production of 187 planes, as the Obama administration sought to blunt a bipartisan push to add money to the defense budget for the fighter jet.

"If we can't bring ourselves to make this tough but straightforward decision -- reflecting the judgment of two very different presidents, two different secretaries of defense, two chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the current Air Force secretary and chief of staff -- where do we draw the line?" he said in a speech at the Economic Club of Chicago. "If we can't get this right, what on earth can we get right?" [...]

The normally staid Gates became especially animated Thursday describing his frustration with lawmakers' efforts to keep building F-22s. "The more they buy of stuff we don't need, the less we have available for the stuff we do need," he told reporters, his voice rising. "It is just as simple as that. It ain't a complicated problem."

Even if Congress acquiesces on the F-22, Gates warned, the Pentagon has to do a better job of setting realistic goals for its weapons programs.

"We must break the old habit of adding layer upon layer of cost, complexity and delay to systems that are so expensive and so elaborate that only a small number can be built and are usable in only a narrow range of low-probability scenarios," he said.

Jack Murtha seems to think there won't be a veto. I actually hope that the White House doesn't compromise on this. If they do, there will be no political will to go up against the MIC again, at least for a while. However, now that the defense bill has become a legislative vehicle for the bill expanding hate crimes legislation to sexual orientation, which passed the Senate with 63 votes yesterday, it does need to go through. But the President has the upper hand here - the defense bill is must-pass, and Congress doesn't exactly inspire fear in anyone.

Hopefully the Senate can vote this out of the bill next week. It'll be close.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,