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The Trillion Dollar Question by John Feffer

June 1, 2010

(note… one of the links to the right is to Foreign Policy In Focus, whose articles and pieces on US foreign policy – and bloggers –  I rank among the best. This piece by John Feffer, whose small volume `Power Trip‘ I used as a text in course on global politics recently – is about the bloated US military budget and the US Congress’s tendency to pass every request for more weaponry. Good piece. We’ve got to build a movement around cutting the military budget and using those funds for jobs, education and social programs here in the US of A. rjp)

The Trillion Dollar Question

The full-page ads in The Washington Post seem so reasonable. The military contractor Pratt & Whitney has been arguing that America doesn’t need to spend $485 million to develop a second engine for the F-35 jet fighter. It’s a compelling argument. We’re in a serious economic crisis, so why on earth would we build another jet engine when the first one is sufficient?

Pratt & Whitney has supporters in high places. Pentagon Chief Robert Gates doesn’t want the second engine, which would be built by General Electric and Rolls Royce, and neither does his Air Force. President Obama, too, has come out against the unnecessary spending.

Pratt & Whitney isn’t spending hundreds of thousands of advertising dollars simply out of a spirit of fiscal rectitude. They’re the builders of the original F-35 engine, and they don’t want the competition muscling into their territory. Still, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is already a terrible boondoggle – Lockheed Martin recently confessed that the per-plane cost has nearly doubled since the initial estimate – so adding a second engine would be nonsense on stilts.

For the rest of the article, click here

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