Nuking Dinner Takes On Whole New Meaning

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In a speech in Chicago today, Defense Secretary Robert Gates (again) called on Congress to resist the urge to pack the defense budget full of pork. And because certain lawmakers have been digging in their heels this week, Gates wasn’t mincing words. The best bits (emphases mine):

We must also get control of what is called “requirements creep”—where more features and capabilities are added to a given piece of equipment, often to the point of absurdity. The most flamboyant example of this phenomenon is the new presidential helicopter…Once the analysis and requirements were done, we ended up with choppers that cost nearly half a billion dollars each and enabled the president to, among other things, cook dinner while in flight under nuclear attack

The F-22, to be blunt, does not make much sense anyplace else in the spectrum of conflict. Nonetheless, supporters of the F-22 lately have promoted its use for an ever expanding list of potential missions. These range from protecting the homeland from seaborne cruise missiles to, as one retired general recommended on TV, using F-22s to go after Somali pirates who in many cases are teenagers with AK-47sa job we know is better done by three Navy SEALs. These are examples of how far-fetched some of the arguments have become for a program that has cost $65 billion—and countingto produce 187 aircraft, not to mention the thousands of uniformed Air Force positions that were sacrificed to help pay for it.

h/t: Danger Room.

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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