pork benefits military-industrial complex*
This disturbing Wired News article describes a military procurement process that results in overpriced weapons programs for which no real mission exists, and only then after a too-long development process that makes their timely readiness impossible.
In the late 13th century the Venetians, fighting an overseas war against Turkey, launched the world's largest warships on a one-a-day basis, handily beating Eli Whitney to the invention of the assembly line. During World War II in the United States, West Coast shipyards equaled the Venice Arsenal's output while building Liberty ships.
But the seeds for many tech weapon systems planted in the early 1980s have yet to bloom. Critics contend that many of these programs are purebred political pork designed to battle dead enemies with aging technology.
The $64 billion Raptor project, intended to counter advanced Soviet aircraft that were never built, is a prime target for such critics. As is the crash-prone $46 billion V-22 Osprey helicopter, almost canceled by then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney in 1992 but supported by now-Vice President Dick Cheney in 2002.
"We have a bloated, corrupt and unaccountable military industrial congressional system that thrives on a policy of perpetual war for perpetual peace," said David Theroux, president of The Independent Institute, a nonpartisan think tank. "Weapons procurement systems are in reality not linked to need or accountability ... they are primarily pork programs for congressional districts, defense bureaucracy and defense contractors. If they are in any way obsolete, duplicate other systems, do not meet a schedule for a real defense need or go over budget, who is going to hold them accountable?"
Remember, folks, just being in favor of more military spending doesn't make one strong on defense if all that spending results in a situation like this.
*...and in other news, the sky is blue (with props to FARK)